For sure, Pujol is the best fine dining experience I’ve had in México, period.
Before talking about this restaurant, I just want to make sure to address three items with you. First, the reason I like trying fine dining spots is to experience in person the evolution of different cuisines through the eyes of a trained chef. Second, good company will always improve your meal! (plus, you’ll have the chance to try more selection of food). And last but not least, I’m writing this entry in English for the solely reason I want people from outside of México to come visit this place.
The place is called Pujol and the mind behind it is Enrique Olvera; I’m almost certain you’ve heard about him before or watch his Netflix Chef’s Table episode.
When I first learned about Maestro Olvera all I knew was he was some sort of Mexican magician that very quickly turned his cuisine in one of the top 50 in the world (currently number 13th of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants) and the eyes of the whole world were on México City because of him. Many, many years after that (in 2018 to be precise), my husband and I booked a trip to Oaxaca where we got to try Enrique’s new place called Criollo (click here to read that story) and made a quick detour to visit family and Pujol in México city.
About the Reservation Process
This place is no different than any other fine dining restaurants in the world, you have to book your table in advance, typically with a couple months (or maybe more) before your visit. First, you go to their website, select the type of experience you want to have (Tasting menu, private room, taco bar or terrace), select your dates and pay fully in advance. You have to be very aware that they have a very strict cancellation policy, be sure to take a look at this one before you book your table.
About my experience
I booked the tasting menu which is basically a 7-course menu divided into two sections, earth and sea (it’s on you to decide the route you will prefer, you can also mix them up which is what I did). And as mentioned at the beginning of this entry, the good thing about sharing these kinds of experiences with a group of friends is you will get to taste the whole menu! (considering you don’t have “Joey”-type-of-friends of course).
About their customer service
Other than our waiter forgetting to bring one of our drinks (he gracefully fixed it as soon as we reminded him) and our reservation starting around 10 minutes late, the customer service was pretty outstanding. The staff is very friendly overall, and they even let us go into the kitchen to talk to their pastry chef! We were one of the several tables they served at the end of that night, so you have to consider that.
About the food
Where should I start? Overall the food was exceptional, it was all and everything I expected it to be, all dishes were creative, inventive and very flavorful. Enrique’s menu definitely does more than justice to Mexican cuisine, he highlights ingredients from various regions, from the far north of the country to the south. I’m adding pictures so that you can see many of the dishes we tried, but I just want to make sure to clearly express the food was lovely and very fulfilling. My favorites were: the corn ‘botana’ they serve at the beginning, the baja deep fried crab and their pulpo en escabeche de zanahoria (octopus).
I should also talk about their Mole Madre, which is the last course is served before dessert, this specific dish basically set this restaurant apart from others in México. This is a very simple course and a complex one at the same time, it showcases a long-aged mole (ours was 1,679 days old) and a new one plated one inside the other. All you need are some tortillas and a few minutes to think about each bite! Feel free to decide if you’re a Team Aged or Team New.
Let’s talk no more and let the pictures do the job by themselves.
About the cost.
From my perspective, prices are pretty similar to other fine dining restaurants, probably and arguably on the lower end. If you’re coming from the United States of America and just so you have an idea, the cost per person will be pretty much around $120-$150 dollars, considering a 7-course meal and 1 drink. This cost of course may vary depending on the type of meal you choose and the number of drinks you have. You will find out how much you will pay for food only at the time you book your table.
Pujol really is worth a weekend getaway if you live in México and is definitely a culinary landmark for those visiting from abroad.