Live Like A Local: A food lover’s guide to Mexico City

Live Like a Local: A food lover’s guide to Mexico City | Soho House

From taquerias to wine bars, chef Lucho Martínez shares the best local hotspots and what to order when you’re there

Monday 21 August 2023   By Yasemin Celepi

Born in Coatzacoalcos, Veracruz, chef Lucho Martínez spent much of his early life in Nashville, having moved there with his family at the age of five. Eventually, Latin America called him back to his roots, and he returned to the coastal town at the age of 13, where he immediately developed a love for cooking, having missed the local Mexican food. 

He then spent his teenage years working in hotel kitchens and restaurants, before migrating to Mexico City in 2018, where he opened his first restaurant, Em, named after his daughter. Following its success, Martinez opened his bar, 686 Bar, above the restaurant in 2021. His culinary empire has since expanded in the last two years with a second restaurant, called Martinez, and his first coffee shop, Café Tormenta. 

Now a veteran in the city’s food scene, Martinez, who is a member at the soon-to-be opened Soho House Mexico City, shares his ultimate list of local recommendations with us. These include the best casual wine bars that ‘are making a significant contribution to the city’s dining scene’, the coffee houses where you can ‘build community’, and the longstanding classic restaurants where ‘the service is impeccable, and they can be enjoyed both alone or with small groups’. 

Whether you’re already a local or planning a trip, you’ll want to make a note of his top spots.

Live Like a Local: A food lover’s guide to Mexico City | Soho House
Live Like a Local: A food lover’s guide to Mexico City | Soho House

For dinner and drinks…
‘Máximo Bistrot. It’s my favourite place; you’ll always eat well there. The trick is to only order five dishes and let the chef decide. I’d also go for a Martini and a sparkling white wine. It’s a place I visit with my daughter, and our top spot for birthdays and celebrations.’

For catch-ups…
‘El Danubio. Order Langostinos and a bottle of white wine. I love going here with a good friend to catch up.’

For small groups…
‘I’d go to San Angel Inn and recommend ordering Escamoles, Sesos, Mole and Carne Asada. Or, try Cantina del Bosque and order Pescado a La Sal, Milanesa and Queso Fundido with white tequila and beer.’ 

For big groups and all-day parties…
‘Contramar. Go for Pescado and Tostadas, along with a Michelada and white tequila.’

Live Like a Local: A food lover’s guide to Mexico City | Soho House

The best casual wine bars…
‘Visit Makan and order the Chicken with rice, Laksa and Escargots. Hugo is another great place – ask for white and orange wine. At El Tigre Silencioso, start with a Negroni, then switch to wine. Or, go to Caimán to enjoy some mussels with chips and quail’s egg with the house Pet-Nat wines.’

For breakfast…
‘I have a few favourite places for breakfast after riding my bike. I like Fonda Margarita for Tirados con Frijol, Chicharrón and Bistec en Pasilla. Lalo! is great for Huevos con Chorizo and French toast, and try Molino el Pujol for Enmoladas, Quesadilla and Tacos de Aguacate.’

For tacos…
‘El Vilsito, Tacos Hola or Tacos Tony – you’ll want to drink Sangria here.’

For coffee…
‘Café Tormenta for cold brew and Medialunas Rellenas. Or, Buna or Avellaneda for an espresso.’ 

Apply for membership at Soho House Mexico City.