The Best Way to Start Your Day in DF

For those who ask me about my favorite places to grab coffee, breakfast, or brunch in DF, here are some notes on spots in La Roma and environs, (kind of) organized by category. I also included a few stand out spots in El Centro (namely, Jekemir and Cafe El Popular) since I occasionally grab coffee or breakfast downtown.

Coffee

  • Buna, Orizaba 42: one of the best spots to grab coffee to go or to sit and work or linger with friends. Classic cappuccino is great. I also enjoy their cold brew, the mokka valencia (a mocha with nice notes of orange), and the Mexican classic cafe de olla. The breakfast food is good but not my favorite. Pastries are good but not great (if you want fantastic pastries, try Panaderia Rosetta or Fournier Rousseau)
  • Cardinal Casa de Cafe, Cordoba 132 (esq con Guanajuato): fantastic coffe. A favorite spot to get a few cups and work for a few hours. There are several tables outside as well as inside and comfy chairs inside. Like Buna, Cardinal has coffee prepared by all sorts of methods. They also have croissant sandwiches that look tasty, but I’ve never tried.
  • 3D Lab and Cafe, Tonalá 89: I haven’t actually tried their coffee, but it’s been recommended. Each time I’ve gone, I’ve ordered a chocolate avocado or chocolate banana milkshake and really enjoyed how fresh it is. The sandwich I got here once was also delicious, and while the focus may not be coffee, it has a coffeeshop vibe, with many people working inside and high speed internet. It does also feature a 3D printer where you can have objects printed (such as a figurine of yourself…).
  • Delirio or Delirio Abarrotes, Alvaro Obregón esquina con Monterrey or Colima 144: A great place for a light breakfast, a healthy lunch or dinner, and fantastic desserts and coffee. Delirio also sells their granola, various snacks, and groceries, like deli goods, cajeta, rompope, and a large variety of salsas and marmalades. Do note that the Abarrotes location on Colima 144 sells most of the groceries found at the main restaurant on Obregón but has a much smaller selection of prepared dishes and desserts.
  • Jekemir, Isabel la Católica 88: According to my Mexican friends, this is one of the original great coffee shops of downtown. Every time I have been or walked by (even as late at 8pm), it is packed with people crowded around outside. The coffee is delicious, and they also sell beans they roast in store as well as all types of coffee makers and milk foaming and steaming devices. For the coffee connoisseur, it is definitely a must-visit cafe. It’s perhaps not the best fit for someone wanting to get work done, given the noisy and bustling atmosphere, but it can still be a nice place to read for a while if you don’t mind background activity.

Coffee & Pastries

  • Panaderia Rosetta, Colima 179: This is one of my favorite bakeries for sweet pastries. The rol de guayaba is a must. I also like their bastóns (look like breadsticks and have a cinnamon raisin bread flavor), the galletas de amaranto, the roles de almendras, the scones, and their sandwiches for a more hearty lunch. The place is nearly always packed, but it is worth the wait or grabbing coffee and snacks to go, then eating outside or walking to Plaza Rio de Janeiro to have breakfast. One of my favorite ways to start my day is with a cappuccino and galleta de amaranto from Panaderia. A great lunch or light dinner is one of the sandwiches (I love the roast beef) and the juice (betabel con piña, an unexpectedly delicious and refreshing combination).
  • Fournier Rousseau, Córdoba 108: Best croissant in DF, hands down. Chocolatines are also delicious and coffee is great. In the season, the pan de muerto is also the best I’ve had in the city, and with a cup of chocolate, the best snack for a sweet tooth. This European-style bakery also makes delicious cakes (I’ve bought two birthday cakes for myself here and several for friends, all of which were greatly enjoyed by all who celebrated with us). The truffle cake is classic and the Zacher torte is also a favorite. The bread rolls with artichoke is a perfect, more savory snack.
  • La Puerta Abierta, Colima 226: Great variety of sweet and savory. Cheese croissant is pretty good, especially when you ask them to heat it for you. They are always trying new pastries and desserts, which are fun to try. Once I had a great pay de manzana, that was a single portion little treat. Lately, I tried a nut, caramel, chocolate truffle that was incredible.
  • Delisa, Tabasco 139: I’ve actually only had coffee and desserts here (which are delicious) but they also have bread and pastries. The coffee is great, space is nice, but the chairs are a bit low at tables, which can make it hard to write or type. Also has nice light lunch and dinner options.
  • Cafe El Popular, Avenida Cinco de Mayo 50 and 52: One of the oldest restaurants in Mexico City and open 24 hours, Cafe El Popular is a true classic in every sense. Be warned that it is very popular, and there is always a line to wait for a table, even now that a second location opened right next door to the original (the original is the one at Avenida Cinco de Mayo 50). If you’re curious about the history of the place, read more at Good Food Mexico City. The cafe con leche is incredible–not sure if it can be ordered to go, though, and it can be difficult to get a table during peak hours. The pastries are also fresh and fantastic. My favorite are the biscuits, but the Mexican classics they have (conchas, polvoronas, orejas) are great, and you can also order nata (thick cream some like to eat with pan dulce, as if it wasn’t sweet enough, adding this mix of heavy cream with sweetener is necessary). Cafe El Popular also has typical Mexican breakfast dishes and popular combination plates, but I have yet to try these.

