There are so many great places to eat in Merida that I had a bit of a difficult time coming up with this list of the best Merida restaurants. I’ve spent the last six months living here and eating my way through the city to develop this list for you.
Merida truly does have something for everyone. Besides all the obvious and amazing Mexican classics, you can also enjoy traditional Yucatan food and many of your favorite international offerings.
This guide to the best Merida restaurants has a bit of everything. From the city’s best burgers to street tacos, fine dining, where to find the best breakfasts in Merida and everything in between — these are my favorite places to eat in Merida!
The Best Merida Restaurants
Calle 47 496, Centro // +52 999 923 0003
Manjar Blanco quickly became one of my favorites go-to places in Merida. Here, you can find high-quality versions of authentic local dishes in a more upscale setting. This is the perfect place to eat if you want to try Yucatan food but aren’t a street food person!
Some of my favorite dishes here include the queso relleno, or stuffed cheese. This one is a ball of Edam cheese hollowed out and filled with meat and spices (and sometimes olive and eggs). The dish is then steamed until melty and topped with red and white sauces.
You should also be sure to try the Lomitos de Vallodolid, another favorite of mine.
This dish is pork loin over diced eggs in a slightly spicy sauce. It’s so tasty when stuffed inside their homemade tortillas.
Pro tip: Be sure to ask for extra black bean dip, which they set at your table when you’re seated — we unanimously agreed it’s the best in town!
Av. Jose Diaz Bolio 70, Col. Mexico // +52 999 688 9441
A bit outside the main touristic part of Merida, this restaurant is one of my favorite places in town for fancy (non-street) tacos.
My favorites are the costilla (rib) tacos
and the pulpo triador tacos, or octopus tacos on cheesy tortillas.
Their menu isn’t just tacos. They also serve huge tortas (sandwiches) and grilled seafood (but I always jumped for tacos).
Pro-tip: Check their Facebook page for specials throughout the week. My favorite was their two-for-one tacos all day every Wednesday.
Another favorite, this craft beer bar also serves some seriously amazing food. Their salsa is some of the freshest and best in town, especially the green salsa made in-house.
Everything on the menu is good, but one of our favorites was the tuna tostadas, which make for a perfect light lunch when it’s hot out (and in Merida, it’s always hot out).
Hermana Republica also has a gorgeous courtyard that looks like something out of a design magazine. Be sure to ask to be seated outside if you’re eating after sunset.
There’s a ton of debate over where to find the best pastor in Merida. Nearly everyone has their favorite, but I think we can all agree El Pastor Suizo ranks high on most lists.
Pastor meat is an adaptation of schwarma, or spit-roasted meat, that was brought to Mexico by Lebanese immigrants. The Mexican adaptation swaps pork for beef, and the result is amazing. Pastor is used in everything from tacos to nachos to sandwiches, but we always went classic, ordering plates of tacos al pastor.
Dress the tacos to your taste with cilantro, onion, and the obligatory squeeze of lime, and be sure to order at least three!
Calle 45 #493 A x 58 // +52 999 197 4745
Quite possibly my favorite breakfast/brunch spot in town, El Barrio has modern versions of classic recipes and presentations built for Instagram.
The service is quick and friendly, the juices are squeezed fresh, the coffee is delicious, the prices are fair, and the food is some of the best in town. What else could you ask for?
Calle 60 #471 // +52 999 923 1979
One of the top choices in Merida for fine dining, Apoala is where I take out-of-town guests if we wanted a guaranteed nice meal out. Apoala focuses on Oaxacan dishes prepared in a fine dining style.
The menu is full of fresh seafood and steak options in a gorgeous setting, especially if you’re able to be seated outdoors. My favorite dishes include the marinated octopus and avocado appetizer, the seared tuna chilaquiles, and the arrachera.
Every seafood dish they feature is sure to be excellent, as they serve some of the best seafood in Merida.
Pro tip: On Thursday nights, the park where Apoala is located hosts a cultural presentation that features live music and dancing. Try for one of the coveted patio tables and you’ll have prime viewing for the show!
Many in Merida will tell you Wayan’e has the best, most authentic tacos in town. I think that’s debatable, but nonetheless, Wayan’e is a Merida institution, and you can often find locals lined up even during non-peak hours. They offer something like thirty differing types of tacos, including local specialties poc chuc (citrus-marinated pork) and castacan (pork belly, my favorite).
