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Eating Out at Diners

Topics: Food and Drink

Written by: Mexperience

Published: Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Meals out at Mexican diners are very affordable.

The principal diners in Mexico are VIPS, Sanborns, TOKS and Wings.  They are owned and run by major retail groups and are often situated next to, or inside, retail centers.  They have outlets in most major towns and cities, and Wings may also be found at several of Mexico’s airports.

As eating out at diners is so popular here, the chains compete well against each other for business by offering ample menus with an assortment of Mexican and ‘international’ dishes, promotional discounts, and monthly a-la-carte specials.

You won’t find haute gastronomy at these diners, but you can get a good, tasty, meal for a reasonable price accompanied by fully-serviced tables in an agreeable atmosphere.

The establishments are open extended hours seven days a week serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner in addition to a range of all-day meals and light snacks.  In years past, these diners were oft frequented for coffee and a roll, although since the aperture of Starbucks and other speciality coffee houses, customers’ buying habits have changed.

Sanborns is the most traditional of the diners.   The department store (and its restaurant) have been in business since 1903 and their famous ‘100 year blend’ filter coffee is arguably the better of the ‘diner coffees’.  The restaurants are annexed to all Sanborns department stores. Sanborn’s much-talked of flagship restaurant is known as ‘Sanborns Azulejos’, a reference to the beautiful mosaic tiles which adorn the old colonial building where the restaurant is situated; you’ll find it in the heart of Mexico City’s historic district, on the corner of Calle Madero and Eje Central.

VIPS has been making a comeback after a period of decline.  Last summer, the menu choices were bland, the taste of the filter coffee was feeble, and the food served left much to be desired. What a difference a year makes. Now, VIPS have new coffee makers installed, they re-launched their menu, and the food itself has improved significantly.  You can find VIPS next-door to Wal-Mart stores throughout Mexico.  VIPS also delivers food, from selected diners around Mexico City, to your home or office between 8am and 8pm.  Check the website for details.

TOKS is most similar to VIPS.  Like VIPS, TOKS is owned and operated by a supermarket group, so you can find TOKS diners next door to many (not all) Soriana supermarkets.  About 18 months ago, TOKS embarked upon a much-needed makeover of its aging diners and today the places provide a very pleasant ambience and attractive menu of food choices to enjoy.

Wings diners are most often found in shopping centers as well as airports across Mexico.  Wings is part of a retail group that owns a number of popular contemporary Mexican restaurants.  Some of the Wings diners also have an adjoining bar named El Baron Rojo.   Like all the other diners, Wings offers an ample range of Mexican and international food dishes to suit most tastes, including vegetarian options.

Also See:

Shops and Shopping in Mexico

Social Etiquette in Mexico