Sign up with email


Already a member? Log in.

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

The first inhabitants of what is modern-day Mexico City subsisted on mostly plants and grains. Their daily protein intake came from nixtamalized corn, beans, insects and, in smaller amounts, fish and game. When the Spanish brought pork, chicken and cattle to the New World, the local diet changed forever.

Today, the average Mexican still doesn’t consume much meat; our diets continue to be based mainly on corn, beans and other grains. But meat is ever present in our dishes. All you have to do is walk around Mexico City to find street stalls that sell tacos, tamales, tortas, quesadillas, etc. – all containing meat or with the option to add it.

That is why finding places that make vegetarian dishes – and make them well – is always a refreshing experience. Once upon a time, we had bread from the small cafeteria next to one of the most popular cafés in Coyoacán. At the time we didn’t give it a lot of thought; we only noted in passing that the bread and sweet rolls, whole-wheat and freshly baked, were particularly good. A few weeks ago, when we were invited to have breakfast at that same place, we were surprised to discover that they offered breakfast, and we gladly accepted, if only to try that delicious bread again.

Papalotl (Nahuatl for “butterfly”) is located just a couple of blocks away from the center of Coyoacán, one of the D.F.’s most beloved destinations (as you might have noticed from past First Stop features) for tourists and locals alike. The colonial buildings and cobblestone streets give Coyoacán the feeling of being outside of the city, when, in fact, the city has swallowed what has been a popular getaway for Mexico City residents since colonial times.

Every single dish that Papalotl serves is vegetarian and made with organic ingredients. That morning, we had the green chilaquiles, a delicious dish of baked tortilla chips served with a spicy green sauce and topped with a free-range organic egg. Other breakfast options include molletes made with whole-wheat bolillos and topped with organic beans and cheese, eggs cooked with vegetarian chorizo, enchiladas and amaranth pancakes served with agave syrup.

For less than 100 pesos (around US$8), one can enjoy a delicious breakfast that includes organic coffee or tea, orange juice and a main dish. We were surprised by how many dishes Papalotl’s employees were able to prepare in the small kitchen at the back of the restaurant. They also offer a lunch menu that includes such items as veggie burgers and lasagna, and at very affordable prices.

Or for a lot less than that, you can just sit at one of their wooden tables on the sidewalk and enjoy a cup of tea, chocolate or coffee with a piece of freshly baked sweet roll and know that none of the ingredients used for those products were sprayed with hazardous chemicals but that they came from small producers all around Mexico. For those reasons and those prices, not to mention the delicious bread and food, Papalotl deserves a tip of the hat.

  • GatBlauNovember 6, 2019 GatBlau (0)
    Vegetables often get short shrift at restaurants – greens, legumes and tubers are […] Posted in Barcelona
  • Café El JarochoSeptember 26, 2018 Café El Jarocho (0)
    Way south of the pure, unadulterated hustle and bustle of the historic center, east of […] Posted in Mexico City
  • La JoyaJune 27, 2018 La Joya (0)
    Mexican diners offer a place for many in the capital to go for simple eats, often for […] Posted in Mexico City
PJ Rountree

Published on September 02, 2014

Related stories

November 6, 2019

GatBlau: Vegetable Worship

Barcelona | By Paula Mourenza
BarcelonaVegetables often get short shrift at restaurants – greens, legumes and tubers are relegated to the same tired side dishes, or just one component of many in a generic main, subsumed by the dish’s other ingredients. Not so at GatBlau (literally BlueCat in Catalan), located in the Left Eixample. This restaurant is a shrine to vegetables,…
coffee coyoacan
September 26, 2018

Café El Jarocho: Old Wave Coffee

Mexico City | By Lauren Cocking
Mexico CityWay south of the pure, unadulterated hustle and bustle of the historic center, east of refined and residential San Ángel, and northwest of Xochimilco and its colorful canals lies Coyoacán, a neighborhood unlike any other in the megalopolis that is Mexico City. Once an artsy hangout for the movers and shakers of the day, like…
June 27, 2018

La Joya: Hangover Helper

Mexico City | By James Young
Mexico CityMexican diners offer a place for many in the capital to go for simple eats, often for people struggling to make ends meet. The key is to look for a crowded lunch bar lined with clients downing food before they have to head back to work. For example, if you find yourself strolling down 5…
Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar
EUR Euro