KatunEach month Yucatan Today visits a restaurant in order to describe what it has to offer. This is not a review; it is a summary of the menu, service, ambience, prices, and opening hours.

September 2011

For excellent regional cuisine in the Mérida hotel zone (Calle 60 between Colón and Cupules, close to Hyatt and Fiesta Americana hotels), Katún is the perfect choice. Its open, spacious dining room sets the mood with background Mexican music, and the bartender is waiting to create a perfect margarita for you. If you prefer wine or beer, just ask the waiter what’s available.

Speaking of waiters, on a recent visit, Carlos provided exemplary service…warm, cordial, and professional. He obviously loves his job and goes out of his way to make guests feel welcome. He made suggestions and is knowledgeable about everything on the menu.

Yucatecan gastronomy differs in many ways from that of other regions of Mexico; we have strong European and Cuban influences on our cuisine, and we combine those influences with unique local ingredients such as achiote paste (made from the annatto seed), sour oranges, limes, coconut, bananas, banana leaves, turkey, deer, squash, mangos, avocados, papayas, and of course the not-very-subtle chile habanero. But don’t worry, our cuisine is not hot; the habanero chiles and sauces are always served on the side. Be sure to test a tiny bit of any sauce before spooning it over your cochinita tacos!

We wanted to try the Crema de Xcatic, a cream soup made with xcatic chiles, but there were so many other things we wanted we decided we should save room. But it sounds divine: a soft, creamy soup with the special flavor of Yucatán’s own chile xcatic. There is also, of course, Yucatecan classic sopa de lima on the menu.

Appetizers are many, so this is a perfect opportunity to try several…the more in your party, the more you will be able to sample! They do have a combination appetizer plate, with salbutes, panuchos, papadzules, brazo de reina, and longaniza de Valladolid, and of course any of these can also be ordered on their own. They also have a fish empanada made with corn tortilla, and tostadas with Tzi’ic de Venado (a Yucatecan specialty made with deer meat). There is a fresh mixed ceviche, too, and cochinita tacos for pure traditionalists. And be sure to ask for the light, flavorful dip made from fresh local squash…it’s not on the menu but is clearly a specialty of this restaurant’s talented chef.

Main courses include the regional specialties made from home-grown turkeys, relleno negro and pavo en escabeche oriental. All the other Yucatecan “musts” are available too: pollo pibil, poc-chuc (made either with pork or chicken), pescado en tikin-xik, pan de cazón, Yucatecan arrachera, queso relleno, lomitos de Valladolid, and cochinita pibil. There is also a unique daily special, further evidence of the talented kitchen.

Desserts include dulce de papaya with edam cheese, flan Napolitano, caballeros pobres, and traditional Yucatecan ice creams, depending on what fruits are in season.

Calle 60 No. 319-B x Av. Colón y Av. Cupules. Tel. 920 1482. Open 12 pm – 11 pm every day.

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