Sunday, January 13, 2013

Mayan Meals best with Wheels

You can stand in line and rub shoulders with tourists and some locals at the hottest spots on trip advisor like El Chaya or Chaya Maya but the reports I've had from guests are that it's a 50/50 proposition.  You'll love or hate it.  I like the hand made tortillas and that's about it. The owner of these two restaurants also has a hacienda that has long been a destination for Sunday afternoon meals and events like weddings or 'quinceaneras".  I've had one meal in 11 years at Hacienda Teya that I enjoyed.  

My canteen when I moved here was the stand at the corner of Santiago market, El Reina de Itzlana 
for paunches and tamales.  The freshly made fruit shakes are great too.  The open around 8 but it's really best to go around ten when the place fills up with locals.  It's not open for lunch.

La Tradicion and Los Alemendros are popular with locals but that doesn't make them good.  They both have locations in centro.

I get out of town pretty often for my Sunday bike rides and when guests are in town we get in the car and do the hacienda, cenote, ruin and church tour.  Some of the best meals are at roadside stands like the goat beside the road in Motul or the grilled quail in Oxkutzcab.  Constantly good are El Principe Tutul Xui in Mani and Kinich in Izamal.  If I were going to one of the Starwood haciendas I almost surely order the Yucatecan dishes as chances are the chef has recently left and someone from the villages is filling in.  I think the best dishes at Hacienda Xcanatun are also the local fare.

It's worth reading the reviews at Los Dos Cooking School before you head out on your own.   Here is a link to his list of recipes...good to know what your in for.

I have been to El Chaya as of March 9, 2013 and I can promise you I will never go back it was absolutely revolting bordering on vomitus with a capitol V.   Someday I will elaborate but for now the rotten lettuce and clamless clam shells in my overcooked fish dish are too fresh in my memory.... I've had tastier acid reflux.


Anonymous said...

I find it absolutely astounding that someone can right off a restaurant before even trying it, you claim that one would need to fly to Paris or New York for a worthwhile fine dining experience blissfully ignorant of some incredibly inspired cuisine in your own backyard. I am from Australia I have been to some of the very best restaurants France, Spain and Mexico have to offer and I had a truly world class dining experience at Ku'uk last night, it was breathtaking to see such an inspired mix of traditional Yucatecan and modernist cuisine.

John Powell + Josh Ramos said...

Having lived in the closet of tenement on the lower east side of Manhattan with a bevy of young Australians living in the bedrooms and living rooms and other closets I can assure you I am not in any way shocked that you liked Ku'uk. I wouldn't even like the crockery the food is served on. How do I know this? People I trust have eaten their and people I don't trust have told me how much they liked it. For the past few weeks I have had a slight and faint itch to try Ku'uk. So stand by for a full out apology or otherwise please publish your name and address so that I might send y the bill. fyi Josh is one of the people who told me how much I would hate it....and after 18 years of acquaintanceship I think he might be trusted to know my taste in food and restaurants.

beto said...

La Chaya is bad. No arguing that. It sadly reminds me of a typical tourist trap. I have been there a couple of times with family. Check out the hinterlands for more authentic fare.