Half an hour from Mérida and well worth the trip is the Casa de Piedra (Carr. Mérida-Progreso Km. 12, tel. 999/941-0213, 8–11:30 a.m. daily, 1:30–11 p.m. Mon.–Sat., and 1–6 p.m. Sun., US$10–25). An award- winning restaurant located in the luxury hotel Hacienda Xcanatún, the menu offers an exquisite fusion of French, Caribbean, and Yucatecan (Frebbecan?) dishes. Diners enjoy their meals in an elegant dining room with five-star service. An excellent choice, especially if you’re craving something a little different.
With tables overlooking Calle 60, Ki’bok (Calle 60 between Calles 53 and 55, tel. 999/928-5511, 6 p.m.–1 a.m. Tues.–Thurs. and Sun., 6 p.m.–2 a.m. Fri.–Sat., US$5–10) offers an eclectic menu with dishes varying from traditional Yucatecan, Italian, and Greek specialties to fresh pastries and coffee drinks. Portions are a good size and the service is attentive.
At Misión de Fray Diego hotel, Restaurante El Convento (Calle 61 between Calles 64 and 66, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, US$3–14) specializes in Spanish food, including Spanish tortillas for breakfast and paella for dinner. The dining area is a cozy, wood-and-glass dining room opening on the hotel’s pretty central courtyard.
La Nao de China (Calle 31 between Calles 22 and 24, tel. 999/927-9997, noon–11 p.m. daily, US$5–10) is a decent place to head for Chinese food. Particularly popular are the mixed buffet (1–5 p.m. Mon.–Thurs., US$7) and the all- Chinese buffet (1–6 p.m. Fri.–Sun.) Or order standard Chinese dishes à la carte at any time.
Trotter’s (Calle 31 between Calles 34 and 36, tel. 999/927-2320, 1 p.m.–2 a.m. Mon.–Sat. and 1–6 p.m. Sun., US$12–30) is Act Three of an ever-changing performance by father-and-son Wayne and Paul Trotter; they also founded Pancho’s, a tacky downtown tourist trap serving Mexican food, and La Trotto, a well-liked Miami-style Italian restaurant. Wildly popular since its opening in 2005, Trotter’s serves excellent seafood and pasta, but the steak is to die for: generous cuts of choice imported beef are perfectly prepared, and accompanied by potatoes or veggie medleys. Creative salads and appetizers may prove irresistible—eating here is a hefty splurge, but a worthy one.
The swanky Néctar Food & Wine (Av. 1 No. 412, Col. Diaz Ordaz, tel. 999/938-0858; 7:30 p.m.–2 a.m. Wed.–Mon., US$19–37) serves delicious gourmet fusion dishes—most with a Yucatecan flair—in a sleek dining room. Choose one of the creative delicacies and treat yourself to a glass of wine from the extensive international wine list. Popular with Mérida’s upper crust, especially for a late-night meal.
© Gary Chandler & Liza Prado from Moon Yucatán Peninsula, 9th edition