If you are going to be spending any amount of time in the Yucatan capital, you are probably interested to know what the best restaurants in Merida, Mexico actually are. While Merida has started to appear on people’s Mexico travel radars more frequently in recent years, its foodie scene is often underrated. Merida is often overshadowed by places like Mexico City and Cancun.
However, the reality is that Merida is quite the gourmand, and there are eateries here to suit every taste and budget. Many are housed inside grand, old colonial mansions and colourful centuries-old buildings that have been renovated while still retaining their old-fashioned charm.
A lot of eateries focus on serving up delicious Yucatecan cuisine and regional delicacies that are only really found in this part of Southeastern Mexico. They often follow recipes first created by the Ancient Mayans.
Authentic, international fare is hard to come by in these parts but there are a couple of places that serve authentic Asian food (including one great little Korean spot run by a father/son duo from Seoul) and Italian food so good that you would think you were in the hills of Tuscany.
You are in good hands here because I have been living in Merida for the last two years. I have personally eaten at every restaurant on this list (as well as a few others that didnt quite make the cut) and I know the city extremely well.
Unlike most people that have compiled lists of Merida restaurants, I have not just passed through here once. Since dining out here is so affordable, I eat out in Merida very often so I will expand and add to this list as I discover new great places.
35 Best Restaurants in Merida Mexico
Since it is overwhelming to choose where you want to eat when there are so many options, the best restaurants in Merida on this list have been broken down into different categories.
If you don’t feel like scrolling and reading a ton, my best recommendations would be to go to Habaneros Yucatecan restaurant for breakfast, Pueblo Pibil in Tixkokob for the absolute best of the best cochinita pibil, and a hacienda restaurant like Hacienda Teya or Ya Axka restaurant if you want to treat yourself to elevated Yucatecan cuisine in an upscale setting.
Moma Haus is great for when you want more westernised comfort food while Kuuk is a fine dining spot that serves dishes that resemble works of art and are almost too beautiful to eat.
You can sample their 11 course degustation menu if you like doing menu tastings or you are celebrating a special occasion. Although I would say that the tasting menus offered by Pueblo Pibil are usually superior.
(However, unfortunately, they are periodical and are only offered during some holidays and intervals throughout the year rather than constantly. It is worth checking their website to see if they are offering degustations during your travel dates).
Contemporary Mexican Cuisine in Merida
If you are looking to sample traditional Mexican food in a stylish setting, the restaurants in this section are for you.
Where: Av Jose Diaz Bolio 66, Col. México
Anonima (translation: “Anonymous”) is a chic, stylish, Mediterranean-inspired eatery that sits in the Colonia district of Merida, just northeast of the centre. The menu offers Mexican and Mediterranean-inspired dishes, along with an extensive selection of wines and beverages sourced from vineyards and producers across Mexico.
For just under 200 pesos per person, you can do a wine tasting of four different wines (one white, one rose and two red) from up-and-coming Mexican viniculturalists in Baja California Sur and Guanajuato. The property has an entire room dedicated to different wines and liquors sourced from across the world.
It is possible to step inside, browse through the different bottles and pick which one you like.
The menu changes periodically and features everything from healthy vegan dishes to perfectly marinated steaks and hamburgers. The entree menu offers some great sharing platters, include beef carpaccio, a table of cheeses, and “botanas mediterraneas” – dips and light bites from the Mediterranean.
Of course, you mustn’t forget to save some room for dessert. The chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream is a personal favourite, but there are also more traditional Mexican desserts like flans.
Where: C. 60 346, Zona Paseo Montejo, Centro
Paseo 60 is not “just” a restaurant, per se, but a hip, contemporary complex in the centre of Merida. It consists of a number of different high-end eateries and a covered, hipster food market that serves some great light bites (bocadillos) and artisanal beers.
Each night, after 6pm, a stage is set up so that musicians can perform “music en vive” to the people dining at the different establishments. If you like seafood, you will enjoy the Crabster restaurant here.
(The original Crabster is in the nearby beachtown of Progreso, and it is so well loved, another was opened here). The “brioche crabster” is a menu highlight; the dish consists of brioche bread stuffed with shrimp sautéed with chilli poblano and green pepper au gratin with cheddar cheese, refried beans, tartar dressing, and french fries.
Yum! The camarones al coco y almendra (shrimps with coconut and almonds) are also particularly special.
Next door, the “TEYA Gastronomica Yucateca Viva” restaurant serves excellent elevated regional fare like papadzules, queso relleno, and “res fileteada a la Yucateca” (Yucatecan beef). If you are not massively hungry, you can step inside the adjacent covered mercado to pick up some cochinita tacos or some poc chuc marinated pork.
Sabor a Mango Cholul
Where: Calle 23 100 Por Calle 20, Cholul
Sabor a Mango is a gorgeous restaurant in the heart of Cholul, an upscale town in Northern Merida. The space has been decorated like a traditional Yucatecan home and the menu offers Mexican fare with an international twist.
Think Mayan-style Jamaican jerk chicken prepared with achiote and local herbs, and a local twist on Thailand’s beloved red curry served with the fish of the day sourced from nearby waters.
