The Foodie Mexico Guide: 6 Places for the Best Mexican Food

Grace Moser

A photo of people enjoying a foodie Mexican experience. There are many ingredients on a table for a traditional tostada dinner.

I’ve lived in Mexico for over a year of my life and it has been one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

I never knew I could love a place so much.

The people are incredible, it’s beautiful, there are so many fun things to do, and the Mexican food is so good. 👌

And based off of my experiences, the advice I’ve been given by my friends in Mexico, and a bit of research, I decided to write a foodie Mexico guide.

I want you to be able to have the best experience possible when it comes to trying new types of dishes in Mexico.

Their cuisine is so much more than what you get in other countries. The flavors are so much more rich and diverse. The ingredients are so much more fresh and delicious.

And if you’re wanting to try new things and have incredible experiences, then this foodie guide is here to be your best friend. 😊

Oh, and one last thing before we get started, I also created an authentic Mexican food bucket list, all with amazing recipes, so you might want to check that out!

6 Best Places for a Mexican Foodie Experience

A photo of a large grilled fish with fried plantains, and skewered strawberries and veggies on the side. There are also toasted and sliced pieces of garlic on top of the fish. It's just one of the many foodie dishes you can get in Mexico.

There are going to be quite a few places you’ll want to take note on.

After talking to my friends in Mexico, experiencing the food myself, and doing some research to make sure I’m not missing any good locations, this guide should be exactly what you need before you travel to Mexico.

Oh, and if I’m missing any places, let me know in the comments down below!

I might just add it. 🙂

1. Oaxaca

A photo of a beautiful old building in Oaxaca, a place in Mexico well known for it's foodie culture.

I know a lot of other sites talk about this foodie location, but let me just tell you about my experience.

It honestly is the Mecca of Mexican food (in my opinion).

I remember when I was living in Santiago de Queretaro, I tried out a Oaxacan restaurant that a friend recommended.

It was called Zandunga, and while the place didn’t stand out from the street, the food was incredible.

We had gotten things like Oaxacan mole chilaquiles and Oaxacan hot chocolate; the food was so rich and good, I really was glad I had listened to my friend’s suggestion.

A photo of a cute mug holding Oaxacan hot chocolate. It's foamy on top and looks good. It's from one of the main foodie destinations in Mexico.

Oh, and when we mentioned this restaurant experience to our friends and told them that it was Oaxacan food, they simply leaned back and went, “Ah… Oaxacan food…” 😂

But beyond my experience, it really is a good place to dive into Mexican cuisine.

Here are some of the foods Oaxaca is best known for:

  • Moles: Rich flavorful sauces, some made with chocolate.
  • Chocolate: Whether it’s used in hot chocolate, mole, or candy, it’s something that should be on your list. 👌🍫
  • Oaxacan Cheese: Oaxacan cheese is famous in Mexico and for a good reason. It’s a creamy mild cheese that can be paired with so much, but I especially love it in quesadillas.
  • Tlayuda: My husband had this and really liked it. It’s a thin crispy fried tortilla, topped with ingredients like beans, cheese, veggies, and even mole.
  • Tamales: I tried their mole tamales and it was so good! Definitely recommend! 10/10!
  • Huitlacoche Tacos: Huitlacoche is a blue corn fungus and it tastes SO good. I would make tacos with it all the time. Oh also, I’ve been told that it was a Mexican delicacy, but when I asked my friends in Mexico about it, they were like, “What? Delicacy?! You can get that at the store for cheap.” 😂 So don’t let some fancy restaurant try to charge you big prices because they tell you it’s a delicacy.
  • Oaxacan Hot Chocolate: Rich, foaming, creamy, delicious, it’s worth trying. I love having it myself, and they do it so right!
  • Memelas: These are small slightly thick corn tortillas topped with beans, meats, cheese, and other ingredients.
  • Chapulines: Fried grasshoppers! I didn’t try them (because I’m weak), but our friend in Mexico, Louise, gave it to my husband. Apparently not bad, just tasted like the lime and spices that were put on top. 🤷‍♀️

Alright, I’ve talked enough about Oaxaca.

And if you’re headed there, let me know what your experience was like; I’d love to hear all about it!

2. Puebla

A photo of a colorful market in Puebla, Mexico, one of the main foodie locations. It shows foods, flowers, clothing, baskets, and people in the market.

I was talking to a friend in Mexico about what she thought was one of the best places for Mexican food.

And she answered Puebla, her home town.

It’s a beautiful location, with a centro histórico (historic center) which is a UNESCO World Heritage site (Mexico has a lot of those and for a good reason!).

