Are you a fan of Mexican food? It’s a lot more varied and healthy than many people realize. Not only that, but quite a few dishes that we think of as being from Mexico, such as chili con carne and fajitas, are actually Tex Mex specialties. We were lucky to taste some authentic Mexican cooking as well as the very best in international cuisine recently at Mayakoba, a luxury resort on the Riviera Maya. Here are our favourite food and drink experiences at Mayakoba – they may leave you feeling rather hungry!
Beachside dining at Sands
There are four top notch hotels at Mayakoba, and guests have the unique opportunity to dine at any of the resort restaurants and have the bill charged directly to their room. It’s easy to get from one hotel to another by walking along the beach, taking a free golf buggy shuttle or borrowing a bicycle if you’re feeling energetic. We kick off our culinary exploration with a visit to Sands at Banyan Tree Mayakoba – as you can see, the view from the restaurant is not too shabby 😉
The food was pretty good too, with delicious cocktails and soft-shell tacos.
For dessert, they offer a selection in a jar – we shared the chocolate one but they all looked tempting.
Contemporary Thai cuisine at Saffron
Banyan Tree’s signature restaurant is Saffron, which has a spectacular location perched atop a wooden deck on the water’s edge. It specializes in modern Thai cuisine, which is as magical as the surroundings. As night fell, we admired the stars shining brightly and feasted on coconut curry chicken and other delicacies.
Chef Renu Homsombat introduced himself and we chatted to him about Bangkok, where he was previously based. The finale was a luscious fresh fruit sorbet dessert.
Fruity cocktails at Cocina Milagro
Another place to get your fruit fix is at Cocina Milagro in funky Andaz Mayakoba. It’s one of their two poolside bars, and there’s also a casual all day dining buffet with farm to table cooking and fresh seafood.
Home from home at Casa Amate
Casa Amate is the flagship restaurant at Andaz Mayakoba, and has the look and feel of a luxurious Mexican home with a range of intimate dining rooms. It made a great location for a Frida Kahlo inspired photoshoot! There’s a lovely terrace where you can eat overlooking the lagoon, as well as a cosy library that’s the perfect place to enjoy an after dinner drink.
The menu focuses on Latin American specialties and there’s an extensive wine list. We really enjoyed the empanada appetizers.
I think that the chocolate dessert had to be my favourite dish though!
Latin-Asian fusion food at El Puerto
El Puerto is a fabulous Latin-Asian fusion restaurant located within the Fairmont Mayakoba. It’s the brainchild of Richard Sandoval, whom many regard as the father of modern Mexican cuisine. He grew up in Mexico City and now owns over 40 acclaimed restaurant concepts worldwide. He was awarded Mexico’s National Toque d’Oro in 2003 and his cuisine really is top notch. We loved the chipotle miso glazed black cod, one of our favourite food and drink experiences at Mayakoba.
Dessert was equally accomplished and with over 100 tequilas to choose from, you won’t go thirsty.
Mexican Cooking School at El Pueblito
El Pueblito is the heart of Mayakoba, a village square styled on traditional Mexican architecture. There’s a great Farmer’s Market selling organic produce on Sundays, and also a popular cooking school.
Chef Karla Enciso was born in Mexico City and has a real passion for Mexican food. She organises cooking classes in small groups which are very hands-on.
She’s keen to preserve Mayan and pre-Hispanic cuisine and showed us how to make a taco using a traditional Mexican taco press. Some communities still use these although many households buy ready-made ones these days.
Tapas-style Mayan specialties at Punta Bonita
In a prime spot overlooking the pool and beach, Punta Bonita is a relaxed eatery at Rosewood Mayakoba. It specializes in tapas-style Mayan dishes. We particularly enjoyed the fresh juices and ceviches, as well as the Mexican version of a pizza!
The beef tacos were another highlight, with succulent tender meat and a spicy sauce.
There’s also a cool drinks cart for cocktails by the pool.
Tequila tasting at Olla Taco
Our final favourite food and wine experience at Mayakoba was a tequila tasting at Andaz Mayakoba. Olla Ceviche is a colourful open-air restaurant and bar by the beach and the perfect place to learn about the different types of tequila. There’s a wide range, including white or silver tequila that is clear and unaged, to the superior varieties that have matured for a specific duration.
The tequila glasses were decorated with a fetching skull, and accompanied by tasty corn chips.
There are so many great food and drink experiences at Mayakoba, and we didn’t have time to try them all but hope that this has given you a taste of some of the delights on offer! Check out our video for the grand tour…
Have you ever been to Mexico? Which of these experiences would you like to try the most?