Table of contents
- Which Mexican foods are gluten-free in Mexico City?
- Gluten-free local Mexican foods to try in Mexico City
- Best for local markets in Mexico City
- Best for gluten-free dessert and ice cream in Mexico City
- Best for vegan/vegetarian & gluten free dining in Mexico City
- Best for regional Mexican food in Mexico City
- Best for tacos in Mexico City
- Best for Cuban in Mexico City
- Best Argentine parilla (steakhouse) in Mexico City
When I landed in Mexico City for the first time, I could not wait to try tacos, enchiladas and all the other local flavors. It is one of the BEST places for gluten-free travel, according to my research.
Lucky for me, there was more than the standard “taco and burrito” fare that you get faced with when you travel places other than Mexico. In exploring Mexican cuisine, there’s so much to learn, especially in regard to being on a gluten-free diet.
Mexico City is by far one of our favorite cities in Latin America for eating, drinking and trying new coffees in some of the city’s best cafes, and because so much is made of corn, you’ll want to eat as much as possible.
In the list below, check out how to eat all the amazing food in Mexico City while on a gluten free diet, like I did!
As a note, we disclaim any responsibility from a change in ingredients at any of the foods in the restaurants recommended below; this guide serves as suggestions based on our research and experience and is not medical guidance.
Which Mexican foods are gluten-free in Mexico City?
Because of the corn component in Mexican food, eating gluten free for the 45 days I lived in Mexico City was not difficult. I then returned to CDMX four years later, and did it all over again!
It’s not difficult to keep a gluten-free diet while traveling in Mexico City if you love tacos as much as I do! Finding gluten free food options is usually a challenge, but it is relatively easy in Mexico City.
Remember, regarding food safety, if you have a severe allergy, be prepared to explain it in Spanish or with a translated allergy card. For more on food safety in Mexico City, check out our safety concerns guide.
Gluten-free local Mexican foods to try in Mexico City
Here are the corn-based foods in Mexican cuisine that you can eat with no problem (if you ask the right questions and make sure with your server).
A taco is a corn tortilla, filled with a filling like meat, vegetables, fish or seafood. To avoid fried items and to avoid cross-contamination, stay away from fried fish or fried seafood, and opt for simple grilled meat or chicken.
My favorite gluten-free and authentic taco choices are:
- Tacos de al pastor: pork from a grilling spit
- Pollo asado: simple grilled chicken, usually served with diced onions and cilantro
- Carne asada: grilled steak, usually served with diced onions and cilantro
- Pollo de tinga: stewed chicken made in a tomato and chile sauce
You’ve probably seen enchiladas on menus in the US or other non-Mexico countries. Enchiladas are rolled corn tortillas, baked into a bath of salsa. Usually they’re stuffed with chicken or beef, with cheese on top. Heaven.
Tamales are a staple for street vendors, and they’re often easy to come by, and cheap.
Tamales are corn flour with a center of cheese, chicken or both, and are steamed into a corn husk or banana leaf, depending which part of the country you’re in. Some are spicy, so it’s good to ask if they are ‘picante’ or not.
In Merida, I learned that tamales can be ‘colado’ (meaning soft, made of fine masa) or ‘al vapor/vaporcito,’ which can refer to the steaming of the tamale, and these are made of harder or more coarse masa. The first type is mushy (and delicious) and the second is harder, or more ‘duro.’ There’s so much to learn about this gluten-free Mexican street food. I’m really quite torn between which type I like better.
OMG, I LOVE chilaquiles! I had never heard of this dish before coming to Mexico City for the first time. Chilaquiles is a dish of fried corn tortilla strips simmered in salsa. It is served for breakfast with shredded chicken, fried eggs or cheese.
If you love salsa like I do, order this as soon as you can. You may have the option of ordering chilaquiles as ‘verde’ (green salsa) or ‘rojo’ (red salsa). Somehow, green really does the trick.
This is a street food that consists of a flattened oval of corn dough, loaded with cheese, greens and beans. Depending on who’s cooking them, they may also have different vegetables added, or meat. If you can, watch the vendors making huaraches on the street and try to see exactly which ingredients they are putting in. Also, feel free to ask questions (in Spanish).
It’s your chance to eat Mexican pizza, and WHY on Earth haven’t these become popular north of the border?! This is a dish that comes from Oaxaca and is made from a large round corn tortilla covered with cheese, meat, lettuce, avocado and salsa.
This is a street food, or ‘antojito’ (little craving, or snack) made from corn dough. This treat hails from the states of Veracruz, Hidalgo, Morelos, Guerrero and Puebla.
A tlacoyo looks like a pinched oval, and will be topped with anything ranging from and including salsa, cooked cactus, other greens, onion, cilantro, meat and/or cheese. If you’re vegetarian, ask for ‘sin carne,’ and if you’re lactose intolerant like me, ask for ‘sin queso y sin crema.’
I’m not a fan of pulque, but it certainly does not have gluten. Pulque is a sour drink made from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant. Maybe you’ll like it in a fruity flavor, if you can find it. This is for the adventurous, as it tastes like nothing you’ve ever had before. Because it comes from the agave plant, there’s no gluten involved.
