Isla Mujeres 2024 Restaurants-Chile & Maiz


A couple of years ago, our Mexican family (dressmaker Hortenzia and her brood), wanted to treat us to their favourite restaurant. It was right around the corner from their home in La Gloria. Last night as we gave our cab driver our destination, he lit up saying. “Have you been to that restaurant before? Ooohhh, it is good.” After receiving these two unprompted endorsements of Chile & Maiz, here’s mine.

The dining room and bar sit at the top of a steep set of stairs (a heads up to some of my friends with knee issues) but is certainly worth the climb. The room is warm, practical and inviting. Most diners choose the perimeter of the restaurant where cool breezes flow.

The staff were unlike Centro, they did not ponce on us but wamly greeted us and stood back as we settled in. They watched us from the edges and were astute to all we needed. A hamburgesa had been ordered for delivery but before it was put into the to go packaging, it was lovingly videod by the staff. They display so much pride in the food they serve but not in a pretentious way.

The pride was also displayed when I chose a pineapple margarita, and we watched Taica our server jump behind the bar, to pummel the pineapple with a mortar and pestle, and then measure and pour a stream of ingredients. The result tasted like sunshine with a little something to for extra brightness.

Wanting to taste as many items as possible, without over eating for another night, D spied the appetizer platter which contained two flautas, two empanadas and two tostadas for the three of us to share. My most accurate description of all three specialties, would be freshness with a satisfying crunch. The little packets were delicious; completely greaseless and sparkling! They were filled with succulent meats and finished with crema and in one case-queso.

Our friend who is a newbie to the island, had not yet sampled coconut shrimp, so this was her chance. The camarones were perfectly cooked with a subtle snap as you took a first bite. The sweetened coconut clung to every surface and provided a balanced taste when dipped into the accompanying sauce that had just a little bit of heat. She also encouraged us to taste her fresh vegetables. They were prepared el dente with what tasted like a smattering of butter and garlic and the creamy mashed potatoes were divine.

D and I decided to share a arrachera burrito. Taica explained that they were out of large tortillas but could serve it in a bowl with small tortillas on the side. One little sidebar here: you know that a restaurant is serving the freshest food possible when they run out of certain items. I love how at the Loncherias, you see staff coming back from the market next door with a potato because you ordered French fries!

What a glorious bowl of food! The arrachera (skirt steak) was made tender by marinade. I tasted a generous lime squueze because acid is what provides the catalyst for this process. I am sure there is an authentic arrachera recipe out there, but I found a zillion variations on the internet. I couldn’t guess what the chef’s careful choice of other ingredients were, but it was perfect.

This empty bowl illustrates how over the moon we were with this dish.

Also in that wonderful bowl were ribbons of fresh lettuce, a subtly flavoured rice, pico de gallo and the piece de resistance-the finest shoe string French fries crowning it all. I could have been satisfied with an entire bowl of those fries!

I had determined that they served churros from surfing the web earlier that day, so had left plenty of room to indulge. They were not available, but in its place was a luscious grilled pineapple, topped with mescal ice cream and a butter and brown sugar sauce. It was the perfect crescendo to a beautiful day and evening.

If you wish to see the menu, hours of operation and directions into La Gloria, check out the mapchicks app. The best money you will ever spend.

Kath’s quote: “Indeed, Mexican cuisine is a celebration of vibrant flavors, rich traditions, and the love poured into every dish. From savory tacos to spicy salsas, each bite tells a story of culture and passion. So, next time you savor a plate of tacos al pastor or indulge in a warm bowl of mole, remember that it’s more than just food—it’s a state of mind.”-unknown

Love never fails.

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