The Casual Restaurant Critic at La Galeria Cantina Artesanal

The Casual Restaurant Critic and his Better-than-Ever Half, had the opportunity (by invitation) to visit this cantina/restaurant and sample some of their amazing food very recently. With expectations not really high nor low but somewhere in between, both the Critic and BH were blown away by the food, which is on the level of some of the best they have tried in Merida, and if you are fan of Mexican food prepared with imagination, creativity, and attention to detail, you are in for a treat.

The room itself is a mixup of an art gallery – there is all kinds of art on the walls – cantina and restaurant. Real tables and chairs, cool and dark, and music videos on the television monitors.

Service is a little distracted until Salvador, one of the owners, shows up and then things improve dramatically. When asked what beers they had, the answer was “Sol y Lager” and when asked for more detail and what other beers there were, as in artisanal beers, the information became a little more detailed. La Cantina offers a chocolate stout and an IPA by Tatich, a local craft beer. The Critic ordered the dark which was a delicious accompaniment to the food that followed.

Salvador told the Critic that the idea of the restaurant/cantina is to provide guests with a relaxing space where the beer is cold and not expensive (at $25 pesos it’s much cheaper than other places that serve free botanas) but with excellent food also at a reasonable price. A place you can visit 2 or more times a week and not break your pocketbook. And the food, dear readers, is truly amazing! Ingredients and recipe ideas from all over Mexico -guacamole w mezcal anyone? – are combined with Yucatecan influences to create original, delicious dishes that are generously portioned and extremely satisfying. You will not feel you are in a normal cantina; this is a much more gourmet experience and will please the most ardent foodie.

Enjoy the photos and come to eat here soon! La Galeria Cantina Artesanal is located on the corner of 54 and 35, very close to the CMA hospital just down the street, and open from 1-11 PM. Credit cards and cash are accepted.

A dark cool place to escape the midday heat

Blue corn chips for scooping up these delicious lentil and bean dips

The room. Plenty of art everywhere

Castacan con pulpo salad. This dish is gigantic and can be shared among many. Not to be missed!

Real mushrooms, real gouda cheese, looks as good as it tastes!


Poc chuc

Octopus tacos and grilled tuétano!

Blue corn tortillas

The men’s bathroom is worth visiting, truly

Entry to the bathrooms; if you’ve had too much to drink, you might find all the glass and mirrors somewhat disorienting. But this is the nicest baño you will ever find in a cantina, guaranteed.

More art on the walls!

The bar

Piece de resistance: pork chamorro bathed with home-made mole sauce

Roasting those bones

Chef Miguel Uicab at work

The Man behind the Magic, Miguel Uicab

11 thoughts on “The Casual Restaurant Critic at La Galeria Cantina Artesanal

  1. the BEST dish on the menu could easily be Tacos Castacan El Gringo – AMAZING!!! and DEF the best chile habanero you have ever tasted if you can handle the PICA!!! the championes (not the portabellos) are beyond comparison…

  2. I finally went tonight. The food was really excellent. One friend who visits here frequently, said it was the best food he has had in Merida. With 4 of us, we sampled many dishes. My only complaint was the erratic service and the order of arrival of the food. The bean soup was outstanding but would have been better if it had not been the last item to arrive.
    I will return soon. And the restrooms are worth a trip!

  3. Great! Thanks for the feedback Roberto! The service was good for us once the owner arrived. I think if we chat with him, things might get better. And the food is really really good, I agree. We should meet up there for some drinks and munchies.

  4. Wow, literally around the corner from us! Can’t wait to try it – the salesman at the Carrier store across the way was telling us that it was coming soon. Now I know why he was so stoked!

  5. Sharon, I have seen on a FB page dealing w restaurants that this place is closed as of January. The owner is planning something there, but it doesn’t sound nearly as interesting as the Galeria foodwise. Prices were far too low for what was being created there, and the manager seemed timid about raising prices, so this is the result.

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