La Gruta Restaurant at Teotihuacan
When I first started planning our day trip from Mexico City to Teotihuacan, I thought I knew what to expect. I’d been to the pyramids on a college trip, and knew there wasn’t too much in the immediate area. And that’s partially true. For a major tourist destination, there’s surprisingly little development that caters to tourists beyond the food stalls and vendors outside of Teotihuacan’s main gate.
What many people don’t know is that just outside of one of the smaller entrance gates, there’s a unique restaurant called La Gruta, nestled in a volcanic cave.
La Gruta isn’t a newcomer either; the cave restaurant outside of Mexico City claims to have been around since 1906. The restaurant serves Mexican and Pre-Hispanic food, and it’s a bit pricey by Mexico’s standards– but well worth it for the atmosphere and some relaxation after a climb up the pyramids.
La Gruta obviously caters to tourists with the novelty of eating in a cave, so we weren’t sure what to expect from the food. It was pretty good! Again, you’re paying extra for the setting. So as long as you’re not expecting the food to be mindblowing, or on a tight budget, it’s worth a stop.
We ordered the corn soup, escamoles (ant larvae), and a variety plate (taco, tamale, and something yummy I’m forgetting with mole).
In case you’re wondering, the escamoles had a mild, almost cheese-like flavor and texture, with most of the flavor coming from the seasoning. I get why the idea of eating them is off-putting to some, but the taste itself isn’t particularly challenging. Ultimately not something I’d probably seek out in the future, but the boyfriend really liked them.
After we finished eating, the server lit the candle at our table and invited us to place it on the rocks. As best we could tell with our kindergarten Spanish proficiency, he explained that long ago the locals used to do something similar. If you know more–or if it’s just something they made up for the tourists– let me know in the comments!
How to Get to La Gruta
Exit via Gate 5, which is at the back right of the Pyramid of the Sun, and just outside of the Botanical Garden. Cross the street outside of the gate, turn left (you’ll only walk about 1,000 feet), and then take the first right. If you peer down the road, you should be able to see the signs pointing to La Gruta. Follow the road, and it’s impossible to miss La Gruta on the right side. In all, it’s less than 10 minutes walk from the gate.
Reservations are recommended for weekends and holidays. We visited on a weekday, and had no trouble getting a table for lunch without a reservation.
Make sure you hold on to your Teotihuacan ticket, as you’ll need it to re-enter the site (otherwise you’ll be taking a bit of a hike around the perimeter to get back to the main gate that buses stop at).
If you’re eating at La Gruta later in the day, just keep in mind that Teotihuacan closes at 5pm, though some buses back to the city run until 8 or 9.