An excellent local entree is the guacamole del pueblo (guacamole of the town). This recipe features smashed avocados, with pico de gallo, a splash of squeezed lemon, sauteed corn, aioli, tortilla pieces, and pork belly. Delicious!
Both indoor and outdoor seating is available and on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, live musicians perform jazz and swing music in the leafy garden where a well-heeled crowd sip cocktails beneath towering palm trees and papaya plants.
The restaurant’s unique cocktail menu names its drinks after Yucatan Mayan ruins and tourist attractions. (For instance, the Ek Balam, is a sweet, fruity mix of tropical fruits and mezcals).
If you stop by during the day, you can burn off your calories by exploring charming Cholul after you eat. A handful of independent clothing boutiques encircle the main square where you will also find a flea market on Sundays.
The gorgeous pastel-yellow church in the centre of Cholul dates back to the 17th century and was built in honour of San Pedro Apostol. Nearby, you can also visit the eerily abandoned hacienda Canabchen Casares and learn the local legends that tell of its spooky past.
Where: Av Rómulo Rozo 488, Itzimná, 97100 Mérida
Kuuk is a Merida institution and it should be your restaurant of choice if you are looking for something a little extra special.
The restaurant, housed in a grand 18th-century colonial-style mansion just off the Paseo de Montejo., succeeds not only in making its food delicious but in making it so photogenic and gorgeous that it is essentially a work of art in itself.
The decor is as decadent as the food. The gorgeous rooms, with their high ceilings, glittering golden chandeliers, and regal tables and chairs are reminiscent of an elegant, bygone era and seemingly transport you back in time.
You can opt to order from the a la carte, or you can indulge in the restaurant’s tasting menu. A degustation costs 1800 pesos ($86) per person and consists of 11 phenomenal courses. If you want, you can add a drinks tasting to this for an additional 900 pesos.
The menu options typically focus on showcasing local ingredients and unique interpretations of traditional dishes that seem like they shouldn’t work, yet somehow, they just do.
The soursop, sea snail, coconut, and habanero with sea grape, spirulina, bougainvillaea, tomato, and shrimp use Yucatecan ingredients to create something completely unlike anything you have had before. An extensive selection of international wines and beverages are sold here, and you can ask your waiter to recommend the perfect pairing for your chosen dish.
Where: Merida – Peto, Hacienda, 97370 Teya, Yuc
Many Yucatan haciendas have been saved from falling into dilapidation and have been converted into luxury guest accommodations and restaurants in recent decades. The Hacienda Teya restaurant has been delighting foodies from across Mexico for years, and its chefs have won awards and recognition both within Mexico and internationally for their delicious concoctions.
The property is spectacular too. Hacienda Teya was founded in 1683 by Mrs. Ildefonsa Antonia Marcos Bermejo Calderon y de la Helguera, wife of the Count of Miraflores.
It operated as a place to raise cattle and then became a henequen hacienda before being abandoned in the first half of the 20th century. Fortunately, a new investor saw its beauty and potential and turned it into the spectacular premises it is today.
The hacienda is encompassed by spacious grounds and manicured gardens. You can see the propertys resident deer through the windows as you dine.
The breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are all fantastic, boasting different highlights.
If you stop by for breakfast, be sure to order the papadzules for your appetiser. These hand-rolled tacos are stuffed with finely chopped steamed egg and a mouthwatering sauce made from finely ground pumpkin seeds and tomatoes.
The Puntas de Filete al X’catic – beef fillet tips seasoned with achiote, stewed with tomato sauce and X’catic chilli, and accompanied by rice and ripe plantains make a phenomenal choice for a main at lunch time or dinner..
For dessert, the obvious choice is manjar blanco. This is a delicious creamy rice pudding prepared with coconut and cinnamon.
Ya Axka restaurant
Where: Carretera Dzitya- Mérida Dzitya, 97302
Ya Axka is an elegant, fine-dining restaurant that sits in a former hacienda in the northwestern part of Merida, close to Dzitya. It takes its name from the vibrant shade of blue in which its walls are painted, which is typical in the Yucatán Peninsula.
The former hacienda, like many others, thrived during the henequen boom of the early 20th century. Its former living quarters and industrial buildings have all been renovated into dining rooms that reflect a perfect mix of old local traditions and modern living.
The wall decor, the reparations, and the furnishings have all been built with local stone, wood, and materials from the region. The menu is contemporary-style Mexican with a modern twist.
As you wait for your entrees and your main, you will be presented with some complimentary amous bouches to whet your appetite. Ya Axka has a good selection of appetizers to share among your dining companions, influenced by the cuisine across Latin America.
For instance, their “Mexican trilogy” starter consists of different bite-sized tacos, empañadas inspired by Colombian cuisine. You can also order a charcuterie selection of cold cuts and cheeses from across the region.
On certain evenings, live musicians perform pop, folk, and rat-pack music in Spanish and English. Some of the larger ballrooms and banquet halls can be rented out for parties and events.
Where: C. 16 111-X 31, Itzimná, 97125
Senza Gastrobar is an elegant eatery that sits beside Casa Gemela in Itzimna, just north of Merida’s city centre. They are open for breakfast/brunch and dinner every day except Mondays.
Their opening times are from 08.00 am until 14:00 pm, and then again from 19:00 am until 03:00 am. Mexican and international favorites can be found on the breakfast menu here.
