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El Tábano, Tulum

See the Riviera Maya Guide ›
Carretera Tulum–Boca Paila, Km 5
Tel: 52 984 134 8725
Tel: 52 984 125 7172's insider take:

Spice up the chips-and-guac routine with a trip to El Tábano, a welcome addition to the comida-starved southern end of Tulum's hotel zone. Homemade bread and avocado salad make delightful stand-ins for the region's more ubiquitous starters, while other local treats—airy jalapeños rellenos or ceviche con mango—are sexier versions of street-cart fare. The flavors may be refined, but the atmosphere is undeniably homey: Silverware emerges from a battered wooden dresser; diners sit at mismatched tables under the stars; and the modest open kitchen is housed under a simple palapa roof. Offerings on the oversize chalkboard menu change weekly, but standbys include albóndigas (Mexican meatballs) seasoned with tamarind, a delicate vegetable lasagna with tortillas in place of noodles, and clay-pot chicken with apples and avocado leaves. Reservations are a must.—Alison Baenen

Open Mondays through Saturdays 8:30 am to 9:30 pm.

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