Tag Archives: itzimna

The Casual Restaurant Critic at Eureka!

Some finicky Lawson guests as well as many friends and acquaintances have all raved about Eureka and so, it is more than appropriate that the Critic take note and see what all the fuss is about.


Once again accompanied by the ever-present and charming Better Half, the Critic visited on a Sunday and experienced this latest Italian entry into the Merida restaurant scene first-hand. And what a great experience it was!

The Critic and BH we welcomed at the door by smiling faces that seemed genuinely pleased to receive new lunch guests. This is remarkable when you consider how many times your welcome at a restaurant seems less than cordial, or perhaps at some of these places they already know it’s the cranky Critic and are preparing for the worst.

Chef Fabrizio stopped by the table and said hello and told the Critic a little about where he had worked before and so on. Friendly chit chat that just seemed natural.

The menu is interesting in that all of the appetizers aka aperitivi, all priced the same, making it easy both for customers and wait staff to figure out the bill. Salads and soups too.

But you readers want to know what the Critic thought of the food, right? Well let’s just say it was/is sublime. Absolutely lip-smacking, finger-licking and palate-pleasing-ly scrumptious.


Mixed olive appetizer. And those garlic pieces.

To start, an appetizer of mixed olives with cured garlic (above) that sent Better Half to the moon and back, followed by an amazing mixed salad of the day and an asparagus/prosciutto/mozzarella appetizer that featured a fresh and creamy mozzarella cheese with a texture that straddled the line between fresh cream and soft cheese. You could have eaten it with a spoon and it was delicious!


Mozzarella, Prosciutto e Asparagi


Mesticanza del Giorno

Then, the main courses of salmon and pasta. The pasta is not the most photogenic of plates, but the Critic can assure you that this house specialty is an absolutely mouthwatering combination of flavors and textures. The pasta was a tiny bit inconsistent in texture, as in a few pieces a bit more al dente than others, but nothing to lose sleep over. The ragu sauce was so good!

The perfectly grilled salmon was dressed up with a fresh pea and leek puree sauce, and also outstanding. Even better, if that is possible, were the roasted potatoes served alongside the fish. These would be fantastic for breakfast with a little bacon a la German bratkartoffeln.


Riccioli Eureka


Salmone alla Flavia

And dessert? Well it had to be tried, although there was really no room whatsoever left at this point. The tiramisu is amazing.


Eureka is on Facebook and their address is there, as well as on the sign in the photo below.


If you are a fan of Oliva, Bella Roma or even Due Torri, you will definitely enjoy this new Italian restaurant that pushes the envelope yet again and raises the bar for anyone contemplating opening another Italian eatery in Merida. Grazie, Fabrizio e Vero!


The Casual Restaurant Critic at Tio Ricardo


The TV. Perfect for sports events and not thinking about the service.


If you have lived in Merida for any length of time and have had the misfortune to have to listen to a local radio station, you may have heard the ads for this restaurant, which have not changed in the last 5 or more years, where two males with fake northern Mexico accents make the smooth transition from talking about how difficult life is to deciding to go to the Tio Ricardo restaurant, “un rincon de Monterrey en Merida

Yesterday the Critic and a supplier of shirts who we shall call Mr. Shirt went for lunch at this restaurant, located at the corner of 8 and 23 streets in Itzimná in the formerly white city. Not because life is particularly difficult but because Mr. Shirt thought that it would be a good place for lunch and that the guacamole there was the best in town.

The Critic hadn’t been at Tio Ricardo for at least 20 years and was surprised to hear it was still around. It was, although how they manage that is a mystery.

The tables and chairs are real (not plastic) which is always a plus in the Critics book, and the walls feature a lot of wood paneling and photographs in black and white of things from northern Mexico. The waiter who the Critic saw upon entering the place with Mr. Shirt was busily stuffing something into his mouth, half hidden behind a wall. The place is essentially a house, with the different rooms turned into dark, woody caves that would be ideal if you were planning on a secret meetup with someone and needed discretion, perhaps.

When the waiter – and here the term is used loosely to describe an individual who has the task of taking food orders and bringing them to clients tables – came and asked what would be the order. Mr. Shirt began by asking about a “package” for two people that had an assortment of meats and so on.

“We don’t do packages” was the curt reply from the unsmiling, unwelcoming and evidently uninterested individual brandishing his little notepad and pen.

Mr. Shirt, unfazed, continued “but I am pretty sure there was a parrillada (grilled platter) or something for two, no?”

Curt was equally unfazed. “No, we don’t have that” No mention of anything that might please his client or a suggestion perhaps. No additional information came out of his unsmiling mouth as he impatiently waited, pen poised at the ready over his notebook.

Finally, a pair of steaks were ordered, along with the entradas, apparently a “package” but for one person at a time. “What appetizers do you want to repeat?” asked Curt, since each steak plate came with two appetizers and there were only three on the menu – melted/baked cheese, guacamole, and grilled sausages. Since Mr. Shirt had mentioned the great guacamole, the Critic said “bring us two guacamoles” and Curt left without further comment.

Curt returned with the drinks and eventually the appetizers. The guacamole was good, served in the form of a block on a side plate like it had been prepared in a tub, refrigerated and then sliced off like a huge swath of green banana bread. The chips were crunchy and they have the giant flour tostadas that one could find in Monterrey restaurants. Tortillas too. The sausage was, in the Critics opinion, the cheap fatty kind and not great, while the melted/baked cheese was pretty tasty.

The steaks finally arrived, while Mr. Shirt and the Critic were treated to an episode of SmokeJumpers with Spanish dialogue on the large flat screen TV on the wall, being watched by another table and two waiters who occasionally glanced down at their cell phones to update their Facebook accounts or whatever they were doing. The steaks, one rib eye and one New York, can be ordered medium rare or medium, blue rare or tres cuartos but however you decide you want your meat done, it matters not and the steaks will be (and were) well done. OK. The Critic was not going to fight with Curt on this occasion, and especially not since Mr. Shirt had picked the restaurant. But, really?

Other things the Critic noticed included the fact that there were other waiters in the restaurant, none of whom seemed particularly pleased to be there and perhaps were only filling in time on a prison work release program. The men’s bathroom, thoughtfully and overwhelmingly perfumed with Pinol floor cleaner has no door, and there is no evident ventilation system so if you do have to eat here, I would suggest a table as far away from the mens’ room as possible, as the possibility of bathroom smell interfering with the enjoyment of your well done steak might be less than pleasant.

The Critic always enjoys a lousy restaurant and this one is not worth the time or the calories or the money – not much, the bill came to $250 pesos per person with a 10% tip and no alcohol – and there are SO many new and infinitely better options in Merida now. While the food is not horrible, the “service” certainly matches that description perfectly. How this place survives is one of those mysteries that Gordon Ramsey might enjoy.

You have been warned.


On the plus side: real chairs.


They are crunchy and that’s another positive.


A chipped salsa bowl that should have been thrown out years ago.


A guacamole brick. It is cold and tastes fresh.


The melted cheese is a highlight.


Skip these. Your arteries will thank you.


Order it anyway you want. It will likely be well done.

Wayan’E – Again

Poc Chuc and Chicharra tacos. Notice the beans.

After so many years of living here and not going, Wayan’E has received more visits from the Casual Restaurant Critic than usual, probably because of his rather sparse pocketbook situation (dictionary sales are down this lifetime) and also because Better Half is always on a trip someplace exotic.

Read the previous review here; there is really nothing new to report except that the tacos are delicious, the service friendly as hell and the prices are fantastic.

I am hungry now what with that photo. I think I will go al ratito which does not mean “to the little rat” but rather “in a little while”.