In June 2014, we visited Mexico City for the first time and could not get a reservation to Enrique Olvera's Pujol, which is on the list of The World's 50 Best Restaurants. We heard from several friends (strangely all lawyers based in the States) and locals that the food was innovative and different. Instead, we ate at Martha Ortiz's elegant Dulce Patria, also located at the posh Polanco district, where we dined on creative dishes which included seasonal insects. The experience left us fascinated with upscale Mexican cuisine. Although we eat a lot of Mexican food in San Diego (the Americanized versions, street tacos and mariscos trucks, authentic home made dishes), Mexican fine dining is new to us.
This year, we visited Mexico City for my Birthday again (we love the city) and booked dinner at Pujol over a month in advance on Open Table. Voila we had our seat.
Dining at Pujol is to experience unique flavors and to challenge your palate. Back home, restaurant meals are beautifully plated comfort food. (That's not a bad thing.) The dishes are beautifully presented, but the flavors are familiar. Pujol's flavors and ingredients are new, exotic and different. Ants, ant larvae and grasshoppers are part of the tasting menu.
Upon entering, the space feels like an updated version of a Danish modern minimalist 70's den with a dash of gray colored Zen. The clientele looks like a mix of foreign and local business people, haute foodies and well heeled society patrons.
Our very hospitable server spoke to us in English, explained all the dishes and answered our many questions. This is a restaurant accustomed to foreign customers.
My favorite dish was the Mole Madre, Mole Nuevo (673 days) served with heavenly warm tortillas which had a subtle taste of chocolate, nuts and plum. (It probably does not contain any plum, but that is how it tasted to me.)
More on the mole here and how it can be 673 days old
If we visit Mexico City again next year, would we go back? Definite yes.
The World's 50 Best Restaurants has a contest to win the ultimate gourmet trip to Mexico and attend the Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants 2015 awards ceremony. #50BestPass
I want to win.