Shakshuka Search in Mexico City

Considering all the junk I also eat – as I am currently looking for the best burger in Mexico City – it is good for me to opt for one of these instead, as it’s quite a healthy breakfast meal.  The Shakshuka is a tasty Middle Eastern tomato egg based meal, typically spicy and served with some bread.  IMHO most healthy sans bread, or with some keto bread instead.  I had a habit of getting quite a bit of these from Tuesday Morning during the end of my covid stay in Thailand, and although I’ve had a few since I left, none were nearly as good.  Along with my other food themed blogs here in Mexico City, my search continues.  I will note that this is written as of September 2021, and that several places have Shakshuka either in pictures or menus found online, however no longer seem to carry it.  This is the case for both Monsieur Croque (French) and Merkavá (Israeli) restaurants – however below are successful attempts at ordering and trying some out.

I’ll also include some similar dishes that are in the same family of potential egg/tomato/Mexican breakfasts that I try.

My favorites, in no particular order, to which I’ll return/put in some regular rotation:

  • Blend Station – huevos cazuelas
  • Jimmy Boy Cafe Bistro – huevos sashuka
  • Cafe 54 – shakshuka
  • Yellow Monkey – shakshuka
  • Giornale Ejército – shakshuka

It also seems like if you want a spicy shakshuka, you’ll be concocting your own at home!  This will require, at least for someone like me, picking up some prepared tomatoes (Walmart) and tomato paste – harder to find around at stores, apparently available, but picked mine up from Mercado Libre.  You can get some Middle Eastern heat through various ways, it seems quite expensive to source while in Mexico, although I brought a jar of Mina Harissa down from the states.

The dishes I tried:

Hummusiya – (Hipódromo Condesa)

I had some hummus and other tasty things here, but focusing just on the Shakshuka – the first i successfully tried in Mexico.  I was surprised that it was not spicy; in fact it had somewhat of a sweet taste to it.  Not sure where that would even come from outside of some added sugar, which I’m not looking for in a healthy breakfast.  It was good, I certainly finished it all, but it was also not what I was expecting or necessarily looking for in my Shakshuka.

Blend Station – (Condesa)

There are a few of these, I’ve only ever visited this one in Condesa with a cool airy open space in the middle.  It is also a good spot to ‘digital nomad’ and pop a squat with a laptop – plenty of power around and mostly everyone else here is doing some kind of work on their laptops.

I’ll note that Blend Station does not have a shakshuka, but a huevos cazuela, which appears to translate to “eggs casserole” – I’m not sure what to expect, but it is certainly something similar.  I think Shakshukas may have reached peak popularity a couple of years ago, which seems appropriate for this place to have one but for me to perhaps find some places that have dropped them off the menu.

This dish was not spicy, although with no claim to the shakshuka name, that expectation can be given a pass.  “Poached eggs 2 pieces, rustic tomato sauce, jocoque, fresh basil and extra virgin olive oil.”  The sauce was quite flavorful and enjoyable.  It was very tasty.  As far as I know, I’ve never had jocoque before; I wasn’t sure at the time if it was yogurt or cheese or what.  Now looking back at the menu and translating items I see this is what it was.  It was a good mix in and I really enjoyed the dish.  I would definitely order this again; note it is only served until 1pm.

La Otilia – (Polanco)

Fortunately/unfortunately I’m staying in Anzures, which means I need to walk a decent amount to many of the places I would like to try.  This is great for burning up some of all the calories I’m consuming, but makes it harder to fit trying something in to my breakfast or lunch world.  So rather than stop by for this dish, I’ve ordered it on Uber Eats, and we’ll hope it arrives warm and good enough; although there’s certainly no way some poached eggs aren’t going to end up cooked through.  I’m just hoping it does not become a tomato slosh in a box.

