Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Good Eats!!!

Do you remember the episode of Seinfeld where Elaine was shunned (and even got fired) because she admitted that she didn't like "The English Patient"?  I feel like that will be the result if I admit that I've not always been bowled over by my restaurant experiences is Merida.

This time, though, we had a number of meals that have forced me to re-think my position. 

La Chaya Maya's new location

The biggest surprise for me was the new location of La Chaya Maya on C. 55 x 60 y 62.  The original La Chaya had always been my "English Patient."  Everyone else loved it, and I really wanted to love it too.  I just didn't, and part of the problem was the rather uninspiring location.  The original La Chaya is still open and doing a brisk business, but the new location is a stunner that can make up for some unevenness in the food should that occur.  There are air-conditioned dining rooms as well as tables under the arched portico of the old casona.  It is very romantic at night.

On a beautiful night, the courtyard is the place to be at La Chaya....but indoor dining is available.

Lee at Imagine Merida has posted that it is perhaps best to stick to the dishes that a restaurant is best known for, and I did just that....sopa di lima and poc chuc.  Both were excellent.  Darren enjoyed his cochinita pibil as well.

For pure atmosphere, the new La Chaya Maya will now join Amaro as one of my go-to options for a completely colonial-themed Merida evening.

We re-visited La Bierhaus' Centro location on C. 62 twice, and its consistency is its best feature.  We've settled in to a favorite dish now, the frankfurter hotdog, which is always tasty and excellent with a draft beer.  I could have a meal here every day and likely never get bored with it.  La Bierhaus has both covered and uncovered outdoor seating, a great bar, and a couple of indoor dining rooms as well.

The bar at La Bierhaus on C. 62 in Centro

Bruno Bistro Gourmet  in Colonia Mexico may well be my favorite restaurant in Merida.  The food is excellent, and the charming owners are always on hand and delighted to have you join them for dinner.  The meat and cheese plate appetizer is almost enough for an entire meal, and each of the salads are outstanding.  I have had, at various times, the pasta dishes and the lamb and each was very good.  I have not had a bad dish here in at least five separate visits.  Don't let the Colonia Mexico location dissuade you...Bruno is a short cab ride from Centro or the hotel zone, and the staff at the restaurant will gladly call you a cab for the return trip.

Bruno's with Darren's mom on a prior trip

We stopped off at Cafe Creme on one of our morning walks as well.  It was too warm for coffee, but we had an early lunch of croque monsieur and croque madame at this new option on the corner of C. 60 and C. 41...very tasty!  The menu is limited, and we tried only these items, but I would visit again to try other options or to repeat these.

Cafe Creme's Patio

The New La Tratto Restaurant in Parque Santa Lucia

The renovation of the Parque Santa Lucia arcade is almost complete, and there are lots of food options here including the new Trotters' group restaurant La Tratto.  All of the restaurants in the Trotter's group are good, consistent options.  These folks know the restaurant business, and they do it very well.  The group's downtown option, Pancho's, is not a particular favorite of mine, but the new La Tratto likely will be.  It is a little pricey (as most of the Trotters' restaurants are), but the food is solidly good.  There is an on-site brick pizza oven that produces very nice Italian-style pizza, along with some pastas and other entrees.  The interior is clean and sleek, and the pretty courtyard that can be seen through the glass rear walls adds to the atmosphere.  There are plenty of tables outside on the plaza where you can watch the pedestrians walking up and down C. 60, or the dancers on Thursday nights.

We had dinner there our first night in town, and the patrons were roughly 2/3 Mexican and 1/3 gringo residents or tourists.  If you have tourists in your group or house guests who need to be eased into the Merida experience, the new La Tratto is a great option....familiar enough not to intimidate folks from NOB, but Mexican enough to start the Merida ball rolling.

Outdoor seating at the new La Tratto

Although La Tratto is the only restaurant currently open in the new Santa Lucia arcade, the signs there suggest that there will be a Gloria Jean's Coffee, an El Pez Gordo, and ki'xocolatl in the arcade as well when it is completed.

Finally, Gianni Fish and Chips deserves an honorable mention.  This small fish and chips shop on C. 60 out near Costco was quick, easy, and good.  I don't think that I could live in a place without good fish and chips, so this was an important find.

Like Elaine, I didn't really like "The English Patient."  But Merida food options are another thing entirely.  All of these are options that I'm looking forward to seeing again!


  1. Of all the restaurants you've mentioned here, the only one I've been to is the new Chaya Maya. I'm debating whether to suggest a return there, but I'm guessing Paul will veto it and obviously there are so many new choices. Did you try the bar at Mansion Merida on Hildago Park? Another place worth trying, although I've had only a light lunch there. I'm thinking of smuggling in bitters just so they can make me a Manhattan.

    Thanks for the mention and link, btw!

  2. We didn't get to La Tratto or the new Chaya Maya, but did try Cassandra and La Tradicion. Both were ok, but I'll give them another try before final review. We will give Bruno Bistro a try next time. We like Amaro, too, but have found some inconsistency there as well. I think, in reality, we have only touched the surface of what is available in Merida. New restaurants are popping up all over the place.

  3. hello, my name is kristen. i have been online looking for 2 friends of mine, emily and ryan (newie). they should be in the merida/yucatan area looking for me too. if you've heard of anything at all or know of someone who meets a lot of people passing through, please drop me a line and let me know...
    anything at all would help.
    thanks so much for your time,