Written by Stephanie Carmon
This week we are joined by Stephanie’s auntie Bon and mother Catherine while wondering around Santa Ana and close by in the Centro of Merida, Yucatan. We are looking for cafes that serve great food and drinks for medium prices (most meals between $90-$150). Merida is becoming such a foodie haven that it’s hard to choose, but we came up with a list of some of our favorites.
Calle 64 & 47 Centro
Flamante Burgers is by far some of the best and biggest burgers in town! Owners and food enthusiasts Eduardo and Aremy recently moved from Mexico City and immediately noticed a gap in the market for excellent artisanal burgers. So they set up shop on the 64 and 47 and have been dazzling burger fans from all over. As you walk in you get a hip and cool vibe with silent movies being projected on the back wall and various artwork including Pulp Fiction memorabilia and the awesome new mural being painted on the wall.
The burger menu at Flamante offers something for everyone–meat lovers or vegan/vegetarians. Their ingredients are of the highest quality and they make many of their sauces on site. We tried the classic and most popular Lucy in the Sky, a gorgeous beef burger with cheddar cheese, caramelized onion, crispy bacon, lettuce and tomato and it was incredible. We also tried Magic Mushroom vegetarian burger with grilled portobello mushrooms, beets and blue cheese and it was delicious. And for the non-burger lovers the salads are epic, particularly the fruity yet sweet Honey Bee, created by Aremy herself. And the desserts are just as good! The carrot cake is worth popping in for and the panna cotta and espresso is the perfect way to finish your burger meal.
Te extraño, extraño – Cocina Contemporánea
Calle 54 & 47 Centro
Te extraño, extraño is a minimalist hip cafe as they say “a contemporary kitchen” in the Lagala 56:426 art and cultural center. This is one of our favorite cafes because each dish is absolutely delicious and the ambiance is comfortable yet super stylish. It is a perfect spot to go for coffee, breakfast or lunch and bring your laptop, book or journal; it inspires thought and invites you to stay for a while. Their food is some of the best in the area influenced by the gastronomic diversity of Mexico. All the ingredients are local, fresh and natural. They have a variety of dishes with a gourmet touch. We tried the roasted sweet potato, shrimp from Progreso and shrimp sikil pak which was fabulous. We also had egg sandwich with ciboulette, cheese, bacon, avocado and green salad which is perfect for a Sunday morning after a night out on the town. One of our favorites is the “Salpicón” salad beef tataki with radish, cactus, purple onion, cherry and roasted panela cheese with a chipotle vinaigrette. They also have a killer chilaquiles!
Te extraño extraño also boasts a sophisticated drink menu. They mix a fine cocktail both with or without alcohol. They have several to choose from and they are very refreshing! And of course, you must indulge in their pastries as a special treat. For class and a guaranteed great meal, we recommend you try out Te extraño extraño.
Open Hours (check facebook for updated Covid19 hours)
La Gayola Cantina Mexicana Traditional
Calle 60 x 55 & 57 Centro
La Gayola is a cantina style restaurant from the interior part of Mexico with a super fun ambiance. They opened up in October of 2019 and are right on the main drag of Calle 60–a perfect location, right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the Centro. As you walk in you will see a huge mural of the famous lucha libre wrestler Santo 99 on the wall. It’s a place to go with friends and order a bunch of dishes to share over beers or shots of tequila! Their menu is pretty awesome. They have dishes from all over Mexico, which isn’t very easy to find in Merida. They have mole from Puebla and Oaxaca, lamb birria, steak in mustard sauce, tacos, chile rellenos, chamorro con arroz y frijol and even make and elaborate caesar salad dressing at the table in front of you. It was delicious!
The ambiance on Thursdays through Saturdays gets going with live music after 9pm and the table next to us even got up to sing their favorite Luis Miguel songs with the singer! They also have what they call “dark ice cream” which are sorbets and ice-cream made with alcohol. They serve lemon and tequila, red wine and berries among others. They are very refreshing and you can buy them separately from the street. For a fun cantina style meal with a cool ambiance, check out La Gayola.
Sukra Bar de Cafe
Paseo de Montejo x 45 Centro
Sukra Bar de Cafe is a favorite among many ex-pats and tourists. It’s located right on Paseo de Montejo with a great view of the casas gemela mansions across the street. Sukra is a cafe with a cool, bohemian vibe serving traditional Mexican dishes with a twist of organic and lots of veggies. They have a wide selection of fresh juices that are perfect for a hot day. They serve freshly baked Mexican and artisan breads and cakes. The menu includes a variety of both vegetarian and meat lover’s dishes. Some of our favorites are the mole quesadillas made with blue corn topped with their homemade hot sauce with peanuts. They also have the sandwich Sukra that is a personal favorite and will fill you up for the whole day! It is made with artisan bread with a hole cut in it for a fried egg and on the inside is cheese and grilled veggies then served with potatoes or a salad. Super good!
