El Cardenal is a very popular restaurant in Mexico city with a handful of outlets dotted around the city of which one of the outlets just so happened to be in the hotel we were staying at. – how convenient. El Cardenal is open for breakfast and lunch, closing around 6pm. (technically you can have a very early dinner if you wanted to), serving traditional Mexican food. Reservations are not taken at El Cardenal. They use a first come first serve basis where you put your name on the waiting list. We had 20 minute wait before getting a seat – which was ok as we had some stuff to organise with our concierge which took up half that time.
We dined here for breakfast as we did not want to come back to the hotel later in the day for lunch and not having any ideas were the other locations were.
Some fresh breads were on offer which you can clearly smell they were freshly baked.
Chocolate Amargo Doria Oliva – authentic bitter sweet hot chocolate which is whipped at the table to produce this frothy texture.
The texture of the hot chocolate was fairly gritty, not as smooth as the hot chocolate you get back home, with the right amount of sweetness.
Orden de Nata – is the creamy layer you get in a full fat milk – it was served cold in a thick ceramic dish. It was creamy, thick and a little boring. I am not 100% sure how you eat it, weather you eat it alone or with something. Being virgins, we ate as is. We managed to get through half of it before giving up. Have you tried this dish? what did you think of it?
Tortella de Hueva Con Escamoles – scrambled eggs w ant eggs (escaroles), chopped onion and sliced cactus leaves. Not having had escamoles (ant eggs) before I was interested in trying these out. The escaroles had an unusual texture with a smooth membrane and when you bite into them, a small squirt of creamy texture exploeds in your mouth.
Note: escamoles is seasonal, however El Cardenal manages to make these available all year round by delicately freezing them.
Arrachera con Chilaquiles – grilled strips of beef, served with spicy tortilla chips simmered in red sauce topped with fresh cream, cheese and chopped onion. cactus leaves. The beef was very tender the spicy tortilla chips eventually became soggy under the red sauce. I was not a huge fan of the soggy chips. Mr Wasabi was quite surprised how good the dish was. As we were waiting for a table, he was commenting that there was nothing on the menu that he wanted.
El Cardenal is a very popular restaurant serving very delicious fresh food. If you are in Mexico City and looking for something other than street food and tacos etc.. I would recommend giving this place a try, as it is moderately priced, clean air conditioned environment and the menu is in both Spanish and English.
Location: Av. Juárez No. 70, Hilton México, Mexico City, Mexico