Breakfasts

  • Volver, Calle Chihuahua esquina con Córdoba: Incredible french toast specials, solid chilaquiles and other Mexican classics, and all sorts of egg dishes. Volver also has a great selection of burgers, all of which come with thick fries.
  • Belmondo, Mérida esquina con Tabasco: Known for their incredible sandwiches and salads, Belmondo now offers a reasonable weekend brunch selection. The french toast is delicious, thick, and very sweet, and the coffee is also very nice.
  • Papa Chón, Córdoba esquina con Zacatecas: They serve my favorite chilaquiles en salsa verde con pollo. For $65 pesos, the portion is perfectly sized for me, ingredients taste fresh, and the garnish of refried black beans is a nice contrast to the salsa verde with a bit of punch. The pan salad that comes with is perfect for soaking up the sauce, and they give a nice amount of cheese and not too much crema. Also have Mexican classics for lunch (love the sopa azteca), but not dinner, sadly, since they close at 6pm.
  • Huset, Colima 256: Brunch here is typically pretty calm (perhaps because it is still a recent addition to the restaurant scene). The omelette and tomato dish I ordered once was perhaps the best preparation of eggs I had ever had in a restaurant, the chilaquiles were classic and delicious, and the french toast with peach was fantastic.
  • Masa Madre, Zacatecas 139: Named after sourdough bread, this spot has amazing bread and pastries. They also serve a good plate of chilaquiles en salsa verde con pollo that’s not too spicy. The fruit plate with avocado puree is fantastic as is their dishes with granola (there’s a fruit and granola dish as well as a granola with almond milk and chia dish). When I go with friends and we have a real appetite, we often split one of the refreshing fruit or granola dishes then continue with a course of heavier dishes (chilaquiles, enfrijoladas, enmoladas, eggs benedict, etc.).
  • Lalo!, Zacatecas 173: Run by the same chef as Maximo Bistrot, Lalo! is a popular breakfast spot. It is great if you’re looking for more high-end and filling dishes and are less concerned with portion control. Dishes are also overall spicier than the others listed here (the chilaquiles come in a very spicy sauce). Perfect if you are looking to try specialty Mexican ingredients like epazote, huitlacoche, and escamoles. The pan dulce here is terrific (some of the best I’ve had in a restaurant).
  • Degu, Casa de Comidas, Huichapan 25: While I normally go to Degu a few times a week for their healthy and affordable lunch options (there is a different special each day that is what I get along with two sides that change weekly and the agua del día, all for $82 pesos), I’ve tried the french toast and chilaquiles and been impressed by both. The place is dedicated to preparing healthy yet tasty options, and I have loved the variety and flavors of every dish I have tried. They also offer desserts that are all around $25 pesos, and are portioned accordingly, like a single crepe filled with cajeta and topped with nuts, a perfectly sized treat for after a filling meal to leave a sweet taste in your mouth.
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