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Planning a trip to Valladolid, Merida, Campeche & Tulum. Anyone have any recommendations?

Hi,

We're off to the Yucatan next month, staying in Valladolid, Merida, Campeche and Tulum. We're only just beginning to catch on to good Mexican food here in the UK and I really want to explore the culinary opportunities to the full while I'm out there.

Has anyone got any great recommendations?

Thanks - in advance,

Natasha

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  1. In Valladolid try Taberna de los Frailes - http://tabernadelosfrailes.com/ Open air, palapa style restaurant serving very, very good food. Best choice in Valladolid

    We stayed at El Meson del Marques hotel, which is reputed to have an excellent restaurant as well. We did not find that to be the case. Some items were good, other really missed the mark, service was not very good. They were clearly understaffed and what staff they had poorly trained. This can obviously change over time and it's entirely possible they've ironed out those problems and their food and service may now be restored to what it was reputed to be.

    We also had a couple of quick meals at La Campana which is a corner of the zocalo. Perfectly fine for a beer and cena.

    In Campeche friends ate at La Pigua and thoroughly enjoyed it. We ate at Marganzo several times. I thought it was better at breakfast than dinner. Portions are large and I thought the dinner entrees a bit too rich. Try the margarita de tamarindo, really good.

    If you are standing on one of the plazas looking at the cathederal there will be a two story building on your right. Upstairs is a terrance restaurant with some killer views and decent food. I can't remember the name of it, but I do remember spending a delightful evening on the terrace overlooking the plaza and the cathederal and that the food was good.

    On the north end of town on the Gulf of Mexico is a string of palapa restaurant that specialize in fish and mariscos. Choose the busiest one and dig in...seafood cocktails, grilled or fried fish.

    1. Not to be missed are Hartland and Hechizo, both in Tulum!

      7 Replies
      1. re: MicheleinPlaya

        Thanks to you both. The restaurants Michele recommends, though, are more international in style than I was looking for. Are there any good places in Tulum specialising in Mexican - particularly Yucatecan - dishes?

        1. re: NatashaH

          Meson has Yucatecan food... in fact, it has delicious cochinita pibil, one of the Yucatan's best offerings.

          1. re: NatashaH

            Also, in Merida, one of my favorite places for panuchos, another Yucatecan staple, is Bella Epoca. It is a restaurant upstairs, with little 2-3 person tables on balconies that jut out from the facade, overlooking the street life below. It is on Calle 60 just north of Calle 59. There is a different restaurant downstairs, so be sure to go upstairs. The panuchos are actually an appetizer there, and served in threes. Three panuchos and a glass or two of beer is a great dinner! Be sure to ask for the salsa habanero to put on the panuchos!

            1. re: efields

              Hi Natash,

              I live in Yucatan and have some Merida suggestions for you.

              1. Casa de Frida - order the house specialty chile en nogada
              2. Chaya Maya - best traditional Yucatecan food, order the chaya soup
              3. La Taberna Cruces del Alba - this is a cantina that observes the tradition of botanas (free appetizers while you drink) Visit for lunch and order the cochinita pibil panuchos (not free) they are so yummy!
              4. Azul del Mar - Best ceviche, seafood soup and pescado relleno (fried fish stuffed with shrimp and octopus) This is not a tourist place, but don't let that deter you. Grab a bar stool at the diner and enjoy a fabulous seafood meal for cheap.-Happy eating!

              1. re: foodietang

                I used to live in Mérida and I second La Chaya Maya. Great place to sample Yucatecan classics like sopa de lima, panuchos, brazo de reina, and many more. I would always take visitors there.

                Another place I frequented and would always take visitors to is El Cangrejito in Centro for seafood tacos. I highly recommend it.

                1. re: foodietang

                  Hi foodietang, what is the address of Azul del Mar? Sounds amazing. Will be in Merida next week for Hanal Pixan and want to eat lots of good seafood! Thanks.

            2. re: MicheleinPlaya

              Tulum Beach ... Not in town. Also are you referring to Hartwood?

            3. As for Tulum...

              1. Posada Margherita - owned and operated by Italians who know what food is all about - order the lobster spaghetti
              2. Mateo's - fabulous fish tacos
              3. El Tabano - everything here is fantastic, a little pricey, but you won't be disappointed
              4. Everyone raves about Hartwood, but I haven't had a chance to try it out
              4. La Gloria del Tio Pepe - authentic, delicious Spanish tapas

              1. In Tulum (Pueblo) street vendors for tamales. Grilled chicken to go at Pollo Bronco. El Camello Jr for the freshest fish in town. Cetli for most original meals. Tulum Beach: Mateo's for lunch or snacks/drinks. El Tabano, Mezzanine (Thai), and Hartwood.for dinner. La Zebra for Mojitos with fresh pressed sugar cane juice. Playa Azul for Margaritas. Om for pizza.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Maggie19

                  Thank you so much for all these recommendations. Really looking forward to trying them out!

                  1. re: Maggie19

                    Hey Maggie, any updates to your list of Tulum recs please?

                  2. One more ... In the Pueblo - El Carboncito. Evenings only. Bright red tile front - next door to The Weary Traveler. Tacos El Pastor to die for. Served with fresh grilled pineapple slices ... Don't miss it.

                    1. Set aside at least a half day for the public market in Merida - fascinating place foodwise or otherwise. Buy some fresh, hot kastacan - deep fried pork belly (kinda like fried, uncured bacon) and eat it out of the brown paper bag.
                      Some of the food stalls offer some of the region's best cochinita pibil (especially at breakfast).

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: porker

                        I spent several days in Merida a few years ago. I still fantasize about the lechon tacos I had in a market for breakfast. Wish I could remember the name but it was an alley of calle 65 where it intersects calle 60. I somehow missed it but I've heard the Santa Ana market at 60 and 47 is a good spot to check out too.

                        1. re: LBD

                          We were there for about two weeks 4 years ago and its the kastacan which haunts me today. Sure, theres chicharon, but that market kastacan was wildly decadent. I'd talk about it during our travels around Mexico and usually nobody knew what I was talking about. Once in awhile, I'd come across a Yucatecan Maya and mention kastacan. Sure enough a smile would would spread and a dreamy look would come across their eyes "ahhhhhh, kastaCAN" they'd say.
                          We also liked to frequent casa familiares - local bars which welcome women (as opposed to "cantinas" which is geared more to men). Ask around to find the local favorites which serve botanas - free snacks while scoffing a few drinks. The botanas aren't exceptional, but its a great place to people watch and hang with locals.

                          1. re: porker

                            The whole botanas thing in the Yuctan is pretty cool. You drink, they provide you with food/snacks at no extra charge :-).

                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              Yeah, fun stuff!
                              Like I say, everyone seems to have their favorite. We'd ask around - locals at the hotel, locals we'd meet, etc, on where theres a good botanas bar. Sometimes its only a few types, other places have up to 20 kinds.
                              If you show a bit of interest and provide nice tips, the waiters many times will go a bit further, plopping down their better botanas, kinda showing off.
                              Many times, we were the only gringos in the place and the staff go out of their way to welcome us.

                          2. re: LBD

                            The San Sebastian market and the Santiago market also have great taco stands/small restaurants. The San Sebastian market in particular is usually packed at night with people from all over the city coming for the exceptional local food there.

                            1. re: efields

                              Thanks, all, for your advice.