Sleeping and Dining in Mérida, Mexico

Hotel Julamis

Run by Swiss expat Alex Rudin, Hotel Julamis, an old colonial house turned B&B is located in a quiet area a short walk from the city center and sightseeing areas of Mèrida. We stayed in the 2 room colonial suite, a spacious high-ceilinged apartment with a minimal kitchenette. Nicely decorated it has a homey old colonial feel without too much stuff, just enough to feel lived in. A little threadbare but clean. The bathroom is also spacious.

A few minuses – only the bedroom is air-conditioned. If you are not used to the warm weather, with just a fan circulating the air the main room will be too hot for hanging out. Even in December we spent most of our time in the bedroom. The hot water heater is small. If you are not paying attention you can easily run out in the middle of your shower. There is only street parking but it was easy to find a space. Once you park your car you don’t need to move it unless you are doing a day trip outside the city. On the plus side, the wifi was relatively strong compared to other places we stayed at on the peninsula.

Alex is the star of his show and likes to talk a lot, but generally he has good advice, especially on restaurants. He seems to genuinely care about his guests and provides good service.

Breakfast at Hotel Julamis

Guests rave about Alex’s breakfasts. Either we caught him on an off day or the quality has gone downhill. Breakfast is served in a lovely quiet shaded courtyard at the back of the building. The meal starts with good coffee and pastry that he bakes himself every morning. The mini croissants are probably some of the best in Mexico but more bready than flakey. We preferred his scone type treat with dried fruit. Fruit and yogurt is served in a parfait glass with bits of a sweet bread in it that I found a bit odd. For the main event he served a small portion of a way too salty omelet – a mushroom concoction with too much oregano – and a slice of a chicken pie with limp crust. Not the best effort for a Master Chef.


Lunch Peruano

Across from Parque de Santa Lucía is Peruano, a casual eatery with great Peruvian food. The menu offers a selection of ceviches and mostly small plates – perfect for lunch. While you look over the menu they offer complimentary plantain chips, fried large corn kernels and a fish broth drink. We tried the ceviche sampler, a selection of 3 ceviches  – mixed seafood, a seasonal specialty and tuna – and the traditional causa – tuna salad sandwiched between layers mashed potatoes. Everything was nicely done with great flavors.

Dinner at Apoala

Apoala, an atmospheric restaurant located on the pretty Parque de Santa Lucía, offers upscale food in a casual setting. Be sure to make a reservation if you want a table outside at prime dining hours, around 8PM. We arrived about 8:15 on a Wednesday evening with only indoor tables available.

The menu has a selection of Mexican preparations of fish, seafood and meat dishes as well as lighter fare such as tacos, soups, pastas and salads.

We started with the mackerel kampachi, a kind of sashimi, served in a fruity marinade – super fresh and beautifully prepared and presented.

For mains we tried the sea bass served with a green tomato salsa, peas and tamal; and the grilled shrimp and scallops served over white beans. Everything was well executed and tasty.

Overall, a quality meal from start to finish with friendly and efficient service.  

Speak Easy

We were told by Alex the owner of the hotel where we were staying to ask about their “speak easy” located around the building, across the parking lot and through an unmarked door. We did and were led to a quaint high-ceilinged yet tiny bustling bar. We were lucky to get the last two places at the bar. A fun place for a drink.

Dinner at Oliva

Oliva, an upscale Italian restaurant has excellent food and service. The discerning menu offers a selection of traditional Italian appetizers, pastas, fish and meats. The moderately sized dining room divided into smaller rooms has dark wood furnishings, an open kitchen and a casual yet elegant feel. Service is formal yet friendly.

We started with the fish carpaccio – fresh and flavorful with lemon, cilantro, bell pepper, kalamata olives, pink pepper with a lemon vinaigrette – and the green salad prepared with spinach, beets, avocado, goat cheese and crispy bacon in a balsamic vinergrette  – also fresh and well prepared.

For mains we ordered the Mora al mare pasta comprised of a medley of seafood including shrimp, scallops and octopus with black malfadine pasta in a rich seafood broth – and the suckling pig served with sweet potato puree, white beans and cipollini onions. The pork was tender and luscious as can be.

The only disappointment of the evening was the tiramisu. Put together with too much cream and watery lady fingers, it was the worst I can remember.

December 11-12, 2019

For links to all the posts in this series see the Yucatan Peninsula page.