A fun, festive environment for family and friends that serves fresh Mexican dishes — this is the vision of co-owner Peter Holdsworth for District Federal.

Having only been open for about five months, it’s safe to say that District Federal has met its aims. Groups of friends, families with children, couples on dates, and solo diners filled the place on a Wednesday night.

 

Feels Like Fiesta

 

The name of the restaurant was derived from the old name of Mexico City, Distrito Federal. From the food to the decor, the place will surely make you feel as if you’ve gone on a trip to Mexico. Upbeat Mexican tunes playing in the background, colourful banderitas fluttering, bright walls in hues of red and green, others filled with murals of Frida Kahlo and bottles of Patron tequila welcome you to District Federal.

 

The colourful, open-air façade of the place gives a fun vibe; overall, the interior is sophisticated yet inviting. Upon entrance, you'll see several mismatched red and green wooden chairs and tables on the right. This is the area for smaller groups, and for drinking. You also get a view of Thao Dien traffic when seated here. On the left is the open kitchen.

 

A bit further on is the well-decorated and well-stocked bar, with high chairs placed in front. This side of the restaurant, with longer tables, is for larger groups.One side of the wall is decorated with traditional Mexican murals, and the other with old-school posters and newspapers cut-outs. Each table is also adorned with sombreros for photo ops.

 

At times, District Federal also hosts private events where they prepare a buffet spread. The place can accommodate about 120 diners at a time.

 

Fresh Flavours

 

The food menu includes Mexican staples like mole (VND285,000), tostadas, tacos, and their version of ceviche (VND195,000). A plate of their tostadas (VND135,000) includes three servings of deep fried, mini corn tortillas with a choice of topping — chicken, pork, beef, fish, prawns, or cauliflower. Their tacos also come in threes and go for VND155,000, while the beef burrito costs VND245,000. Their chicken or pork burrito goes for VND225,000. Flavours can be tweaked using the sauces and spices on the side.

 

Drinks range from Patron tequila to wine, with a favourite being frozen margarita (VND120,000) in pineapple, watermelon, strawberry, or lime flavours. House wine is priced at VND90,000, or VND350,000 for a bottle.

 

Peter’s drive for authenticity led him to spend several weeks in Mexico to find a chef. That accomplished, the restaurant can make their own cheese, cream, salsa, chips, and tortillas. Ingredients needed to make their dips and sauces are even flown in from Mexico. Aside from food preparation and decoration, the whole fiesta experience wouldn’t be complete without his hands-on business partner, Le Holdsworth, and their attentive staff.

 

District Federal is a new addition to Thao Dien’s growing list of restaurants worth trying. It’s a great place for brunch or lunch, which is served on Saturdays and Sundays from 12pm to 3pm. On weekdays, you can grab an early dinner or after-work drinks from 4pm to 11pm, except Mondays.

 

District Federal is at 84 Xuan Thuy, Q2, HCMC.


 

PHOTOS BY NAM NGUYEN

 

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