Where to dine out in Yucatán for Thanksgiving 2018

Here is our annual list of restaurants and resources in Mérida and at the beach for anyone craving a taste of Thanksgiving this Thursday.

The default destination might still be the giant Hyatt Regency buffet (already booked up), but every year, there’s always a new restaurant, deli or grocery in this guide. Yes, grocery. Expats with ovens are cooking and entertaining at home, perhaps ordering a turkey from a place like Schirp, Momacoa or Bistro Cultural and getting sides such as cranberry sauce from Costco, which has been spotted and reported on Merida Food Hunt. Costco also appears to be a perennial favorite for Butterball turkeys. Chedraui had those dried onions that go on the classic green bean casserole. They also had canned pumpkin, and Superama had pumpkin spice mix.

Restaurants are serving turkey, which is already abundant in Yucatán, but it’s hard to find anyone who serves it with stuffing. For some reason, many have spinach salad for a first course. Which sounds fine, but we don’t necessarily associate spinach salad with Thanksgiving.

Once again, we stress that we mark Thanksgiving as it is celebrated in the U.S., not Canada, because the latter holiday is in October, and before many snowbirds return to the Peninsula.

What’s different this year: Upscale Sanbravo is a new addition to the list, and a welcome option for diners who enjoy the Prolongacíon’s contemporary restaurants. Also, we learned that Merci offers a Thanksgiving package, another first for our list. The Fiesta Americana will have a buffet, but they said they don’t have any specials planned. And Bistrola 57 in the Centro has stopped serving Thanksgiving meals. They told us it just didn’t pan out for them.

It seems like yesterday that Door 54 had a popular Thanksgiving package, but corner cafe closed in March of last year, so that’s off the list.

Two restaurants on last year’s list, trendy L’Adventure north of the city, and the Pa’Puli Steak and Wine House in Progreso, have closed despite receiving high marks on social media. Faces and La Barca have not responded to our query, and haven’t announced anything for Thanksgiving Day. Closer to the beach, El Bull Pen in Chelem has a potluck and Barlovento in Progreso mentioned a “Thanksgiving party” on their Facebook page, but we don’t have enough details about it to include it on our list.

Inflation continues to creep in, too. The two remaining big hotel buffets raised their prices by 20 pesos, roughly a buck. But Hennessy’s held the line on its prices, as did Casa Hamaca.

We surveyed over 50 area restaurants and we’re not done. (Update: We’re done!)  Send your suggestions, as well! There is no charge to be included on the list.


MERIDA

Bistro Cultural

Bistro Cultural (map) is serving a special lunch to celebrate Thanksgiving. They are also roasting turkeys to take home for 2,400 pesos. Advance notice and 50 percent deposit required.

Calle 66 No. 377 x 43, Centro; 999-923-2013

Hacienda Santa Cruz

Always worth the trip, luxurious Hacienda Santa Cruz (map) is back with Thanksgiving Dinner this year. The package is 1,000 pesos per person with the following four-course menu with 4 glasses of wine: Whipped carrot, mac and cheese with eggplant, turkey breast with gravy, sweet potato purée and cranberry and pumpkin pie with walnut crust.

Calle 86 S/N, Santa Cruz Palomeque, Mérida; Reservations: 999-254-0541

Hacienda Xcanatún

The elegant Casa de Piedra (Stone House) restaurant is in the restored powerhouse of this 18th-century Hacienda Xcanatún (map). A la carte Thanksgiving menu with live piano music. When making your reservations, let them know ahead if you’ll be ordering turkey so they will have their kitchen stocked amply.

Calle 20 S/N. Comisaría Xcanatún. Km. 12 Carretera Mérida-Progreso, Mérida; 999-930-2140

Hennessy’s Irish Pub

Hennessy’s Irish Pub (map) offers the package (295 pesos) beginning with mushroom soup followed by a turkey plate with trimmings and pumpkin pie, or just a turkey plate for 195 pesos. The meal is available all day from noon to midnight.

