The past few months have seen several beloved restaurants reinvent themselves. In New York City, Danny Meyer relocated his iconic Union Square Cafe. In Charleston, Sean Brock gave McCrady’s an ambitious two-part transformation. And then there’s chef Enrique Olvera’s award-winning Pujol, which after over 15 years as the essential fine-dining restaurant in Mexico City (ranked no. 25 on the World’s 50 Best List and widely considered to be among the best restaurants in Mexico), closed the doors to its familiar home on Calle Francisco Petrarca. The restaurant welcomed the very first guests to its brand new — and utterly gorgeous — building this week.
“[We’re] still making minor adjustments, but in general we feel extremely comfortable,” Olvera says of the first nights of service in the new space. “We not only have more space, but the setting is a pleasure to work in. We are in love with our herb garden and the open-fire grill.”
More on that setup: As Eater previously reported, the kitchen is missing standard stovetops. Instead, it’s outfitted with a grill, a hearth, comales (cast-iron flat tops for tortillas) and, outside, there’s a brick oven for dishes like barbacoa. “Firewood cooking, as well as the comales, are an essential element of our culture,” says Olvera. “We have always wanted to have one, but in [the original] Petrarca [location], it was impossible.”
The new building and new kitchen setup has, of course, come with a new menu. Guests already familiar with Pujol’s reputation for serving up elegant interpretations of regional, indigenous Mexican cuisine ingredients and dishes will find a common thread in the offerings at new Pujol, but few repeats. “The baby corn and the mole are still part of our menu,” Olvera says, referring to two of the most famous Pujol 1.0 dishes: baby corn served on a stick, and the mole madre he has been aging at this point for over 1,000 days. “We might have changed all the rest [of the dishes], but our principles are still the same: best produce and perfect execution.” There’s also a taco tasting menu that has been making headlines, but when asked if he’d ever consider doing a spinoff taqueria in Mexico City or in New York City (where he has the hit restaurant Cosme and soon, Atla), Olvera demures: “For now, not really.”
Pujol officially re-opened on March 6. Catch up on the first days of service below.
Check out this menu:
Still pinching ourselves after an i n c r e d i b l e dinner last night at #Pujol! Little did we know when we booked it that we would be there on opening night in their new spot. The excitement in the room from staff to guests was palpable!! Check that one off the #bucketlist! #chefstable #MexicoCity #foodie #top50restaurants #holymole
Churros are getting a lot of Instagram love:
El churro perfecto. Fin #omakase tacos de @enriqueolveraf @pujolrestaurant #mexico #mexicocity #restaurants #foodie #foodpics #foodporn #foodspotting #foodphotography #igersfood #igersmexico #instagood #instafood #eeeeeats #bareaders #feastagram #lefooding #eater #f52grams @infatuation #chefsofinstagram #forkyeah #foodstagram #food #foodstagram @saveurmag @foodandwine @bonappetit #buzzfeast #munchies @epicure @cmexicana #chefstalk #gastroart
Scenes from the kitchen:
Siempre es interesante saber lo que sucede tras bambalinas de un restaurante y lo que vi en Pujol fue un pelotón de cocineros concentrados en su trabajo, listos para el primer servicio del restaurante. Aunque para ser honesta, me hubiera gustado quedarme a la hora del rush y descubrir lo que implica trabajar en la cocina de un lugar como este.
Opening a new restaurant, even a seasoned one like @pujolrestaurant, takes a village. We’ve been privileged to experience the first dinner service through the lens of photographer @aracelipaz (full link in bio), and will be sharing additional glimpses of the team, the chef, and the new Pujol here over the next few days. Congrats @enriqueolveraf + the Pujol Team.
Herb garden interlude:
More food porn:
Baby corn, chicatana ants, coffee, costeno chili mayonnaise *Delicious take on the classic Mexican street corn. Theatrically presented, baby corn was slathered with an ant laced smoky chili mayonnaise. The ant's added a very distinct citrus flavor, much like lemon/lime juice. #corn #pujol #ants #worldsbestrestaurants #foodaholicshkmexico