Here it is the fall of 2017 and there are lots of new places popping up in Merida and mostly around the Parque Santa Lucia on and Parque Santa Ana. When I have guests coming to town with Urbano Rentals I give them a few options in the neighborhood of their rental but then for place I recommend for lunch or dinner is Apoala in the park Santa Lucia. Fresh clean Mexican cuisine from the state of Oaxaca but updated to a modern palette and served with aplomb (my first time to ever use that word). Apoala has a lunch menu that they don´t brag about but you should ask what the lunch specials are as they include a plate and a drink for $115 pesos. At lunch I usually have the Aguachile, Ceviche de Camerones or one of the great salads. Other good choices are soft shell crab tacos and sopa de lima. I hear that the short ribs and the lechon are also great.
If it´s Friday night I send my guests to the Noche Mexicana the very interesting or very kitsch variety show and craft (crap) sale in the remate de Montejo. The main reason I send them there for Ana Sabrina´s delicious tacos (see photo above) & hot churros! Ana is also in the Santa Lucia Park on Sunday from around noon to 3 and I´m often there. The locals are dancing in the streets or porticos and there is a tiny little flea market in the square. Santa Lucia was renovated a few years ago and now has become a mecca for restaurants and local gentry who would never set foot in centro 5 years ago are now flocking to Santa Lucia. There is a new fish place, Rosas sur 32 that was inspired by the Pacific but offers a few local fish too. There is a Canadian bistro, Tratto and burger bar, Bryans. I can´t say I love either of those places. I recommend you stop at the Ki Xocolatl Belgium shop for excellent chocolate, coffee and local honey. The Botella Verde has moved over to calle 56 and in it´s place is a place I doubt I´ll ever try called 500 noches. Across the park is a Peruvian restaurant not much liked by people who know Peruvian food. There is also a good steak restaurant on the corner called La Recova. The dreadful Chaya Maya spinoff is just half a block down calle 55. Now the big news last summer is Mercado 60 which is a block up calle 60 and open from 6 pm to 2.30. It´s a glorified food court in a deserted parking lot. Now this summer a copycat opened in a beautiful old Casona. Casa Dominga is even more like a mall food court. The Mexican restaurant at the entrance doesn´t have a clue about ambiance, lighting, music or good food. This was made to attract the local young and hip crowd. I don´t think it will be around by next summer but I´ve been wrong once or twice before.
There are many Italian places in centro and by far the best is Oliva Enoteca. Oliva Kitchen is less formal and just around the corner. Dadaumpa was good then bad and now I´ve no idea but once upon a time they had a great ragu. Pizza at Raffaelo on the corner of 60 & 49 is very authentic and good but now a new place on the corner of 47 and 64 is getting rave reviews, Pizza e Core. The hotel Mediomundo has a good vegan restaurant. There is a decent mediterranean place beside the Santa Lucia church called Pita. If you are not tolerant of TV´s in every room and apple cinnamon air fresher in every socket then go to the Lebanese dump around the corner called Cafe Almeda for lunch instead. Or sit by the front door with your back to the TV at Pita.
Here is my old food blog that you might enjoy rummaging through.
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