As seems to be a common theme running through the Riviera Maya (based on a week here), atmosphere and service levels get the diner excited for a fantastic meal, only to be let down by the food.
- Upon arrival at The Tides (where La Marea is located), we were led back to the restaurant through a beautiful, candle-lit pathway. The restaurant, which is entirely open-air, is in the back of the hotel facing the sea, with a lot of vegetation and rustic, yet luxurious, surroundings. A beautiful and romantic setting.
- Although our waiter was nice, it was annoying that he continued to push the price fixe menu of 100 pesos/person. My husband and I simply weren't hungry enough to have the amount of food (and immediately told him we did not want this option); however the waiter must have mentioned it 3 or 4 times leading up to our order.
- All of the waitstaff who came by the table, whether to fill our wine/water glasses, give us bread, etc. were extremely friendly and polite.
- Strangely enough, the restaurant felt took a lot of liberties in substituting (or omitting) ingredients in the menu items. I totaly understand doing this if something isn't in season, or a delivery didn't arrive, but feel it's important at a restaurant of this caliber for the server to let you know. This happened three times during our meal, for example:
* One of the margaritas that I wanted was described as having brown sugar and mint in it. Come to find out that margarita did not have either ingredient (and those were the whole reason I wanted that drink to begin with).
* The local caprese salad was described as having basil; yet, no basil arrived on the plate. A caprese salad isnt a caprese salad without basil...its just cheese and tomatoes.
* Scallops were supposed to be accompanied by a mushroom compote; yet, mushrooms were nowhere to be found (or so little we couldn't see them), and there was zucchini in the dish, which wasn't on the menu description.
- Overall the food was all average to below-average. The local caprese salad, which was our appetizer, had a very nice presentation; yet, (as mentioned above) it was missing the basil and just tasted OK. My husband had the corn fettucini with shrimp, which the waiter recommended as the 'must have' dish -- it came to us in a murky brownish sauce, had only 3 shrimp, and was mostly a bunch or corn kernels with a few noodles. I had the scallops, which looked like an appetizer, as the scallops were so small. They were also overseasoned and dried out.
From all appearances, the Tides hotel looks to be a beautiful and quaint boutique hotel. Just don't go expecting to be wowed by the cuisine.
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