For instance, huevos al gusto (eggs made however you like), chilaquiles, avocado toast, and loaded castacan pork tortas.
Wash it all down with a freshly brewed cappuccino or a smoothie prepared with seasonal Mexican fruit. The restaurant is usually pretty quiet in the mornings, but at night, the atmosphere is a lot more livelier as people come to see live bands that perform in the beautiful rear garden.
The dinner menu here changes with the seasons, depending on which fruits and veggies are at their freshest and most readily available.
Where: Calle 60 #471 x 55 Local 2 Portales de Santa Lucía, Centro, 97000 Centro
Apoala restaurant is the brainchild of the Arnaud brothers who hail from Oaxaca and have brought a taster of their food culture to the Yucatan. The menu at Apoala offers a range of interesting dishes that fuse Yucatecan and Oaxacan ingredients and recipes together.
The restaurant, headed up by Chef Sara Maria Arnaud Gómez, offers a thoughtful twist on age-old family recipes passed down through the generations. It is set within the porticoed walkways of Santa Lucia park in Central Merida.
The food here is a little on the pricier side but worth it as a treat. You can start with the flores en amarillo – deep fried zucchini blossoms that are stuffed with Oaxaca cheese and hierba santa over mole amarillo.
You will be spolit for choice of what to eat for your main but a great option is the tasajo Oaxaqueno. This consists of thinly sliced grilled beef, chile de agua, cheese, and mole amarillo chilaquiles.
Street musicians usually wander around Parque Santa Lucia with their guitars in hand. For 50 pesos or so, you can ask for them to serenade you with a specific Mexican song as you dine.
Hacienda San Jose
Where: KM 30 Carretera, Tixkokob-Tekanto, Tixkokob, Mexico, Yucatan 97470
Nothing says a magical dining experience quite like enjoying a candlelit dinner in the gardens of an old hacienda. That is exactly what you can do at the restaurant of Hacienda San Jose, just outside of Merida.
You absolutely need a vehicle to be able to get to the Hacienda. However, it is well worth the effort if you are renting a car in Mexico.
This is a nice place to stay overnight and enjoy a luxury stay in the Yucatan if your budget allows it.
The menu showcases all of the very best dishes that originated in the Yucatan state. For instance, mouthwatering cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork seasoned with achiote and sour orange juice and prepared in an underground oven known as a “pib”), or mouthwatering relleno negro (chicken or pork mixed with chilli peppers).
The expert mixologists here can prepare whatever cocktail takes your fancy. If you prefer not to drink something alcoholic, you can request a bespoke mocktail or a homemade lemonade prepared with fresh local herbs.
Hacienda Santa Cruz
Where: Hacienda Santa Cruz, 97477 Tixkokob, Yucatan
Like Hacienda San Jose, Hacienda Santa Cruz is a great luxury place to stay in Merida. However, you do not have to be a hotel guest to dine inside their Valentina restaurant, which specialises in serving the very best of Yucatecan cuisine prepared with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
If you come for breakfast, you can order a breakfast package for just under 500 pesos per person. This consists of warm, crumbling fresh pastries, homemade bread, a fresh Mexican fruit platter, coffee, freshly squeezed fruit juice, and a main.
Better still? Live musicians perform traditional music as you dine.
Te Extraño, Extraño
Where: Calle 56 426 Zona, P.º de Montejo
Te Extraño, Extraño (Translation: “I miss you, stranger”) is a stylish contemporary eatery that now has two branches in the Yucatan. (The original one can be found in the historic center of Merida and its latest addition awaits in Temozón).
This stunning space boasts a neutral colour palette, a picturesque rear courtyard, and walls decorated sparingly with contemporary and geometric art pieces. The owners are always stating on the property’s social media pages that they have a profound love of art and architecture and this is evident when you step inside Te Extraño Extraño.
Visiting feels like climbing into a creatives mind. The menu offers a range of reimagined Mexican classics, as well as yummy pastas, pita breads, and Mediterranean dips like tzatziki and hummus.
Rosas & Xocolate
Where: P.º de Montejo 480, Paseo Montejo Zone, Downtown, 97000
Rosas & Xocolate restaurant is situated inside the luxurious hotel of the same name, right on the main stretch of Paseo Montejo. The gorgeous property consists of two spectacular French-style mansions that were restored to their former glory in 2007.
The candy pink properties were renovated and rejuvenated by a team of renowned Mexican architects and designers. Today, the site boasts an award-winning restaurant, and a hotel with 17 rooms, each of which is distinctly different.
The restaurant boasts al fresco seating right beside the Paseo Montejo. This is a great spot for people-watching as local vendors sell their wares along Merida’s main boulevard, and locals jog, walk their dogs and indulge in an afternoon walk with friends.
Live jazz bands will often perform here as you dine, making the experience even more special. If you prefer to sit inside and escape the intense Mexican sun, the indoor area of the restaurant is every bit as spectacular with its contemporary light installations, water gardens, restored antiques, and unique art pieces.
Acclaimed Chef David Segovia is behind the menu at Rosas & Xocolate restaurant. Stop by for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner.
