There are so many restaurants to choose from in Merida. The best traditional Yucatán food I found was in the markets (mercados), so make sure to try out the street food, tacos, panuchos, tortas , fresh fruits and vegetables they have there. I highly recommend tacos or tortas al pastor if you like grilled pineapple and pork. Mercado San Benito is the largest market in the city and you can easily get lost in the hustle and bustle of the market. Here are just a few restaurants I enjoyed in Merida. Starting with some great breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes.
Huevos Motuleños Y Más
This is a restaurant that is well known to make the popular huevos motuleños. A breakfast dish that actually originated in a town in the Yucatán. This dish is very filling so, make sure you’re hungry before you order it for breakfast. It is made with eggs, tortillas, black beans, cheese, ham, peas, salsa and plantains. It’s flavourful and spicy just the way I like it with a habernero on top.
Huevos Motuleños Y Más – Calle 41 375, Francisco de Montejo II, 97203 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
This little cafe has a great patio to sit and enjoy a meal or just enjoy a great cup of coffee. Their frappucino was delicious and I tried their Double Cheese Molettes (an open-faced sandwich made with melted cheese on top of refried beans and peppers) and their Papaya Fruit Smoothie which was equally tasty. The quality of food and great service makes this a perfect place to sit and enjoy all the people strolling along the Paseo de Montejo. I enjoyed their simple decor and details of the table setting while sitting on their front patio.
Sukra – 45 y 43, Paseo de Montejo 496, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
If you haven’t had a chilaquiles yet, you should visit this small restaurant and try their flavourful dishes. I finally found a dish with chicharron/castacán (fried pork belly). The chilaquile is a great dish for brunch or lunch. The bowl is filled with tortillas, castacán, longaniza de Valladolid (smoked pork sausage with achiote) and your choice of salsa. The mixture of ingredients is simmered until the tortillas start to soften. It’s a unique dish that is tasty and it complemented well with the salsa verde (green salsa). They also make great fresh juices that are perfect on a hot day in the Yucatán.
Chilakiller’s – Calle 57, Entre Calle 56 & Calle 58, Centro, Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
This restaurant is a gem. It has a great atmosphere and food to match. The mole with chicken was delicious with the blue corn tortillas. And the fresh papaya juice was refreshing. They also have vegan dishes available which is not that common in Mexico. Make sure to enjoy the ambience of the tree-shaded garden in the back.
El Apapacho – Calle 62 354 x 41 y 43, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
I was pleasantly surprised to find this small family-owned restaurant that served amazing Cuban food when I was visiting Merida. The menu changed daily and so, I got their special for the day. The pork, plantain and rice dish was homemade and I enjoyed every bite of it along with the fresh tamarind juice (tamarindo). It also had a relaxed atmosphere and friendly service.
La Cubanita – Calle 51 502, Centro, 97000 Ejido del Centro, Yucatán, Mexico
If you want a more traditional dining experience. I also recommend the following restaurants:
La Recova Santa Lucia
La Recova is one of several restaurants in Parque de Santa Lucia (Santa Lucia Park). The fresh bread served before the meal with several dips were a perfect start to dinner along with a fresh cup of Chaya juice. The duck panuchos (panuchos de pato – made with refried tortilla, refried beans, cabbage and pulled duck meat) were delicious and they also have a good selection of cocktails and drinks to enjoy while in the park or watching a performance in Santa Lucia in the evening.
La Recova Santa Maria – Calle 60 47197160 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
La Chaya Maya
La Chaya Maya was recommended by several locals in Merida. The traditional Yucatán dishes can be found here along with handmade tortillas. This place can get busy at dinner time but, it’s worth the wait. Some of the popular dishes you should try are the Cochinita pibil tacos (traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish), Poc-chuc (citrus marinade commonly with pork and cooked over a grill) , Pipian de pavo (turkey in a special sauce) and Sopa de lima (traditional Yucatán dish, which is made with chicken, lime juice and served with tortilla chips). You won’t be disappointed with the cochinita pibil or sopa de lima and the dishes originated in the Yucatán so, Merida is one of the best places to try it.
La Chaya Maya – Calle 57 y 62, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
Pórtico del Peregrino
Pórtico del Peregrino – Calle 57 501x 62/60, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
La Casa de Frida
You’ll enjoy the vibrant colours and decor in La Casa de Frida. The food is just as flavourful and vibrant too. Try the traditional Mexican dish, Chile en nogada (stuffed pepper topped with a cream sauce and pomegranate seeds). The chicken mole enchiladas were also pretty good. The restaurant decor is unique and the atmosphere is relaxed and quiet.
La Casa de Frida – Calle 61 No. 526-A, Merida 97000, Yucatán, Mexico
Hermana República Centro
This restaurant has a variety of appetizers, dishes and desserts to try. Hermana República Centro also has a nice bar and atmosphere in the garden. The roasted eggplant, fried beef on plantain tostadas (tostones de platano macho con vaca frita) and beef fillet with mashed potatoes and roasted pumpkin seeds (filet de res on pur de papa, calabaza y poro) were all tasty.
Hermana República Centro – Calle 64 472, Centro, 97000 Centro, Yucatán, Mexico
In the evenings you may want to enjoy a drink and some music with your food. These restaurants or cantinas have some character and different things to try while enjoying your favourite drink or cocktail.
If you want to try different cuisines all in one place, Mercado 60 is the place to go. It has several food stalls and a nice atmosphere to chat with friends and enjoy a drink or meal. You can choose from burgers, pizza, Japanese, Mexican and BBQ along with fresh juices and drinks. You order your meal, pick it up when ready and enjoy it at one of the long tables in the open patio. 60 Brasas had amazing ribs and empanadas and Verde made a great berry mint limonada. They usually have good music playing to enjoy the lively ambience and colourful murals.
Mercado 60- Calle 60 461, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico
La Negrita Cantina
This cantina usually has live music playing and you can enjoy drinks, free botanas (snacks) and food if you can get a table or seat on the patio or bar area. If you want a table try and get their earlier in the evening as it’s a popular place and get’s busy quickly. We tried the ceviche and tacos here. They serve good portions at affordable prices. Sit back and enjoy the music with a beer or horchata or get up and dance. This place is loud and lively with an easygoing atmosphere.
La Negrita Cantina – Calle 62x 49, 415, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yuc., Mexico
El Cardenal Cantina
El Cardenal Cantina was recommended by a local and it had the perfect platter to try a little of some of the popular dishes in the Yucatán. The Tabla Yucateca is a great platter to share that comes with poc chuc (grilled citrus marinated pork), longaniza (sausage), taquitos regionales, salbut, panuchos, salsas, frijol (beans) and tortillas. It was delicious and the music was playing loudly for the evening crowd. Enjoy a nice cold drink or beer here while you snack on some dishes at El Cardenal Cantina.
El Cardenal Cantina – Calle 63 No.527 Por Calle 70 y Calle 72, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico