Mérida’s food scene can be overwhelming precisely because it’s so varied and fabulous. There’s so much going on that it can be difficult to know what to try and where to look for tasty, fresh food or for that special place the locals love but isn’t in the guidebooks. The objective of this selection is to share some of our hidden gems: restaurants outside of the city center that a visitor (or even a resident) might not yet have found. From well-established coffee shops outside of Centro, to delicious vegan Mexican food, Mérida is full of small, unassuming yet delicious places quietly going about their business.
I’m shocked that I had never been to Jichan’s Kitchen before. Hidden out in northeast Mérida, this family-run Japanese restaurant serves up homemade food as tasty as any I ever had in Japan. With a menu in Japanese, Spanish and English and incredibly friendly staff, there’s no way you won’t find something on the menu that works for you (don’t worry if you are taking kids, the owner-chef is more than happy to find a way to feed them too). I had a perfect teriyaki, my husband said his katsu curry was deliciously authentic and, on the way home, the kids told me they had both overeaten because the food was so tasty.
Calle 23 #205 x 30 y 28, Fracc. La Florida
Tel: (999) 749 8810
FB: Jichan’s Kitchen
Thur. – Sun. 2 – 10 pm
Casa de Piedra
Casa de Piedra is a casual, reasonably priced, family-run Italian restaurant in García Ginerés. We opted to eat inside as it was a cool evening, but the terrace out at the back looks like a wonderful place to while away the hours with a glass (or four) of wine and freshly prepared Italian food. The pizzas here are really quite delicious, as were the pasta dishes we tried. We were also very pleased with the freshness of the ingredients, particularly noticeable in the bruschettas.
Calle 22 #203-D x 25 y 27, Col. García Ginerés
FB: Casa de Piedra
Tel: (999) 905 5878
Tue. – Sun. 7 pm – 12 am
Mérida is becoming a hotspot for sustainable living and Distrito Vegano serves up delicious healthy, homemade vegan takes on Mexican cuisine as well as vegan burgers and hot dogs. Hidden away in Francisco de Montejo III, this small yet ever-so-welcoming outdoor restaurant is a great introduction to vegan food. Be sure to try the Tacos al Pastor and the Burrito. I haven’t tried the desserts (I’ve failed Yucatán Today and I’ve let myself down!) but they look incredible!
Tucked away in Itzimná is the delightful coffee shop and roastery, Caffe Latte. While this is no newcomer to the city’s coffee scene, it is still one of Mérida’s hidden gems. If you’re looking for an extra special “cup of morning Joe,” then a freshly ground, Mexican grown coffee bean will really hit the spot. Stop in for a coffee or pastry and grab a bag of beans to make your own at home, too.
Calle 18 Ave. Rotary Internacional #101 x 21 y 21-A, Col. Itzimná
Tel: (999) 927 0410
FB: Caffe Latte Itzimna
Mon. 9 am – 5 pm, Tue – Fri. 7:15 am – 7:30 pm, Sat. 8 am – 3 pm
On one side of Parque San Juanistas, is Arte Helado, where delicious ice creams are served from a refurbished container. Whether you’re coming especially for the ice cream or stopping by after letting your kids have a romp in the playground, you won’t be disappointed with the quality of the ice cream. My favorite time to head here is around dusk when the fairy lights come on, the next-door church is busy and the atmosphere is just delightful. Sit back, relax, and enjoy one of their fabulous flavors (my favorite is the grapefruit sorbet).
Calle 7 x 36 y 38, Col. Campestre
Tel: (999) 518 8370
FB: Artehelado Merida Campestre
Sun. – Thu. 10 am – 9.30 pm, Fri. – Sat. 10 am – 11.30 pm
Editorial by Cassie Pearse
Photography by Cassie Pearse for its use in Yucatán Today
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