The menu is essentially a combination of Mediterranean-style favorites, and modern, fresh twists on Yucatan food. The duck panuchos with salad, Xnic pec, avocado, and Xoconostle sauce are great. So too, are the Lamb cochinita tacos with pickled onions.
Cenote San Ignacio
Where: C. 23 126, Centro, 97816 Chocholá, Yuc
Cenote San Ignacio is a gorgeous restaurant and a cenote all in one. It is located in Chocholá, a small Yucatecan town just 40km and 36 minutes away from central Merida.
You can stop by here for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner during your Merida itinerary. However, perhaps the best experience is to come in the morning.
Enjoy a fabulous breakfast, let it digest while you sip a strong Mexican coffee, and then swim in the covered cave cenote.
Gorgeous tiki-style cabanas provide protection from the intense sun as you dine on tables laden with crisp white linen tablecloths. You can indulge in traditional Mexican breakfasts or the very best of Yucatecan cuisine.
There is also a large pool surrounded by hammocks and cozy chairs. You could easily dedicate half a day to hanging out here.
Nobody will rush you to leave after a certain amount of time. It is better to come here during the week if you can. The cenote can get quite busy on Sundays when locals are off work.
The cenote here is arguably one of the most beautiful in the Yucatan. It measures 30m long by 20m wide with a maximum depth of 8m.
It is a great place to swim or simply enjoy sitting and soaking in the clear waters like a natural jacuzzi. Be advised that entrance to the cenote requires a separate admission fee.
Life jackets are available to rent for free if you like. Cenotes are safe, in general, but the water here is not that deep, and only a handful of people are permitted to enter at a time.
Micaela, Mar & Leña
Where: Calle 47 458, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatan
Micaela, Mar & Leña is a lively local eatery that specializes in seafood dishes. The hospitality here is second to none.
When you dine at Micaela, Mar & Leña, you have the assurance that any fish or seafood dish you tuck into comes from fish sourced from local waters earlier that same day.
The restaurant aims to create a homely environment that makes you feel as though you are eating at the home of a family member or a close friend, rather than a business. It is run by Chef Vidal Elias Murillo and his partner Alberto Nacif Figueroa.
Micaela, Mar & Leña is situated in a part of the city that is becoming known as Merida’s culinary row (Calle 47 between 56 and 52) on account of all of the excellent dining options that can be found in this part of town.
Micaela, Mar & Leña has a fascinating backstory, too. Its owners previously managed a number of restaurants in the United States.
Following the election of Trump, they, along with several other legal Mexicans in the US, decided to relocate back to the motherland. A lot of the recipes here stem from an old cookbook that Vidal Elias Murillo found in an old antique store in Mexico City.
The cookbook was written by a woman of Afro-Mexican descent, a nanny named Micaela who was the daughter of slaves that escaped a plantation in New Orleans. The restaurant, and its dishes that are twists on Micaela’s recipes, pay homage to her life and the struggles of immigrants.
Best Merida Restaurants for Casual Dining
Carnes Regias San Juan
Where: Prol. Paseo Montejo 77, Campestre, 97120
Set in the Campestre district of town, heading towards the north of the city, Carne Regias San Juan is a meat lover’s paradise. This spot pairs as both a butcher’s shop and a restaurant specialising in carne asada Norteño – smoked meat from Monterrey and Northern Mexico.
The great thing is that you can literally see the meat being stored in the refrigerator so you can wander up to the counter and select the exact cut and piece that you want. Then, you can see the chef hard at work barbecuing the meat through the large window that looks into the kitchen.
The portions here are generous and the prices are reasonable. You can order tacos and tortas, or you can order steaks and cuts of beef.
(I usually get the sirloin). Steaks come with a side order of frijoles charros (literal translation “cowboy beans”: a delicious bean soup) and juicy, fat red Mexican pork sausages “salchicha para asar”.
Best Specialty Yucatecan Kitchens in Merida
You will find that unless you choose to dine at international eateries, the vast majority of restaurants in Merida and the wider Yucatan serve the region’s speciality cuisine. Generally speaking, there is no such thing as bad Yucatecan food and most of the restaurants in this region are excellent.
That being said, there are those places that stand out above the crowd and are designated Comida Yucatecas. In other words, they pride themselves not only on serving Yucatecan recipes but in following the ancient cooking methods down to a tee and using the same ingredients and processes as the Ancient Maya before them.
Where: Calle 20-A Num 302 X 5b Y 5c, Xcumpich, 97204
Habaneros restaurant is a favorite among locals and tourists alike. It is particularly popular at weekends when locals come here to enjoy breakfast or lunch with their extended families.
One of the highlights of dining here is the live-action cooking stations. As you enter, you will see Mayan women in traditional dress hand-preparing fresh tortillas. From within the restaurant, you have a view of the chefs lovingly preparing your food.
Habaneros is decorated in a manner that highlights the best of the Yucatan’s history and culture. Carved, colourful wooden masks and Mayan sculptures adorn the walls.
Come for breakfast for the best experience. For 220 pesos ($10 USD), you can order a breakfast package.
This comes with some bite-sized welcome churros, fresh water, the main dish, and refillable coffee. If you want to try something truly Mexican, I suggest you order a café de olla instead of a regular coffee.
