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October 24th, 2016

Top 5 restaurants in Mexico

Casa Oaxaca, Oaxaca
Santo Domingo
One of the top rated and locally recommended restaurants in town (and deservedly so). It has an enviable location with both indoor and outdoor seating with views out over Santo Domingo Cathedral. There is a great buzz around the place and it looks beautiful at night when the area is all lit up. The menu focuses on local specialities including ‘mole’ which is incorporated into several dishes. The staff are really attentive and one of the highlights is the salsa that is made up of fresh ingredients right beside your table. The duck taco starter is an absolute must.

‘Fish Taco’ stand
Wander along any coastline in Mexico and you’ll see numerous restaurants and stalls advertising this must-try dish. It’s so simple, yet so delicious and the taste is something I still crave years after trying my first one! All you need is to decide between deep-fried or grilled and pescado (fish) or camarones (prawn) or if you feel adventurous pulpo (octopus). It’ll arrive on a cornflour taco served with avocado, coriander, lettuce and pico de gallo with a choice of salsa picantes (spicy sauces). Don’t forget the all important habanero mayo and a squeeze of lime. They are so delicious I guarantee you’ll order another round as soon as you finish the last bite. They wash down perfectly with an ice-cold Pacifico beer and perhaps a tequila to finish!

Lum at Hotel B’O
, San Cristobal
Lum restaurant
If you’re not lucky enough to be staying at the uber trendy hotel itself then coming here for dinner is the next best thing. From the moment you enter the building there is a feeling of serenity and calm and you feel a million miles away from the hustle and bustle of the town outside. At night the restaurant area feels particularly luxurious and serene; you are welcomed by glowing fires which reflect on the water in the central courtyard and funky ambient music. The young chef has been overseeing the kitchen since 2014 and is keen on fusing traditional local flavours with modern trends and twists. Many of the ingredients are grown on site in the garden or else sourced from nearby. Dishes explode with flavours and are presented beautifully. A stand-out dish is the short ribs served with creamed corn; melt in your mouth meat accompanied by deep earthy tones. Leave space for the desserts which are especially good-looking! There is also an extensive cocktail and wine list.

La Chaya Maya, Mérida
Chaya Maya restaurant
One block from the Plaza Grande, serving Yucatecan specialities, this is one of the most popular and busy places in town. Staff are dressed in traditional Mayan attire which adds to spectacle and the food is some of the best we had on our entire trip! There is a lady who makes fresh tortillas by hand on a traditional fire-heated pan and the number of locals is proof of the restaurants quality. Our favourite dish (which was highly recommended by the waiter) was Poc-chuc: thinly sliced marinated pork garnished with pickled red onion, fire-roasted tomato sauce, black beans, avocado and of course plenty of piping hot tortillas.

Hacienda Ochil, near Mérida
You can stop here for lunch on the way back from visiting Uxmal. It is a beautiful old hacienda building which retains lots of traditional characteristics and charm. There is a little museum on site and a small train that you can take a ride on. The food here is excellent and you have a choice of dishes from a three-course menu including Yucatecan specialities such as lime soup, conchita pibil (slow cooked pork) and panuchos (tortillas filled with black bean sauce, then deep-fried and served with various meats and toppings). Choose from a refreshing ice-cold homemade lemonade or a drink called Jamaica (made from hibiscus) to wash it all down.

Our Taste of Mexico holiday explores the culinary highlights of Mexico City, Oaxaca and the Yucatan Peninsula.

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