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Your guide to eating in Mexico City

March 6, 2012 |  4:15 pm

MexicoThere are more than 36,000 restaurants in Mexico City -- and that’s the licensed ones. The only problem with such an abundance of riches is that finding your way through it can seem an impossible task. Fortunately, Nicholas Gilman’s newly revised and updated “Good Food in Mexico City” is there to be your guide.

Gilman, an occasional Los Angeles Times Food section contributor, has lived in Mexico City since the 1990s and was visiting on a regular basis even before that. His book covers an impressive range of restaurants, from fine-dining to lowly food stalls, in areas both well-traveled and known only to locals. The book tells you which of the experimental nueva cocina places are really worth trying and which cantinas serve the best botanas. There's also an accompanying website that will keep track of updates.

The advice is frank, and the writing is sprightly. At the beautiful Bar La Opera, “Belle Epoque has never been beller,” but “the food is standard; stick to the appetizers.” At highly praised modernist Pujol, “while certain dishes are truly unusual and exciting, others, interesting combinations of exotic ingredients in which no particular one stands out, are more elusive. Take the hyperbole with a grain of fleur de sel.”

And where else would you learn about a place such as La Oveja Negra, which specializes in barbacoa cooked with sheep raised on the owner’s own ranch?

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