Calle 61 between Calles 58 and 60
across from the Cathedral
10:00 am – 8:00pm Daily
The beauty of Mexican dining is that everyone seems to just do it right. Taking the time and effort to combine the ingredients in perfect order and letting them combine as long as needed. This patience is something declining in today’s immediacy.
While in Mexico, we dined in some of the finest restaurants in the world (Biko, Pujol) and ate blue-corn tortillas made by hand in the street. Somewhere in between these two lies Las Quekas, who, just like everyone else, takes the time to do it right.
While we were walking through downtown Merida looking for a calling, just across from the cathedral, we stumbled onto an unassuming little place decked out in orange and yellow. It was such an unwavering duo-tone that the instant thought is “franchise”. As we watched a steady crowd brought us in for a closer inspection. Once in nasal proximity, the fresh smells of steaming huitlacoche and melting cheese got us through the door and into a lasting relationship.
With other 5 locations throughout the city of Merida, Las Quekas is a sort of franchise. One that offers exactly what you want at times; Practically instant quesadillas that feel more like a guilty dessert then the hearty meal they are. We were in Merida for only 2 days, but at 5 different occasions we found ourselves lifting the mouth-wateringly good quesadillas to our lips. Crispy tortillas with steaming fillings of Rajas Poblano (strips of poblano peppers with onions in a creamy sauce), huitlacoche and corn, zucchini blossom, and of course the requisite meats stewed chicken or shredded sausage. Each combined with the beautiful soft white cheese that melts in a smoldering bliss.
At a little less then $1 each Las Quekas’s Quesadillas are just about the perfect meal, Healthy, Hearty and Happy.
42° Raw closed in 2013 & Papaya Playa Project has lost ALL its cool.
Avoid staying at Papaya Playa – it is now overpriced, under-whelming, dirty and haughty.
Original Post from 6/30/2012
Next to the reception at the Papaya Playa Hotel, a member of Design Hotels™, is the super yummy 42°RAW. This is a branch of the raw food bar started in London and Copenhagen by Jesper Rydahl. What a great surprise it is to find modern raw cuisine right in Tulum!
The 42° Raw bar has a botanic selection of fresh juices, and staple mains such as the raw Thai noodles and raw lasagna. This is perfect beach dining, starting with the raw hummus appetizer, one of the big salads and ever-present aguas. As always, the beauty of raw food is the guilt-less dessert! Decadent, rich, full of flavor but instead of bloating that bikini bod you’ve been working on for months for your trip to the beach, they are the nutritional equivalent of a protien supplement!
Unfortunately, we were not able to get inside the Papaya Playa Hotel, but we did get a look at their events schedule. There are all sorts of activities perfect for vacation – from movie nights under the stars, to sunset bar-b-que on the beach, to packages at the well known Spa. The trip we really wish we had time for, was the visit to the Tulum Ruins via catamaran! You arrive by ocean in style, like the 14th century Spanish – except this trip comes complete with champagne! Next time!!
El Tábano is first on the list of many a foodie review of Tulum. So it was with some excitement that we ducked through the driftwood gate, into the open garden littered with tables and easing with well curated music. The short answer is that El Tábano has by far the best dining in the area and owners Paf and Laura deserve all the kudos they receive.
Our lead was the cold tomatoe and papaya gazpacho. Spectacularly refreshing, cool and sweet it was an instant winner, reinvigorating the palate on a hot afternoon. Next the plates started coming quickly, a fresh guacamole salad, an organic bean salad, huitlacoche crepes, chili ancho stuffed with shrimp and nuts – each plate radiating forth with its own perfumed flavor contour, as dishes in Mexico tend to do.
The fresh fish tacos were quite good, but not quite as mind-boggling as those from the Viceroy in Playa del Carmen, which are very very very hard to top. A highlight was the hot pepper salsa which was made fresh on our request. The tomatillos and chillies were still warm from the stove top!
The menu changes consistently, and is quite malleable, as it is only chalk on the large blackboards by the entrance; easily alterable. It is good to arrive early as items are only available until they run out, which they did 3 of the 3 times we were there. Pricing is quite reasonable and many of the ingredients organic. El Tábano was also where we were able to purchase the flowery local Yucatan honey (you should do this too!).
In the evenings bug spray and/or long pants and chosed shoes are recommended for dinner. As you are dining in a garden, there are plenty mosquitoes at night. Though as we forgot, the waiter was on-hand with a solution! The staff is relaxed and friendly, happily chatting about each dish. If you find yourself in Tulum, for everyone’s benefit, please remember that you are in the Caribbean, and probably in need of a vacation. So please don’t get short if the staff runs at a slightly slower speed then they do at home.
Avocado, Mint, Cucumber Soup
Fresh Hot Pepper & Tomatillo Salsa
Plantain Rolls filled with Cheese
Roasted tomatoes with Goat Cheese and Diced Apples