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jueves, marzo 13, 2008

Cetli: Alta Cocina Mexicana in Tulum

Cetli, a gourmet restaurant specializing in Mexican Haute Cuisine, has re-opened in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. For a while it was in El Hotelito, on the main drag, and then out on the Tulum Beach Road, and then for about a year or so, nowhere, and now it's back. It's a reminder of what diners in Tulum have so greatly been missing.

Claudia, the chef, does everything in the kitchen herself, from initial prep to filling the plates. She has a huge amount of training and experience and is a master and a perfectionist. And she's produced a wonderful, varied menu. Featured are tortilla soup, several regional mole dishes with chicken or beef or vegetarian, seafood dishes, including a fantastic fish in a tamarindo salsa, and some incredible desserts. She doesn't have a beer or wine license yet, so for now it's BYO.

The restaurant is in what was a house and garage a block west of the main street in Tulum, on Polar Nte. We ate outside in what used to be the garage. Designers might quibble with the lighting and the lack of white table cloths and with the bareness of the walls, but there is absolutely no quibbling about the food. And the service was great, pleasant and attentive.

The flavors in the food three of us ate were exquisite. These aren't, as my daughter pointed out, the flavors you think you'll have in typical a Mexican meal. Al contrario, the flavors are a rich distillation of various regional Mexican cuisines, and are quite surprising. It's simply a joy to eat this food. For me, it was an experience of eating the Mexican meal I have been searching for for years without being able to describe it.

This restaurant is just wonderful and is not to be missed. Reservations are a really good idea. Especially in high season. Cetli, in Tulum Pueblo, on Polar Nte. (984) 108 0681 or (984) 106 7464.

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