Mexico City Neighbourhood Guide: La Roma
By Francesca de Luca
La Roma is defined by most as the capital’s coolest neighbourhood thanks to its nightlife, culinary offerings, contemporary art galleries and quirky cafes. You can spend endless hours wandering around the borough´s tree-lined streets, enjoying its beautiful architecture - including Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Modernist – and its street art as well as popping in and out galleries and museums or simply chilling in a café and doing some people watching. The European vibe brought by the architecture contributes to the eclectic and arty atmosphere of this great neighbourhood which just over a century ago was home to the majority of the city’s aristocracy, is now home to artists and hipsters.
La Roma is full of amazing restaurants and food stalls offering every type of cuisine you can imagine. Depending on your mood, you can choose from cheap and fast “antojitos” (Mexican tapas) to high-end restaurants’ dishes. Head to Maximo Bistrot to try traditional “platillos” with a modern twist created by one of the best Mexican chefs, Eduardo García. On the other end of the scale, don’t miss the chance to visit a very unique market, Mercado Medellin. Nicknamed “pequeño Havana” (little Havana), Medellin offers a great variety of fruits, meats, and antojitos not only from Mexico but also from all over Latin America, as well as some local craft beers.
If it is Saturday, you’ll want to pay a visit to “Meche y Rafael”, a butcher stand that offers amazing meat tacos. Head to hotly in-demand lunch spot, El Parnita restaurant, to try a great variety of corn-based antojitos rich in “vitamin T” (tacos, tortas and tlacoyos). If you prefer the hipster version of a food market, do not miss Mercado Roma, where guests can enjoy artisanal treats from over 50 vendors, most of whom produce local, farm-to-table dishes and desserts.
In the evening the borough really comes alive as it has something great to offer everyone. The area hosts one of the best bars in the world, Licorería Limantour. This place offers amazing signature cocktails in a great ambient enhanced by its art deco style. For something more chilled, head to Paramo, located just above El Parnita. This bar is always packed but never pretentious. The scene is chilled and the plates are yummy (go for one of its ceviche). It’s also home to some of the tastiest mezcal drinks in Mexico City so have fun in one of the tucked-away rooms or in the main terrace area, which is covered with a huge skylight, hanging plants, and twinkly lights. Another trendy spot is Casa Franca, a speak-easy style bar that offers a good choice of drinks and good live jazz music. If you’re up for great mojitos and some salsa, don’t miss out La Roma’s most notable late night dance spots, Mama Rumba. It’s a guaranteed fantastic evening out!
The neighbourhood has a lot to offer in terms of lifestyle and culture. A perfect place to chill and soak up the city’s atmosphere is Plaza Rio de Janeiro, famed for its replica of Michelangelo’s David and flanked by great examples of the area’s architecture. La Roma’s most famous and charming landmark, Casa Lamm, one of the original from the early 20th century, is just a couple of streets south of Plaza Rio de Janeiro.
Ranked as one of the top Mexico City museums, the Museo del Objeto del Objeto (Museum of the Purpose of the Object) is worth visiting because of its excellently-curated exhibitions. Get a glimpse also of the beautiful building of Casa Universitaria del Libro (University House of the Book), a space dedicated to promoting the diffusion of culture through books.The area is full of contemporary art galleries so pop in and out of those that inspire you while walking around the borough enjoying its vibe. One of Mexico City’s most established galleries, “Galería OMR”, always features important avant-garde artists. If shopping is more your thing, La Roma hosts countless independent shops and designer boutiques, so you won’t get bored!