We balance on the tips of high-backed chairs, feeling beautiful, with nowhere else to be but here. The world swings around us, moving at its digital pace, and we giggle without breaking eye contact. Romance blooms between us as we sip a Mexican red and bite into exotic flavors, bringing us back to our senses and closer to one another.

In today’s crazy world, it can be complicated to put our complete and undivided attention on love. The dinner date has held strong for centuries as the ultimate way to make time for your other half, so we put together a diverse list of restaurants that takes couples and transports them to a romantic bubble, where no distractions can come your way. Turn off your cell phones and schedule two uninterrupted hours, there’s something on this list for everyone.

El Apapacho

Vibrant, folkloric murals and a ceiling of “maracuya” leaves make El Apapacho my favorite, zero-percent-pretentious date spot. A restaurant with a social purpose, the space boasts an inclusive environment, welcoming couples of all shapes and sizes. Food for the “body, brain, and the heart,” the owners say that their favorite compliment is when customers tell them that the food tastes like “la abuelita” used to make it. Try mole with blue corn tortillas and the freshest Oaxaca cheese I’ve ever had – all without breaking the bank.

Monday, Wednesday – Friday: 12 pm – 10 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9 am – 10 pm
Closed Tuesdays
Calle 62 x 41 y 43, Centro, Mérida
FB: El Apapacho “Comida nada gourmet y Arte”
IG: @elapapacho

Casa de Piedra, Hacienda Xcanatún

A centuries-old ceiba tree draped with warm, twinkling lights illuminates the path up a set of stone stairs, where a kind-hearted man pulls open the enormous doors of the restored Hacienda Xcanatún. I had a feeling of falling into the rabbit hole, my body felt so small underneath the restaurant’s soaring 10-meter ceilings. When no one was looking, I pretended to be a ballroom dancer, sliding through Yucatán’s interpretation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The ambience alone is enough of a reason to ask someone to marry you here – the world-class, regionally-inspired menu is the icing on the cake.

Monday – Wednesday: 8 am – 10:30 pm
Thursday – Saturday: 8 am – 11 pm
Sunday: 8 am – 9 pm
Calle 20 S/N x 19 y 19-A, Comisaría Xcanatún, Km. 12 Carretera Mérida Progreso
FB: Casa de Piedra, Mérida

Oliva Enoteca

Quickly becoming a Mérida classic, the warmly-lit, marble bar at Oliva Enoteca is one of three siblings (the others, Oliva Kitchen and Oliva Patio). Italian visionary Stefano Marcelletti creates a new menu featuring homemade pastas (with Yucatecan punch) every three months. Start the night with fresh cheeses imported from Italy, then lean in to a plate of Mérida’s freshest pastas, topping it off with my personal favorite: the olive oil cake.

Monday – Saturday: 1 am – 5 pm, 7 pm – 12 am
Calle 47 #466 x 54, Centro, Mérida
FB: Oliva Enoteca
IG: @oliva_merida

Rosas & Xocolate

The house wine won silver recently in a national competition, and that’s just the newest medal on a heavy wall of trophies for one of Mérida’s most original hotel/restaurant concepts. Saunter up the winding staircase to the rooftop terrace for live music Wednesday through Saturday, where tender lights release dramatic shadows along the jungled gardens, creating an ambience that lives up to its reputation. Reservations for romantic dinners render table-scapes dotted with red rose petals, candlelight, and the perfect plate: “chicharrón” de pulpo (octopus) or duck with “longaniza” from Valladolid.

Every day, 7 am – 12 am
Paseo de Montejo x Calle 41 y 39, Mérida
FB: Rosas & Xocolate
IG: @rosasyxocolate

Cafeína Food Company

For the ultimate romantic date, take an overnight getaway to the mystical, magical colonial city of Valladolid. Meander hand-in-hand from the central Zócalo along the “Calzada de los Frailes,” one of the most beautiful streets in all of Yucatán, where you’ll find incredible boutiques, hotels, cafés, and historic wonder. Dine street-side or in the jungled patio of Cafeína, and fall deeper in love over a bottle of wine and dishes like farm-raised chicken and creative (yet rustic) pizzas.

Every day, 7 am – 2 am
Calzada de los Frailes #205-B x 48 y 43, Valladolid
FB: Cafeína Food Company
Tel. (985) 856 2654


Editorial by Amanda Strickland
Photos by LoboLuna Producciones, Hacienda Xcanatún and Lindzy Lee Annis for Yucatán Today’s use.


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