Eating Like a Local: Hacienda La Herradura & La Route des Vins
Posted by Tony & Cheri on April 1, 2009
One of the things we love about Playa del Carmen is that it is always changing and reinventing itself. Seems like every week we walk by a new restaurant, shop or bar and say, “Wow, where did that come from??” There’s always something new to explore. And for those of us who like to eat, there are always new restaurants to try.
We recently ventured out, in our never ending R&D roles (we love our jobs!) and tried two of Playa’s newest restaurants:
Hacienda La Herradura
Just half a block from our hotel, the Luna Blue Hotel & Garden, on the corner of 10th Avenue and Calle 26, is a great new spot, Hacienda La Herradura. We ate here for the first time when our friends Sarah & Adam were in town a few weeks ago and have since been back again with other friends and a couple of times on our own. We were pleasantly surprised each time. They have a large menu, very good food, great service and reasonable prices–who could ask for more? The first time we went we were given a free round of interesting house drinks when we arrived – pink ones for the girls (a tequila, coconut, pineapple drink) and green ones for the boys (a tequila, midori, lime concoction). We don’t know if this is standard practice since this is a new spot or simply because we introduced ourselves as their neighbors, but it was a welcome treat, and the drinks were interesting. The second time we went, the management also brought us two rounds of tequila shots after our meal, all on the house. Not a bad marketing ploy! 🙂
The menu is Mexican, with an Argentinian influence. Their entradas, or starters, range in price from $30 to $85 pesos. We were amazed to find one of our very favorite Mexican dishes on the appetizer menu, Chiles en Nogada. This is a wonderful dish that you normally only find at Christmastime, as it is usually made with pomegranate, something that is only found here at that time of year. We ordered the Chiles en Nogada (sans pomegranate) and an order of guacamole. Both were excellent.
They also have two soups and several salads on the menu. The Ensalada del Mediterraneo con arrachera ($75 pesos) was large enough for a main course, and the arrachera was some of the best we’ve ever had in Playa, rivaling HC de Monterrey!
They have an assortment of tacos on their menu, six chicken and six pork dishes, eight fish dishes and some pasta dishes. They also have a nice array of outstanding steaks, ranging from the standard arrachera to Rib Eye, T-Bone and New York steak. All of us were pleased with the quality and quantity of food that we ordered. The most expensive single-person dish on the menu is $150 pesos, and most dishes are far less than that.
Yesterday we stopped by for some lunch on our way to do some shopping. Tony had the tacos de arrachera and Cheri had the breaded shrimp tacos. Both were extremely good and super cheap (30 pesos for three arrachera tacos and 40 pesos for three shrimp tacos). So far this place has been excellent every time we’ve been. This is destined to become like La Pesca to us…one of our regular haunts. The fact that it’s so close to the hotel is just an added bonus!
La Route des Vins
Just around the corner from the hotel on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Calle 28 is a large, airy restaurant with European style cuisine called La Route des Vins. The menu is very unusual for Playa and in our opinion, very welcome, adding to Playa’s image as a city of the world. La Route des Vins offers an extensive menu of tartines (pastries and breads with fillings and toppings); toasts (little pieces of bread with various toppings); mussels in a number of different presentations, crepes, salads and several types of fondues (meat, cheese, chocolate and more).
The portions are quite large, even the appetizers. We regretted not having split one. We ordered a cheese fondue to share for our main course, and it was still almost too much for two people. The fondue we ordered was the “country” fondue with multiple cheeses, bacon and mushrooms mixed in with the cheese. This was accompanied by a large plate of toasted bread pieces, slices of sausage and little potatoes for dipping. The service was very attentive, and one of the owners came by to make sure we were being taken care of. There is an extensive wine list, along with wine specials of the day.
This is one of a number of restaurants that the owners are opening throughout Mexico. As we were told, they are bringing through their “A Team” to set up their restaurant before setting up the next location. It will be interesting to see if when the local team takes over, the food, service, etc. stays at the same high level.
The restaurant is a pleasant corner building with huge doors that are opened to allow a feeling that you’re sitting outside on Fifth Avenue. It’s bright and airy.
The prices are reasonable and midrange. We felt that for the amount and quality of food, it was a good deal. Next time–and there will be a next time–we’ll skip the appetizer to save room for some of that chocolate fondue. 🙂 But then again, La Route des Vins is right across the street from our very favorite (and well-priced) gelato store, Corsi. Either way, dessert is covered!
Here are some photos of our dining experiences in these two new restaurants:
Two of the pretty servers at Hacienda La Herradura
Hacienda La Herradura dining room
One of the fish dishes at Hacienda La Herradura
Chicken Cordon Bleu at Hacienda La Herradura
One of our favorites, Chiles en Nogada, at Hacienda La Herradura
Ensalada Mediterranean with arrachera, at Hacienda La Herradura
A tartine appetizer – WOW – at La Route des Vins
Another appetizer at La Route des Vins – cheese and salmon toasts
Cheese fondue (country style) & dippers at La Route des Vins
Cheese fondue up close at La Route des Vins
Just across the street from La Route des Vins….
our favorite gelato place, Corsi
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