Mexico City, Mexico
What’s the story? This Guadalajara import took Mexico City by storm when it opened in hip Roma Norte in 2015, prompting chef Tomás Bermudez to double down in the capital with a second outpost in the affluent Polanco neighbourhood. The flagship La Docena, which translates as ‘The Dozen’, has appeared in Latin America’s 50 Best list for the past two years in a row.
The vibe: Like the Roma Norte branch, this boisterous New Orleans-inspired oyster bar and grill attracts the wealthy and artsy set, who flock here on the weekends. Despite the expansive space, it can get crowded, with guests spilling out onto the pavement slurping oysters from the shell and knocking back gin and tonics and ice-cold beers. The centrepiece of the restaurant is the Argentine parrilla grill and seafood counter, stacked high with oysters and shellfish on mountains of crushed ice.
Style of food: As you’d expect, the focus is on oysters, served raw in a host of ways or grilled with butter, shallots and parsley. For those not keen on bivalves, there is a large menu to choose from, including classic po' boys, octopus tostadas, ceviche and fried squid or even Iberian ham and burgers. The beverage selection is no slouch either, with artisanal beer, local wine and cocktails on offer. Save room for dessert: the signature dulce de leche volcano comes with banana ice cream and explodes with flavour.
About the chef: Bermudez is a Mexico native – born in Mexico City and raised in Durango – but learned his trade in the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, with a stint at renowned, traditional parrilla El Pobre Luis. He moved back to Mexico to work at Argentine restaurant La Porteña in Guadalajara – where the first La Docena would open in 2012 – followed by a trip to Europe to cook at Martín Berasategui in Spain and Le Chateaubriand in Paris.