Every inch of Mérida is romantic to us in some way, but that’s because we’re just … romantic.
Still, as restaurants get larger, louder, and more impersonal, we must choose wisely on Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner.
Here’s our quick guide to some places to remember when choosing someplace special.
Rosas & Xocolate
This is kind of on-the-nose: Rosas & Xocolate is painted entirely in pink, and it refers to roses in its name. This is Paseo de Montejo’s original boutique hotel, which has renovated its patio connecting two restored mansions. Stay for the night (if its 17 rooms are not already booked) and arrange some spa time upstairs. Live music is the norm, especially on the roof bar. Dinner on Valentine’s includes a bouquet of — what else? — roses. rosasandxocolate.com
Dripping candles, a garden bar, and thou. That’s the idea at Arcano, an earthy, sensuous hideaway on a previously forgotten side street in Itzimná. The atmosphere is naturalistic and serene, and diners have given cocktails, entrees and service high marks since they opened last year. Maybe the most Instagrammable of the list, if indeed you’re one of those who like to take selfies on a romantic date. arcano.rest/
In La Mejorada, Chooj takes its eclectic, contemporary Mexican-fusion menu seriously. The setting, an intimate restaurant-gallery-hotel, is sophisticated and out-of-the-way, just right for a romantic evening. Chooj has a special Valentine’s Day menu for 800 pesos per person. choojmerida.com
Let’s just get it out of the way that the chef, Roberto Solís, is kind of a big deal. The Mérida native has stints in famous kitchens from Per Se in Manhattan to Les Créations in Tokyo. He made his name at Nectar, and has enriched his reputation all the more at Huniik, a smart, open-kitchen restaurant with “new Yucatecan cuisine” on Calle 60, across from Parque Santa Ana. huniik.com
Inside yet another new luxury shopping center, there’s a Habibi, which resembles a lush, jewel-toned Moroccan palace. Open since August, this is where Miami-based Chef Antonio Bachour’s Lebanese-inspired menu is described as having “a modern aesthetic and fusion of flavors.” To make the evening last, Bachour’s tempting, impeccable pastries are calling your name at his eponymous café nearby. city32.mx/habibi