For both my stays in the capital my employer put me up in a hotel in Juárez, a famous barrio in the heart of Mexico City. (Google map here).
It’s a long, triangular neighbourhood formed by Paseo de la Reforma (see my next post) to the north, Avenida Chapultepec to the south, and Avenida Bucareli (Eje 1 Poniente) to the east.
I stayed at the historic and beautiful Hotel Geneve www.hotelgeneve.com at Londres 130.
Built in 1907, this hotel is renowned for many reasons. When it opened it was the first hotel in Mexico to accept women travelling alone and in 1910 the first sandwich in Mexico was served here. During the Mexican revolution it was a neutral zone for both revolutionaries and members of the establishment who stayed there at the same time. Famous guests include Winston Churchill, William Randolph Hurst, Charles Lindburgh, Marlon Brando and Gabriel García Márquez. Here’s a video that was made to celebrate its centenary.
Colonia Juárez also incorporates the Zona Rosa which got its name in the 1950s for being a bohemian area populated by artists and intellectuals.
In more recent times it has become the most popular area for Mexico City’s gay community who frequent the bars around Calle Amberes.
The area west of Florencia is also called ‘Little Seoul’ as many Korean immigrants have located their businesses there.
I’m sure there are quite a few decent places to eat in Juárez. Here’s a couple I can vouch for.
Fonda El Refugio (Advanced B+), Liverpool 166
This is a relatively pricey, formal place just around the corner from the hotel. It was recommended by the receptionist for traditional Mexican food.
Although I’m quite happy to eat street food, this is the kind of place I usually have to come to avoid the possibility of getting tummy trouble which could affect my job.
There are only about half a dozen tables so service is prompt and efficient. The surroundings are simple and traditional.
I began with a stellar Margarita (A).
I followed with Sopes which are circle of fried ground maize soaked in lime (known as ‘masa’), typically topped with refried black beans, cheese, lettuce, onions, salsa and sour cream. In my case, it was shredded chicken, guacamole and crumbled cheese, with green salsa on the side, all very nice (B+).
Then the traditional dish of Chile en Nogada, a very big poblano chilli stuffed with picadillo (typically shredded meat with spices) and topped with pomegranate seeds and ‘nogada’, a walnut and cream sauce. It was quite rich but I liked it (B+).
Finally, Natilla, a vanilla custard (B+)…
…and a Liquor Agavero, which is a sweet blend of reposado and anejo tequilas and Damiana flowers which are reputed to be an aphrodisiac. It’s a liqueur that I’m particularly fond of (A+), especially with dessert.
King Falafel (Elementary B), Londres 138
Recommended by Lonely Planet, this is a good place to come for veggies, or if you fancy a change from Mexican food. I love falafel and they do it quite well here (B).
Please also see my Cuauhtémoc post for a good Japanese restaurant fairly near the hotel, on the other side of Paseo de la Reforma.