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Thursday, March 30, 2023

Mérida is for Lovers: A Valentine’s Day guide

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Lee Steele
Lee Steele
Lee Steele is the founding director of Roof Cat Media and has published Yucatán Magazine and other titles since 2012. Sign up for our weekly newsletters, so our best stories will appear in your inbox every Monday.

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 in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

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

Arcano in Itzimná, Mérida. Photo: Courtesy


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/

Chooj in the Mejorada section of Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy


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

The open kitchen at Huniik on Calle 60 in Mérida. Photo: Courtesy


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 

Habibi at City 32 in Mérida, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy


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

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