Polanco, Mexico City’s tony “Upper East Side” has no shortage of good places to eat and drink, but few offer down-home, relaxed ambience. That’s why chefs Jorge Vallejo and Juan Cabrera of Quintonil and Fonda Fina (see post), respectively, have decided to fill the gap with Cantina Fina, which opened its doors in mid-November of 2016. This cantina’s rustic décor recalls the old-fashioned Mexican pubs of yore yet its menu aims to please today’s sophisticated palates. Jovial atmosphere is punctuated by a witty soundtrack of retro latin music and jazz. As in old cantinas downtown, drinks are accompanied, free of charge, by simple botanas such as smashed potatoes or smoky frijoles. And the chefs have come up with a smart, full menu that is simpler than that of the Fonda, across the park. Salads, soups and ‘antojitos’ are refined as one would expect them to be from these two accomplished cooks. A little cazuela houses steaming morongo – blood sausage – and chunks of potatoes; it is heart warming and just right for chilly winter eves. A light aguachile de camarón, or pulpo a la gallega celebrate Ibero-Mex roots. Filling carnivorous fare – chamorro, veal breast, lengua – is grilled to perfection. Crispy castacán – pork skin – and milanesas are fried but never greasy. Moles and enchiladas are delicately aromatic. While the room fills at cocktail hour and late evenings, it is also a perfect spot for a light – or copious – lunch. This cantina is, as its name states, ‘fina’ – but pretentiousness is not on offer here.
Campos Elíseos 269, Polanco
Tel. 5280 1114
Open Monday – Saturday 12 p.m. – 2 a.m.