Sukra is the kind of place where you can go for a leisurely breakfast or lunch with your friends or you can sit for hours and read a book. They even have a bookshelf in the back in case you want to swap books. On Sunday it is a great spot to stop if you are out and about for the biciruta. It is hopping and there is live music outside. It’s a festive and chill atmosphere perfect for Sunday morning.
Tuesday to Saturday 9-6pm
Calle 66 x 41 & 43 Centro
Bistro Cultural is a cultural hub where you can have incredible French or Yucatecan meals for breakfast or lunch in a casual bohemian French setting. There is a large garden dining area outside that is a nice ambiance for a cool morning or afternoon. Inside there are dining areas with tables and chairs as well as couches if you would like to sit down with a book and cappuccino. They have a small library, artwork and Bistro Cultural is a center for art and gastronomic delights. They host poetry readings or live music on occasion and are a real hub for local culture.
Owner Chef Yohann is from France and makes sure all his dishes are of the highest quality. They serve breakfast and lunch and have quite an extensive menu of traditional French breakfasts and lunches such as croque madame and croque monsieur that are served with fresh vegetable salads and home fried potato wedges. He also has original dishes that combine Yucatecan tastes with international flavors such as an avocado toast with bacon and egg served with salad. We love the fresh fish filet with salad and carrot puree. He has a wide variety on his menu to choose from and vegans and vegetarians will have some options as well. They have an awesome juice bar selection and coffee bar. They offer freshly baked croissants and breads and they make some delicious pies and pastries! He has opened up a market across the street with vegetables, organic eggs, homemade sauces and a killer juice bar. Definitely a great spot to check out.
8:30am-5:30pm Monday to Saturday
Paseo de Montejo x 39 & 41
Marago Coffee is most definitely an ex-pat, tourist and local go-to café for working and hanging out. They have a great location right on Paseo de Montejo and have a welcoming chill vibe that invites you to stay for hours. The acoustics are great and no matter how many people are in the room, you can hear the people next to you—which makes it ideal for a meet-up. They are open until 10pm which is ideal for the freelancer or the hobbyist writer. They have a variety of excellent coffees and teas. You can get coffees prepared several different ways such as French press, Aeropress or cold brew for those who like to indulge in a variety of coffee preparations. They also do some delicious frappes, which are super popular with the young folks! But Marago doesn’t only offer drinks, they have a superb menu with awesome choices for breakfast lunch or dinner. We popped in and tried some absolutely delicious dishes and desserts.
We had the peanut butter toast topped with blueberries, bananas, strawberries, and coconut. Also the poached eggs with creamy Chaya sauce—heavenly, eggs al gusto with a side of chocolate chip pancakes and avocado toast with 2 poached eggs! Then on the lunch menu, we tried a moist medium grilled mushroom burger with sweet potato squares on the side, fried stuffed mushrooms and spinach dip. Everything on their menu is very good. All in all, Marago is one of our go-to spots, we are in there at least twice a week. Definitely a favorite spot!
Marmalade Barra de Cocina
Calle 47 x 54 & 56 Centro
Marmalade Barra de Cocina opened up on Calle 47, what I call “culinary row” because of all the great restaurants on this street. Marmalade is most definitely a great addition to this boom in gastronomy. They are a small cafe with just 4 tables open for breakfast and lunch every day and offer a variety of delicious meals. The ambiance is very inviting and the dainty bouquets on the table and sweet aromas coming from the kitchen as you walk in make you feel at home. What we love about Marmalade are their fresh ingredients, homemade sauces and jams and freshly baked breads, muffins and pastries. The quality of which is really top-notch. They seem to have something for everyone as well featuring vegetarian, vegan plus meat options. If you like a sweet breakfast the strawberry waffles are to die for, or if you have more savory taste the quinoa, roasted tomatoes, spinach, avocado and egg dish is a favorite!
Marmalade is also a place where you cannot go wrong with the coffee. They have a great coffee barista and the roast is perfect. They also have fresh juices and teas available. It’s a very picturesque place as well–or so we say these days–it’s very instagrammable with its local artist artwork on the wall it invites you and a friend to take a pic while drinking your coffee or eating your sandwich on homemade bread. For a special breakfast or lunch, we highly recommend Marmalade Barra de Cocina.
Monday to Saturday 8:30am-4:30pm