Mexican cuisine is renowned around the world for its intense flavors and colorful dishes which are the result of a combination over the centuries of traditional pre-colonial dishes and Spanish-influenced cooking. Although popular Mexican dishes are especially common in the US, the everyday diet tends to differ considerably and relies primarily on beans, corn, potato, fish, and chicken. Cheap street stalls selling tacos (crunchy wheat or corn tortillas folded around a meat filling) and enchiladas (soft wheat or corn tortilla rolled around a filling) are commonplace in practically every town and city, and while menus in local restaurants are fairly similar nationwide, regional specialties are available in many states.

In recent times, after years of exporting its dishes to the rest of the world, Mexico has started to embrace other international cuisines and a myriad of high-quality restaurants are now found throughout the major cities, rivaled only by their world-renowned drinking. Acapulco is fondly referred to as the ‘City That Never Sleeps,’ while in the heart of the capital; Zona Rosa continues to pull in the crows with its array of chic, expensive bars and clubs. And let’s not forget Cancun and Cabo as popular Spring Break destinations to let loose.

Bars and Pubbing in Mexico

Mexico’s best nights out tend to be in Acapulco, Cancun, and Mexico City. The capital has a large number of districts, some established and others emerging, which are renowned for their great nightlife, the most famous being Zona Rosa. Some of the top establishments here include the laid-back bohemian Bar Milan (Calle Milan, Zona Rosa, Mexico City), which is usually open until 3:00 a.m., and the expensive and exclusive El Colmillo (Calle Versailles, Zona Rosa, Mexico City), one of the city’s top dance clubs. For a more authentic Mexican evening, head over to El Centenario (42 Vicente Suarez, Colonia Condesa, Mexico City), which has retained its traditional cantina persona.

In the legendary Acapulco, things tend to kick off a little later, with the party usually roaring on until sunrise. While the city has its fair share of authentic, tacky Acapulcan discotheques, a number of stylish venues, such as Mandara (Carretera Escenica, Acapulco), perched on a mountain cliff, and ZUCCA (Carretera Escenica 28, Acapulco), offering spectacular beach views have popped up. For a cozy, romantic evening, the first-class service and woozy piano music found at Siboney (Carretera Escenica, Acapulco) makes a pleasant change.

While Cancun has obtained a reputation as a major party destination particularly among the American college crowd, the city has an extremely diverse nightlife which includes one of the country’s top salsa bars, Azucar Caribbean Beat (Cancun Hotel Zone, Cancun). Other classy alternatives to a hedonistic night of debauchery include Roots Jazz Bar (Tulipanes 26, Cancun), with its cool, candlelit atmosphere and performances from top local jazz musicians.

Dining and Cuisine in Mexico

Mexico City has a huge range of restaurants catering to the demands of every taste bud imaginable. It is a gastronomic treat, ranking among the world’s top cities for food. Popular choices include D.O. (Hegel 406, Polanco, Mexico City) and Fonda El Refuigo (Liverpool 166, Mexico City), both known for having some of the best food in the capital.

Cancun’s most celebrated dishes have always been fresh from the sea and that remains the case today. An age-old favorite in the city is the waterfront establishment Lorenzillo’s (Bulevar Kukulcan, Cancun), while just up the road in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel is one the country’s finest restaurants, The Club Grill (Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Retorno del Rey 36, Cancun).

Although more often celebrated for its non-stop nightlife, Acapulco is home to a variety top-notch eateries. Famous for welcoming the likes of Sinatra and Shirley Bassey in the past, Madeiras (Carretera Escenica 33, Acapulco) is reveled for its fantastic Mexican-Asian fusion dishes. However, for a truly extravagant dining experience, head to Baikal (Carretera Escenica 16, Acapulco).