Looking for the best restaurants in Merida? You’ve come to the right place!
One of the main reasons people visit Merida is the FOOD! Merida is the capital city of the Yucatan and offers some of the best Yucatec dishes to try.
We spent almost 3 weeks living in Merida as digital nomads and I heard what a popular city it is for foodies so I made a list of places I wanted to try. While we couldn’t get to everything on the list, we did come up with this guide to the best Merida restaurants you should try.
Whether you visit Merida for a week, a month or 6 months – you won’t run out of restaurants to enjoy from cheap tacos to high-end sushi but here’s a list of the best restaurants in Merida that won’t disappoint.
The Best Yucatec Dishes You Can’t Miss
Before we get into the list of the best Merida restaurants, we can’t let you read this without at least knowing the popular Yucatecan food to try while you’re literally in the capital city of the Yucatan state in Mexico!
I won’t overwhelm you with too many dishes to try but instead, I’ll share the 2 most popular (and can’t miss) dishes you’ll find at any Yucatecan restaurant:
- Sopa de Lima: A comforting soup that contains lime-marinated chicken or turkey with tortilla strips and a slice of lime.
- Cochinita Pibil: A truly unique flavor and process to cooking. They spend hours marinating suckling pig with achiote paste that makes a sour orange juice. It’s cooked in a pib (earthen pit that smokes the pit) and takes overnight to cook.
The Best Restaurants in Merida For Tacos (Cheap Eats)
Whenever we’re in Mexico, we can’t help but have a taco (or maybe 1,291x tacos) while we’re there. Mexican food is one of our favorite cuisines and it’s so easy to find street tacos or popular taco joints wherever you go…
…And Merida isn’t an exception to that rule. In fact, a lot of the tacos spots in Merida have been featured in Netflix specials! Wherever you stay in Merida, there’s restaurants scattered all across the city!
These spots won’t cost more than $5 per person for a couple of tacos so this suits anyone tight on a budget without sacrificing on taste. Hey…some of the best tacos in Playa del Carmen were only $1.50 USD! The cheap eats just hits the spot sometimes!
The best local, authentic tacos you can find in Merida. They have 30+ different flavors including cochinita pibil and castacan. When you order, you can have the filling in a taco or as a torta – it’s up to you! A taco at Wayan’e costs around $16 pesos ($0.77 USD) and it’s 10 pesos more for a torta sandwich ($1.26 USD).
You can’t go wrong with any taco order at Wayan’e. This is a true staple in Merida and it’s important to go during non-peak hours – this place is cheap and one of the best so there are usually lines out the door. There are multiple locations so you can choose the one closest to you.
Note: They don’t have any vegetarian food. We went with our friend who’s veg and they asked before we entered – they got an immediate “No”.
2. Taqueria La Lupita – Featured on Netflix Special
This taqueria spot is well worth the hype! The tacos are SO delicious, they have been featured on Netflix special, Taco Chronicles.
Located in Santiago Park, this spot is a no-frills cafeteria atmosphere. You’ve got to watch their opening hours because they are normally only open from 6:30am – 1:30pm! We always forgot they closed so early and missed it by a couple of minutes every time we decided to visit there. The price for most of the food on the menu costs anywhere between $12 pesos to $35 pesos ($0.50-$1.60 USD).
If you only try 1 cheap eat taco joint, make it Taqueria La Lupita. There’s a reason this place is seen all over Youtube/Netflix shows and made it to this list of the best restaurants in Merida.
3. Cafeteria Impala
With almost 3,500 reviews on Google, it’s safe to say this is one of the best restaurants in Merida. Apparently, Cafeteria Impala is THE breakfast spot for fusion American/Mexican food. The popular choices on the menu are: club sandwich, revueltos con jamon, platillos voladores, sopa de lima and more!
One of the best things about dining at this Merida restaurant staple is the alfresco dining where you can eat and overlook the bypassers of Paseo de Montejo. It’s located at the beginning of Paseo Montejo street so after having a great brunch, you can stroll along the beautiful streets of Merida.
The Best Restaurants in Merida For Lunch (Mid-Range)
Need a list of the best restaurants in Merida for lunch? Maybe you had a nice morning stroll along Paseo de Montejo and your tummy is beginning to grumble… Well, we’ve got you!
