Tag Archives: oysters

The Casual Restaurant Critic at Hacienda Xcanatun

OK, it’s been a while. In fact, the Critic hasn’t written a review of Xcanatun since way back in 2008 when the food was delicious but the service was not up to the standards of the kitchen.

Things have changed. For the better.

Fresh Menu

The Better Half and the Critic had lunch at Xcanatun a few weeks ago and oh boy was it good.  A new chef in the kitchen; a talented young woman who came by later to say hello, has created some remarkable new menu items that will delight your tastebuds and leave you wanting to try them all.

As appetizers, the Critic and Better Half over-ordered once again and had a splendid selection of oysters, half Rockefeller and half Mayan. The Critic preferred the fresh, raw and zesty Mayan oysters over the semi raw Rockefeller version but both were great. Also, steamed mussels in a savory broth – the kind you have to sop up with toasty fresh bread. Waiter, get your hands off that bowl, we’re not quite done with it. The Better Half, a fan of all things raw, ordered Steak Tartare which is definitely not on the Critics bucket list but what the heck, he tried it and liked it. A lot. Ate half the plate in fact.



Oysters Rockefeller


Steak Tartare Presentation

Steak Tartare Texture

With three appetizers down the main courses arrived. A pork barbeque dish for Better Half which she loved, proclaiming it “perfect” (the Critic loves more sauce on his ribs) while the Critic had the steak stuffed with cochinita pibil and smothered in cochinita pibil gravy. Yes, it sounds decadent and thoroughly artery-clogging, and it may have been, but it was also perfectly cooked and outrageously delicious.Finally, the Critic can never resist a lemon or lime pie, and Xcanatun did not disappoint. Fresh, tangy, light and a perfect end to a perfect meal.

Pork BBQ Ribs

Steak with Cochinita Pibil

Pay de Limon

By this time, dear reader, you are probably saying “yes, Mr. Critic, but what about that service you so bitterly complained about last time?” Well the Critic is happy to report that you will feel like you are experiencing a production that has been polished and polished again until each edge is absolutely smooth. From the moment the parking lot attendant opens your car door with a flourish and a smile to the welcome you receive from the security man in front of the restaurant to the open door and welcome  you get once at the restaurant, you will experience the comforting feeling that you are in good hands and can relax and enjoy a truly superb dining experience.

Highly recommended and one of Merida’s – if not the – best.

Pacifica – Monterrey

Fantastic seafood! The first photo: pozole rojo but not pork, lobster! The second photo, a selection of Baja style tacos, all featuring seafood of course, the most interesting a sope with chorizo made of shrimp and a taco of pescado al pastor, which tasted a lot like tikin xic and was served on a red corn tortilla.

The overly ambitious Critic ordered ‘1 of each’ from that section of the menu, but this would have been 9 tacos and the waiter, somewhat alarmed, advised paring it down a little. The Critic heeded his advice and still was unable to completely finish all of this delicious assortment!

This restaurant was recommended as an alternative to the well-known, and apparently tradition, seafood institution known as Los Arcos, which according to some locals in the know, was becoming a bit dubious since some of their clientele included people possibly involved in northern Mexicos burgeoning drug trade. It is within walking distance from the Novotel Valle in San Pedro and located under large palapa roofs behind the Sirloin Stockade, a place you wouldn’t want to spend money or time in, based on the Merida version anyway.

The room was packed, there was a smoking section (gasp!) and an outdoor deck lounge scene complete with thumping electronic music by a D.J.

Not shown in these photos is a ‘shot’ which is a large, salt and chile rimmed tequila shot glass, filled with warm cocktail sauce, tequila and one whole oyster. An interesting opening act!

Pacifica is highly recommended by the Casual Restaurant Critic!