Restaurante La Tecla at Calle Durango 186-A, Colonia Roma Norte, Mexico City.
Several months ago, Mexico Cooks! arrived by pure happenstance at the door of Restaurante La Tecla--not to dine, but to retrieve a package that a friend left for me with Eduardo Holcombe, the charming and professional restaurant manager. After a brief chat, Sr. Holcombe graciously invited me to call him anytime to go back to the restaurant for a meal. "You really should give La Tecla a try. We've been right here since 1995."
As life will, life intervened, Mexico Cooks!' tour business took over, and I neglected Sr. Holcombe's kind invitation to dine. Weeks passed, until one day a gentle reminder email from him appeared in my inbox. "Will you be able to come to La Tecla sometime soon?" Several more emails and a phone call later, we had set a date and time for me to meet him at the restaurant.
The delightful view from my upstairs table at La Tecla. I might as well have been in Paris as in this pleasant part of Mexico City. Barely out of view to the left of the window is lovely Plaza Villa Madrid and the Cibeles fountain, an icon of this section of Colonia Roma.
I was smart enough to ask Sr. Holcombe to order a meal for me, believing that he would surely choose the dishes most representative of the long trajectory of La Tecla. We sat and chatted cheerfully over our drinks until the courtesy-of-the-house 'amuse' came to the table. This bite-size delight is a croqueta de tres chiles (little croquette made of three chiles), served with a bit of guacamole on a long thin plate. The number of croquetas on the plate depends on the number of diners at table!
This is La Tecla's version of one of Mexico Cooks!' favorite appetizers: perejil frito con doble crema (fried parsley with cream cheese). Fried parsley is a deceptive dish, an old standby made new again with the use of a tostada base and a cream cheese accompaniment. The parsley, fried until crisp, is entirely different from parsley fresh out of the refrigerator. Its melt-in-your-mouth texture and sweetly toasty-green flavor wake up one's palate for the meal to come.
Crema de elote (cream of fresh corn soup) with a square of pan de elote (sweet corn bread) and fresh corn kernels. This slightly sweet cream soup, served over an individual square of Mexican-style corn bread, perfectly complemented the fried parsley appetizer. Behind the soup you have a glimpse of the house-baked breads that accompanied the soup. Don't miss the crescent-shaped bread filled with house-made La Tecla mole--it's a standout!
Another of La Tecla's savory soups is this caldo de habas con nopales y chile pasilla (fresh fava bean and prickly pear cactus paddle soup, garnished with flavorful but gently spiced chile pasilla) and beautifully served in a traditional jícara. I'd be hard-put to say which of these two soups was my favorite. Each is very different from the other and each is a delicate treat.
Ensalada de higos y lechuga con nuez caramelizada y queso gorgonzola (lettuce and fig salad with caramelized nuts and gorgonzola cheese). You might think that this is a 'staged' salad, with more of each ingredient than usual. Nope, what you see is what you get. It's a huge portion, perfect for sharing with a companion, and absolutely marvelous. The figs are sweetly ripe, the cheese is a savory foil, the nuts add an extra touch of texture and flavor, and the lettuces crunch wonderfully.
Mexico Cooks!'s main course: pechuga de pollo rellena de flor de calabaza con torta de elote y salsa de poblano (chicken breast stuffed with squash flowers, with corn cake and a sauce of poblano chile). The chicken breast was tender and juicy, the squash flowers and chile poblano combined to give the dish fresh-from-the-milpa flavors. This modern dish is a deep reflection of Mexico's agricultural history.
La Tecla's goal when it opened its doors in 1995 was to present dishes with unique style and flavor in a contemporary Mexican style. After 21 years in the same spot, that successful goal remains the same. The restaurant is committed to caring for every detail, flavor, and quality of ingredients in each of its dishes. The atmosphere at La Tecla is cozy and comfortable, giving the diner the sensation that he or she is a welcome guest at the table of someone who cares deeply about offering a pleasing experience. Some of the dishes are homey favorites presented in a modern fashion; others are up-to-the-minute Mexican haute cuisine that bring freshness, flavor, and beauty to the table.
After my first visit to La Tecla, I started asking Mexico City food-world friends if they had ever eaten there. To a person, each answered, "Of course, La Tecla! With so many new restaurants on the scene, we haven't been there for years." My response: "It's time to go back. Surprise yourself with what's on the menu!"
A huge thank you to the gracious Dr. Carmen Oceja, to Eduardo Holcombe, and to the entire team at La Tecla for this introduction to its wonderful menu.
Whether you are visiting Mexico City or are a long-time resident, you'll be excited to find that La Tecla, at 21, has definitely come of age.
Restaurante La Tecla
Colonia Roma Norte
Tel: 5525-4920 Do make a reservation.
Looking for a tailored-to-your-interests specialized tour in Mexico? Click here: Tours.