If you’re in Mérida and hoping for a culinary treat, then these five Mexican restaurants may well be the answers you’re looking for. All are what we call ‘Modern Mexican’ but no two are the same. Each has a distinct personality and each will introduce you to the vibrant and vital world of modern Mexican cuisine where tradition blends seamlessly with the current fashion for inventiveness. Modern Mexican takes tacos and refried beans from the streets and pueblos and redesigns them for the fine-dining experience.

Honestly, visiting these five restaurants for Yucatán Today was one of my favorite assignments ever!


Rosa Sur 32º

Hidden behind the stage in Parque Santa Lucia is Rosa Sur 32º, an experience not to miss when you’re in town. This small and unassuming restaurant was opened by the same people who opened the famous Rosas & Xocolate Hotel on Paseo de Montejo, and it provides a truly delicious fusion of Mexican and Mediterranean flavors. I head here whenever I need a hit of pure elegance (and figs, because their fig and burrata starter is incredible).

Rosa Sur 32º
Calle 60 x 55, Parque Santa Lucía, Centro
Tel. (999) 923 1558
Open every day 1:30 pm – 12 am



Apoala is consistently considered to be one of Mérida’s favorite restaurants. Located in Parque Santa Lucía, it’s easy to see why people love it so much. Eating exquisite contemporary Mexican cuisine (a fusion of Oaxacan and Yucatecan), drinking delicious mezcal (I assume that’s not just me) and watching the world dance by is a great end to any day. If you’re lucky and chilaquiles with tuna is on the menu, don’t turn down the opportunity to try it. If meat is more your style then their tacos will be sure to make your mouth sing. And to top it all off, the staff are incredibly friendly and welcoming too, even if you show up with loud children in tow.

Calle 60 x 55, Parque Santa Lucía, Centro
Tel. (999) 923 1979
Open Mon. – Sat. 1 pm – 12 am, Sun. 1 pm – 10 pm


Catrín 47

My first visit to Catrín was specifically for this article. I may possibly have been back twice since, so delicious is the food and so welcoming are the staff. I was first struck by the simple beauty of the murals on the walls. Make sure you take a peek at the garden, too, because the mural outside is truly something to be seen, especially when the sound and light show is on. Everything I have tried from the menu is delicious. Their beetroot salad is one of the best sides I’ve had in Merida. If you’re feeling adventurous, I highly recommend the guacamole with chapulines (grasshoppers) for that added crunch. You may be surprised to see a Caesar salad on the menu, but did you know it was actually invented in México?

Catrín 47
Calle 47 #463-B x 52 y 54, Centro
Tel. (999) 518 1725
Open every day 1 pm – 1 am


Micaela Mar y Leña

This ultra new and ultra modern restaurant serves, as the name might suggest, primarily seafood, with a side of meat (leña means wood fire). I wouldn’t call it ‘surf n turf’ though, because it’s far classier than that. We began our meal with half a dozen oysters, slurped down with cilantro and habanero for a perfect taste combo. We continued with ceviche dishes to share, paired with guacamole and a side of beef tongue barbacoa. Doesn’t everyone pair ceviche with tongue?

Micaela Mar y Leña
Calle 47 #458 x 52 y 54, Centro Tel. (999) 518 1792
FB: Micaela Mar y Leña
Open Mon. – Sat. 1 pm – 12 am, Sun. 1 pm – 6 pm


Maíz de lo Alto

I’ve driven past Maíz de lo Alto many times and always wanted to go in so I was thrilled to finally have an opportunity to do so. It was a chilly, dark night when we were there but we still opted to join the majority of others in the outside/inside main area of the restaurant. Luckily for us we were there on a Tuesday night, which meant half-price cocktails, which is always a win in my book. I took my dad with me on this visit. Given that he claimed not to love tacos, this was a calculated risk that actually paid off because he now believes me when I say that not all tacos are created equal. He happily gobbled up the delicious taco-y goodness served up here and now admits that tacos can be wonderful!

Maíz de lo Alto
Avenida José Díaz Bolio #70, Colonia México
Tel. (999) 688 9441
FB: Maíz de lo Alto
Open Tue. – Thu. 1 pm – 12 am, Fri. – Sat. 1 pm – 2 am, Sun. 1 pm – 6 pm


Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse, Carolina Becerra and Catrín 47 for use in Yucatán Today

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