Restaurants & Bars 17

Yucatan Eats - requests and a belated report

redbecca | Sep 6, 200907:20 AM

I realized I never posted a report on my short trip to Playa Del Carmen in Jan 09, and now that I am looking for recs for my Yucatan trip over xmas (yes, I get into planning ahead) I'm thinking about it all again. FYI, I grew up in Texas so am very picky about Mexican food.

Playa Del Carmen -
best meals:
torta stand near the Collectivo stop, across from a little city park. You can sit at the bar and chat with the owner, she cooks everything on a tiny grill. Super moist stewed pork, lots of fresh ingredients in bowls to throw on your own sandwich.
John Gray's Kitchen - seriously good food, upscale, with some Mayan influence. Do not miss it!
Hotel Kinbe beach bar: I just had nachos, but they were really, really good - chorizo in the beans, fantastic, reminded me of nachos in Austin - beans on each chip, like a little pizza, not like a big plate of chips with stuff thrown on them.
Mayan spiced hot chocolate at the Cacao cafe. There is an Italian ex-pat scene in Playa Del Carmen, and they all hang out here for their espressos, etc. The baristas speak some Italian as well, as a result. I learned from them that Italians are moving there because it reminds them of years gone by in Italy - so I bet there are some decent Italian places in Playa now - Kinbe is Italian-owned, but serves Mexican food.
Tacos Gomez good, but not as good as it looks: next to the Collectivo Stop. meat was a little too gristly and chewy.
worst meal - boquinette at Las Palapas Hemingway on the Quinta Avenida. I read about boquinette on this board, but I thought it was terrible here - dry, overly salty, totally boring. Sitting at this place was nice and the ceviche was very good, but I wouldn't recommend eating here.

Isla Mujeres:
Picus near the boat doc - fish tacos, a generous quantity. thanks to chowhounds for the rec.

Tulum - right at the ruins, Don Cafeto serves a great plate of chilaquiles, and they are very friendly. The waiter quizzed us on our spanish vocabulary.

So now for my request:

I'll be in Merida for Xmas and Tulum for New Year's - any recommendations on where to go for a special /or traditional dinner?
I'll be in Puerto Morelos for a week after New Year and know John Gray's original place is there so it's on my list. Anything else I shouldn't miss?
Any good places to eat near Chichen Itza, Ek-Balam and Celestun?

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