Modern Mérida’s culinary landscape has done an impeccable job of maintaining its demand for sugar-filled traditions, like “merengues” and coconut “dulces,” while also opening up a space for the international baker’s oven and prehistoric chocolate cravings. The immigrant influence has made way for French pastry shops (popping up all over town) and the bold impact of a tireless Iranian woman who expects nothing less than perfection from her trusted local bakers at Tala. Take your taste buds on a trip through time and space using our list of decadent desserts.
Tucked at the head of the table, Homa Abhari’s small frame rests calmly behind her wide, bright eyes. Soft wrinkles map her face, and her mysterious charisma waits at the base of her words. Originally from Iran, Homa steers seamlessly from English to Spanish and back. She offered me an opera cake (layers of chocolate and coffee-infused whipped cream) and an espresso.
When her kids were young in México City, she bought marble cake from a woman from Holland. One day the woman stopped selling, and Homa bought her recipe. She started making desserts in her home, and things grew. Many years later when Homa was 75 (and most people look forward to retiring), she got bored, closed her “marvelous” restaurant in México City, and settled freshly in Mérida. A self-proposed challenge, Homa wanted to do something new: a boutique hotel, where she could serve coffee and cakes to her guests.
Hotel Casa San Angel is 15 now, and her restaurant-bakery Tala combines 50 years of experience, secret recipes, and hours of her daily labor into decadent perfection. From pound cakes to onion bread, the desserts balance impeccable presentation with world-class deliciousness.
After over an hour of chatting about everything from her cooking to a life-long fight against prejudice, Homa purses her lips, stands up, and apologizes, “I don’t want to go, but I have to. Because if I don’t go, we won’t eat tomorrow.”
Paseo de Montejo #1 at the “Remate” x 49, Centro
Monday to Friday 7:30 am – 7:30 pm
Saturday 7:30 am – 10 pm
Sunday 7:30 am – 2 pm
Tel. (999) 928 1800
Todo de Coco, El Mono Feliz
In the kitchen of their colonial home, Ana from Palenque, Chiapas, and her Yucatecan husband Carlos transform coconuts into more than a dozen different recipes. They sell everything from no-sugar-added coconut water to “budín.” Shelves full of cold-pressed coconut oil and hand-carved souvenirs float underneath the paper palm trees and make this adorable local spot a one-stop-shop for all things coconut!
Calle 59 x 64 y 66, Centro
Monday to Friday 10:30 am – 3 pm and 4:30 pm – 8 pm
Saturday 10:30 am – 3 pm
Tel. (999) 114 3456
Local 59 Breakfast and Pastry Bar
Freshly minted breakfast and pastry bar Local 59 embodies the philosophy of its owner. 100% locally-sourced ingredients, a backyard organic garden, and walls hung with local art make owner/chef Dawn an innovator in Mérida. Born to cook, when she was four, Dawn wrote a letter to her grandmother asking her for her date squares’ recipe, an Easy-Bake Oven, and a cash register. Today, this ancestral recipe lives in the layers of oatmeal, brown sugar, and dates. From omelets to coffee cake, this gem of a restaurant makes “delicious” socially conscious.
Calle 59 x 78 y 80, Centro
Monday to Saturday 8 am – 2:30 pm
Tel. (999) 518 1691
Learn about the sacred history of chocolate as you sink your teeth into a three-story brownie with homemade vanilla ice cream, or lime mousse with semi-sweet chocolate ice cream. Everything in Ki’Xocolatl’s hidden café and store full of take-it-with-you style products is derived from Nature’s own raw material: cacao. With an exclusive menu of only three gourmet desserts, there are no wrong choices—only chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.
Parque de Santa Lucía, Calle 60 x 55, Centro
Monday to Saturday 9 am – 11 pm
Sunday 9 am – 6 pm
Petit Délice Pâtisserie Française
Tall ceilings, clean white details, and marble countertops make bakery-restaurant Petit Délice feel like being inside of a childhood tea party fantasy. Native French pastry chef Celine and her small team arrive at 6 am to begin confecting everything from classic éclairs to vanilla and red raspberry macaroons. Head uptown to experience magic—equal parts ambience and mouth-watering sweet treats.
Victory Platz, Avenida Andrés García Lavín #352, Col. Montebello
Tuesday – Friday 8 am – 8 pm
Saturday and Sunday 9 am – 8 pm
FB: Petit Delice MX
Many locals consider 111 year-old “El Colón” the best place to enjoy ice cream, but I want to make an amendment. El Colón ranks high for both ice cream and dessert. “Yema de guanábana,” chocolate cookies, and cone-shaped rum treats prove that El Colón doesn’t have a specialty—they excel at everything.
Calle 61 x 60 y 62, Plaza Grande, Centro
Paseo de Montejo x 39 y 41
Every day 8 am – 11 pm
Tel. (999) 928 1497
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