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.

12 thoughts on “The Casual Restaurant Critic at Hacienda Xcanatun

  1. I agree with you! We had lunch at Xcanatun yesterday and it was delicious! What a change! The young chef, her name is Paloma Ponce, also came to our table and we found out that she is a recent graduate from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America.
    We will definitely go back soon! They change the Specials every Thursday.

    I like your page!

  2. We moved to Merida about six months ago.

    Friends asked us to join them at Xcanatun last week for lunch. It was out first visit but it will certainly not be our last! The hacienda is magnificent and the atmosphere is extreamly relaxing and inviting. After a round of cocktails we were treated to a lunch which was not only delicious but with a presentation that would make a five star restaurant in New York City envious. During our meal, the chef, Ms. Ponce, came to our table to introduce herself. We were shocked at the talent and creativity she has developed at such a young age .

    Xcanatun is now at the top of our list and sure to become a weekly habit.

  3. Also had a great lunch there recently, food, service, ambience all delicious. My only complaint–I had arranged in advance that it was a surprise birthday lunch, with the surprise guests waiting on the terrace. I arrived with the birthday person (she thought it was just going to be her and me for lunch) and the guy who greeted us at the restaurant door said, “hello Sra. Juanita, your friends “x” and “y” are waiting for you at your table on the terrace.” Nooooooooo!!!! So now my friend knew everything, yes it was only a minute of spoiled surprise, but I really wanted the effect of walking out to the terrace and finding the rest of the party waiting to yell “surprise”!!!

  4. Thank you WL for the sacrifice of expanding your waist line to let us know about great (and sometimes not so great) places to eat. We will try Xcanatun again after being so disappointed the last time!

    BTW, must being old as I oft times cannot decipher the CAPTCHA code. Last time, I had to re type it at least 5 times before I got it right!

  5. It is with great pleasure and enormous personal sacrifice that I provide this social service for my avid readers. I am pleased that it is of some use to those of you who measure life in meal-sized increments. Thanks BW!

  6. I’ve just discovered your site. My wife and I are coming to Merida for the month of Feb. 2013. Is the address of Xcanatun there somewhere in your review? I’ve missed it.

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