San Rafael was established in the late 19th century as one of the first stately neighborhoods outside of the city center. Located off of the bourgeois-hipster Condesa-Roma circuit, it maintains a residential calm. With a mix of architectural styles, hidden galleries, and half a dozen theaters, this is a pleasant ‘hood to spend an afternoon walking through. Don't skip checking out the abandoned, magnificent Cine Opera theater.Read More
Mexico City Neighborhood Guide: San Rafael
Check out this pleasant area just off the bourgeois-hipster Condesa-Roma circuit
1. La Polar
Mexico City, Mexico
Open since 1934, La Polar has two things on the menu: birria in broth and birria out of broth (the broth comes on the side). Get either and garnish with salsa and onions while two mariachi bands will battle for your attention.
2. Cochinita Power
Mexico City 06470, Mexico
With a glowing neon sign and a slick interior, this new restaurant serves cochinita pibil in many guises: in tacos, tortas, panuchos (a fried tortilla stuffed with black beans), and on chilaquiles. It's located on the same block as Casa Maauad, an artist residency and by-appointment gallery.
3. El Califa de Leon
A literal hole in the wall, the fifty-year old el Califa de León is the iconic taquería of the neighborhood. Steak, costilla (rib), or gaonera, (thinly sliced griddled beef), are held by tortillas mopped with liquid fat and showcase the pure flavors of corn, salt, and beef.
4. La Tonina
Northern-style Mexican food is a challenge to find in Mexico City, which makes La Tonina's handmade flour tortillas and machaca (dried meat which has been rehydrated) all the more delicious. For dessert, get gorditas de nata. The little masa pancakes' sweet, toasted aromas perfume the entire restaurant.
5. Boca del Río
A first-rate cantina serving all things from the sea: tostadas, mariscos, ceviches, and shark quesadillas. And cold beer. The décor is charmingly stuck in the '70s.
6. Muebles Sullivan
Evidence of the artistic element creeping into the neighborhood, Muebles Sulivan is a sparse, well-lit cafe, with modern furniture, upscale paletas (popsicles), and coffee service. They have movie nights, too.