Merida is recognized as the capital of the state of Yucatan; a jungle-swathed region of Mexico scattered with pristine beaches to the north, hidden cenotes, exciting ecotourism and crumbling archaeology for visitors in search of ancient Mayan culture and history. There are many things to do in Merida, but above all else, it’s a food-lover’s city too, with bastions of haute cuisine and a plethora of street stalls, markets and traditional dining rooms using regional produce and age old Yucatecan recipes, to choose from. Here are some highlights for your next visit:
Lo Que Hay
A dinner-only restaurant, where three-course vegan meals are served in a serene courtyard. The changing menu ranges from Mexican and international cuisine to raw vegan dishes. It is located in the Hotel Medio Mundo.
In front of the flag monument, this innocuous little place is jam packed with Asian knickknacks and serves up some pretty good fusion food, with an emphasis on carpaccios and fondues. It really works best as a bar, though – the crowd is a bit older and the atmosphere a little more relaxed than many in the downtown area.
Known for serving faithful renditions of Yucatecan classics and Mayan food, Los Almendros is popular with Meridian locals and visitors alike and provides an excellent introduction to the cuisine of the region. The setting is relaxed and informal, while the prices are reasonable. Among the standout dishes on the menu are poc-chuc, grilled pork marinated in citrus, served with pickled pink onion, and scrambled eggs with longaniza sausage.
La Chava Maya
Popular with locals and tourists alike, this restaurant opened a new location in a lovely downtown colonial building. Consider La Chaya your introduction to classic Yucatecan fare like relleno negro (black turkey stew) or cochinita pibil (slow-cooked pork), and its exquisite servings of achiote paste.