Mexico City always surprises with hidden gems and this spot in the little-known Clavería neighborhood that has been open since 1957 is no exception.
Our first impression is that this place caters to its loyal clientele and has held on to its neighborhood restaurant spirit since the beginning. The decor in here is almost like a time capsule. But, make no mistake, there is a definite dichotomy between the retro décor and the modern dishes on the menu and that’s what this place is all about: making delicious food with none of the pageantry.
Chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo offers a menu that includes nineteenth-century recipes, such as Sopa seca de nata (a dry cream-based soup), the star of the show, and the quality is determined by the raw ingredients, as they follow the principles of the slow food movement.
The gorditas trio consists of one of cottage cheese, one of quelites (leafy greens) and one made simply from beans: golden, thin and flat, with the beans in the dough. Accompanied with house salsas: green, red and chipotle chilies; the latter has a slight note of cinnamon and brown sugar. This is an entirely different take on the gorditas that we know.
For the next course, I recommend the rock shrimp and cactus soup. The julienned cactus is an intense green color and are served along with the tender rock shrimp dry, at first. Then, the server will ladle the thick broth over the dry ingredients to make the soup. The shrimp, the tomato and the green chili are seasoned impeccably and truly warm the belly. The whole thing is comforting and there is no doubting the skill in the kitchen after tasting this gem.
For the main course, I tried the wagyu mixiote (a traditional pit-barbecued meat dish) with mushrooms. Personally, I loved the idea that the still-wrapped bundle of deliciousness makes you dig for the treasures and once you reach the filling, it’s so satisfying. The marinade has a red and yellow chilhuacle chile base, and the meat is absolutely melt-in-your-mouth. The sides are almost as delicious; chopped baby cactus bits, stewed beans, and grilled chambray onions all served with handmade tortillas. Honestly, this Nicos specialty is flawless.
One of the highlights here is breakfast. I recommend the fresh baked sweet bread with atole (a traditional hot corn- and masa-based beverage), along with the famous Azcapotzalco eggs served with red salsa and beans. I also loved the scrambled eggs with their house güero chili salsa. Again, the quality of the ingredients is evident in every bite: the milk, cream, and eggs are all farm fresh.
Nicos is simple: traditional and tasty. It’s a recipe that’s made the foremost authority in Mexican food.
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 7:30am-7pm, Sat 8am-7pm|
|Price:||Average maincourse $200|