Tulum's Secret Garden : Cenzontle


Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila 7.3 km

Tulum, México 

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Does anyone else have Type-A tendencies? Waiting in lines give you absolute anxiety, you’re overly mindful almost borderline conscientious, you loathe wasting time, days are guided by serious to-do lists and you find it hard to relax? If you’re like me, you identify with almost EVERY SINGLE ONE of these items. Some people call it perfectionism, others may categorize you as a workaholic and those who aren’t so friendly may call you damn crazy. Regardless of the label or social commentary, this is me and I’ll own it.

Type-A tendencies have a blessing and a curse when it comes to vacations. If you have a Type-A friend, rest assured they will be more than willing to create an itinerary, make reservations and basically be the travel agent extraordinaire. But a word of caution, make sure your Type-A friend schedules downtime or you will end up needing a vacation from your vacation.

I’ve had Type-A tendencies for as long as I can remember so when I’m traveling with my friends, I do my best to bring it from a ten to a six when it comes to planning. This not only allows everyone to have time to take a breath but it allows time to soak up the vibes of the city and truly explore.

When it came to Tulum, I had dinner reservations almost every night but I did leave a few to chance. I couldn’t be happier doing so because I had a chance to experience Cenzontle.

The Interior Of Cenzontle

Isn’t This Space Quaint?

One of the staff members at the hotel had recommended a killer lunch place when we arrived and when he found out we didn’t have dinner plans, he insisted that we check out Cenzontle. I’m a little leery of accepting food recommendations from randoms, but given that his previous recommendations were on point, I knew he wouldn’t steer us wrong.

Cenzontle was completely booked that evening but with a phone call from our hotel, they were able to squeeze us in.

Luckily, our taxi dropped us off right in the front door, but ironically enough, we walked past the restaurant multiple times on our walks and never noticed it. It’s inconspicuous and really blends in with the jungle vibes of Tulum beach.

The interior of the restaurant was unlike any other restaurant we visited in Tulum. The decor was funky and eclectic with a very laid back vibe.

Cenzontle Menu | April 2019

Decisions, decisions.

With so many delicious items on the menu, we had no idea where to begin but the gentleman at the hotel insisted that we order the Duck Carnitas and Mushrooms. Check!

Not only was this dish incredible, but I enjoyed the fact that they mixed up the flavor profile serving them on three different tortillas, chili, onion, and coriander. Plus it made for a beautiful plate.

Duck Carnitas And Mushrooms | Handmade Tortilla With Pasilla Chili Sauce + Purple Onion + Coriander

After we devoured the Duck Carnitas, we contemplated ordering a second round but decided that it was more important to explore the menu.

Our next dish was a little on the lighter side as we opted for the Monochromatic Avocado Salad. Even though this dish may seem simple, I was intrigued by the various textures in the dish. The crunchiness of the peas and the pumpkin seeds combined with the ripe avocado made for an interesting and enjoyable bite.

Monochromatic Avocado Salad | Nopal + Watercress + Chinese Pea + Coriander + Pumpkin Seeds + Lemon Vinaigarette + Local Oregano

If you looked at the menu, I bet you would have guessed that I ordered the Grilled Shrimp. After all, it includes truffled potatoes and they were so incredibly good. The dish was light as it balanced the potatoes with roasted vegetable and of course it helped that we shared it.

As the crowd picked up, our service slowed down, so we made the decision to wrap up our dinner and have an after-dinner cocktail elsewhere.

Cenzontle is a funky little eatery in the middle of Tulum beach serving up delicious fare. Come early for the cocktails and carnitas. You won’t be disappointed.

Grilled Shrimp | Truffled Potatoes + Goat Cheese Puree + Roasted Vegetable + Homemade Butter

Tariff: Appetizers range between $180-$250 with entrees spanning $310-570 pesos. Remember cash is king, so come armed with plenty of pesos.

Can’t-Miss: The Duck Carnitas with Mushrooms are the shining star at Cenzontle. After the fact, I’ve heard that the Piquillo Peppers are just as delicious, so make sure you try both.

Potential Pass: Eh, who needs to be healthy. If I could do it all over again, I’d skip the Monochromatic Avocado Salad and order the peppers.

Until Next Time!