The ultimate foodie's guide to Tulum, Mexico
It is not often that people associate a healthy lifestyle with Mexico. Nothing could be further from the truth however when Tulum is your destination of choice.
Located around 75 miles south of Cancun, Tulum is a hidden gem. Nestled amongst jungle-like surroundings and pristine white sandy beaches is one small road, which is home to a handful of eco-resorts, yoga and massage businesses and outdoor restaurants. It is amazing it is as untouched as it is, surviving only on the the handful of tourists who know about it.
If, like me, you travel to eat (!), be sure to visit these places more than once if you can while in Tulum.
What to Eat
Be sure to arrive early, as the line starts to form long before this place opens nightly at 6pm. Serving dinner only, Hartwood was opened by New York expat Eric Werner in 2010, and is arguably one of the most invigorating dining experiences you will ever have.
Hartwood serves up the freshest local, seasonal ingredients in a stunning open-air setting to diners lucky enough to snare a highly coveted table. Each meal is lovingly prepared in the wood burning oven and open grill, with all other cooking processed powered by solar panels only, without the use of electrical equipment.
The menu changes daily and reads like heaven, however some highlights are the grilled shrimp, jicama salad and mackerel ceviche for starters, while the pulpo platter (grilled octopus) is a definite must for mains. A side of steamed beets is accompanied by a spicy avocado-like aioli, while the roasted sweet potato comes whole, lavished with honey, which only aids in boosting the natural sweetness of the vegetable.
The brilliance of Hartwood doesn't stop at the food. The quality of the cocktails is out of this world, with fresh juices combined perfectly with tequila, or any other poison of choice. Try the Habanera pineapple margarita for a spicy yet fresh take on the original.
This little gem is a hotel and its restaurant is perched smack bang on the beach.
Start with the guacamole before moving on to the ceviche, which is seriously to die for. Also of exceptional quality are the fish tacos. Simple and delicious.
The Gran Margarita, a traditional margarita laced with Grand Marnier, lacks the syrupy gloop that most cocktails have and offers the perfect balance of tart with a tequila kick.
The staff here are very cool (and tolerate raucous card games late into the night without complaint!)
You will feel like you are sitting in the middle of a jungle here with the open-air setting and trees overhead.
The grilled calamari salad over mounds of guacamole is divine. Grilled whole fish is also perfection.
Another eatery surrounded by the dense leafy trees of the tropics. Most meals here are cooked in the clay oven, giving them an earthy taste.
The menu here is written in Spanish on a blackboard, and features only a few, yet delightful, dishes.
Ask about the catch of the day, done three different ways. The fish wrapped in a banana leaf is an excellent main. Good starters are the clay-roasted vegetables topped with queso, garden salad and the mixed ceviche.
What to Drink
Coco Locos at Mateo's
This drink has achieved underground cult status, and for good reason. Delight in watching the bartender pour copious (and I mean copious!) amounts of rum into a blender, along with ice, coconut cream and fresh coconut water (poured directly from the young coconut). Served in the coconut shell from which the coconut water was poured from, this drink is like a tropical beach party in your mouth!
Probably the most luxurious resort along the strip, Be Tulum offers a gorgeous beach setting on which to knock back a few cocktails. Often featuring love samba music or sometimes a DJ, this place combines style, luxury and class all in one.
Try any of the cocktails, or go for your usual poison of choice, as the bar is fully stocked here.
If you're after a non-alcoholic tipple, the grapefruit, celery and parsley smoothie is ridiculously good.
Eating well never tasted so good. Get yourself to Tulum for an unforgettable food paradise.