Pujol, by Mexican Enrique Olvera, is the best restaurant in North America
"Enrique Olvera is accredited with the proof that Mexican rustic flavors deserve as much attention as any other haute cuisine in the world, and Pujol has been his pedestal to highlight that point," says The World's 50 Best Restaurants.
Enrique Olvera opened Pujol in Mexico City in the year 2000. "His kitchen is always changing, he picks up ideas from here and there, he reinterprets and evolves, but he has roots in the ingredients and the Mexican techniques of all times", points to his website.
As it has been underlined, its menu is based on purely Mexican dishes: beans and quelites tlayuda, huitlacoche, black truffle, quintoniles open papadzul, quail egg, chiltomate, sweet potato, mole de piñón, mole mother, new mole, tamale de coffee, ginger ice cream, honeycomb, among others.
Quintonil endorses success
At The World's 50 Best Restaurants there is also another Mexican restaurant: Quintonil, founded in 2012.
Also located in Polanco, Quintonil is a gastronomic project directed by Alejandra Flores and Jorge Vallejo, whose purpose is to express the flavors of the ingredients of the Mexican territory in their menu under a personal gaze.
Since 2015, Quintonil has been on the select list of 50 Best World's Restaurants, this time at position 24.
The restaurant of the French Riviera Mirazur, of the Argentine Mauro Colagreco, won the first place in the influential list of the 50 best in the world promoted by Restaurant magazine, while the Danish Noma de René Redzepi, who has won four times, returns to the list in the second position.
The third place is occupied by Basque Asador Etxebarri of Bittor Arguinzoniz, while Central de Lima, by Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez, repeats the sixth place of the previous edition.
Among the top ten of the coveted list is Mugaritz from Basque Andoni Luis Aduriz, who climbs from 9 to 7, and Barcelona enjoys Eduard Xatruch, Oriol Castro and Mateu Casañas, ex-chef of elBulli, which is placed in ninth position and up to nine places.
The Lima Maido, where chef Mitsuharu Tsumura fuses Peruvian and Japanese cuisine, drops three positions to tenth place.
In the solitary representation of Asia in the "top 10", Gaggan in Bangkok, Indian Gaggan Anand, three years in a row best restaurant in Asia and in 2018 ranked fifth, won the fourth place.
The best of the best
Those responsible for the famous list, promoted by the British magazine Restaurant since 2002, decided this year to change the rules quite controversially and no restaurant that has been crowned previously as the best in the world may be included, which seeks to make room to new names.
This ruled out last year's winner, Italian Osteria Franciscana, from chef Massimo Bottura; to the Spanish El Celler de Can Roca (winner in 2013 and 2015), which in the previous edition was placed in the second position, and the New Yorker Eleven Madison Park, winner in 2017 and fourth in 2018.
These three restaurants are part of a new category: "The best of the best", which also include the mythical elBulli by Ferrán Adrià, who crowned the list for a total of six years, and the rest of restaurants that have won at some time.
The ranking is made from the votes of one thousand 40 chefs, critics and gourmet travelers chosen by Restaurant magazine and this year have another novelty: for the first time, the voting panel consisted of the same number of men and women.
Pujol and Quintonil, two restaurants in Mexico City, were recognized during the award ceremony of the 50 best restaurants in the world. The gala was made by The World's 50 Best, list that since 2002 awards annually to the best of the gastronomic world. In addition, Mexican chef Daniela Soto-Innes was recognized as the best female chef in the world for her work at the Cosme restaurant in New York.
Chef Enrique Olvera's Pujol restaurant was ranked 12th on the list, making it the best-rated restaurant in North America. In 2000, Olvera inaugurated this space dedicated to contemporary Mexican food, which mixes ingredients of pre-Hispanic origin with modern gastronomic techniques.
Mole madre, mole nuevo is Pujol's signature dish, which contains 100 ingredients and is cooked for around 2 thousand days.
"The secret is to reheat it and feed the mixture so that it continues to be preserved. It prepares mole every two weeks and integrates the old man, "the chef told the Gourmet half of Mexico.
Pujol, located in Tennyson 133, Polanco in Mexico City, has no a la carte food and only offers a tasting menu that does not include drinks, divided into two categories: Corn and Sea. Both menus cost 2,554 Mexican pesos (VAT included).
Tlayuda bean and quelites
Huitlacoche, black truffle
Open papadzul of quintoniles, quail egg, chiltomate
Sweet potato, pinion mole
Mole mother, new mole
Coffee tamale, ginger ice cream, corduroy
Blades of chayote, the beak of callus
Fish ceviche, cacahuazintle juice, celery, yuzu.
