Walking west on Madero street from el zócalo towards the Palace of Fine Arts is a great experience. I always like to stop at my favorite restaurant at the end of that little walk: el Sanborns de los azulejos (the Sanborns of the tiles). Sanborns has become a symbol of capitalism and successful business (like Starbucks that you can almost find one in every corner) and their food is not particularly good. However, their molletes have become a Mexican tradition that you have to taste and the building of the original Sanborns is an architecture jewel that you have to visit when in Mexico City.
According to the restaurant’s website, the house of the tiles’ history can be traced back to the 16th century when San Francisco street (now Madero Street) was planned. The palace, as it stands now, was originally two houses that were joined after a marital agreement between the two families that owned them. The Fifth Countess of the Orizaba Valley ordered the reconstruction of the building turning it into a beautiful palace, a jewel of the Mexican baroque of the first half of the 18th century. The facade was covered with thousands of tiles fabricated in Puebla that gives this building its current name.
After changing owners several times, an American businessman saw the old house like an opportunity to expand his drug store and diner business in 1917. After 2 years of remodeling Sanborns Bros. S.A. opened for business in the old palace and it has remain an icon of the city every since. The interiors, like the exterior of the building, are beautiful and they enclose so much history that it is a point of interest that you have to visit when in Mexico City.
AV. Fco. I.Madero No.4
Centro C.P. 06500
Visit the restaurant for the architecture and history of the building. Their best dishes are Molletes and Enchiladas Suizas.