Pujol: Mexico’s Best Restaurant

Fiamma Piacentini

Mexico has become a culinary laboratory.

In recent years, Mexico has been a culinary laboratory of sorts where chefs are embracing contemporary cuisines and techniques while remaining faithful to the country’s own culinary heritage.

One such chef who is creating a stir if Enrique Olvera of Pujol, the best restaurant in Latin America & the Caribbean according to The Daily Meal’s list of 101 Best Restaurants in Latin America & the Caribbean.

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After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and working for the superb Alsatian-born chef Jean Joho at Everest in Chicago, Enrique Olvera opened this contemporary-style restaurant in Mexico City in 2000 with the idea of using indigenous ingredients and traditional cooking methods to produce food with French-style refinement. He succeeds admirably with such dishes as bocol huasteco, a kind of plump tortilla with cheese from Chiapas; a mixed vegetable assortment in a mole of pumpkin seeds and broccoli; an "esquite" made not with the usual corn kernels but with wheatberries, flavored with epazote cream, serrano chiles, and queso oreado; and the remarkable "mother mole," cooked for hundreds of days and containing scores of ingredients, served as a pool of sauce with translucent sesame tortillas. The restaurant's list of mezcals is eye- and palate-opening (try the farolito, made from wild agave, fermented in leather, and distilled in clay), and the collection of Mexican wines, especially reds, is one of the country's most extensive.