Paseo Montejo No. 486A x 41 y 43; 999-923-8993

Holiday Inn, La Arboleda

The Holiday Inn in the hotel zone (map) will offer various entrees, salad bar, side dishes and desserts, including the traditional roast turkey. Adults, 377 pesos; children 5-12, 189 pesos, not including drinks, from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Avenida Colón at Paseo de Montejo, Hotel Zone, Mérida; 999-942-8800 ext 538 and 519

Hyatt Regency (Update: Sold out)

Hyatt Regency Mérida (map) offers perhaps the largest buffet in Mérida at Peregrina Bistro, which is open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. for 385 pesos. Chef Hector Ramirez and Luis Ramirez serve turkey carved to order and all the trimmings; drinks are extra. A Kids Club allows your table to be a grown-up zone. The buffet is normally totally booked a day or so call ahead. Oh, and as of Sunday, it was already booked up.

Calle 60 at Avenida Colón, Hotel Zone, Mérida; Reservations: 999-942-1227

Merci

The French-inspired modern restaurant Merci, in the north of the city has a Thanksgiving lunch special for 450 pesos per person, beginning at noon. Spinach salad with roasted beets starts the feast, with blueberries and roasted nuts. The main course is turkey with homemade gravy, truffled potato, sweet potato, green beans with mushrooms.

Plaza San Angelo Calle 23, Merida. Reservations: 999-941-6886

Oliva Enoteca

The popular Italian restaurant, Oliva Enoteca, which seems to have led a small restaurant boom in its neighborhood, has two seatings, at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Turkey, rosemary mashed potatoes, prosciutto-wrapped green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce and corn bread is 395 pesos. A variety of sides ranges from spinach salad for 150 pesos togGorgonzola mac and cheese for 190 pesos. Dessert is pecan pie with mascarpone cream for 130 pesos.

Down the street, its coffee shop cousin, Latte Quattro Sette, will serve pumpkin pie during the day while it lasts. They are also taking orders starting Tuesday for family size pumpkin pies to be delivered on Thanksgiving.

Oliva Enoteca: Calle 47, corner with 54, Centro; Reservations: 999-260-1568
Latte Quattro Sette: Calle 47 No. 465 between 56 and 54, Centro; 999-924-8895

Sanbravo

Sanbravo in the north offers a prix fixe menu at 1,350 pesos per person, including a glass of Moët & Chandon to toast the Pilgrims. The menu, starting at 5 p.m., starts with an elaborate spinach salad, followed by turkey breast with rosemary or filet of beef. Citrus sorbet or pumpkin cheese cake for dessert.

No. 358 between 45 and 47, Prolongación Paseo Montejo, Benito Juárez Norte

BEACH

El Bull Pen

El Bull Pen (map) in Chelem again welcomes neighbors for a thanksgiving potluck. “Everyone is welcome. Come on over at 4:30 and by 5:15, or so, we will begin to say our blessings,” says owner Jill Jaeger. Bring a pot to share respective to the size of your group. Typical item to share is for 6-8 people per couple. Cash Bar only, no outside drink. Restaurant kitchen will be closed. It’s necessary to register here.

Calle 19 x 128, Chelem, across from the baseball diamond and Taco Maya; 999-114-9595

VALLADOLID

Casa Hamaca/Xoco Loco Restaurant

Casa Hamaca Guesthouse/Xoco Loco Restaurant (map) mixes service with pot luck on the side. Botanas at 3 p.m., followed by roast turkey, léchon al horno and mac’n’cheese. Plus lots of side dishes and desserts. No charge for the main dishes but they ask for a donation of a side dish, hors d’oeuvres or desserts to serve a minimum of 10 people, plus 50 pesos per person to help cover other expenses. Cash bar happy hour begins at 3; dinner at 4:30.

Note: Casa Hamaca seeks donations for dispenses, a package that provides two weeks’ food and basic supplies for a family, costs about $50 USD. Ask how you can help.

Parque San Juan, Calle 49 #202-A between 40 and 42, Valladolid; 985-100-4270

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