Culture

A Guide To Real Mexico City Neighbourhood From The Movie ‘Roma’

If you haven’t already seen the movie, you’ve certainly heard about it. Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma was the unexpected hit of the summer — an arthouse, black and white, mostly Spanish language film released on Netflix that went on to pick up ten Oscar nominations and win in three categories.

Roma is set in 1970s Mexico City, in the neighbourhood of the same name. Then, Roma was an upper-class area but the years that followed saw it change face: the barrio declined in the ’80s and ’90s and was eventually reborn as the hipster capital of CDMX in the noughties. Today, it’s divided into two neighbourhoods — Norte (north) and Sur (south) — that together with neighbouring Condesa have become the place to go for incredible art, fashion, food and culture.

So where should you seek out in the real-life Roma? From what so see to where to find the perfect taco, we’ve got a few ideas.

Start your day at Panaderia Rosetta

Panderia Rosetta Roma Mexico City

Image: Panderia Rosetta / Facebook

Fresh baguettes and warm croissants stuffed with spinach and ricotta might not be the sort of food you thought you’d seek out in Mexico, but one trip to Panderia Rosetta and you’ll see why it’s hailed as the city’s best bakery. The coffee here is almost as good as at home, so you can (and should) pull up a stool and linger over a cup while you eat breakfast.

Where: Colima 179, Colonia Roma

Shop at Tuza

 

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Mexico City’s creative scene is one of the best in the world and you can take a piece of it home with a visit to Tuza. The boutique stocks achingly-cool clothing and jewellery from local designers like Alysta, as well as bits and bobs like zines, tarot cards and jade face rollers (good for wrinkles, apparently).

Where: Colima 129, Roma Norte

Eat the street

The best 80 cents you’ll ever spend? A taco from the truck that sets up outside the supermarket on the corner of Merida and Colima, just down from Tuza. The area here is a hub for incredible street food – quesadillas during the day, tostadas at night and the tacos kick off after breakfast and stay put until late. Everything’s around 40 pesos a pop which is, yes, less than AU$1. Arrive hungry, leave only when you couldn’t possibly stomach another bite.

Where: Corner of Merida and Colima, Roma Norte

Sleep somewhere local

You won’t find big hotel chains in Roma. Instead, you can rest your head at boutique accommodation like La Valise (which only has three suites) or Nima Local House Hotel, set in a traditional restored house. Or, better yet, really do Roma like a local and book an Airbnb.

See the Museo del Objeto del Objeto

 

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Not into museums? Trust us, you’ll like this one. Museo del Objeto del Objeto (or MODO) tells the history of modern Mexico its own way — by exhibiting nearly 100,000 pieces of ‘everyday objects’ like matchboxes, postage stamps, football paraphernalia, soda bottles and cigarettes. If it sounds a little leftfield, well, that’s Roma.

Where: Colima 145, La Roma

Do Paramo or El Parnita… or both

 

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By day, El Parnita serves margaritas, guacamole and some of the city’s best tacos. By night, Paramo plates up…. much the same. These two same-same-but-different establishments are in the same location (Paramo is upstairs, El Parnita at ground level) and run by the same team; when El Parnita closes, Paramo opens. The menus are somewhat different — expect more inventive tacos and more mezcal at night — but both are very, very tasty. They’re also full of that magic Roma energy: this is exactly where you should linger over another round.

Where: Av. Yucatan, No. 84, Colonia Roma Norte

Just walk around

 

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But the best way to experience Roma is simply by pounding the pavement. Stroll down tree-lined streets, gaze up at colourful Art Nouveau buildings and stop for an al fresco margarita when it’s time to recharge, poking your head into rambling second hand book stores, vintage shops and boutiques selling beautiful ceramics along the way. All of Mexico City is wonderful, but Roma is the best of best.