Tetetlán in Mexico City, Mexico is an architectural treasure and one of the capital’s latest, sustainable hot spots. Explore and enjoy the ancestral site.
Rise Rating: 93%
The Obsidian Rise diagram above provides a visual for the rating explained in writing, below. From left to right—
Story (3/3): The Story goes that Tetetlán means “pedregal” in the Aztec language Nahuatl, and that “pedregal” is a Spanish word to describe a location surrounded by many stones. It is from this that one of the most significant projects of Mexico’s most well known architect has been named Casa Pedregal. And it is from this that the stables of this home have been recently restored and re-imagined into the Tetetlán restaurant. Within a few seconds of having entered the area of Luis Barragán’s first house constructed for a client, it’s clear why it’s such a special place, and also why these local names have been given to it. The several-story site has not only been built upon and out of stone, but also its stone foundation is apparent for all to see, with a fully glass floor that reveals the cavernous base beneath it. And, with modern design, spaces for dining, working, reading or private parties, a coffee bar, trendy boutique, market and adjoining yoga studio, it’s also readily understandable why Tetetlán has been included in Monocle’s top restaurant selections for 2018, and why the complex will only continue to merit acclaim as time goes on.
Sustainability (3/3): The Tetetlán restaurant has been conceived of as part of a sustainable complex. Its core mission is to promote a sustainable lifestyle through healthy eating. As such, more than 90% of the ingredients that it sources (including liquors and wines) are Mexican, organically grown and fairly traded and its menu changes nearly daily to incorporate the freshest and most seasonal items possible. Beyond this, proceeds from the eatery go towards assisting in the maintenance and operation of on-site cultural projects, arts and archives.
Experience (3/3): Heading to and exploring Tetetlán is an Experience in itself. About a half-hour drive from the western “core” of Mexico City, the restaurant lies nestled into an historically important and wealthy suburb that is not unlike the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. Masked by a walled façade, it takes going into what at first (aptly) seems like someone’s home to understand what it contains. In visual surprise, clients enter through a small coffee bar and boutique at ground level before being led to a full view of a very large, stony space going down two floors below. After selecting a niche from the many areas available (would you prefer to dine in the sunken private room, within the carved out dining room, inside of the library, or at a table in the open space?), it takes awhile to absorb what exactly one has come upon, for it’s obvious that Tetetlán is not your average eatery. On a quiet Sunday night, we had it nearly to ourselves and made friends with our server, who offered tastings of its artisanal liquors and explained fact after fact about the location and its offerings to us.
Cuisine (2/3): The dishes at Tetetlán incorporate both a look to the Mesoamerican recipes of the past and also a view of food as a means for modern cultural exchange. We started off with a mezcal tasting before ordering the house cocktail, consisting of the restaurant’s own smoky mezcal, combined with tamarind, lemon juice, cardamom and chili. In an attempt to try a bit of everything, we then chose an appetizer of cauliflower followed by plates of ceviche, roasted octopus and suckling pig. Each varied in flavor, consistency and weight, and were together a great balance. To finish, we tried simple doses of a classic dulce de leche ice cream, as well as one of mango and tuna (in this case, referring to cactus rather than to fish). Plates were served family-style and without pretense. Although nothing in particular can be pin-pointed as wrong or less than delicious from what we had ordered, given the special qualities of Tetetlán, there is still room for improvement in making the menu there just as surprising and original as the architecture that houses it.
Diversity (3/3): From the few staff members on duty during our visit, it was already apparent that a range of locals (in terms of gender and ethnicity) run and are employed at the Tetetlán complex. The menu was also sufficiently diverse to merit a three out of three score for this sector.
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