With a small group of people, the Critic figured – based on a positive past experience and the fact that a French-run restaurant catering to a demanding European clientèle must have decent food – that the best lunch would be at the Club Med’s “Villas Arqueologicas”. Well, the Critic was wrong.
The small group of four ordered plain spaghetti, (without the Bolognese sauce as described on the menu), avocado with shrimp, guacamole, a Spanish omelette without chorizo for the group vegetarian and a Caesar salad. The shrimp served in an avocado was apparently very good (the Critic didn’t partake since it wasn’t a large dish for sharing), the guacamole fresh and tasty, but the Caesar salad was an absolute mess. Little bits of white Iceberg lettuce instead of green Romaine, flattened in the center of a small plate, and garnished with toasted bread triangles and boiled egg quarters around the edge. The Critic didn’t recognize anything even remotely Caesar about this salad. The omelette was alright and the plain spaghetti was garnished with chopped parsely and had to be sent back to have the offending vegetable removed, since what was wanted was plain spaghetti, no more, no less. Not a difficult request, really. The most offensive platter was the Critic’s own, the Poc Chuc. A piece of marinated pork slathered in red achiote sauce, served with the typical scoop of overcooked white rice, a dollop of black beans with some rubbery (not crunchy but rather, flexible) corn tostadas, soggy boiled vegetables and some salsa. This Poc Chuc was unlike any the Critic had ever eaten. Only the meat was really edible.
As for service, it seemed like the waiters were on Valium or something; they moved, talked and reacted as if sedated. Not particularly friendly, they seemed almost unable or unwilling to understand the Critic who was doing the ordering for the group. The Critic has lived in the Yucatan for 20 years and has quite passable Spanish, but from time to time, in out of the way places far from the city of Merida, this tends to happen a lot. It’s almost like some of the locals don’t coordinate what they are seeing (a blond Canadian) with what they are hearing (Yucatecan accented Spanish). At least this it the theory the Critic’s Better Half proffered on one such occasion. The tortillas never arrived. The question “son hechas a mano” (are they made by hand) had to be repeated three times, each time slower than before, in order to be understood.
As for the restaurant itself, it’s OK. There was no option for air conditioning, and so the group sat near the tiny pool under a fan, which was alright.
The restaurant gets a score of 2 out of 5. Don’t bother; try some of the other offerings.