Tamales consist of masa (a mash made of ground corn soaked in water and lime) and other sweet or savory ingredients wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and steamed (tamales Oaxaqueños, which we also cover, are traditionally the latter; you’ll find several different regional variations in D.F.). Tamales are popular all over Mexico, but are so common in Mexico City—as a cheap and tasty breakfast and a late-night snack—that we’re including them here.
Where: In Condesa, Flor de Lis (Huichapan 21, map) is a beloved institution dating from 1926, and it’s no wonder: The tamales are excellent. It comprises a sit-down family restaurant, serving tamales and other midrange Mexican dishes, as well as a takeout joint, where tamales and atole are on offer. Both menus offer different types of tamales in both corn husks and banana leaves.
When: Restaurant: daily, 9am-10pm; takeout: daily, 8am-9pm
Order: Our corn husk-wrapped salsa verde con pollo tamal (14p) was moist and fluffy, with a nice, tangy spice and perfectly cooked shredded chicken. But it’s difficult to choose here; other varieties we saw during our visit included the spicy salsa de chipotle con pollo (chicken with chipotle sauce), frijol con queso (bean with cheese), calabaza con queso (squash with cheese), and a sweet piña (pineapple) tamal. Champurrado and strawberry-flavored atole are available to drink.
Good to know: Flor de Lis is just two blocks or so from leafy Parque Mexico—a great spot for a brisk post-tamal walk.
Alternatively: In Roma Norte, we also liked the similarly takeout or sit-down Tamales Emporio (two locations including Álvaro Obregón 154, map), where you can try regional tamal specialties from states like Oaxaca, Puebla, Veracruz, and the Yucatán. There’s also a wide range of huevos, omelettes, and delicious flavored atoles during breakfast here. Note that tamales cost 13p-14p at the takeout counter but 18p-19p with table service.