While Mexican food is famous all around the world, few people outside of Mexico are aware of the different types of Mexican cuisine scattered all throughout the country. While tacos and burritos have become hits all around the world, Mexican cuisine is so much more than that. In fact, burritos aren’t really much of a Mexican food at all! Within Mexico, most people would agree that Puebla is the country’s culinary capital.
We lived in Puebla for a couple of years, and let’s just say we may have gained a couple of pounds during our time there. The food truly is so good, and the price points are unbeatable. Coming from two Americans who spent a couple years living and studying there, here are the best foods to eat in Puebla, Mexico.
The Best Foods to Eat in Puebla
Puebla has a reputation of being a bit of a foodie city, especially for those interested in Mexican cuisine. This makes sense, as both of the national dishes of Mexico, Chiles en Nogada and Mole, originated here. Poblano cuisine is actually considered by many to be the best food in Mexico, which means that the best foods to eat in Puebla are actually some of the best foods to eat in Mexico as a whole!
1. Mole Poblano
Mole is served year round and is a sauce made of various peppers and seeds served over chicken. The thing that makes Mole in Puebla different from Mole anywhere else is that the Poblanos add chocolate to the sauce! Mole poblano is a staple, and is easily one of the best foods to eat in Puebla.
To be honest, Mole Poblano is my favorite Mexican food. The chocolate and chicken combo might not sound too appealing, but I promise you that it is amazing. Just one taste and you’ll understand why it’s at the top of the list of the best foods to eat in Puebla!
2. Chiles en Nogada
Chiles en Nogada are usually served exclusively in the fall around Mexican Independence Day. The dish is composed of poblano peppers stuffed with meat and fruits covered in a sweet walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.
To be completely honest, Chiles en Nogada aren’t our favorite dish. We’ve had them several times in an effort to find ones that we think are actually good, but they just haven’t really done it for us. Now, if we don’t like them, why would I put them on the list of the best foods to eat in Puebla? While we’re not the biggest fans of the taste, they’re one of the national dishes of Mexico and are something every traveler should try!
3. Tacos Arabes (or Cemitas or Tortas)
During the Lebanese diaspora of the early 19th century, Arab Christians came to the area and brought one of my favorite things: Kebab. To solidify their place in Mexican society, they blended their cuisine from home with some of the gastronomic staples of the area, creating the taco arabe. Basically, this is a “taco” made of seasoned Kebab meat and served on a pita tortilla. They’re delicious. Carne Arabe is also served on different types of sandwiches, like tortas and cemitas. Any kind of Carne Arabe is solidly on the list of the best foods to eat in Puebla. While many places serve them – including our favorite hidden gem restaurant in Puebla (see below) – one of the most common places to get them is at Taqueria La Oriental, which is a local chain.
Every city in Mexico has its iconic day-to-day food. While Mole Poblano and Chiles en Nogada are undoubtedly iconic foods (they’re the national dishes, after all!), they definitely aren’t dishes you’d enjoy every day. They are both heavy and best enjoyed on occasion. In Puebla, the real daily dishes are tacos arabes and cemitas. Cemitas are a kind of sandwich specific to Puebla, and they are arguably the city’s go-to meal.
Cemitas come in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. Some cemitas are as simple as bread and meat, while others are much more involved with a long list of ingredients. Many people will tell you that true cemitas are served with carnitas, quesillo, chipotle peppers, and avocado, but this is not always the case. Our favorite cemitas place makes them very, very differently than that! The one thing that all cemitas do have in common is the bread, which is a sweet sesame seed roll that is made without eggs.
Chalupas originate from several south-central states in Mexico, including Puebla, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, and Guerrero. They are easily the simplest food on this list, and they are usually served as either an appetizer or a snack. Chalupas are pieces of deep fried masa dough covered in salsa, cheese, shredded lettuce, and occasionally meat. They’re typically served in order of three or five, and I personally could have many more. One way to think of chalupas is as deep fried, often meatless tacos.
Best Places to Eat in Puebla
This place is widely regarded as one of the finest restaurants in the city and easily one of the best places to eat in Puebla. They serve authentic, high-quality Poblano food for a reasonable price by US standards. This place is a bit on the nicer end, and you’d be better off in smart casual attire. This is a great place to try Mole Poblana or Chiles en Nogada, as many people say this restaurant is the best in the world at both of these dishes!
2. Casa Barroca
This is another restaurant on the finer end. They also serve fantastic Poblano food in a beautiful environment. It’s really hard to put either of these first two restaurants above the other, as both serve incredible local food in a fantastic space and belong on the list of the best places to eat in Puebla without a question. This would be another awesome spot to try one of the national dishes! We went for brunch on a Sunday, and it was honestly fantastic.
3. El Cielo de Jalisco
This is less of a restaurant recommendation and more of a quick bite stop, but it still deserves the title of one of the best places to eat in Puebla. It’s an extremely local, little shop and we have one recommendation for you – cemitas arabes and cemitas al pastor (or tortas if they’re out of cemitas!) This place is our go-to for a quick bite, and we’d be lying if we said we go here any less than weekly. Expect to pay less than a dollar per cemita or torta!
It’s a mom & pop so they don’t have a website, but these directions should get you there!
Address: On Calle 4 Sur between Avenida 5 Oriente & 7 Oriente.
4. La Berenjena
We hate to include a restaurant on the list of the best places to eat in Puebla that doesn’t even serve Mexican food, but La Berenjena is just that good. The pizza here is fantastic, along with a good selection of other Italian dishes. There are several locations, but the one we’d recommend is the one in Los Sapos, as you can stroll the neighborhood after your dinner! They have a great indoor and outdoor space and are a good way to mix things up if you want a break from Mexican food.
This place is another chain, and it is the home of Tacos Arabes. There are a bunch of these located throughout the city. Their Tacos Arabes are clearly the thing to try, but we’ve never heard a complaint about anything on their menu! We’d recommend it as a great lunch spot. The thing that makes this one of the best places to eat in Puebla is its convenience. There are locations in just about every part of the city!
Do you like tacos? We hope so if you’re headed to Mexico! The final place we’d consider one of the best places to eat in Puebla is Las Ranas. It’s our favorite taco joint in town. They have so many different types of meat that you can order in your tacos, and they have very affordable prices. We’d recommend trying their chorizo tacos or their tacos al pastor!
7. La Pasita
La Pasita technically shouldn’t be on this list, as it is not a place to eat. However, La Pasita is simply so cool and important that it has to be included on this list. La Pasita is a local bar in the Historic Center of Puebla that makes its own raisin liquor that absolutely needs to be tried while you are in the city. Located at the end of the Callejon de Los Sapos, this little bar is famous throughout the city and is a tourist favorite. We lived a 10-second walk from this little bar, and we can’t sings its praises enough as a quick place to visit! The most iconic drink in the bar, the caballito, is a shot of the house-made liquor served with a raisin and a piece of goat cheese on a toothpick.
Thank you for reading our post about the best foods to eat in Puebla, Mexico! Hopefully this post didn’t make your mouth start watering too much. Honestly, the food in Puebla is probably the thing we miss most about this incredible city that we used to call home.
If you’re planning a trip to Puebla, let us know! Comment! Email us! We’d love to chat ahead of time and answer any questions you have. Otherwise, have a wonderful day and stay present!