Best of the Yucatan?
I am planning on visiting Cancun for a wedding...now Cancun is not my ideal vacation spot, so I'd like to spend 7 of my days eating my way through other parts of the Yucatan.
Do you guys mind giving your input on your favorite eateries or eating towns in the region? I have a stomach of steel so don't hold back on any hole-in-the-wall/roadside recommendations!
I'm planning on checking out Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Merida, Valladolid, maybe Belize (depends on time constraints)....and anything off the beaten track--if there's anything left.
There are a lot of active (and inactive) posts that cover everything south from Cancun- Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Pamuul, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal, Tulum, Bacalar. You can´t take a rental car into Belize. Eat Nopal is the unqualified expert on Merida and Campeche- he may chime in. Check the posts and follow up with add´l Qs. You can e-mail me at my profile address. I´m in Playa now and eating like a feral hog. I´ll only get to half of my favorite restaurants.
I vote for a day trip to Isla Mujeres! Take a taxi or city bus to Puerto Juarez ferry dock. Fare, last I knew was 70mp RT. Arrive in IM approx. 20 min. later, & eat your way around the entire Island. Picus is steps N from the dock, wonderfully fresh seafood. Venture in a bit to the downtown area & there are loads of places, Miguel's Moonlite(just love him), Cafe Cito, French Bistro. N of the dock there is Jax(more tex/mex), Sergio's Playa Sol,(beach food, but good). Rent a golf cart & go to the colonias & follow your nose, or get a cab & ask them where they would go. There are loads of new places since I last went 2 yrs. ago, but I will be there in May!!!
Just back from 2 weeks in Tulum where we found some great food, though we had to search hard for it, even with some help from locals. Along the beach, we found a lot of mediocre, relatively expensive chow, so well worth the trip to town if eating is important to you. 3 places you really shouldn't miss!
1. Oasis--Unfortunately, we did not find this place till the end of our stay, because it was sadly the only great seafood we encountered. But was it ever phenomenal! We started with octopus quesadillas and conch quesedillas. Then moved on to a couple of platters of shrimp in a delicious garlic sauce. Then a fisherman walked in with a couple of fish he had just caught, so we had one deep fried in oil, also with a garlic sauce. Just smelling it cooking we knew we were in for something special and were we ever. We all agreed it was the best fried fish we had ever had, and this coming from experienced travelers and a couple of food professionals. Oasis is hard to find, but worth the effort. Turn right at the second street after the 1st traffic circle and go back 5 blocks. Address--- Calle Tunkul. Tel 9841141818.
2. Tacos al Pastor--The frenetic ambiance of this taco stand was as good as the food. The tacos that gave the restaurant its name are special. Pork spins on a vertically rotating spit (like a Gyro) with a pineapple above dripping into it as it cooks. The pork is sliced off and put on a tortilla which you take to the fixings bar. A deal at 8 pesos per taco. Try their empanadas and other great stuff. If you can, sit at the counter and watch the women in action. Pastor is on the main road, on the west side of the street near the Weary Traveler inn.
Tacoqueto--The family that runs this comes from Chiapas and serves the cuisine of that region. It is definitely nothing fancy, but authentic, tasty, reasonably priced food. No menu--you just go look at the 5-6 pots they have on the stove and choose what you want. We had a great chicken mole, but our favorite was meatballs in a tomato-chipotle sauce. Comes with rice, beans, tortillas for about 35 pesos a plate. Located on the east side of the main road at the far (south end) under a palapa.
re: on the fork
Had a fantastic lunch at Don Caffeto in Tulum. Sufficiently noisy, crowded, fast-paced, and authentic. The sopa azteca was very good, having just the right amount of spice and acidity (lime juice). In addition, the large bowl of pickled jalapenos, heads of garlic, carrots, and serranos were unbelievable as were the house-made tortilla chips. The chiles rellenos were light, fluffy, sufficiently spiced, and filling. I stayed at a local all-inclusive, but was 'jonesing' for a little culinary adventure, since the food at my resort was mostly mind and palate-numbing. It's on the ocean side of the street in Tulum Town proper near a Honda dealership.
I highly recommend a trip down to Bacalar, on the way to beliz from Cancun. It is on a beautiful lake and is hardly touched by tourism, if at all. But they have some great food for such a small town. My all time favorite is tacos all pastore at Christians Taqueria, but for breakfast go to Chepe's, he is also the mayor and makes a mean sandwhich, i forget the name of it but it has pork that has been cooked for an entire day. Amazing, and you can buy it by the kilo on sunday morning at the market (show up early, it sells out by 8:30 am). Have fun, I love it down there.