The patriotic chiles en nogada is one of the most iconic dishes of Mexican cuisine. This seasonal dish is served in central Mexico in August and September when all of the ingredients are in season. Traditionally served at room temperature, chiles en nogada consists of poblano chiles stuffed with picadillo (mix of meat, fruit and spices), then topped with a walnut cream sauce (nogada) and pomegranates. The green poblano chile, walnut cream sauce and the pomegranates lend the dish the colors of the Mexican flag making it extremely popular during Independence Day celebrations on September 16.
Originating in Puebla, the dish is prominent in Mexico food history. It was prepared the first time for Agustín de Iturbide (army general and politician) when he visited the city after signing the Treaty of Independence in Veracruz. With Independence Day nearing, we have been sampling chiles en nogada at various restaurants across town and below are some of our favorites.
Pasillo de Humo
This place offers a taste of Oaxacan cuisine in the heart of Condesa but they also prepare a tasty chiles en nogada. The version served here (pictured above) is delicious and flavorful. The filling is made from Oaxacan fruit and beef that is not ground so it retains its juiciness. The walnut sauce consists of milk, walnuts, goat cheese and sherry. (Avenida Nuevo León 107)
Worth a visit just for the marvellous venue, Roldán 37 is located in a 207 year-old mansion, which has been remodeled with respect to the original architecture. The family business of the restaurant’s owner (and chef) involved the sale of chili’s and spices, hence they are now specialties of the restaurant. All ingredients are sourced from the nearby Merced market. In keeping with the family theme, the chile en nogada recipe used by chef Rómulo belonged to his grandmother!
The chiles en nogada here is my favorite of those I have tried, the walnut sauce is topped with walnuts as well as pomegranates. Pay them a visit before the end of September to sample their exquisite version of this patriotic dish. (Roldán 37, Centro)
One of my favorite restaurants in the city and a standout on our Colonia Roma gourmet foodie tour. It is known for the impeccable service, decor and chef Juan Cabrera’s deliciously creative dishes. The poblano chili is marinated in spices and brown sugar, lending the chiles en nogada here a distinctive flavor. (Medellin 79, Colonia Roma)
The charming and serene Azul Condesa is different from other restaurants in that they serve three varieties of chiles en nogada. Diners choose from pork, beef or vegetarian (apple, raisins and pine nuts) filling and sweet or salty walnut sauce. Make your choice before sitting back to enjoy the ambiance! (Nuevo León 68, Condesa\Calle Isabel la Católica #30, Centro Histórico)
Long regarded as serving one of the best chiles en nogada in the city, El Cardenal does not disappoint. The picadillo is a mixture of beef, pine nuts, almonds and fruit. The walnut sauce is also traditional and does not contain sherry. (various locations in Centro Histórico & San Ángel)
If you have not yet tried chiles en nogada in Mexico City, you have until the end of September to do so. Select one of these places and give it a try, you’ll be glad you did!