Colonial Roma is one of the ‘it’ neighbourhoods for visitors and locals alike. The area is a beautiful blend of leafy residential streets, mixed with cool young boutiques, restaurants, bars, cafes, and parks. Some of the cities best restaurants and boutiques are concentrated mere blocks from each other, and the charm of the colonial era architecture shines through and brightens the streets with a colourful mix of yellows, pinks, blues, and greens. Peppered throughout the streets are an incredible assortment of street art sites, some serious artists are leaving behind public art for the masses.
The neighbourhood is very walkable, with parks and tiny green spaces throughout offering an opportunity to grab a coffee, people watch, pet the neighbourhood dogs, or sit. Something you’ll see throughout the city is pay-per-use scooters; they are left scattered around parks and on sidewalks. Hop on for a scoot between neighbourhoods, take note of what the locals are doing and follow their lead.
Food Hot Spots:
These are highlights of my favourite spots, but take note there are so many other places to go and try! Also, don’t overlook the fantastic street food selection, you can get: tortas, tacos, empanadas, fresh fruit, juice, pastries, you name it. Not only is this truly local, but a fraction of the cost. I usually grab a fresh juice to start the day in the morning or get cozy next to locals while you wait for freshly prepared tacos right in front of you.
Coffee & Breakfast
Cardinal Cafe Cardinal Cafe is an excellent spot if you want a late night coffee, need a place to focus and do some work, or to sit and relax.
Almanegra Cafe is set just below street level, this cafe has a full selection of coffee offerings, but the highlight is the espresso tonic, I’d recommend the Royal Tonic. You can also grab a copy of some of my favourite titles: Monocle City Guide to Mexico City, Drift, and Standart.
Pandaria Rosetta is a superstar bakery; despite the long lines (one to go and one to stay), it is well worth the wait. Baked fresh daily, this spot has divine pastries and delicious coffee. They also have a sister location Cafe Nin in Colonial Juarez, a few blocks away.
Buna is tiny but mighty; this cafe has an excellent selection of beans they select and roast themselves. Stay in for a latte with their homemade macadamia nut milk or opt for a pour over. The staff are super friendly and very knowledgeable.
Lalo! is my favourite breakfast spot in Roma, it’s bright, open, and has an excellent selection of Mexican dishes. Chilaquiles are my preferred breakfast choice; you can have it a couple of different ways. Don’t forget to grab a pastry from the circulating servers, along with a coffee and fresh juice.
Lunch & Dinner
Cine Tonalá is a gem of a spot, not only is it a delightful restaurant and pub with great tacos, pizzas, and local craft beer; it is also a cinema. It’s a great spot to grab dinner and drinks before a film, and the best part is you can take your drinks inside the theatre.
Sartoria is a double whammy of brunch and dinner, and both are delicious. The focus is Italian food, and they deliver with freshly made pasta in-house; I went for the Cacio e Pepe. The cocktails are super tasty and don’t skimp out on dessert. I made a reservation for dinner to be safe.
Mercado Roma is a contemporary food hall, with an impressive selection of Mexican and international food. There is even a tiny bar serving craft beer from all over the country. Order first and then grab a seat at one of the shared tables, servers will come around offering you drinks. Upstairs you’ll find a beautiful rooftop patio serving more standard Mexican and international beers. Snack downstairs and then head up to enjoy the fresh air.
Happening Store an artfully curated selection of locally made clothes, ceramics, art prints, shoes and jewellery along with a peppering of international brands to round out the aesthetic. Great for souvenirs for yourself or friends.
180 Shop is a long-standing boutique offering an eclectic selection of apparel, shoes, bags, and accessories. Focusing on made in Mexico and local designers, this is a local staple.
Goodbye Folk I came for the shoes, the handmade leather shoes. You can buy them off the shelf, or design your own. The shop also has an awesome selection of vintage pieces to round out any outfit.
Things to do:
Sunday Markets these markets pop-up on Sundays around the edges of parks, they are akin to a flea market but stay sharp you never know what you may find. Typical offerings include furniture, jewellery, housewares, records, art, toys, coins, and random knick-knacks.
Roma is a neighbourhood to walk, eat, shop, drink, and repeat. You can find everything you need here; it’s a great place to wander and be curious. You may discover stretches of residential areas, but they are a nice break from the busier main streets.