Oy, and here it is.  Apologies to La Otilia as surely this comes out fresh and plated better in a bowl than attempting to deliver it to some idiot 2.8 km away.  Was delivered via bicycle as an aside.  The good: I liked the hummus and jocoque.  Overlooking the foolishness of me attempting to have this meal delivered anyway though; I was not a big fan of some major components.  The pita bread was very thin, like chip level thickness basically, and seemed like taking a pita and smashing it down.  This meant it was not good at absorbing anything, be it egg or the tomato base.  Also both tended to just slip right off it. So best attempts were to use it as a scoop, although it was rather small, so best to give up and just toss everything in your mouth, or use the chips for the hummus and jocoque in particular.  The tomato sauce I did not find very flavorful.  Reading and translating the description now, I see that the pita was vegan.  Don’t do vegan pitas people.

Boicot Café – (Roma Norte)

This is another great nomad spot to set up shop and work and also a small chain.  It has a huevos shakshuka on the menu.

It smelled fairly peppery when it came out, although I didn’t notice in the taste.  They gave me a knife and fork rather than a spoon, but the bread did a good job of mopping everything up so that was not really a problem.  I don’t think I waited too long or anything; the eggs ended up being rather done vs. poached.  Note sure if it had jocoque like Blend Station did, or if it was just yogurt; I can say I enjoyed this stuff much more at Blend Station, as well as the overall dish.  Not spicy; the tomato sauce itself was pretty standard tomato flavored and nothing to get excited about.  Blend Station’s is a more flavorful and much better dish, and it’s just around the corner.

Jimmy Boy Cafe Bistro – (Polanco)

Not sure how they came up with the name to this place.  😀  Menu below, to show they have a ton of iterations of egg tomato dishes.  Note there is a Cuauhtémoc location too.

Huevos Sashuka – description is eggs cooked in olive oil, with garlic, onion, bell pepper, and tomato suace.

Probably the least pretty Shakshuka I’ve ever seen – but she made up with it in flavor.  This was a tasty dish.  Unlike others, this one had clear chunks of pepper and onions in it.  This sauce was very flavorful and had a little bit of a kick to it.  The eggs were a bit odd; one yolk was poached, the other cooked through by the time I had it, and the whites largely scrambled in throughout the dish.  The pita was nice and warm and soft.  The sauce next to it was some kind of spicy salsa – and it was quite potent, a lot of heat when trying it on your own.  Use sparingly if you take a visit imho!  The dish was great with or without it.

Huevos Cazuela – scrambled eggs in red chipotle sauce with melted oaxaca cheese.

This pic doesn’t capture that the tomato sauce here was bubbling as this dish arrived.  The eggs seemed quite aerated and fluffy.  This sauce had a much stronger taste of tomato to it.  I enjoyed this dish, but would stick with the shakshuka.

Huevos Con Jocoque – eggs cooked in olive oil served with jocoque and zatar.

Served with a hot bowl and bubbling oil – pretty creamy and good (jocoque seems to be mostly fat :D) – although not in the tomato family I’m looking for.  Many an option at this bistro though, plenty more egg ones I did not try.

Shuf – (Lomas de Chapultepec)

Off a nice little chill street with outdoor seating.

For their shakshuka, you get the choice of green or red salsa (or mixed), which is sounding quite a bit more Mexican than Middle Eastern here.  I went with mixed.  It was a very slighltly spicy.  It included some nice soft pita bread, red onion, jocoque, and shanklish.  Long walk for me; it was ok, but the dish wasn’t enticing enough to make me want to do it again.

Bottega Culinaria Las Lomas – (Lomas de Chapultepec)

This is a pretty big nice place; there is a row of small tables all with power, so it seems at least somewhat nomad-set-up-the-laptop-friendly; although I wouldn’t try to pull that during busier times of the day.  I’m here between lunch and dinner, or at least for normal people who don’t spend all day continuously eating anyway.

Shakshuka description: Israeli style, delicious combination of tomato with cumin and mint ,with feta cheese served in the pan.  I thought it had a good tomato flavor, but no spice; a little different than some others here is that the pita was crisp and the dish contained chickpeas.  I also had some olive oil with something extra in it off to the side, as well as a bowl of additional table breads.  It was ok, but it wouldn’t have me coming back.

Le Pain Quotidien – (Polanco)

A French chain with multiple sites.

