Want to know where to eat, drink, and shop in the most vibrant neighborhood of the capital city of Mexico—La Roma? We’ve got just the book for you.
We’ve long had the author behind the best-selling Mexico City book on our roster of contributors and one who wrote the definitive restaurant guide to the city wrote our recent review on Casa Fayette in Guadalajara. Now I’m proud to give a shout-out to our associate editor Lydia Carey. She recently released Mexico City Streets: La Roma in Mexico and the USA.
Open it from one side and the book’s in English. Open it from the other side and it’s in Spanish. (Don’t worry, you turn it upside down too so you’re not reading front to back.) Carey is a transplanted American who is fluent in Spanish and has lived in the country for years. She clearly loves her adopted neighborhood and is enthusiastic about the eclectic mix of the hip and the historic that you’ll find there. She’s not afraid to point out its (and the city’s) flaws though when needed. This includes the convoluted process to use the city bike share program and the special hell local residents need to go through to rent an apartment or buy property.
Colonia Roma is an odd neighborhood in that it was a suburb that sprung up just 110 years ago, went from wealthy to overcrowded, then suffered badly in the destructive earthquake of 1985. What sprung up from the rubble seldom matched what existed architecturally but in the time since the neighborhood has become the city’s hotspot for artists, chefs, and other creatives.
The book is organized by the seven sections of this area hugging Parque Mexico. While this goes against the typical guidebook style of grouping lodging, restaurants, and attractions together, it encourages visitors to really get to know the area they’re already in. You’re much more likely to visit the restaurants listed in Section 7 if you’re already staying nearby at Hotel La Casona or Condesa df.
Unlike in neighboring Condesa, however, the grittier residents and local services haven’t all been pushed out by high prices. Carey dives into the whole mosaic in detail, pointing out street markets, torta stands, key shops, shoe repair shops, and a place to buy compost for your plants. She has also dived in deep with the restaurant scene too, refusing to just highlight the Mexican places with a few token international choices. In Mexico City Streets: La Roma you’ll be guided to a Swedish Fika place, a barbecue joint, a French bakery, an arepas restaurant, and an Italian ice cream shop. Add in the best places to drink locally-brewed craft beer, where to buy books, or where to catch a European art film and it’s clear that this is a guide that required a tremendous amount of research.
Even if you live in Roma you’re sure to find gems you didn’t know existed, whether that’s a hidden comic book shop or the place with the best Cuban cigars. There’s plenty of history, some recommended books that take place in the area, and recommendations on prosaic subjects like which hospital to check into. Filled with terrific photos and clear maps, this is an indispensable guide to one of the most vibrant neighborhoods in Latin America’s leading cultural city.