The Mayan Riviera sees couples get together, tie the knot, propose to do so, renew their vows, and simply come to remind themselves and each other why they are attracted to – and maybe even love – the other. Often, the most fitting settings in which to share these romantic moments are the ones in which food is served. The relationship between food and emotion is common to cultures around the world, and the Riviera offers some of the most delectable helpings of love on the planet. Some restaurants lend themselves to amorous rendezvous with special lighting, provocative decor, or an aphrodisiacal menu. Others offer a special romantic experience, not on the daily menu, in order to create an idyllic flavor for a night of loving. The presentations vary but the effect is the same: culinary bliss coupled with coupling.
In Playa del Carmen, there is a multinational plethora of ways to satisfy your pallet and that of your significant other, and choosing one for a special night is difficult. However, three restaurants have proven themselves to be remarkable in creating atmospheres, service and/or menus that promote passion.
The first two have wonderful menus and offer special dinners and service for two. The first, El Bistro, has a sophisticated menu of Mexican flavors – mixed heavily with Europeans style – and a private balcony to dine (alone or with a group) under the stars and overlooking a lush garden. The second, the Mayan Bistro, has a talented Italian chef, Marco Maffezzoni, who loves to mix Mexican recipes with tastes from Italy. The sophisticated staff arranges parties, events, and dinners in their casual, but refined, dining area, on the patio surrounded by tropical flowers, or poolside.
Dinner at the third restaurant, Season Bistro, is an elegant culinary experience. The environment is charming, the lighting is warming, and the food is mouth-watering. You and your sweetheart can start with foie gras fingers, a salad of red fruits, or crispy Camembert. You can then move on to lobster, pasta, lamb, venison, or duck. Accompany any of these with a bottle of wine or one of their special cocktails; and, of course, finish with a succulent house dessert.
For a special treat, you may want to consider taking your date south for beach dining. If so, Akumal has two very special choices. The first, La Lunita, is a magical spot in front of a whispering Caribbean bay where chef Cristian Reyes works his charm. He serves unique ceviches, oysters, lamb and inspired surprises. His desserts are dreamt of months later. The second restaurant is Lol-Ha. It offers a large menu that includes excellent wines and desserts. The staff arranges weddings, honeymoon dinners, and special romantic dinners on the beach with a variety of options for menus, flowers, and music.
Another beach option is Hemingway – in Tulum. This is a very small, intimate restaurant on the beach. It doesn’t have a menu, and the service is hit or miss; but the chef and the setting are worth the limitations. The specialties here are seafood and pasta, and the chef provides a couple of daily options – depending on what is fresh.
Photo courtesy of Lena Hyde