Follow Your Heart To The Kitchen Table
If you were to ask me where I was dining and drinking in Tulum, I would have rattled off a list of taquerias, juice bars and open-air restaurants that were on the itinerary. I never imagined that one of my top meals of 2019 would be in a restaurant nestled among the lush fronds of the jungle powered completely by solar panels.
As I began my restaurant reconnaissance for Tulum, I was astounded by the number of amazing restaurants in Tulum beach. There were a few that I had heard rumblings about ( aka Hartwood thanks to culinary savant René Redzepi- stay tuned for that blog post) but there was one that piqued my culinary curiosity, Kitchen Table. This restaurant wasn’t mentioned in many travel blogs and they don’t have a massive Instagram following, but it was undoubtedly the best meal I had in Tulum and one of my favorites for 2019.
Kitchen Table is an open-air restaurant located in the middle of Tulum National Park. The restaurant was constructed using only reused and natural materials from the region that were proven to have a minimal ecological impact. The restaurant’s sole power source is solar panels which provide the amount necessary for the few lights dispersed among the trees.
I’ve got your attention, don’t I? I bet you are wondering a) how the restaurant functions on solar power alone and b) how can you get reservations?
While I can’t answer a), I can give you the low-down on the reservation process.
Reservations are accepted exactly ONE week in advance. I’m not going to lie. This made my inner-planner a little anxious, but it worked out. As soon as I got up for work, I immediately submitted my request on the website.
Guests seeking reservations have two choices: 6:00 p.m. or 9:30 p.m. Given that we wanted to go the evening we arrived, I requested the early seating. Not only was this perfect for my exhausted-self but the lighting was remarkable and we had a chance to see the sunset. If you aren’t OCD like me, they also take walk-ins in between seatings and you can always pop over to the cocktail bar where they serve the full menu.
After a travel day that started at 2:45 a.m, this girl needed a cocktail or cocktails in my case. After we were escorted to our table, our server began giving us the rundown of how things worked and told us about the cocktail of the day. Once he uttered the words watermelon juice, I was sold. Bring me ten!
I’m one of those people who will literally talk to anyone and everyone. Blame it on being an only child, but I love meeting new people. It wasn’t long before I found out that the guy running the show that evening was from Chicago and moved to Tulum after the election. We had a great time chatting about our favorite Chicago eateries and he was kind enough to give us the scoop on a few places in the area. It was then I decided to play the “dealer’s choice” card and have him give us the best Kitchen Table experience. My only ask was that he brings us the “can’t miss” dishes. Let’s just say he did one helluva job.
As we sipped on our Red Passion cocktail, two appetizers were brought to the table: Ceviché Peruano and Deviled Aguacate. I was so excited I didn’t know which one to start with first! If you’ve followed me for any amount of time, you know I don’t each much fish. Yes, I realize all of the health benefits but living in a landlocked state has diminished my desire. But after taking one look at the ceviché, I knew I would dive in face first! It was bright, flavorful and incredibly delicious. So much so, I almost forgot that I was sharing the dish. The Deviled Aguacate was just as wonderful. Imagine a grilled avocado stuffed with an egg aioli mixture that melts in your mouth. KT served this with a side of something that was a cross between a cracker and a baby tortilla. Whatever it was, it was by far the perfect mechanism to put it in my mouth.
Even though I was enjoying our watermelon cocktails, I wasn’t confident that it was the best pairing for our entrees. I asked our new friend from Chicago if he would recommend a glass of wine that would pair well with the next courses. He did one better than that and brought out two very different wines that paired perfectly with the next two dishes.
I had read that the octopus and the beef were the favored dishes at Kitchen Table, but we went in a slightly different direction. When I asked about the beef, our server said it was good but you could get beef anywhere, why not have the dishes that were extraordinary.
I couldn’t agree more.
Making an appearance at our table was the catch of the day and the roasted octopus. O.M.G. I never knew something with tentacles could taste so good. While my friend and I shared the dishes, I leaned heavily on the octopus.
If you ask me, we had the best seat in the house. The kitchen was front and center and we had the pleasure of watching the staff prepare each dish. They were even kind enough to let me in and answer any questions I had.
Just when I thought the evening couldn’t have gotten any better, our server cleared our table and escorted us over the drawbridge to the back room which was filled with a variety of tequilas, mezcal and most importantly dessert!
As I sipped on an after dinner drink, I enjoyed a chocolate-molé truffle and the sounds of the jungle. A perfect end to a perfect evening.
Confession: This is one of the few times that I completely forgot to snap a photo of the menu. Therefore, the prices are rough estimates based on what I recall and what we ordered.
Tariff: Cocktails start at 120 pesos with appetizers and entrees ranging from 135-320 pesos.
Can’t-Miss: I loved every single dish. Period. Honestly, I would have ordered a second round of the ceviché and the roasted octopus. Both were out of this world.
Potential Pass: There’s not one dish I would have passed on. Everything was absolutely sensational.