Best Chilaquiles in Mexico City

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If you’re in Mexico City, you gotta know about chilaquiles. It’s like the breakfast of champions here, just as important as a cup of coffee. So, picture this: I’ve just had a fabulous welcoming party but still feel the jet lag. On the first morning, with a bit of a hangover, I stumble into this cute little café, and there they are—crispy tortillas covered in salsa, topped with eggs and a sprinkle of cheese. One bite and I’m totally hooked. That’s the magic of chilaquiles—so simple yet so satisfying that it instantly turns a tired tourist into a food lover.


What Are Chilaquiles

Chilaquiles has a really cool history that goes way back to the time before the Spaniards. The truth is that people came up with this dish to use up stale tortillas. The word “chilaquiles” comes from the Nahuatl word “chīlāquilitl,” which means “herbs or greens in chili broth.” Back then, chilaquiles were a way to stretch ingredients and avoid waste, way before sustainability became a thing! These days, many places in Mexico City keep this tradition alive by getting their ingredients from local markets to ensure they have the freshest produce and support local farmers.

Typical Ingredients

Chilaquiles can vary in preparation, but some ingredients are essential. Here is a list of the typical ingredients used in traditional chilaquiles:

  1. Tortilla Chips (Totopos): The base of the dish, usually made from leftover corn tortillas that are cut into quarters and lightly fried.
  2. Salsa: Can be either green (salsa verde) or red (salsa roja), made from tomatillos or tomatoes, respectively, combined with chiles, onions, garlic, and cilantro.
  3. Proteins (optional): Common additions include shredded chicken, scrambled or fried eggs, and sometimes beef.
  4. Cheese: Typically crumbled queso fresco or cotija cheese.
  5. Crema: A Mexican-style sour cream that adds a creamy texture.
  6. Onions: Thinly sliced raw onions are often used as a garnish.
  7. Cilantro (optional): Fresh cilantro leaves add a burst of flavor and color.
  8. Avocado (optional): Sliced avocado is a common garnish for added richness in fancy places.
  9. Beans (optional): In local-oriented spots, refried beans are sometimes served on the side or mixed into the dish.

Nutritional Value Per Serving

  • Calories: Approximately 300-500 kcal (varies with ingredients)
  • Protein: 10-20 grams (with chicken or eggs)
  • Carbohydrates: 30-50 grams
  • Fat: 15-30 grams
  • Fiber: 5-10 grams
  • Vitamins and Minerals: High in vitamins A, C, calcium, and iron

Dietary Information

  • Vegan: Traditional chilaquiles are not vegan due to cheese and crema. However, they can be made vegan by omitting these ingredients or substituting them with plant-based alternatives. Vegan chilaquiles are common, do not be afraid to ask for them in many places!
  • Keto: Chilaquiles are not keto-friendly due to the high carbohydrate content from the tortilla chips.
  • Gluten-Free: Chilaquiles are generally gluten-free if made with 100% corn tortillas and gluten-free sauces.
  • Common Allergies:
  • Milk: In the form of cheese and crema.
  • Eggs: Often included as scrambled or fried eggs.

Comparison to an American Dish

Chilaquiles can be compared to American nachos, which feature as base tortilla chips. However, their cultural contexts and ingredients differ significantly. While nachos are typically loaded with cheese, jalapeños, and sometimes meat, chilaquiles focus more on the harmonious blend of salsa, crema, and fresh toppings.


Best Places to Eat Chilaquiles in Mexico City

Café Tacuba

  • Description and Address: Nestled in the heart of Mexico City, Café de Tacuba is located at Tacuba 28, Centro Histórico. This historic café, housed in a 17th-century building, boasts high ceilings supported by wooden beams, chandeliers, and Talavera-style mosaics. Paintings of archangels and live music enrich the ambiance from a roaming estudiantina (student band).
  • Specialty: The chilaquiles verdes with chicken at Café de Tacuba are one of the best chilaquiles in Mexico City. These crispy tortilla chips, bathed in green salsa and topped with tender chicken, offer a delightful blend of flavors and textures.
  • Sustainability: Café Tacuba prides itself on sourcing fresh ingredients from local markets, ensuring the highest quality and supporting local farmers and sustainable practices.
  • Fanciness Meter: Fancy Experience – Situated in a historic and elegant setting in the controversial Centro Histórico, Café Tacuba offers a great dining experience for tourists. The prices reflect the quality and the unique ambiance of this iconic eatery.


