During Mexican cuisine’s rise through the ranks of the world’s most popular, Unesco bestowed it with Intangible Cultural Heritage status. That’s largely thanks to the infusion of ancient flavors from the recipes of ancient Maya. As the capital of the historic Mayan region of Yucatán, it’s therefore no wonder that Mérida boasts a particularly rich gastronomic scene. Here, we’ve whittled down its many places to eat into this list of flavorsome favorites.
Considered one of the top restaurants in Mérida, multiple award-winning Kuuk takes traditional Yucatec cooking and wraps it in a high-end gastronomic experience. It’s all about the tasting menu here, where cutting-edge culinary techniques are employed in dishes such as soursop with sea snail, and pibil rabbit with mezcal. It’s a world away from Mexican street food, but with flavors that capture its essence. You’ll find the restaurant at the top of swanky Paseo de Montejo – a cab hop from the center.
A vibrant homage to Mexico’s most famous artist, this restaurant – which translates as Frida’s Broken Dishes – is a riot of color, extravagant decor and Kahlo artwork. Among the maximalist setting, choose from a menu that covers the spectrum of Mexican cooking, from moles to enchiladas and chilaquiles (the tortilla-based breakfast dish). Indeed, they serve a good brunch here, and the price-to-quality ratio is one of the best in the city.
Opened in 1972, this Yucatec restaurant is about as traditional as they come – both in atmosphere and cuisine. There’s little in the way of fancy flourishes or contemporary twists, just expertly cooked regional dishes bursting with authentic flavors and quality ingredients. Their rich and delicately spiced relleno negro (black turkey stew) comes highly recommended, and they also feature one of the longest dessert menus you’ll find in town, so save room.