Thanksgiving this year is celebrated north of the border on Thursday, Nov. 28. And the flavors of the holiday are increasingly popular in Mexico as well. That is why we present our 2019 Thanksgiving Dining Guide, not only for homesick expats, but for anyone craving the traditional turkey and trimmings.
The Hyatt Regency buffet is possibly already booked up by now. But there are other options, not just in Merida’s hotel zone, but in the Centro and at the beach.
If you would rather dine at home, Chedraui Norte and Superama have stocked some items — such as canned pumpkin and spice mix. Costo has been a yearly favorite for Butterball turkeys. Schirp Deli, Merci and Bistro Cultural also offer freshly roasted, stuffed turkeys, to get you started.
Restaurants are serving turkey, which is already abundant in Yucatán, but it’s still hard to find it with bread stuffing. We can’t explain this; maybe someone else will explain this.
Once again, we stress that we mark Thanksgiving as it is celebrated in the U.S., not Canada, because the latter holiday is in October, before many snowbirds return to the Peninsula.
What’s different this year: Upscale and modern Merci is offering a to-go Thanksgiving package, instead of lunch, in their second year offering the meal. The Fiesta Americana skipped Thanksgiving last year, but returns in 2019 with a full menu, priced at nearly 200 pesos, or around US$10 more than they charged in 2017. It’s now the city’s most expensive turkey-day option, but the new buffet is also much more lavish since the Henry Ponce renovation. Holiday Inn (Hotel Zone) raised its buffet price by 20 pesos and the Hyatt buffet — the most talked-about option in town, went up from 385 to 450 pesos, not including drinks. Hennessy’s, however, held the line with a 295-peso dinner, including pumpkin pie. Upscale Sanbravo and lovely Hacienda Santa Cruz decided not to prepare Thanksgiving packages this year. The pot luck at Casa Hamaca in Valladolid isn’t happening this year, either, a first since we began this guide five years ago. At the beach, Barlovento was the first to announce its Thanksgiving special, and Crocodiles has a full day of football leading up to the feast. Both have live music that day.
This report, by the way, is a work in progress right up to the holiday. Do you run a restaurant? Let us know! There is no charge to be included on the Yucatan Expat Life Thanksgiving Dining Guide.
Bistro Cultural (map) is serving a special lunch to celebrate Thanksgiving. They are also roasting turkeys to take home for 2,400 pesos. Advance notice and 50 percent deposit required.
Calle 66 No. 377 x 43, Centro; 999-923-2013
Fiesta Americana, Cafe Montejo
Perhaps you haven’t been here since that big renovation. A 6 p.m. buffet for 490 pesos per person includes everything you could imagine, and a glass of wine. It starts with soup of roasted pumpkin soup with pecans or braised cauliflower. Then, there is traditional turkey, pork, chicken breast or prime rib. A root vegetable caprese with potatoes, sweet potatoes and cheese or roasted pumpkin with goat cheese is another option. A panetone bar and wide selection desserts follow.
Paseo de Montejo and Avenida Colon, Hotel Zone, Mérida; 999-942-1111
The elegant Casa de Piedra (Stone House) restaurant is in the restored powerhouse of this 18th-century Hacienda Xcanatún (map). A la carte Thanksgiving menu with live piano music. When making your reservations, let them know ahead if you’ll be ordering turkey so they will have their kitchen stocked amply.
Calle 20 S/N. Comisaría Xcanatún. Km. 12 Carretera Mérida-Progreso, Mérida; 999-930-2140
Hennessy’s Irish Pub
Hennessy’s Irish Pub (map) offers a package (295 pesos) with mushroom soup followed by a turkey plate with trimmings and pumpkin pie, or just a turkey plate (195 pesos). The meal is available all day starting at 1 p.m.
Paseo Montejo No. 486A x 41 y 43; 999-923-8993
Holiday Inn, La Arboleda
The Holiday Inn in the hotel zone (map) will offer various entrees, salad bar, side dishes and desserts, including the traditional roast turkey. Adults, 399 pesos; children 5-12, 199 pesos, not including drinks, from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Avenida Colón at Paseo de Montejo, Hotel Zone, Mérida; 999-942-8800 ext 538 and 519
Hyatt Regency, Peregrina Bistro & Spasso
Hyatt Regency Mérida (map) offers a huge buffet in Mérida at Peregrina Bistro, which is open from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. for 450 pesos, not including drinks. Turkey is carved to order and served with the trimmings. A Kids Club allows your table to be a grown-up zone. The buffet sells out every year. A 50 percent deposit is required, payable in person. Across the lobby, Spasso is back (replacing Amusa, which replaced an earlier iteration of Spasso) with an a la carte menu with Thanksgiving dishes.
Calle 60 at Avenida Colón, Hotel Zone, Mérida; Reservations: 999-942-1227
The French-inspired modern restaurant Merci, in the north of the city and at Paseo 60 has a Thanksgiving packages to go. Roast turkey with gravy is 2200 pesos. Sides are sold by weight. See their Facebook page.
Plaza San Angelo Calle 23, or Paseo 60 at Calle 35, Merida. 999-941-6886
The Italian restaurant, leader of the Calle 47 restaurant boom a few years ago, has a la carte Thanksgiving menu with traditional mains, sides and desserts. As of now, only 9 p.m. seatings remain after the 6:30 block booked up.
Calle 47, corner with 54, Mérida; Reservations: 999-260-1568
Barlovento was first out of the gate this year, announcing a 5 p.m. seating for a full Thanksgiving meal for 250 pesos. Live music.
Calle 80, No. 109, between 21 and 23, Progreso; 999-242-5057
El Bull Pen
El Bull Pen (map) in Chelem again welcomes neighbors for a Thanksgiving potluck. “Everyone is welcome. Come on over at 4:30 and by 5:15, or so, we will begin to say our blessings,” says owner Jill Jaeger. Bring a pot to share respective to the size of your group, for 6-8 people per couple. Cash bar. Restaurant kitchen will be closed. It’s necessary to register here.
Calle 19 at 128, Chelem, 999-114-9595
Crocodiles has “Full Turkey Dinner” 5-7 p.m. following a slate of NFL matchups starting at 11:30 with the Bears-Lions, 3:30 Bills-Cowboys and 7:20 Saints-Falcons. Live music by piano man Dave Bloom between games. A full day! Dinner 325 pesos; music only, 100-peso cover.
Calle 27 between 26 and 29, Progreso, 999-647-3314