Shakshuka description: Two Fried Eggs on a traditional Shakshuka sauce made with Tomato, Cumin, and Paprika Peppers.  I found this one in Rappi and was not sure why the pic was so white.  It was indeed accurate; this shakshuka was more like eggs, with some tomato sauce.  Unlike many others that arrive in hot iron skillets, this one was just a presentation skillet, not hot, and I’m sure not iron.   There was definitely less sauce than any of the others, and it was just a nice little tomato sauce.  Not spicy and not that interesting.  What they lacked in sauce, they made up for in bread.  2 types came with the shakshuka, and table baguette with various jams was available as well.  I wouldn’t typically buy or eat bread and jam, but if it’s just all given in front of me?  I ate it all of course.  I enjoyed the breakfast, although wouldn’t get a shakshuka here again.

Cafe 54 – (Escandón)

I found these guys offering shakshuka on Rappi.  Their google reviews/photos/menu page is pretty sparse.  It’s actually a pretty cool space, and there are a fair amount of power outlets around the room available, so a decent place to set up a digital nomad shop. 

I’m under the big 54 neon sign so my shakshuka is a bit tinted in the picture here.

It wasn’t spicy, but was pretty tasty.  Nice tomato sauce flavor, and it came with both jocoque and feta cheese.  Note those above typically have come with one or the other.  A little bit of bread, good with the dish; it might have been a little smaller than some of the others?  It was good though, I would by happy ordering it again.

Yellow Monkey – (Condesa)

Yellow Monkey is a cool little spot with some good looking cookies and a menu that has a bunch of other tasty looking things I would try.  Although when I stopped in I did not even look at it and simply ordered the shakshuka.

The description translated is: 2 poached eggs in tomato sauce, with bacon and pepper, a mix of sautéed green leaves and feta cheese.  I was asked if I wanted bacon, which I found a little confusing and said no; looks like I was charged for it too though (I assume their system just has 1 line for ordering a shakshuka) – so mistake on my end I guess – I should have actually read the menu beforehand.

As is typical here in Mexico City, it wasn’t spicy; it had a good tasting tomato base though.  I also liked that it had some vegetable chunks, the bread was nice too.  The eggs were a little buried but still poached; nice to have a little something different with the leafy stuff and avocado.  A good dish if you’re also on a shakshuka search.

Giornale Ejército – (Polanco)

Nice spot in Polanco and not a bad walk for me from Anzures – there are a few in Mexico City.  Oddly this one isn’t showing for me on their website but is in Google; Av. Ejército Nacional Mexicano 622.  Pretty good amount of seating and seemed extra careful about covid cleanliness protocol.  The menu contains a lot of delicious looking things I’d like to try, I also like that they make some stuff with monk fruit instead of sugar.  The shakshuka is described as: 2 organic poached eggs in tomato sauce, with olives and bell pepper.  Pita bread on the side.

The pita was nice soft and warm.  The base had a good deep tomato flavor, I enjoyed the black olives, although missed having some feta or jocoque in this one.  They do have jocoque so perhaps I will ask next time.  It had a hit of heat in it, but not too much.  Overall I quite enjoyed it.  I’ve typically done coffees and waters, but this time ordered a ginger lemonade to drink, which was quite refreshing.  I couldn’t resist trying something else from the pretty extensive menu, and ended up with the toast de tres quesos: 2 slices of toasted Ciabatta spread with avocado, roasted tomato slices, goat cheese, grilled panela cheese, gratin mozzarella cheese, and microgreens.

It was also great.  Really enjoyed this place and like the idea of trying a lot more menu items.

Nosh – (Hipódromo)

Nosh is an Isareli restaurant.  The Shakshuka is only available until noon.  Swanky little place with indoor and outdoor seating.

Description: poached eggs in a spicy tomato and pepper sauce, coriander, cumin, and onion served with Israeli salad, feta cheese, and pita bread.  I enjoyed the salad, a bit salty but for all I know that is standard, and it was still good.  The pita was super soft and warm and perfect.  It was nice that the Shakshuka contained vegetable chunks, although I think it fell short of some others.  The description mentions the sauce is spicy, but I didn’t notice even any subtle heat.  It was also not as reduced as much as others seemed to be, most others were thicker whereas this one was more watery.  The tomato base was nice, although not as flavorful as some others.  It’s the things that accompanied it that I found myself enjoying more with this Shakshuka.

