Taylor Explores the World

La Chaya Maya Restaurant

I had read the reviews on Trip Advisor of the often loved La Chaya Maya in Merida before we left.  I also deciphered that it was definitely, regardless of authenticity, a tourist spot because it was one of the very few restaurants noted on all the Merida maps.  We had initially decided there were enough other spots to eat at that we would venture elsewhere.  Well, sometimes things change.   We arrived later than expected to Merida.  By the time we got checked into our room at Ko’ox Art 57 Hotel we were exhausted and hungry.  We set out on foot and attempted to find another spot but ended up at La Chaya Maya, starving, exhausted we broke down and went in. 
We were sat at a small table immediately; I believe the only one left.  We were even given a purse stand to hang our bags on next to the table, I will not lie I was impressed with this.  The place was packed with tourists from the United States, Europe and many from Mexico City.  Always remember, just because they speak Spanish does not mean they are “locals”, they are just as likely to be tourists as you are.  Along the edge of the packed restaurant sat a woman hand making tortillas, due to the congestion you could barely see her forming them with her hands.  Then our soft spoken, petite, young server came over dressed in a terno, a three tiered fancy huipil, to take our drink order.  I had already spotted the Chaya margarita ($36 MXN) and was thrilled.  I began to think maybe it was going to be good experience after all.  I ordered that and an Agua de Chaya ($19mxn), Leroy ordered a beer ($29 MXN); they did not have Sol, so he was disappointed and went with a Superior Rubia ($29MXN). 

We wanted Yucatec food, so we chose one of their sampler platter for 2 people, the Parrillada Yucateca ($220 MXN) which included several traditional regional dishes and fresh tortillas.  The tortillas were good, nothing spectacular.  The Agua de Chaya was wonderful and a very popular choice, I noticed during my glances around the room.  The food came after a considerable wait but long before my Chaya margarita which was ordered 10 minutes prior to the food.  The food arrived, the portions were small for it being a platter for two; the food itself was luke-warm, a little over cooked and bland.  We were disappointed, especially with the poc-choc a favorite of mine.  My Chaya margarita came and was good but not as good as the Agua, it seemed quite watered down by the freezing process. We will not return on our next trip, far too many other wonderful places to eat. 
I am sorry but this is definitely a tourist trap.  The place was packed and loud, food was dry and bland and prices were expensive according to local standards.   I can give you the names of 20 places, which are more authentic and delicious, have a better ambiance and cost ¼ the price.    For the panucho, salbute and/or torta lover – the Mercado restaurants, food carts and local restaurants offer them for $13-15mxn each.  Poc-chuc, flavorful, tender and juicy costs the same.   


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