city at night

city at night

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Not-so-fine Dining in Mexico

I have written on my blog about many wonderful restaurants in Mexico. However there is the other side of the coin.  For some years, Mexico has seen a proliferation of American fast-food chains.  Back when I first visited Mexico in the 1970s, American franchises were rarely seen (although I admit that the first time I ever ate at a Denny's was in Mexico City.)   There was a Mexican chain called "Burger Boy", but that has disappeared and has been replaced by McDonald's, Burger King, etc.

American fast food is probably most ubiquitous in the Mexico City neighborhood of the Zona Rosa, where I stayed on my last visit.  The Zona Rosa used to be one of the best places for fine dining in the city.  There are still some nice restaurants in the neighborhood, but now the visitor is struck by the number of American chains.  The pictures below were all taken within one block of each other...

Other than an occasional sandwich from Subway, I never eat fast food at home.  Obviously I do not eat at these places in Mexico when there is so much fantastic Mexican cuisine to enjoy.  Unfortunately, the popularity of these chains with the Mexicans, along with their love of Coca Cola, have contributed to the epidemic of obesity and diabetes there.


  1. Did I ever tell the story of a Mexican who 'accosted' me in the Zocalo once upon a time for a perceived slight on Mexican culture. He insinuated that Coca Cola was my culture, and as such I was in some way inferior.

    I pointed out that, as an Englishman, tea and not Coke is my national beverage. And that even if I were from NOB, then his argument still didn't fly. Mexicans drink more Coke per head than any other country.

    My diversion from his original point went over his head. Such is life. I don't mind a Starbucks, if that's what's on offer. I generally avoid the rest. Alas, I noticed in my last couple of years, the quality of food in some of the Mexican looking US chains, which used to be ok-ish, (Toks, VIPs etc) took a bit of a dive.

    1. That's funny. And the Mexicans not only drink more Coke than any other country, but they have their own formula, which is much sweeter than in the United States.

      I have never been to Toks, but I admit to eating at VIPs and Sanborns. Neither one is fine dining, but they're OK when I'm just looking for a place to eat and not anything special. VIPs for several years have been offering "Loyalty cards". Each time you return you get a higher discount on your meal until you reach 50% off.
      Starbucks now has some competition. There is a fairly new chain (I forget the name) that serves only Mexican coffee.
      Happy New Year, Gary!

  2. Ah yes, Calle Genova, home of fine dining in DF. There are actually a couple of good places there, but it's probably the most chain-infested street in DF.

    Though Sanborns is not bad, it's not particularly interesting or cheap either. F and I took to calling it el restaurante que no debe ser nombrado.

    But we still ended up there more than we would have liked, particularly late at night.


    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Which is relatively chain-free for a big, American city.

    1. I have eaten more times than I should admit at Sanborns and at VIPS.