For no good reason, the Mexico City fonda remains a controversial subject. Simple lunch counters offering daily lunches, they’re where most regular working folks eat. They also serve some of the freshest and best prepared food in the city.
But how do we get you into one? The right one? And, at last, eating really well?
The fonda is the obvious choice to graduate to once you’ve had your fill of tacos, lighter fare, and street fare. In fact, the fonda is often much closer to offering what international visitors expect from Mexican food. For next to no money, many of them offer food as fresh as anything else in the entire city.
Many of the best fondas are within the city’s public markets. This page is intended to help you to eat lunch at more of them.
Mexico City residents, even those most addicted to the city’s street food, will eat that at night. Lunch times are spent at a decent fonda, eating foods that are fresh, healthy, and well balanced.
Among the reasons it’s a tough subject to broach:
The fact is, even the word “fonda” belies a terrific degree of uncertainty. The Spanish Royal Academy online dictionary declares it:
Mexico City residents enjoy arguing the reasons for any of why this should be. They will also argue at length about which is a fonda, which is not, and what other categories of eatery exist.
To make all of this simpler though, in Mexico City, the fonda is a lunch counter.
It will also be called comida corrida, or loncheria, and a number of other lesser-used names.
Visitors to Mexico City soon realize that, on most days of the week, lunch is far and away the most important meal of the day. This too helps to explain why – in restaurants and cafes oriented towards dinner – the fonda occupies such an odd place.
Most restaurants offer lunch. Fondas will offer ONLY lunch.
Comida Corrida is the essential fare at any fonda. To put it simply, it’s a fixed-price lunch menu.
Importantly, some busier fondas will default international visitors to la Carta, the a-la carte menu. This is because they assume international, or just non-regular, customers don’t want the prix-fixe.
This page is intended to get you onto the Comida Corrida menu. Don’t be bedazzled just because there are photos on the regular menu.
This one is even funnier. Comida Corrida might be translated as “food on the run.” In fact, it is more often stated this way than as the menú del día. The point is, for travelers, comida corrida is a simple, good way to get a balanced meal once you’ve realized you’re going to need one.
Most comida corrida menus will offer you options like:
These are a few basic tips, although obviously service and details can vary widely.