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“Don't miss this experience in Merida” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Nectar

Av a Garcia Lavin, Plaza Jardin, Merida, Mexico
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Ranked #50 of 411 Restaurants in Merida
Cuisines: International
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
Chicago, Illinois
Top Contributor
220 reviews 220 reviews
109 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 60 cities Reviews in 60 cities
114 helpful votes 114 helpful votes
“Don't miss this experience in Merida”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2012

Just was reading the last review on the restaurant. I had the complete opposite experience. First it was one of the best meals I have had in Mexico of which there have been many over many years. I just returned from over 25 days in Spain eating at some of the best restaurants including Mugaritz in San Sebastian. I would put my experience at Nectar as the same there. The atmosphere is sleek and contemporary, so different from the restaurants in the center. I found the staff very enthusiastic and friendly. A new server lived in LA so was able to describe the food in great detail. The chef Roberto Solis did time in Noma restaurant in Denmark (just ranked by San Peligrino as the best in the world) and even at Per Se, Thomas Keller’s NYC outpost, and the Fat Duck, Britain’s home of molecular gastronomy. He takes time off from the restaurant in Merida to work in the kitchen's of the world's best restaurants. Just make sure the restaurant is open when you are there as he might be out improving his craft. The duck sopes were wonderful and full of flavor. I had a wonderful fish for my main course topped with oregano and pureed yuca and banana. He takes traditional dishes from Vucatan and then then gives them his gourmet take. The coconut desert was also excellent. I highly it recommend this restaurant and hope you will take a cab from the center and experience it for yourself.

  • Visited January 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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50 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Denver, Colorado
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“This place should be great, but it wasn't when we went....”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed December 1, 2011

Maybe we caught Nectar on a bad night, but I don't think so. Nectar came highly recommended by several industry people in Merida, so we hopped a cab and arrived at about 9pm. We ordered wine by the glass which was tasty, and our server was very attentive. We orded chicharron of octopus, caesar salad, a sashimi dish, and beef brisket sous vide. The food was dismal; a total train wreck for a restaurant that has been touted as one of the best in Mexico.

To the food:
The "chicharron" of octopus was just cornmeal-battered, deep-fried hunks of tentcal, and as uninspired as a frozen fried prawn you'd exect from Red Lobster. Maybe they were fried in pork fat and that was the "chicharron" angle, but if they were, nobody told us, it wasn't on the menu, and you couldn't taste it.

Ceasar Salad - I always order something basic when I go to a new restaurant to help set a baseline for how good it is, If a restaurant can't get a staple right, maybe it has bigger problems. The Caesar wasn't very good. For a restuarant of nectar's caliber, the presentation was uninspired - a large handful of torn lettuce leaves, severely over-dressed, swimming in a big salad bowl, and surrounded by soft, like not toasted soft, croutons. The dressing flavor was decent, but the whole thing looked like your mom made it.

Sashimi - It's my understanding that there's great fresh fish to be had all over the Yucatan coast. Maybe the chef put some on our plate, maybe not.... Th actual fish was buried under ground up mushrooms, radish, greens, and who knows what else, and every layer was so salty that I thought I was eating salt cod, not fresh fish. The tour de force of the plate was a big smear of something called "bread sauce" that looked and tasted exactly as billed, but who wants to eat bimbo-flavored mayonaise? I guess I just didn't understand how it all was supposed to go together. We ate less of this than anything else.

Brisket sous vide - I cook sous vide myself a lot, and it's a fantastic way to prepare beef. Technically the brisket was cooked to a good, medium pink, but it tasted really mealy. If you sous vide something too long that doesn't have a ton of fat or connective tissue (or cook it at such a low temp that the fat/connective tissue doesn't break down) you end up with medium temperature beef that still somehow tastes over-cooked. That's what this meat tasted like to me. On top of that it was breaded in panko and garlic and then pan fried. I muscled thorugh most of the beef, but three hours later could still taste burnt and raw garlic in my mouth. Finally, a delicate crust like pan-fried panko doesn't really adhear to a tough hunk of meat like brisket once you try and cut unto it. Maybe I would have had an easier time if a steak knife had been provided.

Predictibly we passed on dessert.

I realize that this is a scathing review, but I have to beleive that this was a fantastic restaurant at one point, and I will leave the possibility open that we ordered the wrong things on the wrong night, but the shear distance between our expectations and Nectar's execution was staggering. The chef was either in the kitchen or working the tables the entire time we were there. Clearly he cares about his restaurant. His staff was totally on top of things, very professional, and our server showed genuine concern that we didn't eat much of our food. My terrible Spanish made communicating our concers to her directly a challenge. Shame on me, and we didn't feel that it was appropriate to engage the chef in the middle of service. I hope someone from the restaurant reads this, and by the time other readers on TripAdvisor read this, some changes will be made, and Nectar will be as good as it can be.

  • Visited November 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Key West, Florida
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
35 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Famous fusion restaurant has very good food, but probably not worth the longish cab ride if you are staying near the main square”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 15, 2011

The chef has invented some wonderful dishes that take advantage of local foods-- his signature Peking- style duck with plantain is a delight--and ther is a decent wine list. The restaurant is small but artfully decorated. It is not in the tourist area, though not too far from the north end of the Paseo Montejo, so those settled in nearer the Plaza Mayor may find a visit more trouble than the experience is worth. Pricey by Merida standards, it is nonetheless a serious gourmet experience.

    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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