Considering that Isla Holbox is on the small side, there is an impressive variety of places to eat and drink. Luckily, we were staying at Hotel La Palapa, with their terrific Italian restaurant, Costa Nostra. We had several fine meals there, which you can read about in the last blog post. As much as we liked Cosa Nostra, we wanted to sample some of the other spots.
In the mood for seafood, we found Zarabanda, lovingly run by Chef Leo and his family. We had read about the seafood soup and we weren’t disappointed. The tomato-based seafood broth was loaded with chunks of fish, octopus, crab, small shrimp and half of a small lobster tail. The grouper filet was good, but the seafood soup took the prize. The owner’s boys worked the tables and his wife made sure everything ran smoothly. After we paid our bill she gave us a hand-woven palm frond hummingbird as a small parting gift. Style. Charm. Fresh seafood.
Sunset cocktails at Arena Lounge, on top of the tallest building on Holbox, is a don’t-miss experience. A hip spot, desperately in need of some hip people for the roof-top pool, serves great margaritas and has a front-row, three-story view over the town plaza. The bar’s techno beat was perfect for drowning out the religious revival in the amphitheater in the plaza.
La Tortilleria is a small spot on the plaza that serves great coffee, perfectly fresh fruit bowls and outstanding Spanish omelettes. This is definitely a fine spot for breakfast.
Lunch at the popular Barquito Mawimbi at the Mawimbi Beach Hotel was also a good call. You can’t go wrong with solid guacamole, wonderful shrimp quesadillas, a cold Modelo Especial, and a wide sandy beach dotted with palm trees. You would almost expect Jimmy Buffet would be playing on the stereo, but it was Marc Anthony salsa. It seemed to fit.
For our last night, dinner was at Los Peleones (the wrestlers). The menu was on the adventurous side, with a couple of unusual combinations. I wasn’t feeling adventurous, but I was feeling like pasta. Jennifer’s ravioli and my pasta amatriciana were both good. We didn’t have room for the chocolate bits in olive oil and ice cream, but our friend Emily, the Cozumel Chef, says it’s great.
You’ll find a lot of places to interest your taste buds on Holbox. When we return, we need to try the Brazilian bakery, the French place, and launch a search for the best pizza.