  • Description and Address: Lalo! is a vibrant eatery located at Zacatecas 173, Roma Norte, helmed by the renowned chef Eduardo García. Lalo! was envisioned as a casual, welcoming space that offers an exceptional breakfast and lunch experience. The restaurant features a long communal table that seats about 30 people, colorful graffiti murals by Belgian artist Bué The Warrior, and a playlist of pop music that creates a cheerful and relaxed atmosphere.
  • Specialty: Lalo! is celebrated for its chilaquiles rojos with a sunny-side-up egg. The dish features crispy tortilla chips smothered in a rich red salsa, topped with a perfectly cooked egg that adds a delightful creaminess. This modern take on a traditional Mexican breakfast staple showcases this is truly one of the best chilaquiles in Mexico City.
  • Sustainability: Lalo! emphasizes the use of organic and locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant sources its fresh produce from the nearby Xochimilco markets, ensuring that each dish is made with the highest quality ingredients while supporting local farmers and sustainable practices.
  • Fanciness Meter: Regular Person Experience – Situated in the trendy Roma Norte neighborhood, Lalo! offers a blend of affordable and high prices with a casual yet chic dining environment, making it accessible to a wide range of patrons.
Lalo Restaurant

El Cardenal

  • Description and Address: El Cardenal, located at Palma 23, Centro Histórico, is a staple in Mexico City’s dining scene. Housed in a Porfirian-era building with high ceilings and cantera columns, El Cardenal has been serving exceptional Mexican cuisine for over 43 years. The restaurant maintains traditional culinary processes, such as preparing nixtamal for tortillas and baking bread in-house.
  • Specialty: One of the standout dishes at El Cardenal is the chilaquiles con crema y queso. This dish features crispy tortilla chips drenched in a rich, creamy salsa and topped with melted cheese, creating a delectable combination of textures and flavors. The use of fresh, high-quality ingredients elevates this classic Mexican breakfast dish to new heights.
  • Sustainability: El Cardenal always committs to authenticity. This dedication to traditional methods not only supports local farmers but also preserves the rich culinary heritage of Mexico.
  • Fanciness Meter: Regular Person Experience – El Cardenal offers a family dining experience in a historic setting. The prices reflect the food quality and the prestigious atmosphere, making it a popular spot for families and even politicians, celebrities, and tourists alike.

Fonda Margarita

  • Description and Address: Fonda Margarita, located at Adolfo Prieto 1364, Del Valle, offers a rustic and communal dining experience. The establishment features long tables where patrons, mostly locals, office workers, and late-night revelers, share their meals. This no-frills eatery is famed for its hearty breakfasts and opens extremely early in the morning, closing by midday as soon as the food runs out.
  • Specialty: The chilaquiles with cecina at Fonda Margarita are seriously amazing. Crispy tortilla chips soaked in salsa topped with thinly sliced, grilled cecina (salted beef)—it’s a perfect mix of flavors and textures! Thanks to its hearty and comforting taste, it’s a hit with folks who need a pick-me-up after a wild night out.
  • Sustainability: The kitchen, visible from certain tables, is a testament to the establishment’s transparency and commitment to quality. Using fresh, local produce ensures that each dish not only tastes great but also supports the local economy.
  • Fanciness Meter: True-Local Experience – Situated in a middle-class neighborhood, Fonda Margarita offers an authentic and unpretentious dining experience. The prices are reasonable, and the atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, making it a favorite among locals looking for a genuine taste of Mexico.


  • Description and Address: Maque is a charming bakery and café located at Ozululama 4, Condesa, Mexico City. Known for its delightful pastries and inviting atmosphere, Maque is a popular spot for breakfast and brunch among locals and tourists alike. The café features a cozy interior with wooden furnishings and a pleasant outdoor seating area, perfect for enjoying a leisurely meal.
  • Specialty: The chilaquiles verdes with beans at Maque are a standout dish. These chilaquiles contain crispy tortilla chips covered in a tangy green salsa and accompanied by flavorful refried beans.
  • Sustainability: The café’s commitment to sustainability and supporting local farmers is evident in its menu, which features a variety of organic and locally grown products. But, seriously, just try the pan dulce, it is amazing.
  • Fanciness Meter: Regular Person Experience – Located in the trendy Condesa neighborhood, Maque offers a blend of affordable prices and a relaxed, chic atmosphere. The café is a perfect spot for a casual meal or a catch-up with friends over coffee and pastries.

Useful Tips for Travelers

Exploring the best chilaquiles in Mexico City is a culinary adventure and a cultural journey. From the historic ambiance of Café de Tacuba to the modern vibes at Lalo! and the true local experience at Fonda Margarita, each place offers a unique taste of this traditional Mexican dish. Vegetarian-friendly spots like Forever Vegano and Pan Comido provide delicious and sustainable options for those seeking a plant-based alternative.

Useful Tips for Tourists

  1. Neighborhood Exploration: Each restaurant is located in a distinct neighborhood. Take the opportunity to explore the surrounding areas. For instance, after breakfast at Café Tacuba, stroll around the historic Centro Histórico, or enjoy the bohemian charm of Roma Norte after a meal at Lalo!
  2. Language Tips: While many restaurant staff speak English, it’s always helpful to know a few key phrases in Spanish, such as “gracias” (thank you) and “por favor” (please). This can enhance your dining experience and help you connect with the locals.
  3. Cultural Etiquette: Embrace the communal dining culture at places like Fonda Margarita. Sharing a table with locals can be a great way to meet new people and learn more about Mexican food traditions.
  4. Allergy Awareness: Always inform the staff about any food allergies you may have. Traditional chilaquiles often contain dairy (cheese and crema) and eggs, and cross-contamination can occur even in vegan versions.

By following these tips, you’ll enjoy some of the best chilaquiles in Mexico City and gain a deeper appreciation for this vibrant city’s rich culinary heritage. So, grab a fork and dive into the delicious world of chilaquiles¡ buen provecho!

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