Azul y Oro – for the love of food

When you research places to eat in Mexico City, hands down the restaurant Azul y Oro is bound to come up. Ricardo Munoz is the chef behind Azul y Oro, a restaurant that serves reasonably priced, typical Mexican cuisine. This was my fourth trip to Mexico City and I just HAD to try this place. When <3 decided to visit me over the weekend, I kindly asked <3 if he was OK making a trek to this restaurant (this is why we’re getting married, the things we’ll do for good food!!).

The restaurant is located in an interesting spot, at the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) a public university located in the southern part of Mexico City. If you’ve been to UCLA, imagine a serviced restaurant inside of Ackerman Union.

Just be forewarned that if you are staying in any of the touristy neighborhoods (i.e., Polanco, La Condesa, Zona Rosa, San Angel, Coyoacan), then do not pursue this place by foot, unless you’re OK with taking a bus or subway, then walking 5-6 miles to get to a restaurant! First off, UNAM is a HUGE campus that even has a reserve in the middle of its campus. How big is it? It has TEN shuttles that take you around the campus!! The easiest way to get to this restaurant is by car. Or, take a hotel/radio taxi and ask the driver to take you to UNAM, estacionamente 3 (parking lot #3) and that is the closest parking lot to Azul y Oro (from Polanco, the drive time will take about 30 minutes, depending on traffic. They will take you south on Insurgentes, then you will turn east onto the street where the main UNAM entrance is, and then towards the Cultural Center towards parking lot #3).

If you don’t feel like taking the easy route and have an hour to kill (which will also allow you to see most of Mexico City), here is my recommended touristy route. Note this is best taken by folks that are not familiar with Mexico City and don’t have a local available to help them out!
Use the turibus. If you are using the turibus “Chapultepec Centro Historico” route, you have to exit and transfer to the other turibus “Circuito Sur” which takes you to the southern part of the city. On this turibus, exit stop #11 “Rectoria UNAM.” From here you will see that you are now on the UNAM campus and you should be in front of a Pumabus bus station. The Puma Bus is the UNAM’s shuttle service that takes you around the campus for free. Look at the Puma Bus station map to see which bus will take you to the MUAC, the Contemporary Arts Museum. When you see the MUAC, go towards the entrance of the museum but go towards your right down the stairs. You will see two buildings on your right. The restaurant is located in the building that has the bookstore. The restaurant has two areas to eat in, al fresco and upstairs. The photo above is the upstairs section. The al fresco seating area usually has a wait time. Both serve the same food.

Ok, now onto the food! To start we had the cilantro soup and the vegetable tamal:

The soup and tamal was nice and light. A great way to start our meal.

Just so you know, there is a entirely separate menu for their moles, one of their popular dishes. You can get different types of mole, green, red, black, etc. In addition, you pick your protein, vegetables, chicken, steak, pork, or fish. He had the mole negra with beef. He requested the beef to be cooked medium. It was perfectly cooked. Mole negra tastes very rich, if that’s your preference.

I had the cochinita pibil. Really I didn’t know what I was ordering except that the waiter said it’s a very traditional dish and popular amoung Mexicans (in his own words). So, it was pork slowly cooked with a tomato base that came in a banana leaf. It was really flavorful and super moist. It also came with freshly made tortillas. Quite tasty!

We were so full from our meals that we shared the sorbet of coconut, mango and raspberries. I particularly liked the mango.

Overall impression? It really is good Mexican food at a reasonable price. Though the effort that went into finding this place was a bit excessive. As an FYI, Ricardo Munoz recently opened Azul Condesa in Condesa. I had a chance to review the menu through my hotel concierge and they serve the same food as they do in Azul y Oro. So, if you feel like having some legit Mexican food without paying a pretty penny (err peso?) like you would at Izote or Dulce Patria, I definitely recommend you check out Azul Condesa. Or if you have access to a car, take a drive on one of the DF’s main boulevards, Insurgentes, down to Azul y Oro.

Buen provecho!

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