If you ask any Mexican (or legit worldly foodie) what is the best restaurant in Mexico City, the first answer will most definitely be Pujol. Pujol is the most renowned restaurant in Mexico, and has been repeatedly ranked as one of the world’s 50 best restaurants and among the top 10 restaurants in Latin America. It’s been on my bucket-list for years, but every since I’ve watched the Netflix Chef’s Table episode (i.e. my porn), I knew I had to make my way to Mexico ASAP!
Pujol introduces Mexican fine dining at its best. I’ve been to Top chef Enrique Olvera‘s Cosme in New York, but Pujol is a whole other level of Mexican cuisine. Located on a quiet street by Polanco, Pujol is a relatively small restaurant in a contemporary, minimalist, yet elegant, nordic-style decor.
A USD$96 seven-course tasting menu is served for lunch and dinner – very pricey for Mexico, but a great value by American standards, considering the high-quality menu. Celebrity chef Olvera is known for using traditional local products and introducing the best cooking techniques of authentic Mexican cuisines into his own inventive, modern concoctions.
Menus & service available in both Spanish and English
The meal starts with a few Botanas, i.e. “street snacks” for all, after which each diner chooses the next three courses.
The world famous Mole Madre, Mole-Nuevo, a 1000+ day-old mole is served last, to be savored with a tortilla or spoon only, in order to truly appreciate the sauce’s uniqueness. The signature “Happy Ending” dessert is just as satisfying than the real thing (I’m not usually a churros fan but those were by far the highlight).The menu changes seasonally, but a few signature dishes always remain, including the mole, the desserts and the star of the meal: the Barbacoa Suckling Lamb Taco.
Every dish is an elegant interpretation of Mexican classics, plated in a beautiful and playful way. Chef Olvera tells the story of Mexico throughout his cuisine, embracing its cultural heritage, with indigenous recipes (Mole, tamales etc.) and ingredients (his notorious use of ants and insects in his cuisine has inspired chefs around the world, including Noma’s René Redzepi ).
Pujol celebrates all things Mexican, and the drinks menu is no different. Although the wine list is majoritarian European (French, Spanish, italian) Pujol offers an extensive range of mezcal, tequila and agave spirits, but also Mexican beers and non-alcoholic drinks.
No wine pairing
The service is friendly and professional, although slightly inconsistent considering this is a high-end fine dining establishment. I am not one to complain though, after noticing my food FOMO as I tasted my fellow diners’ plates, the super young, uber talented kitchen staff sent out extra dishes to fulfill my culinary frustration! Now that’s attentive service. To top it off, we were granted with a tour of the kitchen and a lengthy Q&A.
Reservations at Pujol expectantly require a bit of ground work. They don’t have a specific time frame during which their bookings become available, so basically the key is to regularly check online and/or call. It’s not an easy table to snatch, but definitely feasible with a minimum of organization.
Considering the amazing array of Mexican street food, or the mind-blowing, more casual staples like Contramar, it’s hard to claim that Pujol is the all time best dining experience in Mexico City. It is, however, undeniably a must stop if you’re fortunate to be visiting Mexico City, espeically for food enthusiasts that want to explore Mexican gastronomy through chef Olvera’s unique and inventive talent.
New, bigger location to be opened in 2017!
Come for lunch or dinner with your best foodie traveler, date night or a special occasion.