How to dine well in Yucatan and Quintana Roo

Go to the mercado in Valladolid, right off the main square, and sample as many dishes as possible.  Don’t hesitate to use the spicy black sauce.  That is the single best introduction to Yucatan cuisine I know of.

Mérida offers a more urbanized variant, with influences from Cuba (the tortas) and Lebanon (kibi, which is like kibbeh).  The town has many bad restaurants, go eat at Punto y Coma, a loncheria inside one of the markets, taxi drivers seem to know where it is.  Ask for their specialties, and don’t miss Sopa de Lima.

In Cancún, get yourself to El Centro, away from the tourist hotels.  If you are stuck on the strip, Tempo offers ten courses for less than $50, the founder chef is from San Sebastian and I would put the quality at that of a Michelin two-star.  Otherwise look for small places selling fish tacos.

El cenote Samula was created by the meteor which did in the dinosaurs, today you can swim there.  The open air restaurants to its side were the best meal so far.


I also went to punto y coma for some reason. It's fun to eat inside the market. I did not easily find much great food in yucatan unlike the rest of Mexico.El centro had some good Alhambre-- waiting for this to be widely introduced in the U.S. Of course the touristy parts are horrid. Still a fun place to visit.

I just returned from Ensenada, and based on that cannot recommend anyone eat fish tacos anywhere but there, ad then only from the Fenix or Floresta street stands. The ceviche at the El Guerero street stand is also worth the trip, as are the popsicles form the helado stand on the corner.

The name of the state should be Quintana *Roo*.

thanks, fixed...

Cenotes were not created by ancient meteors, they are far more recent than that. Look to the last few glacial cycles, <1M years, for the story of their origins as sea level cycled between present (or slightly higher) and 120 meters below present.

Effectively, superficial limestone in Valladolid is 20-30 million years old and the meteor is older than that. Taxi drivers are great for food tips, not geology ;)

There are numerous sinkholes on the perimeter of the meteor strike:

Tyler, are you still here?

I guess you could say the pattern of cenotes was caused by the meteor, as they reflect the fault lines around the edge of the impact crater, which alter underground drainage. The cenotes themselves are geologically young, as are surface karst features in general.

'I would put the quality at that of a Michelin two-star'
Going by your posts it doesn't seem that you dine regularly at fancy restaurants or Do you often eat at two-star restaurants but not describe the meals ?


Which is interesting, considering that Michelin only rates restaurants in SF, NYC, and Chicago -

There must be a conspiracy afoot!

I dined at Tempo in 2013, and I have dined at about a dozen 1-3 michelin restaurants on several continents. Tempo is very good, but, in my opinion, it is not at the level of a 1 star and certainly not a 2 star. The service, the food, the decor, the ambiance and especially the clientele all fall short.

Want an excellent meal off the beaten path in Quintana Roo? Head about 15 minutes north of Valladolid on 295 to the tiny little town of Temozon (NOT to be confused with Timizin). Eat at Carnes Temozon a smoked meat restaurant. It is on the side of 295 and attached to a furniture store. In particular get the smoked longaniza - similar to Mexican style choriza (not to be confused with Spanish Chorizo). It's divine and may cost $5. Check out their massive smokers out back while you're at it.

Tyler on eating well in Oaxaca:

Seek areas controlled by indigenous tribes. A three-day hike into the high mountains will bring you to a remote shanty town. Secure entry by denouncing government forces. (Insufficient conviction will lead them to kill you.) Stick to dishes made of jungle rat and the bodies of captured government soldiers. The poisonous berries make a particularly tangy condiment (in moderation, obviously). Travel with a wide array of potent antibiotics and schedule time to recover from dysentery.

Thread winner (including original post).

@magicman, yes from experience I can tell you Tyler has dined at a plethora of Michelin starred restaurants in Europe and Asia.

Glad you got some of the real local stuff. No way you would not do so, :-).

I had a very decent meal at the Hotel El Meson del Marques in Valladolid, although it appears I should have opted for the market.

I don't want to thread-jack, but did you make it to Ek-Balam? It's only about 15 miles north of Valladolid, and is one of the most amazing archaeological sites in the Yucatan. It seems the Maya buried the pyramids, as the political center of gravity shifted from Ek-Balam to Chichen-Itza, so everything is remarkably well preserved. It has the most intricate decorations that I saw at any site, and doesn't seem to be a hit with the tourists, so crowds weren't an issue at all.

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