On most workdays, however, I'm not looking to spend the kind of money you need to eat in these places. And sometimes I just want to eat, not to dine.
Luckily, Colonia Roma abounds in inexpensive places to eat well. I'm hoping my readers will respond with their favorites, but I'll keep this list short--limited to places I've been to multiple times, always with happy results. You're not likely to be asking for the recipes at these places, but you are likely to leave feeling contented.
Tacos de Canasta (at the corner of Jalapa and Álvaro Obregón). Quick, cheap and satisfying describes a lunch of a few tacos de frijol, topped with spicy green salsa, at this corner puesto, where a few plastic stools and an overhanging tree make up the ambience.
Torta stand (Tonalá between Queretaro and San Luís Potosí). A bowl of roasted jalapeños on the counter wins this simple stand in the middle of the street an extra star.
Comida Corrida: When I want something a little more comfortable than standing on the street, I'll go to one of the many comida corrida places that abound in Roma, which serve office workers and students in the area who can't make it home for mom's cooking. A complete meal will include a soup course, rice or salad, a main dish, agua del dia, and often a bit of dessert (usually jello or canned fruit). In many places the soup will be watery, starches will abound, sugar and salt will be the only flavorings. The following places are all a cut above average. They often get full after 2pm, but the turnover is fast.
El Axotleño (Coahuila 152, between Monterrey and Medellín). This busy place, adjacent to the Mercado Medellín, is my first choice for a satisfying comida corrida. Even an often dull dish, like albondigas al chipotle, comes to life here.
CoffeeLand (Zacatecas 117, near Orizaba). The sign here is so small you might miss it, but students from the adjacent university know this place and fill it daily. The only danger here is the basket full of fresh totopos (fried tortilla chips) that you'll find on each table--hard to resist.
Krika's (at the corner of Chihuahua and Monterrey). If you're in a hurry, this is the place. I've never seen waiters move so fast in Mexico.