Browsing: Isla Mujeres

Sardinian Smile-Isla Mujeres 2022


We have visited this unique restaurant a number of times over the years including 2016, 2017 and 2020. With each visit I am more and more impressed by Sylvia the owner/manager of the cozy place and her passion for her original home island and Isla Mujeres.

Good friends dined with us that evening. We had all been to Tuscany together a couple of years prior. At that time we consumed a good number of Aperol Spritzes. Guess what we ordered on this evening?

To start, a simple amuse bouche (on the house) was served. Delish.

Oh my goodness! What came next was the Misto de Mare- a selection of hot and cold seafood appetizers. We ordered this platter for 3 but it easily fed 4 of us. Tuna “Meatballs”, Black Mussels Au Gratin, Seafood Medley in a zesty tomato sauce, Grilled Octopus and Potato Salad, Salmon Carpaccio and Octopus Carpaccio. AMAZING!

This course reminded me of a time spent in a Cinque Terre village in Italy. We ordered the seafood platter for two at lunch time. The delectable items were not served on a platter, but a zillion small plates that came out of the kitchen like a scene from Disney’s Fantasia! There was so much food that we overflowed the lunch hours and we ate almost until dinner time!

The biggest surprise of the evening was the Crispy Octopus in a potato sauce with almonds and tumeric-perfectly prepared! Sylvia’s own recipe.

Not as pretty in this pic, but so delicious-Lobster Ravioli in a Saffron sauce. A nightly special created by Sylvia herself.

Shrimp atop spinach ravioli -just the right balance of butter and garlic. Another of Sylvia’s creations.

The Seafood and Black Tagliolini was ever so hearty and delicious.

In Chianti, near Sienna, the 4 of us had dined on multiple courses of truffle dishes. In fact the restaurant only featured recipes with truffles. This Mushroom Ravioli with Truffle Sauce took me back to that amazing night. This was 1 of 3 nightly specials.

We concluded with mini tastes of Tiramisu, Pannacotta with Berry Sauce and Coffee Cream. That is, my GF and I did. The perfect sweet ending.

Kath’s quote: “No one who cooks, cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, the wisdom of cookbook writers.”-Laurie Colwin

PS I am quite sure that Sylvia’s recently departed Momma has looked over Sylvia’s shoulder as she creates Sardinian dishes in a Caribbean kitchen.

Love-that is all.

Richo’s by Chef Rambo-Isla Mujeres 2022


I had heard of Chef Rambo when he had a smaller restaurant in Centro. Here he was on Hidalgo and we were intrigued by his new stylish spot-Richo’s.

We started by whetting our whistles with two Grande Mango Margaritas-they were grand indeed.

We have never tasted conch like this on the island. Chef Ramboo prepares it in 3 kinds of garlic-freshly smashed garlic, garlic infused oil and garlic salt. He carefully sautes it, a minimum of 3 mins but never more than 5. This dish is not on the menu but by special request only. I wish it had come on a mound of pasta to further enjoy the savoury tastes.

We tried to eat our way through this meaty tuna steak. We pulled ribbons away with our fork. The outer sear was flavourful and the raw flesh was cool and silky.

We really enjoyed the coconut shrimp that night. Chef Rambo marinated the shrimp in lime and garlic before breading them in coconut. They were a fabulous taste combo of tart and sweet.

Here is the man himself with his trusty server “Happy Gilmore”.

Chef Rambo is a self-professed collector and we had a look around at his artifacts before we bid him adieu that evening. He is an interesting fellow with an interesting approach to food.

Kath’s quote: “They eat the dainty food of famous chefs with the same pleasure with which they devour gross peasant dishes, mostly composed of garlic and tomatoes, or fisherman’s octopus and shrimps, fried in heavily scented olive oil on a little deserted beach.”-Luigi Barzini

Love-that is all.

