Culinary lavishness above a lagoon
You can easily get lost in the view at the Rosewood Mayakoba reception area. Instead of walls surrounding the public space, there are nothing but stunning vistas of a pool, lagoon and mangrove forests. Take your eyes off the water for one second, though, and peer to your left; sitting rather quietly to the side of the open-air lobby is Casa del Lago, the resort’s signature restaurant. Albeit modest from the outside, the establishment bursts with flavors, colors and sounds once you get in, proving itself more than worthy of its central placement at the Riviera Maya resort.
Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Rosewood Mayakoba has a dining option for whatever outfit you pull from your suitcase. Punta Bonita is the shorts-and-sandals, pizza-and-lobster-taco kind of place. If you care to spruce up a bit more, head to Agave Azul Sushi & Tequila Bar. But if you want your attire to match the fabulousness of the setting, Casa del Lago is where you want to make your evening reservations. (The restaurant does show its lighter side during breakfast and lunch hours, however.) A tree, strung with dazzling star- and sphere-shaped lights, seemingly rises from the lagoon below to meet you at the door. Inside, soft colors on the wall, hard woods on the floor and little splashes of green atop the tables (drinking glasses, fresh flowers) only enhance a mood of natural elegance. Live music rotates between the restaurants throughout the week, so consider it a bonus if you’re able to hear the lovely Theresa serenade with a Bob Marley classic while you dine.
Casa del Lago’s kitchen is a fascinating intersection between Italian tradition and Mexican preparation. Both styles proudly mingle during every course. Starters like the fior di latte classica mozzarella and the house-cured salmon carpaccio exude an authenticity and freshness that can’t be denied. The latter comes courtesy of the on-site La Ceiba Garden. It’s there where chefs pick herbs every day and also host private dinners on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The roster of main courses reads like something you’d find on a menu in a hilltop chalet in Tuscany — crepe lasagna, squid ink risotto and organic farm chicken involtini — but dishes have Tulum-region-farmed vegetables, Caribbean-caught scallops and La Cieba-plucked shallots. Divine ice cream and devilishly good chocolate treats complete a meal that showcases the best of both culinary worlds.
As much as the kitchen prides itself on indigenous options, so too does the wine cellar. Led by spirited sommelier Gerson Soriano, Case del Lago’s wine program trumpets a list that’s headlined by Mexican and international labels. Ask Soriano, or any of the sharp staffers, to give you a wine to pair with your 14-ounce Wagyu rib eye and there’s a great chance that he will suggest the hard-to-find Icaró from Baja — of course, the oaky pour works wonderfully with the beef. Soriano also advises you to take a quick tour of La Cava, the glass-walled storage center housing the Riviera Maya restaurant’s impressive wine collection. You will notice a table in the middle of the room that can be reserved for more intimate affairs.