Merida’s gastronomy is heavily steeped in Mayan influence, with hints of the European flavors that were brought to Mexican shores by the Spanish. Meats such as pork and turkey, which would have been indigenous to the land, feature heavily on menus while chili and annatto paste made from the seeds of the achiote tree bring spice and color to the dishes.
The city boasts a variety of eating options, from street food to fine dining and everything in between. Every weekend the main square becomes home to numerous street food stalls where you can try panuchos or salbutes. There are also a good number of traditional restaurants offering local dishes such as cochinita pibil, poc chuc and pavo en relleno negro, while most of the more contemporary fine dining or boutique restaurants offer a fusion of local traditional dishes with a modern or international twist.
Chef Pedro Evia brings a new style to Yucatec cuisine using techniques that not only awe the diner but also produce great flavors. Dinner here is an exciting experience for all the senses, so give yourself a few hours to work through the 11-course tasting menu that is a journey through contemporary Yucatan in its own right.
Rosas y Xocolate
Photo courtesy Rosas y Xocolate
This is a great place to enjoy a meal, either outside in the bright pink patio or the atmospheric restaurant. Fusion is the name of the game here with traditional Yucatan flavors prepared in contemporary ways and combined with international touches. The rooftop Moon Lounge is worth a visit too for the great selection of tequilas and wines that can be enjoyed under the stars.
If you want traditional Yucatec food, full of flavor, La Chaya Maya is the place. A colorful and vibrant Mexican atmosphere, you can try all the local favorites like cochinita pibil, salbutes, sopa de limon and poc-chuc while listening to regional music.
2 Locations: Street 62 x 57, Centro and Street 55 x 60 y 62, Centro
Go here as much for the setting as for the food. Like eating in the colorful front room of a traditional Merida home, the food is as traditionally Mexican as the decor. Enjoy the mole poblano or the famous chiles en nogada and ask to see Coco the large rabbit that wanders around the place.
Location: Calle 61 #526-A x 66 Y 68, Centro
Chef Roberto Solis creates local specialties like suckling pig and deer using avant-garde techniques and contemporary minimalism. The dishes are as beautiful as they are tasty and the modern space creates the perfect ambience to enjoy it. Take time to enjoy a starter, a main and a dessert to taste all of these modern Yucatec flavors.
A plethora of food stalls spring up in the main plaza on Sundays making it a good place to try local food at local prices. Look for the stalls with the most locals to know which stall offers the tastiest food.