Tiny Gecko-Isla Mujeres 2022


One day in March, just as the sun was setting on the opposite edge of the island, we made our way along the malecon to this building with an unusual shape, reminiscent of the flatiron building in Manhattan.

All these good souls had gathered for a different reason to ours. They were wonderfully entertained by the lovely fellow Canadian Rease Warner who I found out later is the niece of another Islaholic and friend of ours.

We were there to sample the delights from the Tiny Gecko kitchen. Our first taste was this delicious spin on standard garlic toast. It had been unusually elevated by a sweet chili sauce which came off beautifully-the sweet, balancing the salty/savoury flavours.

The chef and his apprentice delivered these dishes simultaneously. First up was a creamy shellfish stuffed conch. Five delectable seafoods-octopus, shrimp, fish, squid and conch itself had been chopped and blended with white wine, garlic, parmesan cheese and two kinds of cream. There was so much seafood, it overflowed the cavity of the conch. The dish was totally unique and absolutely lovely.

Next up was the best octopus I had ever tasted on the island. Glistening with freshness, the tendrils had been basted in chili sauce and crowned the base of a grilled pineapple. There were two side dishes-one of seaweed with sesame oil and pepitas and the other a mango/jicama salsa, perfectly balanced and enhanced the hearty octopus.

My favourite dish of the evening was a fish filet rolled in crushed nuts and panko flakes and then grilled in an amazing tamarind sauce. The dark lighting doesnt do the dish (adorned with seaweed and a savoury rice) justice. Can you make out the image of a turtle made with rice and garnished with blackened sesame seeds? It was exceptional on the plate and on the palate!

Chef Paulino Medina was the creator of these works of food art assisted by his apprentice Pedro Damien Gracia who appears below. The chef has been given carte blanche by the Tiny Gecko owner and is a shining star on the local scene.

The culinary team shared the limelight with the creator of these exquisite cookies. We bought one for each of our grandchildren.

The 12 year old baker who is currently in cancer treatment, was selling these to help pay for his own chemotherapy. He is pictured with Raguel Rodriguez the owner of Tiny Gecko and philanthropic citizen of the island. There were other fund raising opportunities too as the cookie-baker is also being supported by and their miracle working team including Tammi and Mae who I consider new friends. We went to taste some delicious fare and came away with a renewed desire to support the beautiful locals of Isla Mujeres.

Kath’s quote: “I am still convinced that a good, simple, homemade cookie is preferable to all the store-bought cookies one can find.”- James Beard

Love is all.

Grill Garden-Isla Mujeres 2022


In the spring of 2020, it looked like our Winnipeg Jets might make the play offs. As a result, my family and I made a number of visits to Snappers on Carlos Lazo in March of that year to watch their games. As we did so, we would peak past the gate at the construction site of a new restaurant, wondering what would eventually be raised up there. Well, as you know, the NHL was soon cancelled and the world shut down for a couple of years. That is, with the exception of Fernando the owner of the North Garden. He found a way to keep locals employed with construction and also take care of his staff. This lovely story was told to us by Pablo, the amazing server/manager who took care of us recently at Grill Garden.

We commenced our evening with beautifully crafted cocktails- a Hibiscus Mojito on the right and Mezcalitas Cilantro concoction on the left. The latter was rimmed with chile powder was sweet, smoky and so refreshing. The Hibiscus Mojita with muddled mint, wasn’t sweet but was perfectly fresh and smooth.

You may recognize the Crispy Cilantro Cheese starter from North Garden. OMG! The goey gouda and tomatillo sauce was perfectly balanced. When scooped up with white tortilla triangles-sensational! I had to restrain myself.

Pulled pork tacos had a liquid cheese base, stacks of toasted tortilla chips, ribbons of pulled pork, pico de gallo, guacamole and sour cream (a rarity on the island). We could have been satisfied with these hearty starters for our dinner!

As we took an eating breather, we had a look around the gorgeous interior. The bar was stunning and check out the cool wine rack!