Also a gluten-free alcohol, and many people confuse mezcal with tequila. They are different! Both don’t have gluten, by default. Try a mezcal margarita and you won’t be sorry. Check out our list of the best Mexico City bars for our suggestions on cocktail locales.
Best for local markets in Mexico City
Mexico City has lots of markets, both day markets and permanent ones, where you can try gluten-free items by checking this guide below.
Tianguis de los Martes, Condesa
“Tianguis” was a new word to us. It’s Mexican Spanish for “open-air market” or “bazaar,” and in Condesa, there’s a Tuesday market called Tianguis de los Martes. This market is a favorite in the neighborhood, which is a great place for travelers to stay.
First, you’ll see all the fruit and vegetable sellers. You can pick up your fresh fruits here — way better than going to a modern supermarket! Next, head toward the food vendors, who are all cooking up their specialties. You can get tacos with various fillings and can watch the vendors do the whole process.
Try an agua fresca for dessert! That’ll be gluten-free, too.
Doof Bakery & Green Market
This tiny bakery and market is located next to a larger market that first caught our eye, until we decided to go into Doof and see if they had rice cakes. They did, and they were certifiably gluten free, and so was a LOT of their inventory!
While it is not listed in Google, the address is on Calle Yautepec (south side) close to Calle Vicente Suarez.
Best for gluten-free dessert and ice cream in Mexico City
You may just have a better time eating gluten-free desserts in Mexico City than you would at home. I certainly did!
La Otilia (Polanco) is a completely gluten-free and vegan-friendly cafe and bakery. They are dedicated to having no gluten on the premises, and this makes eating there a total dream! All baked goods are made from rice, tapioca, rice, almond, chia or amaranth flours.
I Quit Bakery
This adorable and catchy bakery is located right on Calle Durango near Av. Sonora. It was started by a woman who quit her full-time job in corporate finance to pursue a love of vegan treats, some of which are gluten-free!
I tried the gluten-free (vegan) chocolate chip cookie and took it home in a box to the US with me so that I could enjoy it days later. Because it’s made of almond flour, it kept fresh for several days, even after I landed and was in my kitchen in NYC.
Neveria Roxy is like a time warp and blast to the past to a proper Mexico City ice cream parlor. Neveria Roxy is cash-only, and a fun place to try ‘helado’ (ice cream) in a variety of flavors, ranging even to sorbets made from Mexican fruits. Where else can you try an iced treat in the flavor of Guanábana or Mamey? The last time I was there, I had sorbete de guayaba and didn’t want it to end.
While none of their flavors truly have gluten involved, if you stick to the fruit sorbets, you definitely won’t run into allergen problems.
Best for vegan/vegetarian & gluten free dining in Mexico City
As Happy as Larry
We stumbled across this cool vegan and veggie-friendly juice bar and brunch stop in Juarez and couldn’t help but sit down. We each had a delicious fresh-pressed juice, and a delightful bowl of chilaquiles each (with eggs). This is a gluten-free meal you can count on!
Cafe Pacifico is a coffee shop and also a breakfast and brunch restaurant where you can sit outside on a nice street on a wooden patio. We enjoyed our chilaquiles (gluten-free) here, alongside the most massive agua fresca I’ve ever had in my life.
More chilaquiles here, but if you’d like to eat something else, peruse the health-conscious menu at this lovely cafe for more ideas on gluten-free meals.
La Pitahaya is a cozy restaurant in Roma Norte and serves up vegan delicacies based off of true Mexican meals. EVERYTHING on the menu is vegan, creative and delicious. We had the curry potato tacos… twice. La Pitahaya is a neighborhood and traveler favorite.
Origenes is a health dream — restaurant and cafe, with outdoor seating and a fresh market inside where you can buy specialty products in the vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and organic range. Come for coffee or brunch, stay for snacks.
Ecos del Mundo
Located on a street with a lot to eat and drink (I’m talkin’ about coffee, here) in Coyoacan, Ecos del Mundo is a health cuisine restaurant where you can get an array of fresh smoothies and juices, and vegetarian delights. They also have a ton of fresh breads, and some items for take-out.
Best for regional Mexican food in Mexico City
Within Mexico City, you can try flavors from all over Mexico! See below for where I’ve eaten successfully without gluten.
Restaurante Doña Vero
This Oaxacan restaurant came recommended by my Spanish teacher, and the food did not disappoint. I was able to eat gluten-free at this restaurant.
Flor de Lis
Flor de Lis is a trusty tamale shop where the menu is literally only tamales. You can choose from chicken with salsa, or vegetarian options with cheese, and even more, there’s vegan options with fruit tamales. They also have a shop in Tulum.
Think Smorgasburg-meets-Mexico and what you get is Mercado Roma in Roma Norte. Here, you can get craft tacos and regional cuisine.
My favorite vendor of all, though, is La Otilia, which is certified as “the first 100% gluten-free premises in Mexico.” This is where I had a tasty gluten-free beer, from a brand that I previously had never tried before! La Otilia also has desserts and snacks.