Also, from what I’ve seen, it’s a beautiful location, so I’m kind of kicking myself that I haven’t been there yet. 😅

Oh, and when it comes to the food, there’s a story that talks about how the nuns from the Santa Rosa and Santa Monica convents took new and old work ingredients and made dishes that Puebla is now famous for.

Dishes like their mole which apparently has over 30 ingredients. I don’t think I’ve EVER made something that complex.

I mean I have made mole with a friend in Mexico, and it was definitely a big process, but this recipe definitely beats us out!

Here are foods Puebla is best known for:

An overhead shot of the foodie Mexican mole dish with chicken. There are sesame seeds sprinkled on top. And around main dish are sides like Mexican arroz rojo.
  • Mole Poblano: I’ve had plenty of chocolatey deliciously rich Mexican moles before, so I don’t doubt I’ve had this one!
  • Chile en Nogada: Remember how I told you I was kicking myself for not having gone to Puebla? Yeah, this is one of the reasons why. It’s a poblano pepper, stuffed with picadillo (a yummy looking meat mixture), and topped with a creamy walnut-based sauce. I’ve had walnut sauces before and they are so good, but putting all of these ingredients together just sounds like an explosion of flavor!
  • Cemitas: Puebla’s own tortas (sandwich). Filled with cheese, meat (sometimes breaded fillets), avocado, and other tasty ingredients, it sounds like it’s worth trying!
  • Tacos Árabe: Translating out as Arabic tacos, it’s pita bread stuffed with cumin-spiced pork.
  • Chanclas: Another type of sandwich, but this one has been dipped in a delicious looking sauce, and and stuffed with ingredients like chorizo, avocado, and/or beef. Can’t wait to try this one!
  • Chalupas: Thicker corn tortillas fried and topped with sauce, shredded meat, and onion.
  • Camotes: A sweet made up of sweet potato, essence of either orange or lemon, and sugar.

Oh, and one last important thing of note; Puebla has a spot called, la calle de los dulces, which translates directly out as, “the street of sweets.”

So you know, if that sounds interesting to you (like how it does to me), then that might be a place to put on your list!

3. Santiago de Queretaro

A photo of an old street in Queretaro, one of the main foodie Mexico destinations. It shows pink flowers growing up the side of the walls, colorful buildings, and a sunset.

My favorite place in Mexico!

This city has ballooned in size over the years because a lot of people from Mexico City moved there after experiencing earthquakes.

But also, there are people from places like France or Switzerland who will visit and decide to live here because they love it!

Also, it’s just super safe and beautiful.

I mean look at how gorgeous this city is! ♥️

The old town center is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and it is SO fun to explore. There really is so much do to in Queretaro. 🙂

And on top of that, the food scene here is great, and it keeps on getting better every year!

Now, with that said, here are the top foods to look out for in Queretaro:

A photo of a to-go plate with three street tacos in Queretaro, Mexico. They're topped with cilantro, and there's a bright green lime on the side. And in the background is the stand for the tacos.
  • Gorditas: Basically, they’re very thick corn tortillas, which can be made with yellow or blue corn, and topped with ingredients like refried beans, meat, and cheese. They’re super satisfying and delicious!
  • Buñuelos: I had this in my last trip to Mexico and I can’t believe I didn’t have it sooner! It’s essentially deep fried dough that’s made to be flat and comes out flaky and bubbly after being fried. Then you top it with a delicious sugary syrup. The ones we had on the street had syrup made with passion fruit and other ingredients. It’s incredible!
  • Pambazos Queretanos: Also had this one on the street! The bread of the sandwich is dipped in a tasty red sauce, grilled, and then stuffed with ingredients like meat, potatoes, and even cream cheese (or at least the one I had was). I so recommend it!
  • Tacos de Canasta: I has this SO many times in Queretaro. They’re corn tortillas which have a red sauce on them, stuffed with things like potatoes and chorizo, beef, eggs, or other ingredients, then put in a hot basket, making them a bit steamed. So tender and delicious!
  • Street Tacos: I know you can get street tacos around a lot of parts of Mexico, but I am very partial to Queretaro’s. You can see and smell them all around the city and the meat is always so delicious and tender. It was one of the funnest things to get!

I honestly can’t recommend this city enough, which seems obvious, so if you ever go, then let me know what you think!

4. Mexico City

A photo of an old building in Mexico City, on of the main foodie locations in Mexico.

I loved the food in Mexico City!

It’s so rich and diverse and definitely worth exploring!

My husband had taken me there a few times and we loved staying in the Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico. It’s a historic hotel that’s incredibly beautiful, and even a James Bond movie was filmed there!

