Tag Archives: Conkal

Casual Restaurant Critic at Los Frailes, Comida Yucateca en Conkal UPDATE 2019-CLOSED

UPDATE – This restaurant has now been CLOSED for some time. Unfortunate, as the food and ambience were pretty decent and in a different sort of location, away from the city. 

Outside terrace

Many people have recommended the Critic visit Los Frailes, a pretty Yucatecan restaurant located in the village of Conkal, somewhat off the highway between Merida and Progreso.

With the always charming Better Half and on this occasion accompanied by members of the Vergara family (Sofia’s long lost Atlanta relatives) the Critic sampled the cuisine in the name of research and for the benefit of his 21 readers.

Upon arriving, an unsmiling, perhaps apprehensive, person of the male persuasion awaited to welcome the group with the question “Have you been here before?” said not as a welcoming comment but rather as a prelude to the next sentence which was “it’s that we don’t accept credit cards”.

OK, good to know and nice to see you as well.

The restaurant has an outdoor terrace and a small-ish interior which features air conditioned and enough hard surfaces to ensure a high level of noise which is always unpleasant and as the weather was conducive to outdoor dining, a table on the terrace was chosen.

Service was adequate and the ambiance pleasant. The food, which is traditional Yucatecan cuisine, is varied and offers all manner of classics as well as some the Critic hadn’t heard of before like the niños envueltos which are stuffed cabbage rolls that one can suppose look like children wrapped in green blankets, if those children were then covered with some sort of sauce.

The photos will show that each of the food items is very attractively and artfully presented but in the Critic’s never humble opinion the taste of these pretty morsels was somewhat lacking. Better-tasting Yucatecan food has been enjoyed at the Principe Tutul Xiu in Mani or Kinich in Izamal. Even the uneven Chaya Maya in downtown Merida has better-tasting food. Not to say it was awful – it wasn’t. It just wasn’t great.

Sikil Pak was a little on the sour side, and runnier than the Critic would like.

Sikil Pak was a little on the sour side, and runnier than the Critic would like.

Brazo de Reina, artfully presented.

Brazo de Reina, artfully presented.

Empanadas

Empanadas

Tortitas: fried corn masa and chaya bits

Tortitas: fried corn masa and chaya bits

Holoches. More fried masa covered in beans.

Holoches. More fried masa covered in beans.

Hmm.

Hmm.

Niños envueltos aka cabbage rolls.

Niños envueltos aka cabbage rolls.

Queso napolitano or flan for dessert.

Queso napolitano or flan for dessert.

 

Driving Instructions – Baca

So. You are all packed and ready to go on a trip to Baca.

OK, OK. You are not packed, you are just hungry and want to see if that Thai place you heard about was open. This is what you do:

Take the Periferico, that 4 lane beltway that stretches 42 kilometers around the formerly white city and serves as a racetrack for those kids lucky enough to have daddies that buy them a BMW for their 16th birthday (pobres, se lo ganaron) and drive until you see the exit marked Motul or Tizimin. This is where you will get off, and go in the direction of Motul.

Passing different turnoffs, you remain on this road, oblivious to the cars piling up behind you as you toodle along; let them pass, the shoulder is nice and wide and you can keep driving along it as the cars zoom past on their way to their respective destinations and destinies. What you are looking for is a highway sign in green marked ‘Mococha’. This is the name of a town, BTW. Once you see it, scoot over into your left hand lane and make that turn.

This new, smaller road will lead you to what once was the only highway, now a small country road. You turn right at the T and follow along until you reach the next town, which is: Baca. Slow down (as if you have choice: Baca, like all Yucatecan towns has its share of speed bump topes) and keep a sharp eye on your left for a large, large property that features large (giant, actually) flat rocks built standing up into the walls, which feature dabs of yellow paint that becomes increasingly more prevalent as you drive along. There is an entrance right off the main road, this is NOT the entrance to the restaurant area.

Keep driving until you reach the confluence of a small shrine to the Virgen, a Clinica run by the IMSS and and probably a tope. This is where you will turn left onto a gravel road (Virgin on your left, clinica on your right) which you will follow until it curves, which is where you will find a small gate, a gatekeeper and hopefully he will let you in to visit the restaurant.

Hopefully this helps those interested in visiting this place which seems to the Critic anyway, highly unusual. A place for real Thai food in Baca. Who would have thought…

Yet another Yucatan church - Baca, Yucatan