Sometimes one has to stray from the main roads and stick one’s head in the quiet spots to find something special. And while many cafes and breakfast spots in Merida centro are situated on Paseo Montejo or the maze of busy roads close to the cathedral or surrounding colonias, Café Crème sits quietly on calle 41 next to a curious little ceramic studio. Although not located as central as our other breakfast options, Café Crème offers an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of Merida centro. With a peaceful seating area outside surrounded by plants and shaded from the hot Yucatecan sun, this is a little oasis tucked away from everyday Merida life.
At Café Crème your food will come simply and with zero fuss.
Husband and wife team Eric and Vero strive to bring a slice of France to the daily lives of their customers. The food is economical and original and French at heart and inspired by home cooking. Eric takes great care to monitor the relationship between quality and consistency and can often be found sitting at a table inside his restaurant pondering. Due to this approach, the breakfast menu is not vast. However, the options are well thought out and of a particularly high standard. This includes delicious plates of fresh fruit, top quality coffee and tasty omelettes. One of our particular highlights is the imported French cheese which gives it a true French flare.
The aim is consistency. That is to say, Eric and Vero are not endlessly attempting to entice new customers or create something ground-breaking, but to treat their regulars well and offer dependable quality and service with no surprises. And that is what they’ve achieved. Many of their customers arrive and are treated like family by both owners and waiting staff.
A touch of France sits subtly in the corners of this café, both inside and out in the most delicate of ways. From the cheese that is for sale on the front counter to the artwork adorning the interior walls. It isn’t overbearing but Eric and Vero have stayed very true to their homeland. And what they’ve created is a sliver of France, a local away from home.
Need to know info:
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.30-17.30, Sunday CLOSED
Address: Calle 41, #386-B, Centro
Contact: 999 278 5073
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/cafecrememerida/
There are so many different varieties of delicious Mexican dishes, particular breakfast options. As a foreigner, it’s often difficult to remember what is what and therefore ordering can be far from simple. Chilakillers has been offering a solution to this potential problem for the last couple of years. Pretty much the only thing you can eat here is a customised bowl of chilaquiles (pronounced "chee-lah-KEE-les"), one of my favourite Mexican dishes.
Best described as Mexican comfort food, chilaquiles generally consists of tortillas (often left over from previous meals), softened with a salsa and served with some meat. Aside from being a tasty option, it’s also a great hangover cure!
With an aim to give the customer the power to create their own food, Chilakillers allows you to ‘arm’ your chilaquiles however you wish. Firstly, you choose between yellow and blue tortillas. Then you choose your sauce from about 6 options and finally a topping, such as chicken, poc-chuc or arrachera. There are additional toppings such as a fried egg or extra avocado. It can be messy and almost unattractive once you’ve mixed it all up (which is how I’ve been advised to eat it) but it’s a really great way to experience a true Mexican dish.
Chilakillers is a small space with only about 8 or 9 tables but it never feels crowded. Preparation of the chilaquiles is speedy so one is never waiting for very long and the presentation is beautifully simple and Mexican.
There’s a light lunch option for those who don’t fancy an entire bowl of totopos. For $69 pesos, one can have a bowl half the size and a side drink. This is a really good option as the full sized bowls can be deceivingly filling. The juices are super refreshing which complement a potentially heavy lunch. The staff are very chilled and were helpful in explaining the menu to us the first time we visited.
The menu might seem small but it’s all about doing one thing right. And Chilakillers has very much got it right when it comes to chilaquiles. If you’re looking for some darn good and tasty chilaquiles, this is the best place in Mérida.
Need to know info:
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9.00-17.00, Sunday 9.00-15.00
Address: Calle 57 No. 498 A x 56 y 58 Col. Centro
Contact: 999 177 9208
Article written by Harriet Sleath
On the scene since December 2017, Local 59 certainly is the new kid on the block but is one of our top picks for places to have breakfast in the centre of Merida. The quality of every aspect of this small café in a superbly-restored colonial building in Santiago is what sets it above its competitors.
‘If you start with a quality ingredient you end with a quality product’. This is owner Dawn’s motto. Dawn hails from Canada and absolutely oozes passion like her jambusters ooze jam. Her products are superior, her table service is a cut above anything else you’ll find in the center of the city and her creativity is inspiring.
While many local waiting staff will either take their time, be evasive to your attempts at getting the bill or, quite the opposite, hover around your table, Local 59 gets it spot on. It is a pleasure to sit in their tastefully decorated dining areas and waited on by their friendly and perfectly attentive staff. And there aren’t many places in Merida where you’ll be asked how you like your eggs. Yet waiter and front-of-house man Tyson does so with a grin.
Everything you eat at Local 59 is made from scratch or hand-picked by Dawn at local markets. Inspired by her restaurant experience in Canada, the vegan and vegetarian members of her family, and her time here in Merida, she has strived to combine Mexican favourites and family recipes from home. The result is a menu drizzled with personal touches such as her mum’s own recipe of poppy seed vinaigrette and the homemade refried beans and breakfast dishes armed with perhaps the best bacon in the city and some good old Canadian maple syrup.
