One of my guilty pleasures is fine-dining when I’m travelling on my own. Fine dining or not, I’ve always said that if you’re dining by yourself, the best option is sitting at a bar, and if you’re wanting a higher-end solo dining experience where you don’t feel uncomfortable, it’s best achieved sitting at the bar for a sushi omakase.

I’ve eaten at several nicer restaurants in Mexico City by myself, but I’ve always felt a bit out of place on my own. I guess Mexico is not Japan, and the solitary experience is not as much the norm. I’d learned last year that Pujol had a Taco Omakase, aka a “Barra de Tacos”, an 8-course taco tasting served at their bar and I immediately put it on my “must” list. This sounded like the perfect dining experience for one of my solos days in Mexico City.

After delighting in wonderful food for 2 weeks in Oaxaca, I flew into Mexico City in the morning and was lucky to be able to check into my hotel early to rest before the big event. As is my preference for any bigger meal, I chose lunch, as I can enjoy the meal with the opportunity afterwards to reflect rather than just passing out in bed with a too full belly.

Some people asked, considering I’d just spent time in Oaxaca eating amazingly, if I would be nervous going into a meal like this thinking it wouldn’t measure up. But I never approach a meal with a compare and contrast mentality. I want to experience the best in every meal and was confident that I’d be served just that.

I arrived at Pujol for my 1:30 reservation and was promptly seated in the middle of the 10-seat bar. My server went through the obligatory niceties and when he asked if it was my first time at the restaurant, I found myself shocked when I answered that it was, in fact, my 3rd visit to Pujol. My first 2 visits had been for dinner and both highlight experiences, and I was excited because I knew I was in for another incredible meal.

There are 3 choices of drink pairings to go with the meal (not optional): white wine/sake, Mexican beer or mezcal. After being in Oaxaca for 2 weeks I decided, with some regret, against the mezcal, but then felt less regret after seeing that many of the bottles that sat on the shelf behind the bar were ones I’ve not only tried but actually sit on my shelf at home. The beer pairing would have weighed heavy on me, so I went with the wine/sake option.

The server explained that the meal was a celebration of corn from Oaxaca and the blue and yellow corn served throughout the courses were sourced from Valle de Zagache in Oaxaca. Just as good sushi is all about the quality of the rice, this taco omakase was supposed to focus on the corn and the quality of the tortilla. While I have a developed palate for Japanese rice, both plain and shari (sushi rice), my experience with indigenous Mexican corn is just at the developing stage. This concept was very intriguing to me and I was eager to start the meal.

Pujol taco omakase nami sake
Mexican Junmai sake, was a bit on the sweet side for my taste but was so nicely chilled that I got past that. And yes I stated that correctly. Mexican sake
Pujol taco omakase street snacks
Street Snacks
Pujol taco omakase white corn tofu
Chilled silky white corn tofu with bright zingy chile on top.
Pujol taco omakase enfladita
A crisp blue corn enfladita with salted escolamoles (ant larvae) in garlic oil.
Pujol taco omakase corn chicatana
Baby corn coated with chile chicatana mayo. I’ve had a version of this dish all 3 times I’ve been to Pujol and it’s always one of my favourite dishes of the meal.
Pujol taco omakase tetela
Tetela made with yellow Oaxacan corn, filled with black bean. The pico de gallo with uni served on the side was the perfect bright punch for the ooey gooey tetela. Actually, the uni pico de gallo was pretty spectacular on its own as well, but I’m a sucker for anything uni.
Pujol taco omakase eggplant
Eggplant taco with hummus and shiso on a blue corn tortilla topped with an hoja santa leaf.
Pujol taco omakase sake
I moved into sake from Saga, Japan which was much drier than the Nami and with a citrus floral-y nose.
Pujol taco omakase amberjack avocado
Cured kampachi (amberjack) and avocado taco with tamarind paste and topped with wakame and yuzu kosho. I felt like the best flavours of my 2 favourite places, Japan and Mexico, joined together to present the perfect bite for me.
Pujol taco omakase tostada scallop
Baja scallop tostada with  black sesame seeds, cilantro, burnt chile and sesame oil.
Pujol taco omakase al pastor
Sea bass belly taco al pastor with pineapple pico de gallo topped with jalapeño. I loved the sweet soft bite on this that combined with hints of heat from the crispy fish skin.
Pujol taco omakase wine Vena Cava
I moved into wine at this point and was served this natural white from Vena Cava which I’d had when I was in the Guadalupe Valley a few months before.
Pujol taco omakase softshell crab
Soft shell crab taco with pickled cucumber, shiso and a poblano wasabi sauce with a very lightly fried shishito tempura on the side.
Pujol taco omakase mole madre
1755 day old mole madre surrounding a spicier new coloradito. This is the other dish that I’ve had on all of my visits to Pujol. On my first visit 4 years ago, it was only hundreds of days old. While spectacular in concept, I am very spoiled when it comes to mole and this dish always leaves me pining for other moles I know I love more.

One of the best things about dining solo is that it allows time through the meal to reflect quietly on what’s being presented. It was a meal where course after course, I declared each to be my favourite, only to have that thought pushed aside as the next was served and then I declared that more delicious. I loved being served food that I ate with my hands that I could delight in for a few bites and then move on to the next plate. As much as I enjoy gorgeous tastings menus, I find that usually the portions are too large and I struggle to make it through the meal. This lunch was the perfect experience in not only size and pacing, but also in extraordinary flavour and textural combinations.

With only dessert left in the meal, the guests at the bar were led outside to enjoy dessert on the patio.

Banana ginger sherbet Hazmat sake kasu
Pujol taco omakase churro
When you come by yourself you don’t have to share final churro course. Unfortunately, it was a bit wasted on me because I was too full at this point to enjoy more than 2 bites.
Pujol taco omakase menu
Pujol Mexico

I thought that on this 3rd visit to Pujol, I’d be at the point where I wouldn’t keep it on my list to return to again. But this experience was so extraordinary that I may have to return and this time bring someone to share it with.

5 Replies to “Taco Omakase at Pujol”

  1. Hi Susy! Great write-up. I’m definitely saving your blog for future travel research. I’m heading to CDMX in May, and I have a reservation at Pujol. My question to you is…if you had the choice…would you spend reservation on the taco omakase or on the dining room tasting menu?

    1. Sorry for the late reply. I enjoyed my meals in both the dining room and omakase, but if it’s your first visit, then I’d recommend doing the full meal in the dining room. It’s such an extraordinary journey, especially when shared in good company and I think a better expression of the Chef’s talents. Either way though, you’re going to experience a meal to remember.

  2. I’m going to CDMX for the first time next month and I’m tying to book a reservation at Pujol. If you had to choose one – do you prefer the tasting menu or the taco omokase?

    1. It all depends on your mood and what type of experience you’re looking for. I’d say if it’s your first time, I would try to book the restaurant, it is a full (big) meal. The taco omakase was amazing, but I think I appreciated it more because I’d gone through the journey of the the tasting menu before.

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