Our goal while in Tulum was to experience authentic Mexican cuisine. Being a tourist hotspot, our cabana village offered a variety of food options from Italian to Mediterranean. Our ideal authentic experience looked more like eating tacos in a shack where nobody speaks English, but we lost the courage to do so as we drove by such places. Like typical tourists, we stuck to our restaurants in the hotel vicinity. The few places we tried actually fell into “pretty good (with a nod)” to “wow this is excellent” range. To start, Juanita Diabolo, the pizzeria inside our hotel, offered excellent pizza (while their breakfast was less than mediocre). Sorry – no picture taken since the pizza was eaten while we were still in a cold war.
El Tabano was a place that was highly recommended by a blog I read, and we waited two nights to get in because the restaurant did not open until 7 and conflicted with our schedule. Our waiter was a newly trained young man from Spain. He explained that Tabano is a type of mosquito, and Tulum, being a habitat to many many mosquitoes, gave the restaurant its name.
Menu is written with chalk on a wall, and the kitchen looks like this. It’s visible to everyone from dining tables and showcases fresh ingredients.
Husband had fish tacos, and I had some kind of meat I can’t remember anymore. We also shared a ceviche (my first time, and was excellente!), and a roasted tomato appetizer (more like a Spanish dish, recommended by the Spanish waiter of course). Compared to the hype, we thought the food was alright. It was definitely not disappointing, but I think we went in with too much expectation. All in all, we had a great time. This was our first real dinner in Tulum, and we were satisfied, and while the place made us feel like we were dining in a jungle, we got away with just two mosquito bites (thanks to December weather).
The second place I visited per blog recommendation was breakfast at Coqui Coqui, another hotel on the beach, but with rooms that cost the money we wouldn’t spend. We initially planned on walking through the beach, but decided to be lazy and take the car, which was just as nice as the street was so picturesque.
Husband shamelessly shirtless, pictured with our rental car, which served us from Cancun to Tulum, and everywhere else all the way to Chichenitza.
It was a quiet morning at Coqui Coqui. The restaurant was connected to the patio/beach area, and there were about four people soaking in the morning sun and sipping on whatever they were sipping on. We ate inside because my husband cannot stay sane in the heat, and that morning was pretty hot from early on. This place reminded me of Hemingway (don’t ask me why). Decor included fisherman things like nets, shark tooth, and some wooden stuff I don’t remember anymore.
Husband had something resembling a continental breakfast, and I had my soy latte (for which I emphasized SOY three times. Hey, don’t blame me for wanting to prevent any type of traveler’s diarrhea), and a more Mexican omelette which I forgot the name of. Pretty good preparation. The only downside was the dusty tables, but what can they do when the beach is right out the door.
The entrance to this hotel/restaurant was on the beach side. We had to walk through this alley-like pathway to get to our car on the street side. Pictured is me trying to look like a refugee escaping from whatever through a jungle-turned-into-village.
Our best dining experience was definitely at Mateo’s. A restaurant we actually discovered randomly. Our hotel staff had recommended it, and we gave it a try without much thought, and oh man was it E-X-C-E-L-L-E-N-T!!!
For dinner, my husband had fish tacos again, which he claims to be the BEST fish tacos he’s had ever! I must agree, it was pretty tasty with a hint of mango, juicy fish, and expertly toasted tortilla. I had their surf-and-turf, which came with BBQ ribs, grilled garlic shrimps, and salad. If the food took any longer to come out, we would have stuffed ourselves with the chips (probably made in house, not greasy at all, and just kept going in and in and into our mouths) and salsa (two types, one being spicy, so flavorful). Husband tried the cheapest beer on the menu, and I had an alcoholic coconut freeze drink, which hit the spot as I had dreamed, and we were sold. Thank goodness Mateo also served breakfast with a full espresso bar – we were back for more excellency the following morning.
Resembles a typical American breakfast, but I assure you, this was far better than many breakfasts I’ve had in our country. Mateo’s is also known for their fresh juices, so I got myself one of their tropical sounding juices to go, which came in a huge jug.
Our last dinner on Mexico ground was in Cancun, with our good friends Esther and Eugene. They were kind enough to house us (in their resort hotel, a completely different experience from Tulum), and we treated ourselves to an eight course dinner at Gosh I can’t remember the name..
Just a few pictures as my Photogrid only fits four. All that beautiful, yummy creations, and my favorite was still the goat ice cream. My friends and I had always fantasized about vacationing together as married couples. This was our first one (sort of), and we had so much fun, although I ended up getting sick and played the party pooper 😦