Mexico City, Mexico
What’s in a name? Quintonil is the name of a green Mexican herb similar to coriander that features in some of the dishes and cocktails, and pretty much sums up this restaurant: fresh, authentic and brimming with flavour. Chef Jorge Vallejo’s menu is based on local produce and showcases the best of Mexico.
What to order: Although there’s an à la carte option, those with time should pick the tasting menu for the true Quintonil experience. From crab tostadas with fresh radish and habanero chilli mayonnaise to charred avocado tartare and escamoles (ant eggs), there’s a taste of many of the things that make Mexican cuisine so unique. Everything is well balanced, with palate cleansers such as cactus sorbet, which speak to the restaurant’s identity beautifully.
About the team: Vallejo worked on cruise ships before moving on to Enrique Olvera’s restaurant, Pujol, then a role as executive chef at Diana restaurant within Mexico City’s St. Regis Hotel. He left for a stint at René Redzepi’s original Noma in Copenhagen before opening Quintonil with his wife Alejandra Flores in 2012. Flores and her charismatic team run the front-of-house at Quintonil.
Urban garden: Much of the produce at Quintonil comes from a nearby garden, where the cooks pick fresh veg and greens on a daily basis. Vallejo and his team keep their carbon footprint so low that many of their ingredients travel just 30 metres from origin to plate.
On the side of the producers: While Quintonil was closed in 2020, Vallejo and his team organised the sale and delivery of a weekly box of fresh and high-quality ingredients to continue supporting their suppliers. The chef also participated in the project Comidas Solidarias, buying ingredients from farming families in and around Mexico City and helping transform them into meals for hospital patients and vulnerable families.