EL CARDENAL: Mexico City’s Magical Factory

El Cardenal is an iconic restaurant in Mexico City established in 1965 by Mr. Jesus Briz. It houses Mexican heritage, Mexican Flavor and dare I say it, Mexican Love. Famous for so many of their creations, they make everything in house, from cheese to cream, tortillas to bread. But the bread is out of this world.

As you know, what I write about is mostly based on experience. The experience of eating here is Magical. On our way to the airport on a cold sunday morning my friends suggested to go to El Cardenal located on Mexico City’s famous Avenida Reforma. The restaurant is inside the Hilton, this is the newer of the 2 locations.

From the moment you walk through the hotel doors and make a left you see about 100 people waiting in an orderly fashion to be seated, the restaurant is packed. After a 20 minute wait and my grumpiness kicking in, we were finally seated. The waiter comes over and offers us the first of many house made creations: Mexican Hot Chocolate. Just for that Cocoa and Cinnamon Mix It was worth the wait.

We are seated next to a window to the kitchen where you can see about 12 bakers making delicious bread, but not just any bread; croissants, biscuits, cinnamon rolls, mexican conchas, cream filled pastries and so much more, its hypnotic. The best part is as soon as the trays come out of the oven the baker takes them to a waiter who puts them in a basket and starts going around the room offering them.

Now mind you, we haven’t even started looking at the menus and we already had hot chocolate and fresh out of the oven bread. The breakfast menu includes very traditional Mexican dishes mostly with eggs served with tortillas, that a lady next to the bakers is making, and authentic Mexican frijoles (beans) with queso fresco (fresh Cheese) which they make right then and there.

After one of my favorite breakfasts ever, I thank my friends for not allowing me to leave after the first 10 minutes of waiting and we have a chat about what this place should really be called: not so much El Cardenal but rather A magical Factory of Mexican Cuisine.

From the service to the food you ask yourself: “What did I do to deserve something so decadent?” And I find myself thinking that the man who made this place had one thing in mind, that every person who walks throught that door, from a foodie like me to presidents who eat there often, felt as if they were the most important person in the world. And you sure do.

See you next week.

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