Octopus, chintextle, carrot pickle
Striped sea bass, holy leaf, tomato jam, plantain
Mole mother, new mole
Nicoatole of matcha, lychee, yuzu
In addition, you can eat a menu of tacos at the bar, which translates to a repertoire of 11 tacos accompanied by pairing. The cost of this menu that includes drinks, is 2,998 pesos (includes VAT).
If you want to try the menu of the best restaurant in North America, it is necessary to make a reservation through its website or by phone.
Enrique Olvera, the chef behind the best restaurant in Mexico
Meet the creator of Pujol, the best restaurant in Mexico and North America.
The publisher of Bon Appètit magazine, Andrew Knowlton, described Olvera as a "living legend" and "one of the greatest chefs in the world", when he presented him in the first episode of the reality show The Final Table on Netflix.
Chilango (from Mexico City) by birth, Olvera (1976) grew up in Colonia del Valle. During his youth, he cooked for his friends and later their parents began attending their parties just to eat. Thanks to these events, he began to consider dedicating himself to cooking.
Later he moved to New York to study gastronomy at the Culinary Institute of America. The approach he had to haute cuisine and his admiration for Jean-Georges Vongerichten or Daniel Boulud, made him more interested in the cuisine of the author.
Enrique Olvera's kitchen is always changing, refreshing his ideas looking to the future without leaving aside the past. From his beginnings, he never wanted to imitate or follow the recipes, since for him cooking is a technical, creative and intellectual process.
Upon returning to Mexico City, the chef decided to venture to open Pujol. After some difficulties, in May 2000, he managed to open it in a modest Polanco store. But his dishes inspired by Thomas Keller and New American Cuisine were not to the taste of the public.
Olvera decided to turn his kitchen around by incorporating the duck stew to the menu and later, during the deconstruction stage in Pujol, from 2005 to 2009, he added his mole de olla creation.
Although in 2004 Pujol was considered among the best restaurants in the country, Enrique Olvera felt that something was missing and it was on his trips to Oaxaca where he learned a great variety of moles, ingredients, techniques, and recalled the taste of a freshly made tortilla made. This was how Pujol's cuisine evolved its signature cuisine and incorporated Mexican ingredients.
19 years after opening Pujol, Olvera is one of the references of Mexican cuisine in the world. Since he was a student, he has received national and international awards, such as the Gold Medal of the Socièté Culinaire Phlanthropiquede New York, the M.K Fisher Award and the Jacob Rosenthal Leadership Award.
The gastronomic adventures of Enrique Olvera continue with his collaboration with the Moxi restaurant, in the Matilda hotel in San Miguel de Allende and in 2014, he opened the Cosme restaurant in New York, next to the best chef in the world by The World's 50 Best, Daniela Soto-Innes
Olvera's love for corn and tortillas led him to create the Molino El Pujol restaurant in Mexico City.
"Edible weeds" is what the word quintonil means in Nahuatl. Chef Jorge Vallejo's restaurant has been recognized again on the list sponsored by San Pellegrino, in the 24th place. After having worked in Pujol with chef Enrique Olvera, in 2012, Jorge decided to open this restaurant with his wife Alejandra Flores, whom he met while they both worked there.
The specialty of the place is tartare of tatemado guacamole, escamoles, and chips of quelites. However, the crab salty toast is another of the stars of the place. Also, the summer menu offers avocado in a crust of burnt chili, pumpkin puree, and pineapple; roasted cabbage, ax callus cream and artichoke and broad chili; and guava stones, creamy guava caramel and pink pepper gel, among other options.
"What I enjoy most in life is eating and making people happy through food; the pleasure of serving is wonderful. That's why I do what I like the most: cooking, "Jorge revealed to Food and Travel Mexico.
Quintonil is located on Av. Isaac Newton 55, Polanco in Mexico City. It has a la carte food that is around 250 pesos in entrees and 450 pesos in entrees.
Daniela Soto-Innes, the Mexican recognized as the best female chef in the world
The Mexican received her award for the best female chef in the world for her performance at the Cosme restaurant in New York. The restaurant is the result of a partnership created between Soto-Innes and chef Enrique Olvera in 2014.
Soto-Innes, who was born in Mexico 28 years ago, has spent most of his life in the United States since he moved to Texas when he was 12 years old.
"Being voted the best female chef by my colleagues means a lot to me and I'm very grateful for that," Daniela said in a video posted on The World's 50 Best Restaurants & 50 Best Bars website.