Mexico City, Mexico
Gerardo Vázquez Lugo
Why go: A much-loved institution, Nicos has been satisfying Mexicans' stomachs for more than 60 years. Architect-turned-chef Gerardo Vázquez Lugo creates dishes that take diners on an odyssey through the country's rich culinary heritage. In 2018, having celebrated the restaurant’s 60th anniversary, Vázquez Lugo and his mother Maria Elena Lugo Zermeño received the Lifetime Achievement Award for their joint contribution to Mexican cuisine.
What's the chef's ethos? A keen supporter of the Slow Food movement, Vázquez Lugo is a passionate advocate of local sourcing and traditional styles of cooking. His menu chronicles the country's diverse regional flavours and cooking techniques.
From the menu: Try the locally sourced organic pork marinated with chilli, brown sugar and chocolate, accompanied by tamalito corn and corn sprouts. The signature enchiladas, with green sauce, poblano peppers and grilled vegetables, are also recommended, as is the pulpo a la antigua (octopus the old-fashioned way), a traditional recipe of the Vázquez-Lugo family featuring sliced peppers, güero chilli and dried fruits.
What's the vibe? Friendly and unpretentious. Vázquez Lugo’s mother, María Elena Lugo Zermeño, who set up the restaurant in 1957, still flits among the white-clothed tables chatting to customers as her son works in the kitchen.