If you find yourself strolling the warm, bike filled, intimate and buzzing jungle streets of Tulum with an appetite for something delicious, authentic and incredibly unique do not hesitate to step into this lovely restaurant.
On our first trip to Tulum, Vince (my husband) and myself met a local expat living in Tulum. That very man wrote us a list of his favorite spots to get down on some grub in the area. He described El Tabano as a rustic feel in the jungle where your grandma is cooking a home meal for you. Obviously we gave it a try. And our minds were blown. Somehow this restaurant has made our mouths water from thousands of miles away.
Our first time visiting El Tabano, we caught a taxi from Luv Hotel for a dinner under the stars. It was a clear night and half the restaurant is open to stargazing on clear jungle nights. We sat in the open in front of a sandy stage where an old man played guitar as a beautiful woman danced to the sweet sounds of Flamenco.
Behind all the restuarant tables is an open layout where you can peek right into the kitchen. Beyond which are many pots and pans sizzling with home cooked flavorful meals. And as our new expat friend had mentioned, it really did feel like we were at grandma’s house eating her best homecooked meals that had been passed down generations. Except with one detail, at El Tabano they like to add a twist to their plates. What that twist is, well you will have to find out yourself one day.
We drank tequila and let the flavors of the menu take us away. Well into the evening with full bellies, the music continued and the stars got brighter. Then, suddenly, the lights all went out. A power outage at the restaurant, as the generator that lit the restaurant had went out. But the true beauty of this place is that stopped no one. The candles were lit, the fire was still cooking away delicious pots of food, the stars illuminated the restaurant and the music continued.
We left that night with this being our favorite restaurant, possibly in the world.
Needless to say, we have been back to Tulum and we have been back to El Tabano. Actually El Tabano was the destination for our rehearsal dinner, which is another story for another time.
Anyways – see below for some of our favorite eats and drinks. And please comment with your favorite dishes as well!