We highly recommend popping in on a Saturday morning when they serve their speciality ‘jambusters’. Representing Dawn’s creative flare and her desire to bring something different to her tiny corner of Merida, these gooey, soft, double rise yeast donuts filled with either jam or caramel these will make your weekend. Another of her marvels is the cantaloupe jam served which accompanies the toast with our favourite, the Big Boy’s special.
Dawn has put her heart and soul and then some into this beautiful little square of delightfulness and it can be seen in every aspect of Local 59.
Need to know info:
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 8.00-14.30, Monday and Sunday CLOSED
Address: Calle 59, #622, Barrio de Santiago
Contact: 999 518 1691
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Local59pastrybar/
Sukra Bar de Café y Espacio Cultural, situated close to the Remate on Paseo Montejo offers a beautiful cultural space in which to enjoy, not just breakfast, but locally sourced food, a variety of live music and, ultimately, the essence of Merida.
Diana and Carla, along with chef Julian, have managed to establish something quite unique, creating some of the tastiest breakfast options in Merida centro. With 3 years of service under their belt they have truly come to understand what the people of Merida want on a Sunday morning. In fact, they’ve got it so right that you may need to wait for a table. Take it from us, it’s worth the wait!
Indeed, the best time to visit Sukra is on a Sunday morning when the atmosphere is cheerful and bustling.
The biciruta brings people of all ages and backgrounds to this part of town to enjoy the delights of Paseo Montejo before retiring for a well-deserved afternoon siesta. The noise of families enjoying some down-time, children speeding past on scooters and locals walking with their dogs makes a nice change to the usual Paseo Montejo traffic. There is always live music on the sidewalk outside Sukra on a Sunday morning which gives it a very bohemian feel. This really is a great environment in which to enjoy some great food…
All ingredients used in the dishes at Sukra are sourced locally. The bread for their famous sandwich Sukra was made especially for them. All the sauces are made from scratch in the kitchen and the mole is made with artisanal ingredients from Oaxaca. Take it from us, the chilaquiles de mole is exceptional. For a sauce that is often heavy and strong in flavour, Sukra’s mole is perfectly sweet, accompanied by a perfectly balanced, fried egg. The photo-worthy French toast is another favourite, served with a deliciously mouth-watering ‘Jamaica’ or hibiscus jam. A particularly special element to their menu is the variety of teas or ‘tisanas’. These are delicious herbal or fruit teas which create a gorgeously refreshing beverage on a warm Yucatecan morning.
So, take some time out of your busy (or not-so-busy) Merida schedule to sit and watch life pass you by in Sukra, a café that couldn’t be better suited to life on Paseo Montejo.
Need to know info:
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9.00-18.00, Sunday 9.00-14.00
Address: 45 y 43, Paseo de Montejo 496, Centro
Contact: 999 923 4453
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sukracafe/?ref=br_rs
Blink and you’ll miss Café Montejo. There are no huge signs outside this old building and the entrance room looks like a counter selling coffee. However, step inside and you’ll find yourself in a truly scrumptious setting, full of little treasures and unique touches, from the grapes hanging from the rooftops, to the bookcase of boardgames. There are so many small quirks and details embedded in Café Montejo, you need a whole morning to just to sit and relax and admire what Café Montejo has to offer.
If you’re a first timer in Café Montejo, you will know who Fernando, the owner, is instantly. He’s the friendly, animated man who is wandering around, chatting to his customers and overseeing the comings and goings of his restaurant. In fact, it feels like you are in his backyard. Fernando studied gastronomy at university and uses his breadth of experience cooking all over his country to impart wisdom on his young chefs who have dreams of working with top chefs in the world. His aim is to create traditional, homemade food with a twist on Yucatecan cuisine. Content not to try and compete with the market across the road, Fernando has forged a menu using local and homemade ingredients that show his true personality. His highlight is the pok-chak, which was his thesis at university and demonstrates his ability to take a traditional recipe like pok-chuk and subtly change it to something truly unique using different methods and ingredients.
The must-try breakfast dish is Fernando’s giant quesadilla, made with flor de calabaza, lettuce, cream, corn and queso santa tereza, sourced locally from the neighbour! This can be described quite simply as Mexico in a bite. With just one mouthful, the flavours that come from this quesadilla represent both the gastronomy of Mexico and Fernando’s personal, culinary journey to offer you the best food in Merida.
Another of the highlights of Café Montejo is their chocolate and their coffee. The chocolate shake is made from chocolate ground freshly here in the kitchen with cocoa from Tabasco and they have their own brand of coffee, roasted by hand in Chiapas.
An exciting prospect for Fernando and Café Montejo is their new market Mercadito Montejo Gourmet. Keep your eyes open for information here and on their Facebook page for more information!
Need to know info:
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.00-15.00 and 19.00-1.00, Saturday and Sunday 7.00-1.00
Address: Calle 59 #584, 72 x 74, Barrio de Santiago
Contact: 999 121 9050
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CafeMontejoMerida/
5 Great Places to Eat Breakfast in Centro
A couple of weeks ago, team MID CityBeat went on the town to check out some breakfast hot spots frequented by locals and foreigners alike. Here are five places that we believe warrant a shout out.