When I told friends I was going to Pujol, their eyes grew wide with excitement. I got a myriad of positive commentary:
“That’s supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the world.”
“It has 3 Michelin stars!”
“I’m so jealous- I heard reservations are super difficult to get!”
Sooo…. I went and it was solid for the price point from an American perspective. I mean… the Sope lady at the side of the road (who was stingy with her salsa) made bomber food. Oh yeah, and Pujol has NO Michelin stars.
In fact, I feel like this “best restaurant” label was some sort of publicity stunt. The meal was 6 courses and I really enjoyed 4 of the 6 courses. I mean- for all the hype on this restaurant, every course should have been mind-blowing and inspirational.
So instead of a typical food review, let’s do a show down. Sope lady versus Pujol competing on food, ambiance, and service.
The service was great: the servers were attentive and provided recommendations.
The torta lady got very annoyed when we piled a bunch of her salsa on our torta. She also got annoyed when we asked for tomatoes.
The Ambiance + Location
The ambiance is gorgeous. The space is surrounded by a garden and has large floor to ceiling windows to let in natural light. The restaurant is located in the upscale neighborhood of Polanco .
Sope lady is located on the trendy streets of Roma Norte. She’s at a convenient location for hipster activities. Unfortunately, you have to stand while you eat, which means salsa dripping down your chin.
Ambiance Winner: Pujol
Location Winner: Sope Lady
6 courses at ~$110 is an excellent price for a multi course meal. They also give you options for 3 of the courses.
25 pesos for a bomb torta. That’s $1.40. Thrifty, yo.
Winner: This was a hard call because from an American perspective, this is a really good price for a 6 course meal, but Sope lady takes the cake... or rather takes the pastel. Ok, moving on...
The roasted cauliflower dish was inspiring. The cauliflower was perfectly cooked and the onion based sauce served with it was amaaaazing.
The agua was refreshing and I enjoyed the unique flavor. The cocktail was nice too, but nothing to write home about.
The dessert was light and delicious. The chefs really know how to do sorbet. The churros were LEGIT.
The octopus was perfectly cooked. Octopus is a delicate meat that needs a lot of careful attention so that it isn’t too tough.
The fish and the duck were overcooked, which is a shame because these were the main course.
I did not understand lobster dish (which you get charged an extra MX $100). I didn’t “get” the flavor combinations or the puff pastry. I just didn’t like it. Idk- sorry. They waiters were very sweet and replaced my friend’s course because she really didn’t enjoy it.
I felt incredibly thirsty after the meal, which makes me wonder if the food was over salted.
The care the Sope lady took to prepare such a simple dish was inspirational. The Sope was crispy but chewy. The salsa was mild up front with a spicy after taste. The beans were perfectly mashed.
Winner: Objectively, Pujol, but I really enjoyed my Sope. Like really really really liked it. This one was actually a close call too.
Would I go back? Yes to Sope Lady, no to Pujol.
Would I recommend? I would recommend the Sope Lady, but I don’t know where to find her. I would only recommend Pujol if a friend wanted a fancy dinner in Mexico City at a decent price point.