This isn’t a promotion, I just liked it. 😂 I mean look at how pretty it is!

A photo taken of Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico. It's a great place to stay if you want to explore the food in Mexico City. The image shows a huge stained glass ceiling in the hotel.

Also, it’s right by the Zócalo in their historic center. And if you’re going to be exploring Mexican cuisine, then the center is a good place to be!

So, if you’re headed through this big city, then here are the foods in Mexico City to put on your list:

A photo taken of tacos al pastor, in Mexico City, one of the foodie destinations. The meat is stacked on a large metal skewer, with a pineapple at the bottom, ready for cooking.
  • Pambazos: Just like the pambazos in Queretaro, these are soaked in a red sauce (guajillo sauce), fried and crisped on a grill, then stuffed with ingredients like potatoes, chorizo, refried beans, and more. You don’t want to miss it!
  • Tacos al Pastor: Marinated and thinly sliced tender pieces of pork put onto hot and freshly grilled corn tortillas. Top it with some lime and salsa and you’re all set!
  • Elotes: I love elotes! It’s corn on the cob, smothered in mayo, and then sprinkled with cotija and chili powder. You can also squeeze some lime on top as well. It honestly is a great combination of flavors!
  • Tlacoyos: Thick corn tortillas, shaped almost like a boat, and stuffed with beans. You can also put different toppings on as well!
  • Chicharrones: These are fried pork rinds, eaten like chips, and sometimes with hot sauce.
  • Huitlacoche Quesadillas: If you didn’t see me talking about huitlacoche above, it’s essentially a blue fungus that grows on corn and you can get it all a round Mexico. I love making tacos with them, they have this delicious deep flavor that is completely unique!
  • Cochinita Pibil: Marinated and barbecued pork which you can get with tacos.

There are so many great places to explore in Mexico City, so many beautiful neighborhoods, and so many wonderful restaurants; I can’t wait for you to see it all!

5. Mazatlan

A photo, taken from high up, of one of the main strips for the foodie location, Mazatlan. It shows the coast, the beach, and some shops and restaurants.

If you’re wanting good seafood, then Mazatlan is one of the best places to go!

Being a port city, and lined with beautiful beaches, Mazatlan is a great place to get fresh delicious fish dishes.

Also, one other thing that’s worth mentioning is the chorizo. Chorizo Sinaloense is a special type of chorizo made in the state of Sinaloa, which is where Mazatlan is.

So if you want some good chorizo to go with your breakfast or on your tacos, then this city is a great place to visit!

And on top of the food, it has a very cute old town filled with fun eateries, pretty squares, and a covered market that’s fun to explore.

We stayed there for a couple of months back in 2016 and made some very good memories!

Pro Tip: Try the sushi restaurants there! Because they have fresh fish, they also have amazingly delicious sushi. 🙂

Foods to Try in Mazatlan:

A photo of Tacos Gobernador, which is one of the foodie dishes you can get in Mazatlan, Mexico. The dish has a red sauce and some shrimp and other ingredients spilling out.
  • Ceviche de Sierra: Prepared with fresh mackerel, veggies, lime, chiles, and other ingredients, I honestly think would be a great refreshing meal to have during the heat of the day!
  • Chorizo Sinaloense: Savory and wonderfully seasoned, I loved having it with the breakfast dishes I would get in Mazatlan.
  • Chorreadas: A thicker corn tortillas topped with meat, cheese, and other savory ingredients! You can get these on the street for a quick tasty dinner.
  • Tacos Gobernador: If you’re craving fresh and hot shrimp tacos, then this is a great one to grab! It honestly looks so flavorful and good! Can’t wait to try it the next time I go back to Mazatlan.
  • Chilorio: Slow-cooked pork fried in chili sauce, it looks so flavorful and juicy. I don’t know how I missed this when I was there!
  • Papas Locas: Translating out as “crazy potato,” it’s a bag or a cup filled with potato chips, with a lot of tasty sauce and a TON of different ingredients. Like it looks so good, and it’s just a fun way to eat potato chips. 🤷‍♀️ Here’s a video of a woman papas locas; I had no idea so much went into it!
  • Fresh Fruit Stands: There are stands in different parts of Mazatlan that have tons of cups filled with freshly cut fruit. It’s a great way to refresh yourself in the heat!
  • Augachiles: Fresh shrimp topped with lemon, chiles, cucumber, and other delicious ingredients.

If you ever decide to go to Mazatlan, then you might want to visit during March. It’s supposed to be a very nice time of the year to go!

