by Morgan Bogs
Quintana Roo is refreshing its iconic cuisine with a wave of new restaurants crafted by internationally recognized chefs bringing world-class talent to the region. Cherished for flavors rooted in the Mayan culture, the new culinary wave of festivals, restaurants and attractions are drawing in all travelers.
“Beyond the typical staples of Mexican Caribbean cuisine, travelers are seeking new experiences and refined dining through the rise of culinary tourism, merging local authenticity and international approaches representing today’s Mexican Caribbean at its best.”Dario Flota Ocampo, director of Quintana Roo Tourism Board.
This past summer Paradisus Cancun became the first all-inclusive Cancun resort to twice earn the coveted Five Diamond Award with signature restaurant TEMPO by Martin Berasategui, crafted by the Spanish chef with ten Michelin stars. The restaurant combines classic Mexican ingredients with Berasategui’s Basque flair. Also led by a top chef is HA’ at Hotel Xcaret Mexico by Carlos Gaytán, the first Mexican chef to earn a Michelin star. Named after the Mayan word for water, HA’ is equipped with modern mirrored décor and glossy water fountains that reflect the hotel’s eco-conscious aesthetic. On an eight-course journey paired with the best Mexican wines, Gaytán aims to shift taste buds through the diverse elements of Mexican cooking.
Experiential Dining in Tulum
In Tulum, Kin Toh by Executive Chef Rurik Salazar at AZULIK provides an eco-luxe setting that compliments the property’s romantic, tree-lined aesthetic. The hotel’s architecture sets the scene for Kin Toh’s Mayan-Mexican fusion, through which Salazar honors ancestral techniques with certified sustainable ingredients and preparations. The unmatched experience is elevated through the senses, paired by live DJs, stunning sunset views and more than 200 wine options. With dark wood décor and eclectic influences from Mediterranean, Asian and South American cuisines, Ocumare by Argentinian Michelin-starred Chef Giovanini at Be Tulum brings the popular shared-dining concept to the Tulum jungle. Sharable plates and crafted cocktails emphasize local Caribbean ingredients and flavors in a fun, rustic outdoor environment.
The state’s annual festivals bring tourism to the region all year long, beginning with Tulum’s Food, Spirits & Wine Festival: Taste of Mexico held early in the year containing live music, mixology, street food and Tulum artisans. Each summer, Velas Resorts’ Bite of Mexico hosts 24 visiting chefs from Mexico City and Puebla across its coastal resorts including Grand Velas Riviera Maya, where guests enjoy presentations and experiences from top chefs, Mole spa treatments, ancestral drink tastings, Mexican fairs and kids’ activities. Glamorous, adults-only UNICO 20º87º also celebrates its Superbia Summer featuring five-star chef restaurant takeovers, wine pairings, bar takeovers and more. Superbia returned this past December for a special year-end edition ringing in 2020 over five days of parties, mixology sessions and interactive activations concluding with a masquerade party.
Each October at Le Chique in Riviera Maya, considered one of Latin America’s 50 best restaurants, the unique Chili Pepper Festival is dedicated to one of Mexico’s most recognizable ingredients. Travelers craving new tastes will find them in the delicious Mexican Caribbean.
Feature Photo: Kin Toh