This is one of the most beloved Mexican drinks and consists of coffee infused with cinnamon (canela) and cane sugar (piloncillo). It is prepared and served in a little earthenware pot.
Where: Calle 21 & 28, N ° 180, Centro, 97470 Tixkokob, Yuc
Pueblo Pibil, like Hacienda San Jose, is located in the little Yucatan town of Tixkokob, some 25km out of Merida, but well worth the 15-minute journey to get to. This is an elevated “Comida Yucateca” restaurant that serves only traditional dishes cooked in an underground pib oven.
Having tried countless different cochinita pibils during my last few years of living in Merida, I would say that Pueblo Pibil’s is the best, which is saying something considering that the food in this region is excellent in general.
This arguably has something to do with the cooking process. Meat dishes served at Pollo Pibil are marinated overnight and then slow-cooked underground for 15 hours, in a fire lit with chukum and catzín wood, oak leaves, and jabín.
Pueblo Pibil’s chefs follow the same recipes and cooking practices as the Maya have for centuries and their recipes take you on a journey of ancient flavours. They were even featured on the Netflix food series “Taco Chronicles” for their excellent cochinita.
Not only is the food here great, but the restaurant is housed inside a breathtaking 18th-century Tixkokobenese mansion that still features a lot of its original paintings and artwork.
Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca
Where: Calle 62 #466 x 55 y 57, Centro, 97000 Mérida
The Museo de la Gastronomía Yucateca is an interesting concept restaurant in the heart of Merida. It first opened its doors in 2019, with the intention of offering a tribute to one of the most important cuisines of Mexico.
Dishes have been made in traditional ways to honour the legacy of the Ancient Maya. This place is something between a restaurant and a museum, aiming to provide education about local food and Mayan culture as you dine.
So, as you are presented with each new dish, your waiter will simultaneously talk to you about the history of the dish, its cultural significance, and how it is made.
All of the most popular regional dishes are served here. Sopa de lima (lime chicken soup with shredded, fried tortillas) is a good starter. Then you can move on to the pollo pibil, the cochinita served with warm corn tortillas or traditional steamed Yucatec tamales wrapped in banana leaves.
Best Breakfast and Brunch Spots in Merida
As far as most Mexicans are concerned, breakfast or “Desayuno” is the most important meal of the day. People here tend to have a large, hearty breakfast (often consisting of eggs, or chilaquiles paired with fruit and sweet breads).
Merida is home to some excellent breakfast spots where you can treat yourself to international favourites like eggs benedict and French toast, or opt to sample local breakfast delicacies.
(Huevos motuleños are a nice thing to sample. This egg dish hails from the Yucatan pueblo magico of Motul and consists of two eggs served sunny side up that are placed on top of deep-fried tortillas slathered with beans (“frijoles”), cheese, a slightly spicy tomato sauce, peas and ham.
Where: Calle 21 100, Itzimná, 97100
Clementina is a new breakfast and brunch spot that opened in the charming local district of Itzimna in summer 2023. It is the brainchild of partners and food lovers Fabián Euán and Rodrigo Ibarra who named their establishment after the French “Clémentine” meaning “mandarin”.
The space is bright and airy, with tall ceilings, arched doorways and a colour palette of teal paired with bright yellows. Many features provide a gentle nod to the premises’ Yucatecan heritage – including its detailed azulejo tiled floors and its light fittings and photo frames made from henequen.
The menu boasts a mixture of traditional Yucatecan and Yucatecan/international fusion dishes designed to satisfy visitors from across the globe. In particular, they pride themselves on their chilaquiles – fried tortillas drenched in red or green salsa and topped wth either chicken, arracherra, or eggs.
Clementina is open from 7:30am until 2pm daily. The premises also sports a gorgeous rear courtyard and terrace which makes for a perfect place to sit on less humid days.
Where: Calle 5 100-local 2, Residencial Montecristo
Pistache (translation: “pistachio”) is an excellent breakfast, brunch and pastry spot in the Col. Altabrisa district of Northern Merida that claims to offer “a touch of France” in the Yucatan. While as a European, I am usually fussy about any restaurant claiming to offer European food, bread and pastries like croissants, pan au chocolats (known locally as “chocolatins”) and other treats served in Merida are generally excellent.
(One of the only good things to come from the French occupation was the locals inheriting the knowledge of how to make the perfect croissant.) The pastries here are unparalleled and they are better still if you happen to time your visit as a fresh batch is being taken out of the oven.
The sous chefs at Pistache also make some fantastic soft, crumbly macarons in every colour of the rainbow in interesting Mexican flavours. (For instance, tequila and mezcal macarons).
The menu also features some delicious international brunch dishes like eggs benedict and thick, fluffy French toast. While the decor at Pistache is modest, looks can be deceiving and the breakfast here is one of the best in tow.
Where: Calle 57 501x 62 y 60, Centro, 97000 Mérida
Cafeteria Pop is a beloved Merida breakfast spot that is widely known both across Mexico and across the world. 2022 marks its 51st year in operation, having served thousands of delighted patrons from dozens of countries worldwide.
The cafeteria is owned by Merida residents Lizbeth Castilla Povedano and Amira Peniche Gonzalez who styled their business in a way that paid homage to the pop art culture of the 1960s and 1970s. The walls and surfaces here are all absolutely laden with vibrant graffiti murals and pop art designs and classic rock plays out over the loudspeakers.
