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Saturday, January 28, 2023

So much is going on in this tiny Itzimná kitchen

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Maggie Cale
Maggie Cale
Maggie Cale was born in the United States and has lived most of her life in Pennsylvania. She has a social work degree from Penn State University and finished her career in Washington, D.C. working with families. She moved to Yucatán in 2017 and has worked part-time ghostwriting for bloggers. She lives in Itzimná with her two dogs.
Itzel Uscanga Orta and Cecilio Pérez Camacho run Xanath Restaurante y Cafeteria by themselves in Itzimna. Smoothies and baked goods are among their specialties. Photos: Maggie Cale / Yucatán Magazine

A little restaurant in Itzimná may not have yet caught your eye, but it caught mine.

It is tucked away in a little plaza by the school on Calle 19. A delightful young married couple owns Xanath Restaurante y Cafeteria.

Itzel Uscanga Orta and Cecilio Pérez Camacho followed their dream of opening a restaurant three years ago. After an interruption by the pandemic, they reopened in August, and word is getting out about their delicious food.

Originally from Veracruz, Itzel is trained as a chef, and Cecilio is trained as a tour guide. 

For now, they are the only employees at Xanath, but they take the time to make all their own bread, sauces, and cakes. 

Whether you choose a table outside or in a nice air-conditioned space, the wait for your food is short, and drinks come quickly.

The extensive menu offers breakfast, lunch, and an early dinner. They assure me they will extend their hours if they draw more customers. I have had a meal three times, and the service and food have been consistently great. 

The breakfast menu includes pancakes or an omelet with three ingredients (80 pesos). What they call a continental breakfast consists of two eggs, fresh fruit, hotcakes, ham, and an Americano coffee (80 pesos). A large plate of fruit with a side of yogurt and granola (60 pesos) or warm, melt-in-your-mouth cakes made with carrot, corn, pineapple-coconut, or banana with chocolate chips (40 pesos). They have a homemade brownie with whipped cream if you are craving chocolate. I like that the cakes do not have icing to let the flavors speak for themselves. The strawberry smoothie (55 pesos) was refreshing and flavorful. 

The lunch menu has salads, sandwiches, chilaquiles, burgers, and pizza. The chicken panini (80 pesos) is on freshly toasted bread with lettuce, chicken, cucumbers, and a sauce. The Xanath Club Sandwich, which is big and filling, consists of toasted wheat bread with ham, cheese, beans, eggs, bacon, and chicken with lettuce and tomato — and you might have to bring some home. The chicken chilaquiles with salsa verde (90 pesos) was outstanding. We also tried the tender, creamy chicken enchiladas (70 pesos). A big salad with homemade ranch dressing is served with greens, chicken, ham, cheese, peppers, and nuts (90 pesos). 

Mexican Pizza has chorizo, onion, strips of roasted poblano peppers, and cheese at Xanath Restaurante y Cafeteria in Mérida’s Itzimná neighborhood. Photo: Maggie Cale / Yucatán Magazine

Let’s talk about their pizza. I love the crust and the fact that I can choose an individual size. They offer an excellent variety from Hawaiian to pepperoni, but my favorite is the personal Mexican pizza with chorizo, onion, strips of roasted poblano peppers, and cheese (60 pesos). If you want an early dinner or hearty lunch, they start specials at 1:30. A recent lunch menu featured chicken parmesan with spaghetti, fajitas, or lasagna (90 pesos). You can call or message them to ask about the daily specials. 

Xanath Restaurante y Cafeteria, Plaza Itzimná, Calle 20 No. 93 between 17 and 19, Itzimná; Delivery or pick-up via WhatsApp (999-931-1047) or Facebook; Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

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