And no doubt, the tacos are good and the prices are some of the best. They also do a great breakfast at reasonable prices. Daily selections of guisos (stews) are offered, as are some of the best tortas (sandwiches) in town.
Calle 59 530, Centro // +52 999 923 0801
If you’re only in Merida (or the Yucatan in general) for a limited time and want to try high-quality local food, La Prospe del Xtup is the place to go.
Most guidebooks would send to La Chaya Maya, but, in my opinion, La Prospe del Xtup is a much better option. The recipes are authentic and the quality is great.
They also serve these huge platters where you can try several things at once to really experience local dishes. These are perfect if you’re with a group!
Calle 37, Fraccionamiento Monterreal (Plaza Royal Shopping Center) // +52 999 481 9451
Rarely do I send readers to eat in a shopping mall, but Sonora Grill puts out some of the best steaks in Merida, all within a lavish, if not overdone, setting.
You can find nearly every type of steak here. In fact, they present your options table side for you to make your selection. Ribeyes, Tomahawks, Porterhouses, T-bones — all cooked to perfection.
The restaurant also has a rolling bar cart they use to make drinks tableside. But that’s if you’re not in the mood for a wine from their very extensive list.
If you’re not looking for red meat, Sonora Grill also has salads and seafood options.
Paseo de Montejo 480, Zona Paseo Montejo // +52 999 924 2992
Another institution among Merida restaurants, Rosas & Xocolate is the restaurant attached to its namesake hotel, one of the most famous in the entire Yucatan region. You can rest assured that a hotel this nice also has an amazing restaurant attached.
I typically frequented Rosas & Xocolate for brunch, but their dinner menu, which is full of fusion dishes, is incredible as well. Some favorites include the molé duck, the fresh fish options, and the ribeyes.
Cacique quickly became our go-to place after a big night out. They offer a full menu, but the only dish we ever ordered was the pastor nachos.
When you order that, you’re served a basic plate of chips and pastor meat with a load of sides that includes marinated onions, garlic cream sauce, multiple hot sauces, and limes you use to customize your nachos.
I’m sure these are just as delicious during the day, but I’ve only ever had them after 3 a.m., and they’re incredible!
Calle 43 332, San Ramón Norte // +52 999 944 0116
Tokio 07 serves classic Japanese sashimi, nigiri, gyoza, and more. The eatery also offers Japanese-Yucatan fusion dishes, such as their chipotle gyoza ramen.
The restaurant has expanded multiple times due to their popularity, but (thankfully) they’ve managed to retain the high quality and service they are known for.
Pizza e Core is hands down the best pizza place in Merida, and I’m sure I’ve tried most (if not every) pizza place in town! The chef is an actual Italian who uses imported ingredients and fires off pizzas in a wood-burning stove.
The toppings are simple, the crust is perfectly crisp on the outside and chewy on the inside, and the cheese is gooey and melty — I don’t know how many times I had takeaway from here during my time in Merida!
Calle 57 No. 498 A, Centro // +52 1 999 177 9208
Chilaquiles is another traditional Mexican dish made up of corn tortillas and typically covered in red or green sauce and topped with cilantro, onion, avocado, and queso fresco (fresh cheese). You may be tempted to call these breakfast nachos, but locals are quick to tell you they’re not nachos!
Chilakiller’s steps up the recipe by letting you customize your toppings — you can choose from sauces of varying heat, refried beans, steak, and my favorite — castacan, or crispy pork belly. I also like to top mine with a fried egg, but you can get yours scrambled if you like.
When you arrive, you’ll be handed a menu to complete your custom order. Beware of the super spicy sauce — it’s no joke.
My favorite is the steak with refried bean sauce, served with a side of the spiciest sauce.
Chilakiller’s also offers some of the best fresh juice combos in town, and they’re happy to customize your juice order too.
Although not a single restaurant, but rather a collection of restaurants, my favorite place for Merida street food was Parque Santa Ana, or Santa Ana Park.
In the mornings and evenings, you can find a row of restaurants all selling almost the same thing — simple versions of Yucatan dishes at very affordable prices. This is one of the best places in town to try authentic versions of the above-mentioned poc chuc or cochinita pibil.
Grab a plastic chair at whichever vendor tickles your fancy. You’re guaranteed to have some of the best food of your visit.
Which of these Merida restaurants look best to you? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.