That may be true, but after a stunning display of service, and 11 delicious courses showing off Mexican cuisine, it was hard for me to imagine a finer restaurant experience.
A week earlier, while still in Puerto Vallarta, I'd first learned of Pujol's reputation, and made a 2 PM lunch reservation for my sole Saturday in the capital.
I spent the morning walking Mexico City's Historic Center, and then took a $10 taxi west to the Polanco neighborhood.
The restaurant's exterior was unpretentious, and unassuming. A doorman greeted me on the sidewalk.
I commented about arriving a few minutes early, but he didn't hesitate to walk me inside, where several tables were already being serviced.
The restaurant was small, just 13 tables, which was a number chosen for its luck. As it happens, 13 was the lucky number associated with my college, and thus became my lucky number as well.
The intimate atmosphere is a departure from the much larger Astrid & Gaston in Lima, the only other restaurant I've been to from the list of the world's 50 best restaurants.
I sat down at a table for two, offering me a full view of the restaurant.
The wait staff worked harmoniously together throughout the two-hour lunch, and most (if not all) were bilingual.
The drink and wine menu was extensive, but I kept it simple, ordering a mojito. It was familiar, and I knew they'd make me a good one.
In retrospect, I wish I'd ordered a signature cocktail, something a little more unique to the experience.
I'd already scoped out the tasting menu online, and didn't hesitate to order it at 890 pesos ($69).
The mojito arrived, followed by quelites aromatica, an aromatic tea that tasted more like soup broth.
I was also served a variety of bite-sized appetizers.
I quickly realized my attempt to document the detailed descriptions of every dish would only serve to slow the everyone down.
Service was so efficient, I barely had time to type a few words into my iPhone before each new dish arrived.
At this point in my Pujol restaurant review, I'm going to let the photos do the talking…
The total bill for my lunch came to $106, including tax and tip. A real steal for a restaurant many regard as the best in Mexico, and one of the best in Latin America.
To ensure seating, book ahead by phone or through their website. Dress is casual, especially during lunch. I wore my usual jeans and a t-shirt.
Address: Francisco Petrarca 254, Polanco, Mexico City
Tel: +52 (55) 5545 – 4111
Hours: Monday to Saturday 2 PM – 4 PM, 6:30 PM – 11:30 PM. Closed Sundays.
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