Our Tulum Food Diary
It is safe to say I have never had more restaurant recommendations than I did for our trip to Tulum. Yes, Tulum has one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Yes, the water really is that blue. But nothing seems to define Tulum quite the same way as the renowned foodie reputation which precedes it.
Hartwood underscores this notoriety. Friends who had been gushed, clearly transported back to the shores of the Caribbean Sea when recounting their love of the wood-smoked robalo and jicama salad. Like many restaurants ‘jungle-side’ as it is called, it runs completely off the grid, grilling over open-air wood fires and making do without running water. Started up by notable New York restaurateur Eric Werner, Hartwood takes no reservations and can be tough to get into. With the help of a cute little George, we managed to make our way up the line very quickly. We ordered - and devoured - the ceviche and smoked white fish, after polishing off the jicama salad. If you’re like us and have never heard of jicama, it’s basically a turnip. And it was unbelievably wonderful. I never thought anyone could ever say that about a turnip. Dish after dish was a treat - Hartwood is your first priority when arriving in Tulum.
Posada Margarita was another delight. Relaxed Italian fare meets Caribbean beachfront chic, attracting the daytime tipplers with sumptuous beach beds and generous nibbles accompanying any cocktail order. Sam ordered the buttery vegetable pasta and I was seduced by a tiramisu that any nonna would be proud of.
Tulum is home to some of the most tastefully designed resorts we had ever seen. While the jungle-side strip of restaurants anchors the foodie scene, our meals at the resorts of La Zebra, Sanara and Nomade were all incredible. Sanara’s Coconut Cafe is delicious and super healthy (almost too healthy…) Their breaded chicken looks like it should be bad for you, but I swear we felt lighter after our lunch there rather than heavier (what magic!)
We returned to La Zebra twice, lured by their high-ceilinged, cool restaurant and family-friendly vibe. My absolute favourite were their big-as-a-baby’s arm shrimp tacos. If you go, make sure to order their guacamole which comes with a myriad of smoky and piquant dips and sauces. We had never encountered any of the flavours before. Also make sure you try a mezcal cocktail at some point during your foodie adventures - I've never had one before and the smoky flavour is quite something.
If you are low on time and choose to dine at only one of the three resorts...make it Nomade. The place is in a league of its own. I wanted to transport every aspect of the zen decor back to our little London house. We devoured our breakfast sitting atop Moroccan cushions and enjoying some of the best people watching we had ever experienced. I’m convinced we had breakfast alongside Blink 182, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana and no less than three Instagram supermodels.
If you’re looking for a great breakfast spot, we enjoyed the relaxed vibe of Tunich. Their open-air cafe is shielded by a palm-thatched roof which somehow catches the sea breeze despite being jungle-side. Their breakfast burrito and fresh, zingy juices kept us going well until dinner time. We loved getting to know the owners and their little brood, with George being kindly whisked away for ten minutes so we could enjoy our iced coffees in peace.
We definitely didn’t visit all Tulum had to offer, but we made a good start. Let me know your favourites I may have missed…