We went during the hot summer and wished we had done some research beforehand. 😂

6. San Miguel de Allende

A photo from San Miguel de Allende, one of the best foodie locations in Mexico. It shows a wall covered in vines and blue flowers. And behind that is a beautiful Catholic church.

San Miguel de Allende is one of my favorite places to visit!

It’s a beautiful place with a gorgeous old center, and plenty of great food!

Also, it’s home to wonderful hot springs which I highly recommend.

And whether you’re looking for traditional Mexican food or different ethnic cuisines, you will get an incredible foodie experience!

You might want to stay a few nights and explore the beautiful streets; it really is a magical place to be. And I never use the word magical. 😂

Now here’s the important thing about San Miguel de Allende’s cuisine.

A photo of a trendy looking baked breakfast with a poached egg on top. This is from one of the foodie restaurants in San Miguel de Allende.

While I have eaten there many times, I still like to make sure that certain foods are local to the area, so I do a bit research.

However, while they definitely serve foods from all around Mexico, I was noticing that I couldn’t really find a dedicated list of foods local to the city.

So I guess it’s just a great place to mention if you want high quality Mexican food and other foodie restaurants to try!

I mean, their foodie scene is ridiculously big!

Oh, and if you’re from the area and know about the foods local to San Miguel de Allende, then let me know! I’ll add them!

Other Honorable Mentions for Foodie Locations in Mexico

A photo of a plate of tacos de canasta, a true Mexican foodie experience.

Now I don’t have time to talk about every great place for food in Mexico, but here’s a list of some other great locations you might want to research! 😊

  • Ensenada, Baja California Norte for the tacos pescado and shrimp cocktails.
  • Hermosillo, Sonora for the burro percherón.
  • San Cristobal for the molotes, coffee, and, and tamales flavored with saffron.
  • Guadalajara, Jalisco for the birria and torta ahogada.
  • Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco for chilaquiles, birria tacos, and the pescado embarazado.
  • Merida, Yucatan for sopa de lima, poc chuc, and the pavo en relleno negro.
  • Todos Santos, Baja California for the chile rellenos and fresh seafood.
  • Valle de Guadalupe, Baja California for charred octopus and nopalitos topped risotto, and marinated and slow-cooked short ribs.
  • Morelia, Michoacán for the carnitas and uchepos.
  • Hidalgo for the meat filled pastes.
  • Veracruz for the arroz a la tumbada and zacahuil.
  • Monterrey for the cabrito and machaca.

Other Foodie Dishes to Try as Recommended by Our Friend

A photo of Mexican tostadas. It shows tostadas with beans and rice, spinach, queso fresco, and a creamy salsa verde.

We also have a friend in Mexico who gave us a fun list of things to try, so if you’re up for it, then you might want to check these out on your trip!

  • Gorditas with huitlacoche.
  • Jericaya: it’s like a toasted flan.
  • Fruit tamales.
  • Venison in Sonora.
  • Caldo de camaron.
  • Escamol: ant eggs that taste like butter.
  • Tuetano, or bone marrow.
  • Chinicuiles: worms cooked to be crunchy and put on tacos.
  • Tongue tacos. According to him, the best ones are in Mexico City at the restaurant, El Borrego Viudo.
  • Menonita: a Mexican cheese.
  • Barbacoa de hoyo: pit roasted sheep or goat.
  • Garambullo: a sweet fruit local to Queretaro.

Foodie Mexico FAQ’s

A photo of Mexican cheeses and meats on a plate. Amongst them are also nuts and fruits and hummus.

Now to finish things off, I wanted to answer three of the most frequently asked questions about food in Mexico.

And if I don’t answer your question down below, let me know, I’d be happy to help you out!

What state in Mexico has the best food?

I and so many others say it, Oaxaca.

So many rich and deep flavors, it really is a great place to explore when it comes to the the foodie scene.

Which state in Mexico has the best seafood?

Some say Nayarit and some say Sinaloa.

But to be honest, it’s going to be up to you and your palate.

However, if you are from Mexico, or you’ve lived in Mexico, then what do you think is the best state for seafood?

What is the #1 most popular food in Mexico?

This one is a bit difficult since Mexico is a big country and foods vary from region to region.

But if I had to guess, I would say tacos.

There are so many different versions of it from all the different states. So many varieties with different and delicious ingredients.

But if I got it wrong, then let me know! I’m up for correcting my answer. 😊

I hope you enjoyed reading this foodie Mexico guide and I’m hoping it helped you plan your trip.

Mexico is an amazing country, so if you’re going at some point in the future, then enjoy your time there! You’re going to love it! ♥️

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