Inventive Mexican cuisine in Cancun

28 Tables

Modern, inventive Mexican cuisine can be found at Ramona, the signature restaurant at Nizuc Resort & Spa in Cancun. The resort’s Mexican-Mayan roots shine through in the service, cuisine and atmosphere. Here, traditional Mexican and Mayan recipes are updated with contemporary cooking techniques. Ramona’s chefs use local produce and spices to create meals with authentic Yucatan flavors. The setting is surreal — unfettered ocean views and breezes make excellent dining companions. Make no mistake, this is a destination spot, a place for in-the-know visitors looking for a top-notch culinary experience Cancun.

The Food

The menu is a beguiling mix of age-old Mexican ingredients and modern cooking. Start with classic appetizers such the Mexican gyozas, dumplings stuffed with slow-roasted pork and spicy chili xnipec salsa; and the snail aguachile, white snails mixed with green tomatoes, cucumber, coriander and crunchy corn kernels and scented with lager beer foam. The Trilogy of Ceviches Ramona is a must for anyone who has an affinity for ceviche — it includes one with shrimp, coconut and mint; another with lobster in a coriander sauce; and a crispy octopus with salsa.

Salads are the perfect vehicle to show off the produce picked fresh from Ramona’s gardens. The artichoke salad features roasted artichokes served with goat cheese, apricot jam and tomato confit, and the bogavante lobster claw salad includes mango, spicy Mexican corn cream and huitlacoche (corn fungus) emulsion. Soup options are also inventive, especially the xcatic chili, a creamy soup with fresh grouper marinated in passion fruit and pomegranate.

Entrées include a variety of regional seafood and meats. The Mayan-inspired hog fish tikin xic is a fish filet smoked in corn husks, the octopus is marinated in white wine and chipotle sauce, and the fresh catch of the day is traditionally served with plantain mash and lentils. Carnivores will have plenty to choose from, including a suckling pig served with roasted pineapple salsa and red onion compote; mole de olla, a stew served with short ribs and vegetables; and kurobuta pork chops marinated in peanut sauce and served with fried potatoes and grilled peppers.

Dessert is no afterthought (nor should it be). The dulce de leche tamales are a local favorite, as are the churros filled with chocolate, Yucatan custard and dulce de leche. A dreamy cannoli-like pastry named Marquesita Yucateca is filled with Dutch and creamy cheeses, dulce de leche and fruit compote.

The Space

Open for dinner from 5:30 to 11 p.m., the dining room is at once intimate and spacious, awash in textured creams and dark accents. Open-air “windows” lookout to the beach and over ocean. Walls are made of white coral and limestone blocks and are flanked with mood-setting accent lights; the floors are polished coral tile, and wrought-iron chandeliers hang from the curved plaster ceiling. Tables and high-backed chairs are draped in linen, and white dishes are set off by bronze chargers. Candles flickering in purple-tinted glass add a spot of color, as do the floral arrangements sitting on heavy wood accent tables.

Requested dress for Ramona is “summer formal” with polo shirts and long pants recommended for men, though many guests wear sport coats and dresses to dinner. Tables on the outside terrace are naturally afforded the best ocean views. When you book your reservation (which are required), ask if you can snag one of these coveted seats.

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant

DETAILS - Insider Information About This Restaurant