Best for tacos in Mexico City
Bring on the tacos — this is why I came!
This fun and full-of-personality eatery in Roma is fun to go to with friends. La Chicha has a big drink menu, and a big food menu that makes note of vegetarian options. I ate the tacos de cochinita pibil, a dish I had learned to like in Merida for being gluten-free. Cochinita pibil is a Yucatan dish made of slow-roasted pork in spices and juices, put into tacos. It is delicious.
I had heard about Taqueria Orinoco via some referrals, and it was great. I took Dan here as a surprise, and we ate our fill of tacos al pastor, along with a giant hibiscus drink. Taquería Orinoco is popular with expats and travelers, but it doesn’t take away from its authenticity as a proper taqueria. They take credit cards!
Taquería Tlaquepaque is a mouthful, but fun to say. It became our favorite downtown Centro spot for tacos, tortas (for your gluten-loving travel buddy), vegetarian choices and fresh smoothies. To note: lots of choices of everything. Popular all the time. Cash only. Delicious tacos. Vegetarian tortas, for Dan. The smoothies are HUGE (try the guava, or “guayaba” in Spanish).
Tacos de Canasta Las Rejas
A local secret, tacos de canasta (still gluten-free!) are a special little treat and you can rarely buy only one. Tacos de canasta are tiny pre-made tacos that sit in a ‘canasta,’ or basket, from when they’re made at dawn until they sell out.
A single canasta will have thousands of these little tacos, which are usually served cold-ish and with a bucket (yes, a bucket) of salsa that you can self-serve yourself. Usually, there’s not much variety aside from chorizo, papa (potato) and frijol (bean). They’re sometimes easy to miss, but you can get them at Tacos de Canasta Las Rejas in Roma Norte. To note: they are very cheap.
Popular with expats and locals alike, El Parnita always seems to be packed on weekends and around lunchtime. What you’ll get at El Parnita is high-quality Mexican food with creative ingredients. Prices are higher than what you’d pay for a taco from a street vendor, but that’s the price you pay to sit in a welcoming, bustling atmosphere with waiter service, a wine and beer menu and good music. The salsas that come in a trio before the meal are delightful and HOT, and oh — they make carajillos (traditional cocktail of espresso with Licor 43).
Las Costillas De La Condesa
This no-frills taqueria in Condesa feels like a diner! If you sit on the outside bar stools, be sure you’ll have the smell of a grill in your hair by the time you’re done eating. I had five (I think?) tacos of pollo asado and loaded up on their house pico de gallo. All good here, sin gluten!
Taqueria La Reina
This is where Remote Year now holds taco-eating competitions for groups, and I never would have found out about it otherwise. Also no-frills whatsoever, this taqueria has several taco counters, where you can get al pastor, ‘cabeza’ (head meat, of a cow) and carnitas (pork). Prices are cheap (one taco for 10 pesitos) and they sell two or three types of drinks.
El Buen Taco
Literally, “The Good Taco,” (and I don’t have a problem with that), this sizable taqueria has a large list of tacos, along with smoothies, tortas and the whole bit. Located in Centro right near Barrio Chino (Chinatown), I was pleasantly surprised with how authentic and affordable it was for being so close to all the tourist attractions. As usual, I tried three tacos, wound up eating five or six, and had a massive licuado de guayaba (guava smoothie, sin leche!).
La Torta Brava, Zocalo
This taqueria is nearly too close to Zocalo (the massive downtown square) for comfort, but when you’re starving, it’s a great no-frills eatery for some al pastor tacos (there’s a discount if you order five) and other quick bites. They have tortas (gluten, for your friends), quesadillas (same with these) and tacos (no gluten - ask about the fillings to be sure).
Lucio is trendy and delicious, and located in the neighborhood of Juarez (walkable from Roma, and on the way to downtown). The menu is modern Mexican, and there’s mezcal cocktails.
This is one of Dan’s favorites, and they claim to be the creator of the al pastor taco. I don’t know who to believe, but that’s exactly what I ordered at El Tizoncito, after the free round of totopos de maiz (corn nachos) with a great choice of salsas.
There are two locations that are two blocks away from each other in Condesa. Dan would go to El Tizoncito several times a week when he spent a month in CDMX in 2016.
Best for Cuban in Mexico City
La Bodeguita del Medio
I accidentally discovered La Bodeguita del Medio when a friend was visiting and it was the only place to eat that was open past 10 pm in the area. Lucky for us, because La Bodeguita is the kind of place where you sit down and the waitress asks how many mojitos you’ll be having, not if or if not you’ll be ordering them. Perfect.
La Bodeguita channels Cuban vibes into your dining experience with their live band that walks around to play music for every room (and there are lots of rooms for dining). I had the ropa vieja, and it tasted just like Miami (which is the closest I’ve gotten to actual Cuba). Gluten-free (make sure you verify)!
Best Argentine parilla (steakhouse) in Mexico City
If you’re craving an actual steak, not pieces of meat put into a taco or enchilada, you can go to an authentic Argentine steakhouse, and it’s Quebracho Condesa. You can order your cut exactly how you like it, and there’s an array of desserts, wines and cava.
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