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My wife and I spent almost 5 hours in the place. Sunday night they move the tables and chairs into the street and it makes for a great place to people watch...and drink... The food was OK, but the wait staff made the experience enjoyable. Up until my visit here I've avoided tequila most of my life but it is here I developed a new fondness for the stuff thanks to my insistent waiter.
Favorite Dish: The food is good -- not great. The atmosphere and location makes this a great place to have drinks and relax.
Written Aug 11, 2007
Address: About a block off Plaza Grande
Pancho's is yet another restaurant catering to the tourist crowd, yet it still retains enough of the traditional Mexican experience to make this a worthwhile stop. The food was quite good, in fact the best Sopa's I've ever had and instead of serving tortila chips with salsa they serve fried plantains.
But what this place is probably best known for is the 2 for 1 drinks. You order a margarita and they bring you two. In fact, upon the forth round of drinks I pleaded with the waiter -- Uno por favor. He just smiled and said. No - dos. Thank god the B&B was within walking distance...
Favorite Dish: Picadilo and polo sopas.
Written Aug 11, 2007
Address: Near Plaza Grande
Marquesitas are a Merida specialty. If you travel to Merida, you must try these. You'll be hooked. I understand that a family in Merida invented the marquesitas. The street vendor attaches everything he needs to cook marquesitas to his mustard colored 3-wheel bicycle (common mode of transportation in Yucatan). You'll find the stands in the Plaza Grande (mainly in the evening) and possibly elsewhere in Centro Historico. On New Year's Eve, a long line of them had been set up facing the Cathedral.
The vendors are easy to find. Before you see them, you'll hear them cheerfully calling out "Marquesita!"
Favorite Dish: How to describe a marquesita? The vendor cooks them in a two-sided crepe maker with waffle design over a propane flame. It is like a crepe, but soft when hot and crunchy when it cools. It is filled with either Edam cheese or Nutella sauce, and rolled up into a tube. So ask for a marquesita queso or a marquesita nutella - I couldn't decide which one was best. They cost only 10 pesos each.
They are so delicious, we ate them every night, even when we didn't think we could eat any more. I would love to be able to duplicate them, but as simple as they sound, I don't think I can do them justice without the right equipment (including the bicycle).
Updated Jan 11, 2007
Address: Plaza Grande in Merida
On the days we needed an early start, we headed over to Cafe La Habana for breakfast, which is open 24/7. This is a very nice diner with excellent food (including some regional cuisine) and frequented by many locals. The Cafe roasts their own coffee and sells beans by the kilo, too.
Favorite Dish: Everything was good - the omelets, the hot cakes, the fruit/yogurt/granola, and my favorite, the queso fundido. Here it is made the way it should be - plain and simple unadulterated gooey cheese, with nothing else mixed in and served with handmade corn tortillas.
The fresh squeezed OJ was excellent. The American coffee was bland. Order instead the Cafe Cubano (thick, dark and strong served in a demitasse cup - kind of espresso but different), or the delicious Cafe Habana (Cafe Cubano with frothy milk - kind of like a cappucino, but different).
Written Jan 11, 2007
Address: Calles 59 and 62
I have to tell you straight out -- it is not easy being a vegetarian in Yucatan. Most dishes are made with beef, chicken, pork or fish. In several restaurants, maybe only one item was vegetarian, and it was something boring like a cheese quesedilla.
One exception was Amaro Restaurant on Calle 59 near the Plaza Grande. They had more vegetarian items than most restaurants and even promoted themselves as having vegetarian food.
The setting is nice - an outdoor inner courtyard with lots of plants. We ate lunch here and enjoyed it enough to come back for dinner on our last night. Unfortunately, service was terrible on our second visit. It was fine until we got our main course. That came out at 8:00 pm. No wait staff person visited our table to refill our drinks, take away our plates, offer us dessert, give us water, present the bill until 9:30 pm. At that time they gave us the dessert menu but did not come back until 10:00 pm. Instead of ordering dessert, we said we needed to go, and they acted kind of surprised. Perhaps the evening meal is slower in the Yucatan than we are used to in the US.
Favorite Dish: The food was tasty, but don't expect spicy food. I liked the papadzules, which were handmade corn tortillas filled with roasted and ground pumpkin seeds, topped with a pumpkin seed sauce and a tomato sauce and finally a crumbled hard boiled egg. My family like the pollo pibil, and popular Yucatan dish of chicken marinated in achiote paste and baked in banana leaves.