While living in Merida for close to a month, we found some pretty good spots that we frequented more than once! You’ve got plenty of different cuisines: French, Yucatacen, American and more!
4. La Chaya Maya
The most famous and popular spot for lunch is the classic, La Chaya Maya. Every tourist and their mom will go here when visiting Merida – but there’s a reason for that! If it’s your first time in the Yucatan and you want to try the cuisine…
…La Chaya Maya is the best place to taste Yucatecan food! Once you enter this traditional restaurant in Merida, you will be transported to colonial times with wooden figures all around and amazing women hand-making the tortillas! When you visit, make sure you order the cochinita pibil tacos and sopa de lima – these are the classic dishes to try!
5. Marago Coffee
We loved Marago Coffee! This was probably our most visited on this list of the best restaurants in Merida and it didn’t disappoint every time. The breakfast is a hit with the locals as their chilaquiles rojo or verde hits the spot every time. Any of their food options won’t disappoint and the prices were pretty reasonable.
Located on the avenue of Paseo Montejo, this cafe had one of the best cups of coffee we’ve had in Merida. We were pleasantly surprised and Dom (our close friend) got a 2nd cup! For anyone that likes iced coffee drinks – they can even make you an iced vanilla latte. Woohoo!
6. Casa Maya
Casa Maya is similar to La Chaya Maya as they both serve Yucatecan cuisine and it’s a great alternative if you’ve had enough of La Chaya Maya.
They have spacious seating on the inside and if you’re lucky – you could get the cute window seats overlooking Plaza Grande. Order any of your favorite Mexican dishes and some say the guacamole must not be missed!
7. Petit Delice
Petit Delice is located about 20 minutes from the city center but it is worth the drive! If you are craving high-quality pastries – this is the spot for you.
You MUST try their almond croissants – it’s to die for!! Their breakfast options are plenty and this would be a great place to meet friends and/or have a brunch date. The clean, white decor makes it such an aesthetically pleasing cafe to spend your mornings in.
8. Mercado 60
Not sure what you’re in the mood for? Go to Mercado 60 and choose between the variety of food stalls. You’ve got stalls selling burgers, burritos, pizza, fish tacos, and so much more.
Bring friends with you and spend the night enjoying the vibrant ambiance, market lights and if you’re lucky live music. While it’s thought to be overpriced for some of the food, it’s got a good blend of international cuisine which can satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.
9. Trattoria La Pasta Montejo
One of the best restaurants in Merida for Italian food at a mid-range budget.
Our friends, Dom and Tara, went here twice for dinner and they loved it so much we went back to Trattoria La Pasta Montejo for his birthday treat! We all ordered pizza – we were craving it! The diavola was my favorite.
This Merida restaurant is reasonably priced, a pizza costs around $195 pesos ($9.5 USD). The portions are a bit bigger than your standard and the taste is just delicious!
The Best Restaurants in Merida For Dinner (High-End)
Special date night? Family or friends visiting? Just want to “treat yo self” as Donna and Tom (on Parks & Recs iykyk) would say?
These are the best restaurants in Merida for dinner dates or just a fancy night out. You can expect to pay anywhere between $200 – $350+ pesos for food like sushi or steak which comparatively can be very reasonable.
We definitely recommend trying this list of restaurants for any of your special occasions.
When you dine at Kuuk, you’re in for an elegant dining experience. From the sophisticated plate designs to the quality of produce for each meal, Kuuk is one of the best restaurants in Merida for high-end dining.
Located inside a big mansion, you can choose to have a la carte meals or try a degustation tasting menu starting from $1,350 pesos ($65 USD). You might want to call ahead to make a reservation as they tend to get booked out. Kuuk is truly a gastronomic Yucatecan-style experience.
Fine-dining Italian experience? Sign us up! This Merida restaurant is a wonderful choice for a romantic date night. Some have said it’s the best restaurant in Merida for Italian food specifically. Now, that’s some high praise!
The setting of this Merida restaurant is romantic, intimate and warm. The menu is exciting for anyone that loves Italian cuisine and the staff? They are friendly and welcoming.