Café C – (Del Valle Centro)

Cafe C is quite busy.  Over an hour wait last Sunday when I arrived and bailed at 11:30.  They open at 8 and this Sunday I arrived at 8:30.  Already a wait for a table, although rolling in with just me and fine with bar seating I was able to get seated right away.

Description: Israeli style eggs, poached in a red sauce with spices, goat cheese, avocado and coriander, with artisanal loaf bread.  Portion wise it is on the smaller side of some of these.  The bread was super soft and absorbable.  The sauce had a nice tomato flavor, no spicy kick, and I found to be just ok.  It was not as bold or flavorful as some others.  I am not much of a cook or food critic, but one thing I might speculate is this one may not use tomato paste?  If I come back here I would like try another dish, and get my shakshuka fix elsewhere.  You could upgrade your latte with some art here, and I got mine con gatitos!

El Jardín de Anatolia – (Del Carmen)

This is a Turkish restaurant, looking at the map I now see it is near the Frida Kahlo museum.  It is quite a bit out of my walk radius, but I wanted to try it so I got an Uber.  I was curious as to why they had shakshuka as Turks have their own version of an egg tomato dish, menemen.  If we’re getting more technical here, spelling variations aside, the Turkish version I actually ordered was saksuka.

Thus it came as described in the wikipedia article above – it was actually a cold served appetizer with no eggs, and plenty of eggplant, along with pita bread.  I had it along with lor mahludu for 2 pita appetizers and both were tasty, although if I make it out there again I will definitely be trying one of the main meat dishes!  They currently open at noon; pre-covid they were open for breakfast and did have menemen.  I would totally be down to try it if it popped up on the menu again.


Some Different Egg/Tomato Breakfasts…

It only seems fitting to compare and contrast some Mexican dishes to my favorite sought after shakshuka breakfast; here are some of the options I explored below.

Eno – (Polanco) – huevos rancheros

I tried the huevos rancheros at Eno, although it is not the standard version of this dish.  Tortilla covered in tomato based sauce with beans, avocado, and hoja santa leaf.

The base was tasty, although I’m not a huge fan of beans in general.  The ratio with other stuff was good though.  I definitely prefer shakshuka in flavor though of the tomato base.  I was happy to eat the whole dish, but didn’t enjoy it enough that it would have me coming back.  Interested in trying a more traditional version of rancheros, although everyone makes theirs a little differently.

Peltre – (Polanco) – huevos rancheros

I tried the huevos rancheros here as well, a chain with plenty of spots.  The website description says: eggs on a blue corn tortilla, bathed with ranchero sauce, cilantro and chicharrón powder, accompanied by beans and house bread.  Mine had no tortilla, which seemed a little odd.  This seems like the pretty traditional standard version of this dish.

The salsa was good, and this was a fine breakfast, albeit a rather simple one.  Not something I’d be in a rush to go back and have again.

Lalo! – (Roma Norte) – huevos rancheros

Trying some more upscale huevos rancheros from Lalo, listed as huevos fritos con salsa ranchera – 

These were accompanied by some black beans as well.  Also my first time having any cactus, mixed in with the avocado.  You can see there is tortilla under the eggs as well.  A tasty dish and you can see that everywhere you go is going to have their own wide variety of takes on huevos rancheros.

Curaduría Anzures – (Verónica Anzúres) – chilaquiles

I tried the chilaquiles from here, a nice place that is close to me and well rated.  It also came with some baguette bread.  This was the divorciados (red and green salsa) version and also had an extra egg.  Which I think I accidentally asked for or at least agreed to with some poor Spanish.

This was a delicious, and also quite a sizable meal.  The salsas were both very tasty and the combo is great with the crunchy tortilla chips as well.  I really enjoyed this, and will likely have it again, although I’m trying to look for a very frequent go to breakfast – and this fella has more calories than I would like for that.  I’m not sure how many are in here, but definitely way more than a shakshuka.  I actually think more than some of the cheeseburgers I’ve also been pounding down.  😀  A great filling meal for sure, but more heavier than a morning one I’m trying to standardize on.  Definitely recommend trying them though, and this place has a great version!

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