Sugar high in Mexico City: La Pasteleria Ideal

mexico city street art

Last Updated on April 9, 2020

Mexico City.

22 million people pounding the pavement and stop and go traffic packs even the narrowest alleyways. Stop and look around for just a minute and there is an ever-present feeling that some type of major event has just let out in one of the world’s busiest cities.

In fact, late one recent Sunday afternoon, we discovered that everyone in the city is either headed to or coming from one single location. That place is a bakery called La Pasteleria Ideal on Avenida 16 September. Like ants marching into their mothership, Mexicans from all walks of life pile in through the tall 19th century wooden doors: young Goth teenagers with headphones, hats and chains, suburban housewives, overweight seniors,bodybuilders, police officers and skate punks, all with their mothers, invade this one single bakery and pour out again with millions of calories wrapped up to go.

pasteleria ideal mexico city cakes and pastriesIn business since starting out as a bread bakery in the 1920s, Pasteleria Ideal’s three bakeries have become ingrained as a part of the fabric of Mexico City. Tables are stacked high with every possible combination of chocolate, custard, dulce de leche and dough formed into multi-tiered cakes, soft cookies, flaky pastries, donuts dripping in frosting. Hundreds of sugar addicts literally pile dozens upon dozens of sweets onto oversized silver trays in a way that would make an innocent bystander think the end of the world were near.

pasteleria ideal mexico city cakes & pastriesDani was immediately in her element the minute we walked through the doors. She handed me our bag, the camera and floated off on Cloud 9 to explore her Mexican Mecca. Her last words, and knowing nod, allowed me reprieve. This was too much for me, an itching fear inside me growing at the thought of what this insulin-charged crowd would do if the donuts ran out. You would think the four security guards circling inside the store might calm me, or the fact that, even late on a Sunday afternoon, more than 20 staff members dressed in white and blue were still ushering out cart after cart of freshly baked goods. As I bobbed and weaved my way out the door, I watched one of those employees get stopped with his cart in the middle of an aisle, and a seemingly docile mother of three clear an entire level of the cart onto her tray.

Mexico City Pasteleria IdealIn the thirty minutes I waited outside for Dani, I watched as hundreds of people poured back out the doors of La Pasteleria Ideal, each with their beautifully wrapped packages. Those few people who purchased only a few items had them wrapped in thick paper, tied shut with a string. Most others, however, left weighted down by three or four large boxes, all tied together with heavy-duty twine. When Dani came out, I’ve never seen her smile so wide. On our way back to our hotel with our La Ideal package, we were suddenly aware of just how many people, even several blocks from the bakery itself, were carrying their pastries, too.

Mexico City pasteleria ideal packagesBoarding our plane to Costa Rica early the next morning, I caught a glint of approval in the flight attendant’s eye as Dani passed with her pastries. Hell, based on the pandemonium the day before, I thought she’d try to buy one off us. If you want to lock in on a true Mexico City tradition, head to one of the three La Ideal Pasteleria locations in the city.

Mexico City Pasteleria Ideal


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Tags : Mexico City


    1. Haha, yes it was pretty easy to put on a few kilos with bakeries like this 😉 The first time we went to Mexico City I HAD TO go to a bakery every single day, this time I was able to restrain myself a bit better 😉

  1. Sugar or no sugar looks heavenly. I have cravings for sugar and just by looking at it, I feel like having a few of those cakes.
    Any country that has a tradition of sweets, I will have a soft corner for it.

    1. Shalu – Mexico has some of the better sweets we’ve seen… haven’t found anything like that in Costa Rica where we are at the moment.

  2. Wonderful! Mexico is very well known when it comes to sweets. I don’t eat more sweets but I just eat a little. That is really wonderful to see sweet tooth people.

  3. Aaaaaaa I can’t believe there are so many different sweets here. Girls, c’mon you could share some with me 🙂 I love these little creamy cakes and chocolate muffins. Great photos I am craving some donuts right now! Cheers x

    1. I would’ve shared – I wanted to try double as many but I can only eat that much… I needed someone to share the pastries with me!! I bet these creamy cakes are amazing, Agness 🙂

  4. This place was definitely a highlight of our time in Mexico City–as much for the sweets as for the people-watching. Yoiu haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen the crowd surging and shouting for special seasonal cakes during Christmas and Easter!

    1. Special cakes for Christmas?! I think we have to cancel our South America plans and head back to Mexico instead 😉 I am seriously tempted! We have to make it happen at some point – I will be in the crowd and Jess will be filming the madness 😉

  5. If I lived in Ciudad de Mexico, this place would be the death of me. We have such horrible bakeries in Florida, it’s easy to avoid them. There are even decent bakeries in Mega and Walmart stores in Mex.

  6. If you cherish your life, MEVER, EVER go near La Ideal on january 6 (or even a couple days before that), thousands of people buy their rosca de reyes there, the one time I went with a friend I spent the whole time waiting for her with my back against a column, any other time of the year is OK, excellent pastries, mmm maybe not go around Halloween-dia de muertos, it might be the same.

    1. Haha, oh my god, I can only imagine 😉 And I think you’re right that it’s similar around Dia De Los Muertos.

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