Juárez . Mexico City
- Ambience 70%
- Service 70%
- Food (Execution) 70%
- Creativity 70%
- Value 70%
Address: Avenida Cuitláhuac 3102
Telephone: +52 55 5761 2727
Restaurant Type: Casual Dining
Hours: Mon-Fri 7:30 am to 7 pm[/types] Sat 8 am to 7 pm[/types] Sun Closed[/types]
Summary of Review
Restaurant Review for Nicos
Rating: 2.9 stars
Somebody asked me, “How do you choose the restaurants you visit for reviews?” You can read the detailed answer in an upcoming article but one thing we always do when beginning coverage of a city is we visit all the restaurants that are listed on “TheWorlds50Best.com” (for Latin America).
We’ve found that about 20% of the restaurants on the list are nowhere close to being among the 50 best. Some are among the absolute worst dining experiences we’ve had in Latin America. And when you’ve been to about 500 restaurants, cafés and sandwich shops in a two-year period, that’s a pretty derogatory statement. So we always give our take on those restaurants that have achieved that dubious honor.
I regret to say that Nicos now joins that 20% list of disappointments that has received way more praise than it deserves.
Nicos is a traditional Mexican food restaurant, serving fairly typical Mexican cuisine in a slightly better atmosphere than you might expect at some corner restaurant selling tacos, enchiladas and tamales in Mexico City.
The first clue that you’re not going to be treated to a world-class dining experience is the location. Nico’s is located in Clavería. I’m certain there are some wonderful families residing in the neighborhood, but this is certainly nowhere you’d expect one of the city’s “best” restaurants to reside. It’s a long taxi ride from the center of town. By the time you fight the traffic to get there, wait a few minutes for your table, and then take a taxi back to the real world, you’ve probably wasted about 3 to 4 hours of your day on what is really nothing more than a typical Mexican food restaurant. And that description is being generous.
The façade of this restaurant is vaguely reminiscent of the graffiti speckled façade of
El Baqueano in San Telmo in Buenos Aires. The photo in slider says it all.
When you open that front door there’s a definite improvement. One big dining room with pale off-white and burnt-orange walls, a couple of poorly hung paintings and a row of fake flowers at the entrance. The cream-colored travertine lends a slight air of elegance, but the unpressed white tablecloths look oddly out of place against the honed travertine. It’s sort of like a Denny’s in the USA, or Garfunkel’s in London, with the addition white tablecloths.
I ordered a poblano pepper stuffed with a shrimp salad. Although the menu did indicate the dish was a cold dish, and that the pepper was stuffed with a shrimp salad, there was nothing that would indicate that the shrimp was to be raw. Of course, high-quality shrimp can be served raw. It’s done frequently in sushi and sashimi preparations. To be honest, I’m still not certain whether the shrimp were supposed to be raw or cooked.
Either way, the shrimp was tasteless, with little or no seasoning. And the dished was topped with julienned iceberg lettuce. Really?
This was an uncreative, unappetizing and ill-conceived dish. I would not order it again.
The main course was a braised pork, served in a rich adobo salsa, accompanied by a tamal.
The “organic” pork was overcooked rendering it dry. Thank God for that delicious adobo sauce. They got that right. I soaked every bite in a huge amount of that salsa in attempt to offset the dryness of the pork. The accompanying tamal was acceptable, but not half as good as the one I’d had a few days earlier at Fonda de los Recuerdos.
Maybe a good dessert would make up for the disappointment of the two savory courses. I ordered the “spongy” cheesecake. It looked pretty appetizing on the plate. But unfortunately, it was grossly overcooked. The filling, which should have been creamy and “spongy” as described in the menu, actually crumbled like a cake. You can see what I’m describing in the photograph. This was a huge lapse of execution!
The service was acceptable, but hardly stellar. The entire staff of waiters looked a bit confused and the restaurant was not all that busy. Don’t they looked a bit confused in the photos? None of them spoke English.
And mind you, this restaurant is highly regarded. Insider accounts say that all the local politicians frequent this place. If their political decisions are as bad their dining choices that might explain the somewhat disappointing state of the Mexican economy.
There must be a hundred better examples of traditional Mexican cuisine in District Federal. This was nothing short of an embarrassment.
This dining experience was so bad, in fact, that we’re adding Nicos to our list of overrated restaurants in Mexico City. It can proudly join Maximo Bistrot, and Biko on that list.