Japan is a dream destination for many, but you don’t need to travel around the world to experience the unique atmosphere found in their restaurants. While it may not be exactly the same, there are some places in the capital that seek to respect both Japanese food and customs—all with the intention of offering a taste of their country in the heart of Mexico. Below you can find a list of six restaurants in Mexico City that will transport you to the streets of Tokyo or Kyoto.
Here the action takes place amidst a hot and steamy environment in front of a small bar where diners sip on ramen broth as they talk and observe pieces of art from the corner of their eye.
If you ask the chef for a noodle recommendation, he will most likely respond that although Mexicans prefer coarse pasta, you should actually order the thinner type—the one that looks like a skein of scrambled threads. From the menu, we love the Tan Tan Men, as well as the breaded pork, the meat with rice and ginger, and the bacon (which is quite thick). Since the locale is small, arrive with a wait in mind. Also, credit cards are not accepted.
Address: London 209, Colonia Juárez
Do not be surprised if you get lost in this bustling complex. It is made up of a small supermarket, sushi bar, a floor serving exclusively ramen and rice, two corridors of Japanese street-style food, as well as a shop filled with tons of goodies (like pens, plates, glasses, headbands, etc) straight from around the world.
Whether you sit outside or take it to-go, almost everything can be ordered by pieces or full dishes. The spot has quirky and charming peculiarities. For example, handbags (at least when sitting inside) are placed in baskets during lunchtime. And when arriving and leaving, chefs and waiters welcome and thank you profusely and warmly. Although most of the areas tend to be quite busy, the outdoor area and the supermarket are where you can find the majority of Japan natives.
Address: Av. San Luis Potosí 173, Colonia Roma
5% extra charge for credit cards. Photo: Andrea Cinta
Here ramen rules. The most requested dish is the ramen with cheese: a hot and delicious soup with the perfect amount of chile and pork. We recommend accompanying it with an order of fried garlic. As for the entrees, the grilled gyozas are excellent and even the Brussels sprouts are worth it. To drink, take your pick between sake and beer, in addition to a variety of soft drinks. And no, you cannot order to-go.
The tables are small, fitting a maximum of four people (comfortably) or five (a little tight). The restaurant is almost always full, so it’s best to book a table.
Address: Río Ebro 87, Cuauhtémoc
Ramen with cheese
We suggest you order the spicy chasyu menu, which really is spicy. As this soup is served extremely hot, that’s why it’s recommended to accompany it with a cold beer. Here the sushi is made to perfection, as are the entries such as the cha siu bao (pork stuffed bun) or the siu may (ravioli stuffed with pork, shrimp, and shitake mushroom). Pets are welcome, and the tables outside are accompanied by a bowl of water for your furry friends.
On the second floor, there is a shared space where customers can sit on the floor to grill meat and vegetables.
Address: Frontera 168, Colonia Roma
Spicy chasyu men
This spot boasts a great menu and a relaxed atmosphere. The dishes are presented in a masterly, untouched manner. Without a doubt, the restaurant’s highlights are the nigiris, sashimi, Kobe beef, tuna sushi/fish, as well as shabu shabu (an oriental fondue). As for desserts, there are rice-cake pastries filled with ice cream (sweet beans, vanilla, and green tea).
Address: Champs Elysees 204, Polanco (inside the Hyatt Regency)
Le Tachinomi Desu
This space is so small that everyone must stand while they drink and eat. The bar changes constantly according to the whims of the chef, who proposes a three-course omakase menu. Hence the list of Japanese whiskey, sake and natural wines (which combine plants and herbs) to taste.
Here classic blues can be heard in the background, and among the diners, you will spot customers from Japan, Mexico, and a good mix of foreigners looking for delicious Japanese food. The selection of beverages can be somewhat strange at times; therefore, the best thing to do is go with an open mind.
Address: Rio Panuco 132B, Cuauhtémoc
We recommend making a reservation.
Adapted and translated by Evan Upchurch
Click here for the original article in Spanish.
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