Taberna De Los Frailes in Valladolid, Yucatán

The Yucatán region of Mexico is absolutely stuffed with a ton of amazing places to visit. Being constrained to one week, you have to narrow your list of sites down considerably. A must see is the colonial city of Valladolid.

Valladolid is a small city, about 50,000 inhabitants. If you’re into places that ooze history, this is for you. A stunning cathedral alongside a city square that could pass for a small forest. Young and elderly alike congregate on shady park benches munching on treats from a myriad of street vendors. We bypassed the vendors and wandered up a scenic, cobble-stoned avenue in search of Taberna de los Frailes.

This is an exceptionally beautiful town. At dusk, even more so. Two-hundred year old buildings newly painted in pastels make for a stunning streetscape.

After a half-hour saunter, we arrived at our destination.

Taberna de los Frailes (Tavern of the Friars) is situated next to Valladolid’s ancient monastery. It’s a rather new addition to Valladolid’s food scene having opened in November 2009. Along with great food and a stunning bar, it has its very own cenote. At 120 feet before you hit water, it’s more of a well. No diving!

Coincidentally, the man that gave me my first tour of the Yucatán, is also a food blogger. He’s written two posts on Taberna de los Frailes. They can be read here and here. An even stranger coincidence, we bumped into each other at Chichen Itza…the very place he guided me through over twenty years ago! That was the first trip that set me off on many more journeys to amazing Mexico.

This is one fully packed menu…loads of traditional fare with some unique varietals. The Beef Agave in mezcal and Seafood Gratin with tequila will be enjoyed next year.

This time around we went with a foursome of appetizers. Unfortunately, this is when a food-blogger’s nightmare becomes reality…dead battery. Grrrrrrr. Thankfully, my travel-mates are food photo-hounds as well!!

Instead of the traditional lime juice, the Ceviche Maya is marinated in sour orange. A huge portion of squid, whitefish and shrimp is topped with guacamole and served with fried plantain chips. A sensational dish we couldn’t finish.

Another very well-portioned dish were the Nachos Yucatán. Crisp tostadas layered with refried black beans, an absolute load of cheddar and longaniza (a very smoky Yucatecan pork sausage). The sausage was a bit too smoky…too uni-dimensional. I’ll never complain about that much cheese, but the longaniza cancelled out even the pickled onions and jalapeños. Al Pastor would’ve been perfect here.

The key to any good Lettuce Wrap is, of course, the lettuce. Well, good fillers don’t hurt. Here we have both, and great condiments to boot. Fresh & crunchy lettuce, grilled chicken, pulled Mayan pork, pickled peppers and onions, slatherings of tamarind and peanut sauce. Mexico vs. Asia…everybody wins!

Last, but not least, the Valladolid Temptation.

OK…first thought, love watermelon, love melty cheese. Together, not so much. Turns out, a phenomenal combo! The non-grillled part was cold and none too tasty. Moving along to the well-grilled oozy part…sensational! Salty, gooey panela meets sweet, sweet melon…flavour overload.

I can’t recommend this spot highly enough. A very well-rounded feast!


One response

  1. Thanks for your great entry. Eating at this restaurant last year was one of the gastronomic highlights of my life! The food in Yucatan was phenomenal, and this restaurant was the most memorable of all. And yes, the grilled watermelon and panela cheese was incredible!

    August 7, 2011 at 12:14 am

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