Povedano and Gozalez’s inspiration was a trip that they took together to London, England where they found a ton of cool bars and cafes that had fun designs and graffiti.
You can order all of your favorite Mexican breakfast dishes here and the prices are very affordable. Huevos divorciados is a good choice (translation: “divorced eggs”.)
The dish consists of two fried eggs that are placed in the centre of the plate. One is bathed in a spicy red tomato sauce (“salsa roja”) and the other in “salsa verde”, a more tangy green sauce made with tomatillo.
Omelets, croissants, pastries, Mexican pancakes (“hot cakes) and other light options are also available. Cafeteria Pop also serve some lunch and dinner options but the atmosphere is at its most lively in the mornings.
Where: C. 63 214, Sin Nombre de Col 24, 97115 Mérida, Yuc
Vida Mia is a gourmet paradise. The little eatery in the northern suburbs of Merida offers mouthwatering dishes from across the globe, with a special focus on eating charcuterie or meze style.
The restaurant is open from 8 am until 3 pm daily, making it the perfect spot for breakfast, brunch and lunch. The breakfast menu offers a selection of egg dishes and fruit bowls, while after midday, you may prefer to order meze platters and charcuterie boards.
The imported cheese and cold cuts plates are great choices and while they are pretty large, you can easily eat your way through it if there are a few of you. Tuck into an an assortment of acorn-fed Iberian ham and Iberian pork cold meats (pork ham, pork loin, pork sausage, and pork chorizo).
The cheese plate is assortment of imported cheeses hailing from Europe such as manchego sheep milk, goat cheese, Iberian sheep, goat, and cow milk, Spanish semi-cured manchego, and camembert.
The decor here is shabby chic and charming. You can opt to dine indoors, or in the small courtyard with the little wooden colorful chairs.
La Case de los Abuelos
Where: Plaza Uptown Merida, Av. Correa Rachó 104, Sin Nombre de Col 3, 97133 Mérida,
La Casa de Los Abuelos is a Mexican chain restaurant that specialises in serving traditional recipes from different parts of Mexico. But don’t let the fact that this is a chain restaurant put you off, it holds no reflection of the quality of the food here.
La Casa de Los Abuelos means “the grandparents’ house” and the eatery aims to provide an atmosphere and experience of eating good, hearty home-cooked meals prepared by your family. You won’t see any tourists here, only locals having dinner with their parents and grandparents.
Breakfast is a good time to stop by and the chilaquiles rojo here are some of the best in town. La Casa de Los Abuelos also has an extensive menu of pan dulces (Mexican sweet breads and cakes).
You will see them behind glass counters as you enter and they make a great breakfast accompaniment or a sweet snack to take home and enjoy later. If you stop by later in the day, their pozole soup is pretty good.
This is a traditional stew cooked in a tomato-based sauce and prepared with pork, tortillas, cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, radishes, avocado, and lime.
Where: Calle 39 numero 140 por 26 y 28, Montes de Amé, 97115 Mérida
Artemia restaurant is a chic, bohemian breakfast spot in the northern suburbs of Merida. Reservations here are absolutely imperative, particularly on weekends when well-heeled ex-pats and locals stop here for brunch with friends.
Artemias’ menu offering is extensive. They also serve excellent homemade smoothies and fruit juices if you want something a little lighter. Breakfast options range from Mediterranean-style concoctions to Mexican classics.
Best Restaurants in Merida for International Food
If you have been traveling around Mexico for a while, you may be looking to eat something a little different. For those occasions, there are plenty of excellent, authentic international eateries in Merida.
Where: Calle 17A 101B, Fraccionamiento del Arco, 97138
Authentic Asian food in Merida is not easy to come by and finding good Korean food here is virtually unheard of. Chogga Seoul is an authentic Korean eatery managed by a father and son team that relocated to Mexico from South Korea.
Even if you have never tried Korean food before, it is worth stopping by Chogga Seoul if you want to try something different. I spent over a year living in Suwon, South Korea as an English teacher and for me, this is some of the very best Korean food I have eaten outside the country.
Many classic Korean dishes can be found on the menu here. Tteokbokki makes a great starter if you can handle your spice – these are soft, chewy rice cakes that are drenched in a spicy tomato sauce. You can order a large portion as an entree to share among your dining companions.
Meat lovers will love the beef bulgogi main course with a side of rice. This is a generous portion of sumptuous marinated meat cooked with soy sauce, sesame oil, chillies, and fried onion.
If you want to finish strong with something sweet, you can also find some traditional Korean desserts here. Bungeo-ppang (붕어빵) are fish-shaped fried pastries that are stuffed with adzuki bean paste or chocolate sauce.
Alternatively, you can order a portion of sweet bingsu to share. This is shaved ice topped with cream, fruits, and syrups.
Chogga Seoul is very very small inside, and you often have to wait for a table but the wait is worth it. K-Pop plays over the loudspeakers and traditional Korean decor adorns the walls.
Where: La Isla Merida waterfront, Calle 24 608, Santa Gertrudis Copo, 97305
Moma Haus is a great little restaurant that serves a lot of international comfort food, perfect for occasions where you just want a bit of a change from Mexican food. It is located just outside La Isla Mall, along the manmade waterfront.
