Love is in the air, undoubtedly. We can feel it all around, can we not? Mérida is serious about romance. Just take a walk along Paseo Montejo on a breezy night and you’ll feel the movie-like atmosphere we’ve come to love. You can’t miss sitting on one of our confidant chairs, either. As mandated by tradition (or more like the calendar?), February 14 is upon us. What, oh, what to do on this glorious evening with that loved one of yours? There are plenty of options for you to sway and giggle away for the night. Whether you’re into the Mérida classics or want to try something new, we’ve got you. Make sure to call ahead, as many of these restaurants may require a reservation for Valentine’s, or close on Mondays (though probably not the Monday Valentine’s Day falls on). Don’t be afraid to celebrate a day early!
Let’s begin with a classic. This restaurant in the iconic Parque de Santa Lucía describes itself as passionate about Mexican flavors. The Arnaud brothers brought a bit of their natal Oaxaca to our city with a fusion of ingredients and Mexican recipes (both from Yucatán and Oaxaca). Try the beef steak with Mole or the Tlayuda Doblada. The moonlight will be the perfect companion for the twinkling lights above and some loving eyes across the table. The ambiance in the park is very worth it! Follow dinner with a romantic walk around Centro and perhaps get a Marquesita. Or if you’re up for a drink, visit Malahat, the now ironically famous (yet somehow still mysterious) speakeasy in Santa Lucia.
Calle 60 #471 x 55, Santa Lucía, Centro
Tel. 999 923 1979
FB: Apoala Mexican Cuisine
Oliva is one of four sister restaurants (Olivia Kitchen, Olivia Patio, and Oliva Pizzeria). They all drip romance and have become musts to visit in the Yucatecan capital. It’s located in an industrial-chic remodeled house in Centro and offers a menu of drool-worthy Italian dishes. Don’t miss out on the gnocchi alla bologense or the beef tartar. Their wide wine list (180!) has been carefully curated by the chef to complement the menu, so dive in. Enjoy homemade pastas in this warmly-lit marble bar and re-create that scene from The Lady and the Tramp. I don’t know, though. Maybe it’s just cute if you’re a cartoon pup.
Calle 47 #466 x 54, Centro
Tel. 999 923 3081
FB: Oliva Enoteca
“When you eat a dish made with the heart, you just don’t fill your stomach, but also your soul.” Okay, so these guys are romantics at heart. They passionately believe that food and Apapachos (cuddles) are a love language. Wood is a key element at this seafood restaurant, since its smell wakes up a very particular human core memory in most. Whether you’re Mexican, American, or Argentinian, it brings you back home somehow. Go through their array of dishes, cocktails, and wine and mezcal selection and laugh away this Valentine’s. Try the octopus, fresh oysters, and, for dessert, the Manzana Rompope.
Calle 47 458, Centro
Tel. 999 518 1702
FB: Micaela Mar y Leña
The concept behind Agua de Mar finds inspiration in the feeling, places, flavors, and textures of the ocean. All of this is communicated through the restaurant’s spirit, one that values fresh and genuine cooking. The ocean is visible not only in its dishes, but in the attention and care they give to their ingredients, most from communities such as Timucuy and Mama. One of their main goals is to support local fishermen and farmers in the state. Although it’s mostly a seafood restaurant, they offer a wide variety of meat and vegetarian options. A must is their natural wine selection! Taste the Aguachile de Mar or the Mejillones al Sartén for an out-of-this-world experience with your loved one.
Calle 49 #502 × 60 y 62
Tel. 999 958 9339
FB: Agua de Mar Restaurante
Editorial por Greta Garrett
Writer, director, and excellent human sandbag. Self-proclaimed funny person, fully bilingual, and passionate storyteller.
Photography by Apoala, Loboluna Producciones, Palmar Bar Tropique, Agua de Mar, and Micaela Mar y Leña for its use in Yucatán Today.
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