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Mexico City: Mesmerizing Creations at Rayo and Fónico

Mexico City: Mesmerizing Creations at Rayo and Fónico

Edible garnishes, bubblegum-infused Amaro, and esquites with black truffle are just a few of the culinary phenomena found at Rayo and Fónico.

Nestled in a landmark mansion in Mexico City’s trendy Roma Norte neighborhood, Rayo Cocktail Bar and Fónico Restaurant share one of the oldest elevators in Mexico and a common goal to challenge the status quo with their inventive creations. The two experiences seamlessly complement one another, promising an unforgettable evening for any visitor.

One of Mexico’s oldest working elevators connecting Rayo upstairs with Fónico downstairs.

Rayo Cocktail Bar

Mexico City is celebrated for an impressive array of cocktail bars, with Rayo securing a spot on the prestigious list of North America’s 50 Best Bars. Of course, here at Honest Cooking, we had to see what the buzz was all about, and boy did it deliver.

In fact, Rayo’s space is designed to pay homage to Mayahuel, the Mexican goddess who descended to earth in the form of an agave. Neon-lightning bolts adorn the rooftop, reminiscent of the bolts that brought Mayahuel down to earth. A futuristic energy permeates throughout the airy bar, complete with angular frames, retro furniture, and minimalist aesthetics. A sleek marble-topped counter lines the bar, with a semi-open rooftop adding to the indoor-outdoor atmosphere.

Interior of Rayo Cocktail Bar

“The world is witnessing a second Golden Age of cocktails, and Mexico is at the heart of it”

Tito Pin-Perez, Rayo’s Creative Director leans into the momentum in Mexico, creating an experience that taps into visual perception to offer patrons a distinct sensory experience from start to finish. Cocktails not only highlight the ingenuity of the skilled mixologists but also embody the playful essence of the art form itself.

The immersive menu is presented in the form of an intricately designed 3D box, fit with 10 tincture dropper bottles for guests to sample the complex flavors of each cocktail before making their selection. Each of the 10 concoctions incorporates different Mexican spirits, emblematic of the regions in which they come from. And drinks are created using innovative methods like fermentation, carbonation, and even washed with fat.

(Left) Cocktail Box with droppers to sample drinks, (Right) No. 10 Cocktail

Taking inspiration from the rich cuisine found across the region, you won’t find a conventional dried orange slice at this bar. Rayo’s garnish chef (you read that right!) embellishes drinks with edible creations like an artfully layered candied caramel complete with mole inside, beef tendon chicharron shaped into roosters, or air-fried kale leaves sprinkled with glitter and Meco Chile. Each garnish is masterfully paired with the distinct flavor profile of its corresponding cocktail.

Titled with numbers, the No. 6 is a journey through Oaxaca resulting in a honey-mezcal aperitif. It blends 7 misterios Mezcal Doba-Yej with tangy kumquats, honey, and St. Germain to create a citrusy and floral elixir. Crafted with precision through intricate fermentation and distillation techniques, this libation is adorned with honey spheres infused with yellow Chartreuse. Drawing inspiration from Jalisco’s traditional dishes, No. 1 mixes rum, mezcal, and a vegetable lacto ferment (a mixture of the Mexican holy trinity: tomatillo, garlic, onion), with bacon and cuts of meat. It’s crowned with the infamous beef tendon chicharron garnish, leaving a savory twist on a classic Old Fashioned.

(left) No. 2 with Cocktail, (right) No. 1 Cocktail

Fónico Restaurant

After a cocktail, take the elevator ride downstairs to Fónico, specializing in cuisine from the Sonora and Baja regions. Named after the deepest, darkest realm of the ocean where over 95% of waters remain unexplored, “Fónico” alludes to “no light.” In the evening, the restaurant’s romantic, candle-lit ambiance mirrors this concept. “While there is, of course, light in Fónico, the name represents our constant culinary search toward the unknown and the unexplored,” says Executive Chef Billy Mandonado.

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Interior of Fónico Restaurant

The seasonally changing menu is playful with a focus on sustainably caught fish and locally sourced produce, made with traditional Mexican flavors through a modern lens. Think Yellow Corn Esquites with black truffle foam, or Short-ribs slow-cooked for 16 hours and glazed with dried chiles. Ceviches are where the restaurant shines, with the Red Snapper Ceviche coming in as a fan favorite. Made with freshly caught fish, it’s seasoned with Bruja spice, coconut-habanero leche de tigre, and passion fruit froth. Don’t miss the Huitlacoche Queso Fundido served with crispy shiitake mushrooms and paired with a fava bean guacamole – it’s mouthwatering and served tableside in a molcajete. And if you’re lucky, you might be serenaded by a live jazz band while you dine.

Lobster Green Pozole, Lime Leaf and Romanesc

There’s a reason why reservations here are still so sought-after, and we can confirm that both you and your tastebuds deserve a stopover at Rayo and Fónico the next time you’re in town.


Rayo Cocktail Bar and Fónico Restaurant
C. Salamanca 85, Roma Norte,
Mexico City

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