I would never normally recommend eating out at a mall, but La Isla is a classy, stylish space that attracts a well heeled crowd. It is filled with designer and independent boutique stores, and has a normal of European-style restaurants outside where people enjoy al fresco aperitifs and dinners in a way that you would imagine in Europe.
At weekends, there are often live musicians that perform to restaurant patrons and sing everything from popular Mexican pop/folk songs to US country music. (Some singers are Mexican and some are American).
Their menu offers things like salads, soups, pastas and sandwiches. They do a great starter of deep fried asparagus that you can dip into a homemade garlic ranch, as well as wonderful homemade potato chips that they usually drown in fresh grated parmesan, olive oil and truffle oil. Yum!
For the main, try their curry chicken gyros. The homemade lemonade infused with mint here is second to none. (And that is saying something in a country where everyone serves homemade lemonade on the menu).
Where: 118 x, Prolongación paseo Montejo, Calle 27 97125
Mr Pampas is an excellent Brazilian churrascaria that sits on the Paseo Montejo promenade, just a ten minute ride north of central Merida. I am sure that you are familiar with the concept of a churrascaria but incase you are not, it is basically an all-you-can-eat restaurant that specialises in red meat.
When you enter, you can take a plate and head over to the huge starter and salad bar in the centre of the restaurant. There are so many delicious different things here that it would be very easy to just fill up on starters.
(Seriously, I have done that before so be mindful about how much you scoop up onto your plate). You can find everything here from soups and salads, world cheeses and charcuterie, to creamy poblano chicken, countless different types of potatoes, various different bread rolls, and different types of rices.
When you sit down, you have a little wheel at your table that you can spin to green to indicate you want the servers to bring you more meat, or red when you want an eating break. There are a couple of other churrascarias in Merida and I have tried them all but the selection at Mr Pampas is the best.
Servers will be coming to you every few minutes with different cuts of beef, sausages, delicious beef stuffed with parmesan or wrapped in bacon.
Where: P.º de Montejo 498, Zona Paseo Montejo
Casa T´HŌ is a gorgeous restaurant and concept space located partway along the Paseo Montejo. It is set inside a spectacular 19th-century mansion which centres around a courtyard and features high ceilings, arched walkways, and grand, colonnaded paths.
Inside and outside seating is available, and there is even a sophisticated 1920s-style aperitivo bar where you can sit before or after dinner to enjoy mezcal and tequila infused cocktails served with spicy olives and other complimentary botanas.
The menu focuses on “European-inspired” food such as plates of pasta, salads, and dips with bread. On Saturday nights, T´HŌ often hosts live jazz nights, although advanced reservations are required.
T´HŌ takes its name from the ancient Mayan city of T´HŌ which once existed where Merida stands today.
Tábom Healthy Food
Where: Tábom, Av Campestre, Campestre, 97120
If you are looking for something light and healthy to balance out all of the tacos you have been scoffing in Mexico, check out Tábom Healthy Food. There are actually multiple branches of Tabom in Merida (and they also offer a home delivery meal service), but the Campestre branch is closest to the city centre.
This Brazilian-Mexican healthy eating spot serves healthy yet tasty poke bowls, salads, sandwiches, juices and smoothies, as well as delicious international dishes like veggie lasagna or stuffed aubergine.
Where: C. 2 275, Vista Alegre Nte, 9713 and Plaza Via, C. 41 por 24, Xcumpich
If you are craving Japanese food in Merida, Tokio 07 Izakaya is a great place to go for large portions and tasty fare. The food here is as close as you can get to the real deal in Japan.
The garlic-drenched edamame beans are a great place to start, and the tonkatsu is as good as you would expect in Tokyo. Tokio 07’s prices are more than reasonable and if you are looking for a change, it’s a great place to stop by.
Where: Calle 47 & Esquina con 54 S/N, Centro, 97000 Mérida, Yucatan
Good, authentic Italian food is difficult to find in the Americas. There are a couple of Italian-inspired eateries in Merida but none stand out as much as Oliva Enoteca.
Advanced reservations are a must here, especially at weekends.
Oliva Enoteca Italian restaurant is housed in a restored mansion in central Merida. As you wait for your food to be prepared, you can enjoy a signature cocktail at the bar, with a wonderful view of the chefs hard at work inside the open kitchen.
The drinks menu boasts a selection of more than 180 different types of wine from across the globe. Each of these has been personally selected by the chef in order to complement the dishes on the menu.
Start your dining experience with antipasti – perhaps some carpaccio, a selection of olives, or bruschetta topped with fresh, marinated tomatoes. Then, move onto selecting a main from the menus extensive selection of pastas.
Gnocchi alla sorrentina is a great shout. This dish consists of “gnocchi” potato dumplings that hail from Southern Italy, cooked in fresh tomato sauce with basil, mozzarella, and grana padano.
Alternatively, try the classic caccio e pepe (salt and pepper) pasta prepared with a cream sauce made from pecorino romano and parmesan.
Best Tacos in Merida
Tacos are one of the most integral parts of Mexican food and there are actually countless varieties.
