Where to eat in Mexico City: Dulcinea

Several months ago, a new friend mentioned she had a favorite restaurant in Polanco. I pride myself on keeping up with the latest restaurants, but she threw out a name I didn’t know: Dulcinea.

The friend said it was kind of casual and cute, and she went there at least twice a week for fish tacos. She also said it was in Polanquito, which is the local name for the area south of Masaryk, encompassing Julio Verne, Oscar Wilde and Virgilio streets. It’s crammed with trendy restaurants and shops.

My friend Martin and I had lunch at Dulcinea a few weeks later, and I liked the place right off the bat. While some of the restaurants in Polanco seem a little too hip (like, could I even go here without my heels on?), Dulcinea seemed casual and chic, like a little bistro you’d find on the beach in Tulum. Sky blue cushions decorated the seats and a chalkboard menu hung on the wall. Homespun touches adorned the tables: napkins looked like tea towels, trimmed in blue. Thin pewter plates reminded me of the type we used to take camping when I was a kid.

Photo above by Martin de la Torre

The menu had a list of traditional Mexican plates, jazzed up with a creative twist. (Shrimp with hibiscus-flower mole, for instance.) Most items focused on the coast, with several seafood dishes to choose from.

Martin, who’d been to Dulcinea before, suggested the empanadas de plátano to start. I’m a huge fan of the empanadas de plátano at El Bajío, and really, that was my only point of reference in the savory-banana-appetizer cannon. These were different: fluffy, croquette-like nuggets of plátano sat drizzled with crema, stuffed with a thin layer of beans. The banana tasted just as it should — sweet, piquant — but was a tad too dense. I wanted more beans to even things out a little more.

Then again, the plate was so pretty that I almost didn’t care.

Next up, the asparagus con chicharrón de queso. Usually chicharrón de queso is a crispy sheet of fried cheese — it’s often served at taquerías to accompany tacos. Dulcinea’s version was slightly more elegant: a napkin of fried cheese had been wrapped around a bundle of asparagus. It looked like something you’d find in the countryside in Europe somewhere, yet the chicharrón de queso made it entirely Mexican. The greens were limp and sweet and almost buttery.

For my main plate I chose the hibiscus-flower mole with shrimp. I was a little scared it would arrive as this gloppy, cloying sauce (like an over-sweetened agua de jamaica in mole form) but it wasn’t. The sauce — a striking, cabernet color — was both sweet and salty, without weighing too much on either side. It was so good I wanted to lick the plate. I did, pretty much.

After the meal we managed to get a few words with Chef Lucy Acuña. Turns out she studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and she was a chef/instructor at the University of Anahuac for 15 years. Everything at Dulcinea is prepared fresh everyday, she told us. They’ve only got certain quantities available daily, and when they run out, they run out.

Even if you don’t live in Polanco, this place is worth seeking out.

Oscar Wilde 29
tel. 5280 8909

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7 Responses to “Where to eat in Mexico City: Dulcinea”
  1. Paola

    This looks like a nice place. One of the things I miss the most about living in DF is all the nice places to eat, I grew up in the Polanco area and every weekend we’d go out to eat, see and be seen. I am particularly fond off the places that seem like heels are needed! Here in FL even the really nice expensive restaurants have women walking around in flip flops, drives me mad!!!

  2. Stephanie

    Hi Lesley, Im in Mexico City now, staying at Casa Gonzalez for a few days–between tours. After reading your post and review of Dulcinea, I´m heading right over there…tonight. Feel free to join me. I also plan to check out the Chinampas tomorrow if you have time. Thanks again for your fantastic posts and valuable information. Stephanie

    • Lesley

      Hi Stephanie: I’m out of town right now or else I’d love to join you. Have fun!

  3. foodblogandthedog

    Just found your blog and am loving the food ideas. Authentic Mexican is a style of food I am not that familiar with and am really excited to learn more about. I know what you mean about taking photos of people too. Yesterday I went see to a local goat’s cheese producer to do a piece about it for my blog. (I live in Andalucia). They were kind of suspicious of me asking questions and because of that I didn’t feel confident enough to ask for a tour of the fabrica. I felt unwelcome, the dog did not stop barking at me from the time I got out of the car and tried to bite me as I left. I bought some of the hard cured cheese(which is lovely) but they also make a goat’s requeson (ricotta) that I am eager to try but am aprehensive about going back!I wanted to take more photos too but didn’t feel comfortable asking, it’s silly!

  4. Chef Lucy Acuña

    Hi Lesley. Thank you for your great comments. This weekend we had a couple of tables that arrived because of you’re great review. Please come again soon, and let me know.

    In February we will have new menu options so I will be expecting you’re visit to try our new dishes.


    Chef Lucy Acuña

    • The Travelling Chopsticks

      Hi Leslly, a friend of mine forwarded me your blog the other day and said that I would love it – she was right! You blog is so incredibly inspirational – with the way you write and your pictures! Dulcinea, is actually one of my favourte restaurants in Polanquito too…I go quite often for lunch but the only thing I have ever eaten is there tacos de camaron – AMAZING. Next time i’m gong to be more adventurous! X

      • Lesley

        Thank you! So glad you enjoy the blog. I took a peek at yours too — very nice theme you’ve got there. :-)

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