Never one to shy away from the darker shades of humanity, many people were unsettled by the episode when Anthony Bourdain visited Mexico City. In addition to a few great meals, Bourdain put on his photojournalist hat again to show the violence, death, and dismay that many in Mexico felt at the time of filming.
While most people who come to my site to find the restaurants where Tony ate, I find it well worth mentioning the other activities and sites he visits – including his ride-along with a photographer who documents the cartel killings. One can only imagine that those in power in Cuidad de Mexico were not exactly pleased that he didn’t present a shining portrayal of their city when the episode aired. But Bourdain was never afraid to show it all, as the episode partially filmed in Mexico City shows.
Anthony Bourdain visited Mexico City once in his shows, to film season 3, episode 4 of Parts Unknown. In that episode, he also visits other cities in Mexico that I’ll share in other posts in the future. During his visit, he samples all the city has to offer – food and culture alike. Below you’ll find the spots visited by Anthony Bourdain in Mexico City, as well as what he ate at each spot.
While Mexico City today is not the city Bourdain visited in the early 2010s, the place shown on-screen is still there – especially the incredible culinary experiences you can have if you know where to find them.
Cocina “Laura” (CLOSED)
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that the first place that Bourdain visits on-screen in Mexico City is no longer in business. There are several restaurants of the same name in Mexico City, but the first one that comes up in my research, the Cocina “Laura” which used to be located on Av. Congreso de la Unión in the Santa Anita neighborhood, closed at some point between when Tony visited in late 2013 or early 2014 and today. (If you know this is incorrect, please let me know in the comments and I’ll fix it ASAP.)
During his visit – which was after meeting boxing title-holder Jorge La Tierra ringside – Bourdain sits down with La Tierra for the kind of traditional, cheap meal that many aspiring boxers will fuel up with after a hard workout. The dish isn’t given a name but primarily has eggs, beans, and rice, all staples of Mexican cuisine.
Migas La Guera
During his visit to the neighborhood of Tepito (more on that below), Bourdain sits down with blogger Jorge Pedro and writer Alfonso Hernandez at Migas La Guera. This no-frills spot says their specialty in the name: Migas.
A dish of cracked ham bones, with garlic, onion, and cascabel pepper, thickened with stale bread and leftover tortillas, which causes Tony to note that “you make something really awesome out of nothing,” since so many of the ingredients are those that might otherwise be wasted or thrown out.
For a sample of the nicer dining options in Mexico City, Anthony Bourdain then meets up with chef Eduardo Garcia, who owns and is head chef at Maximo Bistro (not to be confused with a restaurant of a very similar name, and which seems to be the second location of this original, in Tamaulipas).
At the time of Tony’s visit, Garcia’s restaurant was one of the most sought-after restaurants in the city, yet still couldn’t avoid the sting of corruption and scandal of limelight despite its popularity.
Tony doesn’t sit down to eat, but rather stands with Garcia in the kitchen, trying dishes as they are made. He samples both sauteed abalone with roasted serrano, brown butter, and lemon, and a taco filled with confit suckling pig topped with homemade salsa.
Bonus: The Mercados in Tepito
As mentioned, Bourdain spends time in the area of Tepito, which has an iffy reputation today for visitors. The area is known for its mercados, where you can find anything from bootleg DVDs to incredible local dishes at no-name (or locally-known-only) restaurants.
While exploring with this guide, the blogger Jorge Pedro Uribe Llamas (who later went on to write for the Bourdain-funded site Roads & Kingdoms if you want to read his work), Tony grabs a freshly mixed Michelada. This concoction – which usually includes beer, lime juice, sauces, spices, tomato juice, and chili peppers – is a distinctly Mexican libation and pairs well with the chaotic surroundings.
While Anthony Bourdain only visited a few spots in Mexico City for food and drink, his admiration for the city and country were evident in the episode and he filmed a number of other episodes in Mexico including Oaxaca, Baja/Tijuana, Piedras Negras, and Puebla. I’ll have recaps for those cities coming soon!
Have any questions about the places visited by Anthony Bourdain in Mexico City, or do you have an update about one of these restaurants? Let me know in the comments below.