More food adventures were ahead. The Whole Fried Fish took fresh catch to a whole new level (literally). The crispy outside and perfectly cooked flesh was delicious unadorned when plucked from the fish frame with our fingers. When I used my fork and added the silky coconut rice-sublime! A citrus salad lay under the fish cradle. I detected lime, orange, tomatillo, cucumber and cilantro. Amazing!

Pablo pulled around a cart for the table side preparation of our Tomahawk Steak (not actually on the menu).

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He skillfully sliced the beef on a diagonal. This ensured the tenderness of the well marbled, medium rare steak. Once he flamed it with a generous glob of seasoned butter in a pre-heated cast iron pan, he gently transfered it back to beautiful wooden platter.

The stuffed baked potato and delicately tossed greens were perfect alongside.

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Had we not been absolutely stuffed, I would have gnawed on the bone!

We declined coffee and chatted with Pablo about our family back home being in the craft beer business. He delighted us with mini beer shooters made with Liqueur and Pina Colada!

We were very impressed with the attention to details in the interior decor.

The restaurants was cozy and inviting in spite of it being completely in the open air. I would be concerned if it was a chilly rainy night but such was not the case on this evening or our entire three week visit! We longed to go back and visit Pablo some more, enjoy the decor and try some other items on the menu. Next year. There is always next year.

Grill Garden was a perfect and memorable evening from start to finish!

Kath’s quote:“To see the butcher slap the steak before he laid it on the block, and give his knife a sharpening, was to forget breakfast instantly. It was agreeable too – it really was – to see him cut it off so smooth and juicy. There was nothing savage in the act, although the knife was large and keen; it was a piece of art, high art; there was delicacy of touch, clearness of tone, skilful handling of the subject, fine shading. It was the triumph of mind over matter; quite.”Charles Dickens (1812-1870) ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’

Love is all.

Green Verde-Isla Mujeres 2022


We have enjoyed a number of delicious meals at Greenverde over the years. A bestie of ours declares that it is the best restaurant on the island.

We started our lovely evening off with a pina coolada and a classic margarita. I do love artisan cocktails but go back to the classics like a good old coconut/pineapple cocktail, again and again.

Another classic-guacamole, was lightly seasoned with onion, tomato, fresh lime, garlic and salt & pepper. The result was so light and refreshing. Why muck with perfection and in my mind an avocado is nature’s perfection.

D and I had this idea about combining our dinner choices for a “surf and turf” so he ordered the Tampequena and I the Shrimp Mezcal.

Our beautifully plated dinners didn’t look quite so pretty after the merging of our dishes but the tastes were divine!

D’s skirt steak had been grilled with strips of poblano pepper then topped with a mixture of sweet onion, corn, cotija cheese and sour cream. His plate was then laden with more of that amazing guacamole, chilaquiles, beans and quesadillas. The steak itself was so flavourful and tender it was scrumptious on its own and made more so with all the fixings.

My shrimp had been marinated in a green style sauce (we were dining at Greenverde remember!) with Mezcal and a touch of butter. The dish was enhanced with rice but a side plate of corn, tostone banana and sweet potato also came along. What a feast!

Friends tucked into a generous portion of salmon (took home half) crowned with hibiscus sauce and bedded onto refried beans and fresh asparagus.

They also selected a tricolor of moles: Green Mole with Pork, Yellow Mole with Beef and Red Mole with Chicken. Green Verde’s mole recipes are authentically made with toasted chilies and vegetables. The tortillas were smothered in cream, cheese and a variety of seeds. The sauces were so delectable, our friend would have loved more.

My pina coolada had gone down so quickly that I ordered a glass of wine with dinner. They had a great selection of my favourite Chilean wines and I appreciated their generous pour.

Their authentic flan came with 4 spoons and we admired the creaminess and subtle sweetness along with its silky texture as we gobbled every speck of it off the plate!

Kath’s quote: “When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”-John Ruskin

Love is all.

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