Searching for the best, we scouted out restaurants all over Mexico, compiling a list of finalists to narrow them down to just 25 of the best of the best. It wasn’t easy. As we believe that a beachside seafood shack can be just as good, in its own way, as a sleek Michelin-starred establishment, we included restaurants of all types and size, excluding, sometimes reluctantly, only food stalls and street stands.
Our list comes from The Daily Meal’s recently published 101 Best Restaurants in Latin America and the Caribbean. In order to find the best, we consulted industry experts, local food guides, reviews, and listings, and compiled our own knowledge from experiences at restaurants in the different regions. What we ended up with was a short list of 214 restaurants from 25 different countries and regions. This list was then shared with our illustrious panel of judges (comprised primarily of restaurant critics, food and lifestyle writers, and assorted bloggers from across the globe), who undertook the tough task of voting for their favorites across a broad geographical area. In the interests of accuracy and fairness, panelists were asked only to vote for restaurants where they had eaten within the past 12 months.
The voting — based on region, cuisine, and the style of the restaurant (budget, casual/neighborhood, and serious dining/special occasion) — narrowed the list to an honored group of 101. The final list includes a versatile mix of restaurants from all the 25 different countries nominated.
The country with the largest number of restaurants on the list, 25 in all, turned out to be Mexico, a place that has, in recent years, embraced concepts of contemporary cuisine without diminishing its own rich culinary heritage. Many of the Mexican restaurants on our list blend old traditions with new techniques. At El Jardín de los Milagros in Guanajuato, Mexico, motorcycle-riding chef Bricio Dominguez often uses pre-Hispanic raw materials to produce consistently fascinating new dishes. Mexican chef Jetzabel Rojas Barragán of La Marea Restaurant in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, prepares contemporary interpretations of Mexican cuisine with Mediterranean influences.
As you click through our list, reflect on your own opinions and thoughts on our selections — how did your favorite restaurant rank, and what do you think should have been numero uno? In the end, we all have our own opinions on what is "best," and as we can attest from past experience, any list like this one is bound to stir up disagreements among discerning diners; even our own staff was divided on which restaurants should make the final cut.
Haley Willard (@haleywillrd) is the Assistant Editor at The Daily Meal. Special contributors Elsa Saatela (@elsamaija), Lauren Mack (@lmack), editorial director Colman Andrews (@Colmanandrews), executive editor Arthur Bovino (@Arthur_Bovino), and contributor and blogger The Foodish Boy (@foodishboy), contributed to 17 Best Restaurants in Brazil.