Have you ever visited a friend’s or family member’s home whose warm-hearted treatment and caring manner has left you wanting to go back as soon as possible? Well, Yerba Santa will make you feel the same way. The restaurant, located in El Minaret on Paseo de Montejo, will become your second home throughout the lovely evening you’re bound to have.
Yerba Santa is named after the Mexican pepperleaf herb (Piper auritum), also known as Root Beer Plant, that would sprout in Chef Nidia Sánchez’s yard in her home state of Chiapas. Despite the hardships, whatever they may be, this plant would continue to flourish, something that deeply resonated with the Chef while she was going through a mourning period.
That’s the concept behind Yerba Santa, a restaurant that seeks to share, through impossibly colorful dishes, the life experience of Chef Nidia Sánchez. Yerba Santa’s offerings combine ingredients commonly found in Mexican homes with dashes of international cuisine, creating a menu without borders: dishes that cannot be bound into a single category of cuisine.
Yerba Santa opened in Mérida at the beginning of this year, and since then, they’ve won over the hearts of their diners; whether it be by the breathtaking Casona that houses the restaurant, the artistic vision and indescribable flavor of the dishes, or the kind disposition of the staff, including the chef herself, who welcome you with open arms from the start.
Here, every dish tells a story, and every ingredient that is used has a purpose; if not Chef Nidia herself (she likes stopping by the tables to say hi), your server will be happy to tell you about the inspiration behind the dish of your choice, as well as the meticulous curation of the elements that are part of it. That way, not only will you have a better understanding of the food, but you’ll also feel a closer connection with the people who made it for you.
Among the dishes worth mentioning within Yerba Santa’s extensive menu are, for example, the “Mole Zoque 36 ingredients”, which, as its name indicates, is a dish made up of 36 ingredients: a pan-seared duck magret (a vegetarian option is available) served over semi-sweet artisanal Mole sauce made using the chef’s mother’s recipe and a Chiapas-cheese risotto. “The Kraken” is a flavorful grilled octopus with caramelized baby potatoes and rosemary, charred leek mayonnaise, and a Guajillo pepper emulsion. Another option is “Atardecer del Minaret (Minaret sunset),” inspired by the incredible view you get from the tower when you visit the restaurant, which features dry shrimp from the Chiapas coast, watermelon, yellowfish tuna from the Cortés sea, and local chili slices.
Are you thirsty? Besides offering classic cocktails, Yerba Santa also presents a delectable variety of unique house creations. If Mezcal is your thing, try “Tierra Tropical”, a savory mix of coconut Mezcal, grapefruit juice and cucumber, and beetroot extract.
With a promising future, Yerba Santa has captivated diners’ senses for almost six months now, through a unique cuisine proposal. An innovative mix of local and international cuisine, led by Chef Nidia Sanchéz and the stories told in her dishes, offers you an unforgettable experience that will leave you wanting to come back.
By Sara Alba
Panamanian with a Mexican accent since 2005. Editorial Assistant, a walking jukebox, and always lurking on social media, in the constant search of hidden gems to visit and share.
Photography by Arianne Osalde, and Renée Morales for use in Yucatán Today.
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