Try the favorites like the shrimp lemon pasta, mussels drizzled in prosecco and I’ll let you discover the rest. You will enjoy the excellent food and customer service. However, you certainly pay for it. The meals cost anywhere between $220-$300 pesos (again it’s not too bad comparatively).
12. Miyabi El Arbol
In the mood for sushi? Even after all the yummy Mexican tacos, we crave sushi from time to time! Miyabi | El Arbol is a popular spot located at the end of Paseo Montejo avenue and it’s worth the effort to take an Uber there. They have thoughtfully decorated this location with hints of classic Japanese designs like a koi pond.
You’ve also got to reserve ahead of time. The main floor area (which is where you want to sit) is usually booked and if you’re lucky they might be able to squeeze you in but it’s easy enough to call and book.
13. Sonora Grill
This is one of the best restaurants in Merida if you’re feeling like a steak night. This spot has great cuts of meat (rib eye is most popular) and some of the best quality steaks you can get in Merida.
Located on Calle 37 in the Monterreal neighborhood, people love to eat here on the weekends with family and friends. It’s best to make a reservation because they do get full quickly especially from 8pm onwards. This favorite Merida restaurant is designed beautifully and they’ve created an intimate for an intimate atmosphere.
The Best Restaurants in Merida For Brunch/Coffee
If you know us, you’ll know one of our favorite things to do is brunch! We loved going every Saturday with our friends, Charlene and Dennis, while we were in Bali and it was the best!
Thankfully, Merida isn’t short on brunch spots and avocado toast wasn’t a difficult thing to find on the menu (unlike when we were living in Playa del Carmen).
Here are the best restaurants in Merida to brunch and drink coffee:
14. Manifesto Cafe
Looking for a decent cup of coffee? You can’t go wrong with Manifesto Cafe. This no-frills, simple coffee shop is focused on serving quality coffee one cup at a time.
The wooden design and minimalist decor make Manifesto cafe a calming and relaxing place to sip a cup of coffee for a couple of hours. They have a small food selection with things like avocado toast to keep your tummy satisfied.
Manifesto cafe is a great place to work from in Merida with decent wifi and enough space to spread out on a table like us digital nomads love to do.
15. Latte Quatro Sette
From the marble tables to the clean, white aesthetic, this is an Instagram-worthy cafe. Their coffee tastes pretty good too and the brunch options are delectable!
We went for brunch on a Saturday and it can get pretty busy as it’s a small shop with a few seats. Go early around 8am-9am to get a good seat and enjoy your brunch!
You’ve got yummy selections like avocado toast, focaccia with ham and cheese, and you can’t skip out on the pastries either. This is quickly becoming a popular cafe in the Zona Paseo de Montejo area. Must-visit if you love brunch!
16. Green Bag Coffee
Green Bag Coffee is a cute cafe to meet friends or have brunch with your other half. The coffee isn’t the best in the world but it also isn’t the worst! Their brunch options are decent ranging from $125-$190 pesos ($6-$10 USD) so it can be a little pricey.
The spacious outdoor dining area is a beautiful place to spend your morning or afternoon chilling on your laptop or just enjoying the sunshine. Green Bag Coffee is located closer to Zona Centro near Parque Santa Lucia.
Best Gelato Ice Cream in Merida
After a hot, humid day exploring the beautiful colonial city of Merida – you can’t help but feel like a scoop of ice cream but not just any scoop will do so…
17. Pola Gelato
We found the best gelato shop in Merida Centro – Pola Gelato Shop located on Calle 55.
The gelato shop is super cute with bright colors all around the store. We were greeted by friendly staff and they were patient with us while we tried to decide what flavors to get. From cardamom to passionfruit, there are enough interesting flavors to try at this small gelato shop.
These Are The 17 Best Restaurants In Merida Mexico For A Reason
You’ve got some of the best restaurants in Merida scattered all around town in neighborhoods near Paseo Montejo, Parque Santa Ana, Plaza Grande and all over the city center. Whether it’s just a short walk away or an Uber ride – there’s something for everyone in Merida no matter what your budget is!
We were Playa del Carmen digital nomads for 3 months and we can now say both are great foodie destinations! We enjoyed the food scene in Merida Mexico so much because there’s so much variety and obviously some of the best restaurants to try Yucatecan cuisine.