You could easily eat tacos every day of your Mexico trip and neither get bored of them nor even scratch the surface of discovering all the different variations of tacos that exist!
Locals will eat tacos multiple times a week – both at home and when they dine out. (As far as most Mexicans are concerned, everything is better when its served in a tortilla.)
The best restaurants in Merida below are those places where you can enjoy some of the very best tacos in town. They range from sit-down eateries to simple grab-and-go spots.
Where: Calle 15 X 18A y 20, Itzimná, 97100 Mérida, Yuc.
Wayan´E is without hesitation, the best place to eat tacos in Merida. Although there are several taquerias scattered throughout the city and many of them are indeed very good, none of them are able to hold a candle to Wayan´E.
Wayan´E is a Mayan word meaning “here it is”. Whichever day of the week you stop by this bustling little place, you will be met with locals queuing to be served.
The modest eatery has been designed like a simple taco truck and you can sit on stools at the counter as you watch your tacos being prepared. Wayan´E is open from 7 a.m. until 2.30 daily and is best known for its breakfast tacos.
While breakfast tacos may seem an obscure concept if you are coming from a western country, once you have tried them, you will probably become a major advocate for having tacos for breakfast on the regular! Try the eggs with spinach tacos or the papas con chorizo (potato tacos with longaniza chorizo from Valladolid).
Was it all down with some homemade lemonade or some pineapple juice with chaya (Mayan spinach). The tacos are only around 17 pesos each (circa 82 cents and 3-4 is plenty enough to be full.
Where: Jesus Carrazana, Av. Aleman X 40 #381
If you want to find a real local place where you are the only international visitor in sight, grab tacos at El Payaso (translation: “the clown”). The diner-style eatery boasts both indoor and outdoor seating where you can watch sports while old Mexican banda music plays out over loudspeakers.
The eatery serves everything from bistec sandwiches to quesadillas and burros. However, it is the tacos here that are most people’s raison d’être for visiting.
The tacos con asado are a nice choice – tasty taquitos made with marinated pork in achiote sauce. Alternatively, try the bistec de queso – marinated beef tacos with melted manchego cheese.
Whenever you head out for tacos in Mexico, you will be presented with a selection of sauces and toppings to sprinkle on the top, and El Payaso is no different. Typically, this is fried onion a selection of salsa (roja and verde) and habanero sauce. but if you arent a fan of spicy stuff, you can always opt for the garlic ranch.
The food here is great, but among the best parts of dining here is the interactive dining experience. The taco meat is carved from large rotisserie spits – a part of the local culture that was introduced by immigrants from Lebanon. In the kitchen, you can see the chefs hard at work making everything from fresh tortillas to nachos.
Surf & Turf Tacos
Where: Calle 41 num 285 x 40 Fraccionamiento, Francisco de Montejo, 97203 Mérida, Yuc.
Surf & Turf is one of the best restaurants in Merida as far as tacos are concerned. The hippy-esque decor here makes the eatery reminiscent of dining at a beachfront surf shack in a hippy commune, rather than a taco restaurant in the Yucatan capital.
Choose from a variety of taquitos, tortas, burros, and burgers. The meat is cooked to perfection in the open courtyard kitchen and everything comes with a side of crunchy home-cut fries.
Surf & Turf often has a lot of dining deals on offer. For instance, you can usually get 3 tacos for 89 pesos ($4.27 USD).
Taqueria de la Unión
Where: C. 55 488, Parque Santa Lucia, Centro, 97000 Centro, Yucatan
Taqueria de la Union is one of the most famous taco restaurants in Merida that graces the pages of Lonely Planet and virtually every other guidebook. This is a no-frills takeout style eatery where you can opt to order your food to go or sit on the simple plastic tables and chairs in a small restaurant the size of someone’s living room.
Some places are popular for a reason, and the food here is second to none. The tacos served at Taqueria de la Union feature the best of traditional Yucatan ingredients.
As you wait for your food, you will be presented with a complimentary serving of guacamole and homemade nachos. The cochinita pibil tacos are a highlight, but so too are the pok chuk, and the pork “al pastor” tacos made with marinated pork and fresh pineapple.
Taqueria de la Union has a great central location which places you within walking distance of Merida’s main attractions.
Final thoughts on the best restaurants in Merida Mexico
There are tons of great restaurants in Merida. I honestly had to be a little selective when creating this post so that it didn’t become too long.
For a while, Merida flew under the radar as a Mexico travel destination but as more people are travelling and relocating here (including Mexicans who are drawn to the safety of Merida), more and more restaurants are constantly opening up.
It feels like there is a new bar or restaurant in Merida every week these days. As I discover more new places, I will update this post accordingly.
The great thing about the Yucatan is that even if you are on a budget, you can eat great food without breaking the bank. While the restaurants here are fantastic, for a full culinary experience, you should also be sure to hit up interesting local mercados like the Lucas de Galvez market near the Merida cathedral, and treat yourself to street food eats served by vendors around the city’s various plazas.
Do you have any additional questions about the best restaurants in Merida Mexico or about planning a Yucatan itinerary in general?
I am always happy to help out so please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need something. If you are visiting Mexico for the first time, you might also enjoy reading these Mexico travel tips.
Safe travels and enjoy Mexico! Melissa xo