I'd give the restaurant a higher rating if the service had been better.
Updated Jan 11, 2007
The Hotel Villa Maria has one of the finest restaurants in Merida. We ate dinner there on New Year's Eve, and they put on a delicious prix fixe dinner. Presentation was superb, and the chef prepares scrumptious continental dishes. The ambiance is beautiful.
Breakfast is not that early here, but if you can wait until 8:00 am to eat, you'll be fine.
Dining is available either in the central outdoor courtyard (which has a retractable cover for inclement weather) or in the air-conditioned dining room.
Favorite Dish: The wine list is varied and good, and Hotel Villa Maria, in my opinion, made the best margaritas in all of Merida.
We also at breakfast here twice. Everything was delicious. On the top of my list was their coffee (yes, their coffee is wonderful), their yogurt, and sweet bread (not sweetbreads, but bread with a sugar topping). They had many other breakfast dishes as well, egg dishes, omelets, and other breakfast dishes. This was a very good way to start the day.
Written Jan 10, 2007
Address: Calle 59 No. 553 x 68, Merida, MX
Normally I do not do restaurant reviews, but after spending time in Merida in 2005 and 2006, we enjoyed this restaurant every time we visited. It is just local fare.
For English only speakers like us, eating at this restaurant is a bit of an adventure. None of the staff speak English. But as you can see from the third picture, the specials of the day were 28 pesos (well under $3US). And as you can see from the second picture, the food looks (and tastes) pretty good.
Written May 7, 2006
Address: Calle 62 - half block from Zocalo
Enjoy their unique cuisine, sitting in the sunny patio watching the stars and listening to excellent romantic live music.
Favorite Dish: Whatever vegetarian dish they offer is a great option!!! I enjoyed their food a lot, as well as the excellent service. They offer a lot of meals with local vegetables. So, vegetarian, but you can get to know the local cuisine though.
Written Nov 8, 2005
Address: Calle 59 No. 507 x 60 y 62, Centro Histórico
Phone: 928 24 51
A spectacular little Italian restaurant, not far from the zocalo. It offered a range of standard Italian dishes, but the quality of the food was second to none and the staff was simply incredible. Set in a small courtyard away from the streets, at night time, strings of fairy lights lure curious tourists into this well decorated little place. You'll be glad they did, too - you could stuff yourself silly on the food served up.
If there's one thing better than the food, it's the friendly staff. Always willing to help, our waiter even spent time chatting with us about the local Merida scene, offering advice on what to see, what to avoid and how much to pay. He then gave us further travel tips for our next destination - Cancun.
We liked it so much we came back the next night. Shouldn't be missed.
Favorite Dish: The steak was certainly a treat, and if you're after something to quench the thirst, have a go at a jug of sangria. It'll give you the buzz you need for a night on the town in Merida.
Written Oct 6, 2005
Address: Calle 57-A x 58 y 60
We ate at a number of restaurants in Mérida over two or three days, even stopping at the Burger King (something we seldom do) for a quick hamburger when we were on a deadline one day. I am going to mention a couple by name.
We met a friend in Mérida, and decided to meet at the brunch buffet at the Hotel Villa Mercedes. It is an amazing brunch with everything one could desire. There were enough different dishes that I filled a dinner plate by taking one bite-size bit from each of the dishes. The other thing that made it pretty special the day we visited is that the hotel had a "two breakfasts for the price of one deal", so the price for the two of us as 180 pesos. Pretty reasonable – I would recommend the buffet, especially at two-for-one. Villa Mercedes seems to be a pretty elegant hotel (5 star by Mexican standards, probably less by USA standards). The hotel is about 10 long blocks north of the Grand Plaza downtown.
We had a VT meeting with Gatopardo (Zarahi) at the Café Peon Contreras in downtown Mérida. The most outstanding thing about this restaurant was it's location – on the plaza outside Parque de la Madre. They also had a couple of musicians playing in the background. As for the actual food, it was similar to that we had seen in prior restaurants – tasty, but not gourmet. The meal at Peon Contreras was pricey compared to the other places we tried in Mérida. The cost for two meals (including a couple of drinks) was 370 pesos; in most other restaurants we tried, this cost would be under 250 pesos.
We ate at a number of other restaurants. One of the pluses of this area of Mexico is that prices are quite reasonable. Most meals are well under 100 pesos ($10 US) per person. For the starch portion of our meals, we had to get used to tortillas instead of potatoes but the food was quite tasty.
Updated Jul 6, 2005
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