I sit here in a cafe in my hometown, salivating over the tostada, fish tacos and guacamole of the Mexican Peninsula still, even one month later. I am in love with food and yet, my expectations were quite standard, dare say it rather normal. I was not prepared to be floored by nearly every dish I ate in the Yucatan Peninsula. We have all been to touristy destinations… the food caters to the foreign traveler and often loses some of its authenticity and charm in the process. What a surprise when I arrived in Tulum to see that my expectations were largely inaccurate.
After arriving and getting settled, my overwhelming desire to explore the beach and the water was only eclipsed by my overwhelming starvation. My first meal was a quick (ish) walk down the main drag (QROO 15), which sounds like somewhat of a highway of sorts however that is a stretch of the imagination. I happened upon a quick little spot with an open grill, always a good sign. The staff was very enthusiastic and welcoming, truly passionate about the food they serve and working to ensure you have a wonderful visit. I had the Pork Salpicon Tostada was beyond delicious with pork, baby tomatoes, habanero, and avocado all chopped and served in a bowl with homemade tostada chips and crema — listed as an appetizer, I really didn’t NEED anything else, but that doesn’t tend to stop me - I really could eat this dish almost every day, it was perfection. The Snapper w/eggplant puree, grilled squash, and recede negro sauce (mole’s cousin). It was a new flavor combination for me, but the freshness of the ingredients was impossible to improve upon. Mur Mur prides itself on its local ingredients sourcing strictly from what the Yucatan has to offer and that concept is evident. It’s creative, local and delicious. With an outdoor, wood-fired, all-natural kitchen, hard to pass up.
There are very few times in my life where a single meal stays with you forever. Burrito Amor... Oh, I still dream about it this place. Easy to find off the main street in downtown Tulum, a small little spot with a lot of charm. From hotel zone, you can expect between $5-$10 taxi ride if you have no other transportation. The bike ride down there is reasonable for the athletes out there, but due to the heat at the time I arrived, not worth the sweat effort for me. Those looking to burn off the calories before arrival, hop on that bike!!! Burrito Amor is committed to clean and conscious food. They are all too aware of the, dare I say trash, that is generally a foundation in mass-produced chain-based food which is NOT Burrito Amor's prescription for success. Thus, they are committed to quality ingredients, awareness and diligent effort to support and provide for dietary restrictions. Good, clean food generally tastes amazing, it's unlikely to get an argument from that. Definitely make this a stop on your next visit to Tulum. As they say at Burrito Amor, "... drop in and live the experience". (Here is a quote from their website.) " While much of the super food packed menu is Paleo and vegan friendly, and/or gluten, dairy, grain and egg free, the CLEAN EATING concept is not a consignment to anyone's specific eating regime, but more a representation of Burrito Amor's love and commitment to serving real food the way we believe it should be served - fresh, healthy, full of flavor and super clean... with a side of cool tunes and a cool vibe." Based on their website, it looks like they are planning to open another restaurant in the US, city not yet known. Closed on Tuesdays.
Cenzontle was lacking for me. Is one night enough to give a restaurant a negative review due to a single bloggers disappointment in ambiance and the dinner that followed? It could be a wonderful date night place with the dark flickering lights and a lovely garden experience. Unfortunately, this experience didn't hit the mark for me which is surprising considering the recommendations I received. It certainly didn't have that special factor that some other dining experiences provided me in Tulum. One thing I cannot fault them for in any way was the customer service. It was beyond lovely in that regard. The menu was pretty small and I just couldn't get into it. Based on the reviews from others, perhaps it's worth a second try. The menu as it stands today looks quite good. I wish my experience was a tad different, but sadly it was not too enjoyable. Perhaps it's because it is nearly next door to Hartwood?
Hartwood has such popularity and the food is THAT GOOD, that your entire party needs to arrive for your reservation. The restaurant community respects Hartwood simply because their food is so good and essentially the reason everyone wants to get a table. The word of mouth here is real, you will notice this place, its the only restaurant with a line, every night they are open. I was a single, thus I got a table at the bar, I believe that is a rule as they need to optimize their tables for sure. Overall it was a lovely experience, not so much for the ambiance even though there is a charm in that feeling, “I got in at THE PLACE in Tulum,” but more so for the remarkably fresh and delicious food. After I left dinner, I ran into a couple later that evening at the one of very few ATM’s in the hotel zone and was so busy discussing the magical food at Hartwood that I left my debit card in the machine till I realized it the next morning. I thanked my lucky stars when the store attached to the machines had a Rolodex full of them, lol. RELIEF. (Total Travel fail — can I blame Hartwood? the food was just too delicious). I recommend checking with their website before arrival for the reservation and hour restrictions.