Just around the corner of the majestic Catedral Metropolitana, on top of the Zócalo Central Hotel, lies the chic and trendy Balcón del Zócalo restaurant and rooftop bar with splendid vistas onto the church and the Plaza de la Constitutión.
Being rather pricy for Mexican conditions (an appetizer comes at around 80 to 100 Pesos, an entrée lies between 120 to 400 Pesos), Balcon de Zócalo still remains a great suggestion for a dapper lunch when visiting Centro Histórico.
The combined restaurant and bar generally occupy the sixth and seventh floor of the hotel, yet current modifications and renovations (as of April 2017) have the larger outside terrace on the sixth floor being closed.
And even though the view onto the Zócalo from the upper, smaller terrace is a little bit obstructed at the moment by the plastic canopies of the construction site below, you can still indulge in an almost 270 degree panorama of the rest of Mexico City´s skyline.
If you come early at noon, you may have a good chance to get one of the tables close to the cathedral. But even if not, the other side of the terrace may not disappoint either. How many Tacos can actually claim to be baked with a vista like this one?
The atmosphere is casual smart yet relaxed. It is a good mixture of business men finalizing deals, families enjoying lunch together or girlfriends having a little chit-chat with drinks in-between shopping.
The official lunch menu begins at 1 pm, but it is still a good idea to show up a little earlier in order to be able to fetch a good table.
There is a good selection of local and imported beers. I opted for the very intense and malty Mexican Imperial Stout by the Calavera brewery (here is a little article about Calavera) which I really enjoyed.
As an appetizer, I chose the Balcon de Zócalo guacamole with Mexican cheese and Chicharron (fried Pork belly). I have to admit, it was not the best guacamole I have ever tasted, yet its preparation right at the table was absolutely worth the extra dime and therefore takes place of my most personal guacamole ever.
As a second appetizer (which I actually had to stuff in after two full avocados), I enjoyed a typical Oaxacan snack called Memela. A rather thick corn tortilla that is normally toasted on a hot comal (a characteristical Mexican griddle), served in my case with octopus and prawns as toppings, Mexican cheese, avocado and pickled radish. A very hearty and tasty Antojito (snack).
All in all, the bill came at 420 Pesos plus tip (roughly 20€ or 22 USD) for the beer and the two starters which left me more than well-fed afterwards. It would have actually been enough for two people, so in the end a light snack at a good value with an amazing view in a pleasant atmosphere with great service.
El Balcón del Zócalo
Av. 5 de Mayo 61, Delegación Cuauhtémoc, Col. Centro, 06000 Ciudad de México, D.F., México
Phone: +52 55 5130 5130