A touch of Arab taste in Mexico D.F.

Mexico City, like many North American and Western European cities, is a city of immigrants. This is reflected in the many ethnic restaurants and neighborhoods.

One of the largest immigrant groups in Mexico, and one that lived in and around the area where AIU is located, is that of Arab-Mexicans. Mostly Christian and Jewish refugees from Lebanon and Syria, they initially settled in La Merced, but then concentrated in Colonia Roma. While most have moved out to other neighborhoods, there is still a considerable Arab presence in Colonia Roma.

Restaurante Miguel, on calle Cordoba, is a favorite hangout of the Arab community. Its traditional cuisine and atmosphere provide for a unique experience. Further down on Cordoba you can appreciate the facade of the moorish-style building that houses the Rodfe-Sedek synagogue. The place was erected by Syrian immigrants in the early 20th century. On calle Merida there is the horno Sacal, which sells fresh baked pita bread, home-style yoghurt, zatar and other Arab delicacies.

In Colonia Roma there is a mosque that follows the Sufi mystical rite (you can reach them online at www.sufimexico.org)

More recently the former Arab residents of colonia Roma have moved to other areas of the city. There is a Lebanese Maronite church on calle Manzano, Colonia Florida, which follows the traditional Lebanese rite. There is also the Centro Libanes in Colonia Florida. Although this is a community center that caters mostly to the Arab community, its restaurant is open to the public.

In Polanco, on the corner of Hegel and Homero, we can find Restaurante Adonis which perhaps offers the best Arab cuisine in town. It features a deli corner which sells imported items from the Middle East and it also offers night entertainment with traditional music. Adonis caters to many recent immigrants and it is quite common to hear lively conversations in Arabic on the next table.