Chefs Pablo and Liber, behind Sydney resto favourites Milpa Collective, share their go-to venues around Mexico to eat, drink, and enjoy all of Mexico’s warmth and hospitality.
Contemporary dining group Milpa Collective was born in 2017 by Mexican-born chef Pablo Galingo Vargas and Chilean co-owner Liber Osorio. Its mission is to elevate the lens of Australian dining culture with flavours of Mexican and Latin American cuisine.
But that doesn’t mean the duo don’t regularly return to their roots – and via its cuisine, naturally.
With nine bustling and vibrant venues across Sydney having hospitality ties to Mexico is essential to ensure authentic Mexican cuisine is on every plate. And with their own MUX restaurant in Mexico City, this allows them to build links with suppliers to bring more products to Australia.
MUX is based in Colonia Roma, one of the Mexico City’s most vibrant neighbourhoods. So, who better give V&T the low down on the best places to dine in Mexico for delicious but unique food experiences.
Botanico, Mexico City
Located in a beautiful house with one of the best-looking gardens in the middle of Colonia Roma, this is the best place to have lunch and drinks. With attentive service, great food, and drinks in an impressive setting, visit for a relaxing afternoon to escape the city’s buzz.
Fish tiradito with black garlic ponzu, raw shrimp with pistachio or Pappardelle with beef tail ragu and Grana Padano. Tuna tartare is made with Bluefin tuna from Baja California, smoked oyster emulsion and house furikake. Order a jug of fresh watermelon juice with sparkling wine and Lillet Blanc for good measure.
Pujol, Mexico City
Enrique Olvera is considered one of the best Mexican chefs and has put Pujol and Mexican food on the world’s radar. Pujol comes in consistently towards the top of Latin America and The World’s 50 Best Restaurants rankings. This is the vanguard of Mexican gastronomy and a must-have fine dining experience in Mexico City.
Inspired by the Japanese dining experience, omakase, where the diner is guided by the chef’s choices, seasonal, elegant and artistic dishes using only the finest ingredients means the Pujol menu changes daily. The only consistent component, like a Taco bar, is corn. Recent dish highlights include lobster cooked whole served with pico di gallo salsa. For dessert, the goat cheese pancake, plated alongside Xochimilco fig leaf ice cream, is almost too pretty to eat.
Café de Nadie, Mexico City
One of the best bars in Mexico City, great music, better ambience, beautiful people, amazing drinks, and a decent kitchen make Café de Nadie a must-go on an afternoon before going out for a big night. This place will start your party on the right foot. Also, go there for a high-energy breakfast.
The Acai bowl of coconut and chia pudding with acai ice cream and seasonal fruits for a fresh breakfast. If you’re seeking something more savoury, dig into the red chilaquiles, a traditional Mexican breakfast made with tortilla chips simmered in a spiced tomato-based sauce. Add a fried egg for good measure.
Licoreria Limantour, Mexico City
A classic in Mexico City, Limantour offers the best cocktails in town. Visit to try their unique creations with agave spirits and their impressive list of every liquor, especially mezcals and tequilas.
Tommy Tomberry made with Mezcal San Cosme infused with cherry tomato, strawberry and clarified green lemon. Or a Lobster Mushroom made with Johnnie Walker Black Label with Vermouth Rosso, Ayuuk Empirical, Pedro Xímenez and Lobster Mushroom tincture.
Tlecan Mezcalería, Mexico City
Recently opened, this is one of the coolest small bars in the city. Amazing ambience, the place is frequented by young artists and the ‘Colonia Roma hipsters’. This place has one of the better-curated mezcal menus in Mexico City. The afternoon starts with tranquil sipping of mezcal and finishes at a crazy party with a packed place and everybody dancing to hip hop and reggae tunes.
As sophisticated as its setting, the cocktails are crispy and classy. Mojito Quetzal marries green lemon juice, macerated holy leaf, Damiana liqueur and Mezcal into a refreshing green goddess. Margarita Kauil fuses chilli apple with apricot compote and Mezcal for a fruity-fresh favourite.
Máximo Bistrot, Mexico City
With one one of the most vanguardist menus in the city, Máximo combines European cooking techniques with local ingredients and traditional Mexican recipes with a beautifully curated wine list. Máximo recently relocated to a bigger space with an impressive kitchen. Chef Eduardo García attracts the best chefs and hospitality professionals and has ranked in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the last few years.
You’ll always have a new dish on the menu at Maximo every day. From ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and butter squash dressed in aged balsamic. Or, oven-roasted lamb loin, plated alongside smoked eggplant purée and delicious rosemary jus. Save some room for a spoonful of the chocolate caviar tart with burnt vanilla and caramel, and a side of truffle ice cream.
Rosa Negra, Tulum
Think of the most luxurious ingredients, magnums of champagne, immaculate service, and great ambience. Come to Rosa Negra for an impressive dinner, stay for the party. The dining room transforms into a full-on party with DJs, lights, shows and everything else. Get driven back home/hotel by your waiter, by this time is your best friend.
Charcoal-grilled Caribbean lobster or rack of lamb topped with a peanut and peppermint crust. Obsession is a gin-based cocktail infused with lemongrass, Ancho Reyes Verde liqueur, and green apple reduction, finished with a zesty kick of ginger and lime.
A beautiful open-air restaurant with some of the best food I have ever tried, with local and organic ingredients cooked with fire in an open-air kitchen. Make sure you reserve the best place for a romantic dinner or with your best friends months in advance.
The menu changes daily, so expect the freshest local produce packing a punch of spices and zest. Our faves? Yucatán ceviche with ginger and mezcal and beets cooked over a woodfire with avocado habanero cream.
MUX, Mexico City
The concept of MUX is to showcase recipes from various rural communities all along Mexico and bring them to Mexico City. The menus, created by chef Diana Lopez, change by season. Diana has travelled the country and got to know the traditional recipes through the best possible source: the women and men that prepare them in their communities with recipes passed down from generation.
MUX only sources produce from Mexico, from small communities around the county, most of the time without intermediaries and is selected and picked up directly by chef Diana Lopez, including all the distillates. The ingredients used are deeply rooted in the Mexican food culture, reflecting intention and respect for tradition.
Marinated tuna in vanilla and rum served with a peanut salad dressed in lemon and basil. Or, for a vegan dish, the tempeh tacos filled with nopales, pico de gallo and creamy almond cottage cheese. Grab a Cacao Negroni to top it off.
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