Before our Merida trip, we scoured online on Chowhound and Tripadvisor for the best restaurant to try. This place turned out to Apoala.
Jess always talks about the time she went to Mexico and had the best tacos al pastor, straight from the spit with the pineapples on the bottom. Because of that, I really wanted the food in Mexico to blow away all the 1000s of tacos I’ve had growing up in Texas.
It’s the one place that is generally regarded as the best restaurant in Merida. No doubt, Apoala was hands down the best meal we had in Merida.
Here’s what we had
Aqua de Piedra Mine. Fancy fizzy water. Somehow, all meals just feel more refined with cold fizzy water. No picture here!
Oaxaca Old Fashioned. Mezcal, sugar, and orange bitters.
Manila Margarita. Herradura Antiguo, mango, aguacate, limon, and house made chamoy. The Manila mango is the original mango type from the Philippines. So I guess the mango gives this cocktail its namesake. I could drink this for days.
Ceviche de Pulpo. Octopus Ceviche. A perfect balance of tender octopus, crunch from the veggies, and acidity to cut through it all.
Pesca del Dia. Fish of the day.
Sopa de Lima y Ribe. Lime and rib soup.
Tacos De Cangrejo. Crayfish tacos. Comes peeled.
Mayahuel. Mexcal, chartreuse amarillo, bitter orange, agave honey, and charred rosemary. In my experience, any drink that’s smoking or on fire is a hit.
A few tips for eating at Apoala
1. Make reservations
We tried to make resevations via email, but didnt get a reply. Alex from Hotel Julamis (which you should stay at), mentioned that Apoala is notorious for not confirming reservations from email since they’re so popular.
Calling for reservations is hit or miss as well. What worked for us is calling during dining hours. If you are in the area, I would recommend making reservations in person if you can’t get through via phone.
If reservations aren’t your thing, then the best best would be to show up right during opening time so you can grab a table (preferably outside). Show up any later, then they’ll most likely turn you away since they don’t do waitlists. Apoala does not fully book with resevations, so you’ll be likely to get a table.
2. Order a cocktail (or a few)
The cocktails that we had were the best in Merida. Whoever is working their drink menu clearly knows their stuff.
One last tip: Although we didn’t go there, the Malahat Speakeasy was also well regarded. Ask your waiter at Apoala where the entrance is.
Apoala is a solid 4/5 in my books.
Parque de Santa Lucía, Centro
97000 Mérida, Yuc., Mexico
$64 for a meal for two (2 appetizers, 2 entrees, and 4 drinks)