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“Best wine-bar in Playa”
Review of El Envero

El Envero
Ranked #863 of 1,302 Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Cuisines: International
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Late Night, Reservations
Reviewed June 11, 2013

The food at El Envero is very good - a compelling mixture of traditional Mexican cuisine, with a splash of International flair to go with it. The wine (which you can buy from the wine shop next door, part of the same business) is excellent, with a fascinating selection of Mexican wines to complement the thoughtfully selected bottles from elsewhere around the world. The owner, Ricardo, is a consummate host - friendly and happy to talk knowledgeably about the food, wine, culture, football, more wine...! A fine restauranteur, a great host, and an all-round nice guy. The restaurant is also just off the main drag, so you don't get jumped by mariachi bands! They do, though, often have live music from local musicians, which is always a treat. I've been to El Envero many times and recommend it very highly.

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Review collected in partnership with this restaurant
2  Thank Stephen C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iliana A, Gerente at El Envero, responded to this reviewResponded June 12, 2013

Hello stephen!!

We all the staff and Ricardo appreciate your comments, we already miss you, please come to visit our restaurant at your next trip to this beautiful paradise.

Saludos amigos!!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (34)
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16 - 20 of 34 reviews

Reviewed June 9, 2013

In May 2013 we were in the Mayan Riviera and thanks to those of you who recommended “Off the Vine” and the El Envero Restaurant, in Playa del Carmen, we chose to make a visit to this location. We have visited many restaurants in Playa Del Carmen over the years but always want to seek out unique dining experiences with good wine selections.

We were pleased to find the location off of 5th avenue. When we arrived, we first went into the wine store and were greeted by the Manager who gave us her personal attention in informing of us their wonderful wine selections for purchase and brought our attention to wines we have not come across before. We purchased a lovely Chilean Syrah, along with 4 other selections that we took back to our resort. We paid the corkage fee and enjoyed our Chilean Syrah at the adjoining El Envero restaurant. This open air and quaint location allowed for a wonderful and relaxing afternoon of exceptional wine and Tapas.

While at the restaurant, we were warmly greeted by the Manager, Illiana and our server Cinthia. Both of these women made us feel like very special guests and over the course of our visit spent a considerable amount of time getting to know us and invited us to learn more about the restaurant and the 2 of them. Their very personable and bubbly personalities made our visit quite exceptional as we lingered over a lovely afternoon of wine and tapas.

While there, we learned that they have themed evenings and chose to return the next evening to try the Sax and Jazz wine and food pairing night. It was well worth the visit back as we had an exceptional evening of wine tastings along with a lovely dinner while being entertained by the lovely sounds of the Sax musician. The owner, Ricardo, was very knowledgeable about the features of the wine we were trying and informed us of his choice to pair the wines with the food selections. We thoroughly enjoyed the 4 course dinner of a stuffed pepper appetizer, Mexican tomato soup, an amazing beef tenderloin main course finished by a lovely dessert. Illiana and Cinthia were instrumental in creating a romantic evening for us and became our friends and sisters of El Envero. Our intimate time spent was truly appreciated and left us feeling like we had been invited in to their home.

We wanted to have photos of us with our new friends which we have posted on this review.
We truly look forward to future reunions at Off the Vine and El Envero with our new friends and family.

We highly recommend visiting Off the Vine and El Envero which is at the north end of Playa Del Carmen which is between 26-27 St on 1st Avenue.

Thank you Illiana and Cinthia for the warm welcome, authentic Mexican cuisine education, and your personal attention – we thoroughly enjoyed our visit with you!!!

Jim and Bev Berg

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1  Thank buffdiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 25, 2013

We didn’t realise that there was a new “Tapas” restaurant in town because we normally walk straight down Calle 26 on our way to the beach and don’t often turn left on 1st Ave. We both love Tapas and were really disappointed when Tierra Espana went out of business some time ago, so we were so looking forward to trying out El Envero after we read all the positive reviews here on TripAdvisor.

The restaurant occupies the same space where the internet café Chango used to be, right next door to Off the Vine. The location is great because it is off of 5th Ave and only a short walk away from our condo.

Before I start my review I need to be up front and say that we are easily underwhelmed by restaurants, not just here in Playa but anywhere in the world. It is not often that we walk away from a restaurant feeling totally satisfied and not feeling ripped off by poor quality and mediocrity.

We went to El Envero on Wednesday evening and were welcomed by Cynthia, our friendly and bubbly server. We really enjoyed the open, airy atmosphere and absolutely loved the live music being played off to the side by the guitarist. I think his name was Pablo and he is a very gifted musician, playing a mix of Spanish and contemporary music.

We placed our order for four different plates of tapas and then went into Off the Vine to choose our own bottle of vine. This is a nice touch because you can browse for a bottle that meets your specific requirements and the restaurant charges only 100pesos for corkage. The restaurant staff are also attentive enough to know that “room temperature” for red wine needs to be somewhat below 20C so a wine bucket with iced water in it was brought to the table to cool the wine down to the right temperature.

So far, so good and we were enjoying our evening. Along came the first plate, four slices of very lightly toasted bread topped with arugula and prosciutto. Problem number one, the tough rind hadn’t been trimmed off the prosciutto, so we ended up having to pull strings of it out of our mouths after trying to chew around it!

Up next was the squid appetizer. When we ordered it we were anticipating receiving tapas style squid tentacles, either spiced or with some sort of a delicious sauce. Au contraire, a plate arrived with three small ramekins with homemade Chimichurro (that was actually very delicious), ketchup and another sauce that we couldn’t quite decide exactly what it was. The centre piece of the dish, squid, turned out to be five dreadfully overcooked calamari rings that were two shades away from being cremated and almost inedible. So disappointing! If you are claiming that you are serving squid, don’t serve calamari rings!

Plate number three was the Caribbean Shrimp. The menu says “ 3 shrimp skewer with a sweet sour sauce”. When the dish arrived, it was a small bowl of the sauce that had a nice citrusy flavour, with four shrimps dangling off the side of it. Unfortunately, the shrimps were again over cooked and rubbery.

The last plate was the mini pizzas (Pizzetas) with mozzarella, ham, arugula and Serrano. The toppings were very tasty and what one would expect but unfortunately the pizza crusts were so tough and rubbery, they were almost impossible to chew.

Unfortunately we ended our evening, again being under impressed with the restaurant that we had chosen to go to. We truly enjoyed, the location, the live music, the service was good and the prices very reasonable, but unfortunately, the tapas were a disappointment. The other tables around us (all foreigners) appeared to be enjoying their meals but we didn’t venture out to ask.

We would really like to see this restaurant succeed and will give them another chance, maybe not with the tapas, but we feel they need to pay a lot more attention to what comes out of the kitchen. Aside from that, we really like what they are attempting to achieve.

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1  Thank TamBar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Iliana A, Gerente at El Envero, responded to this reviewResponded May 30, 2013

Dear guest

I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of El Envero restaurant team, to extend a sincere apology to you for your experience.
We have spoken about this unusual incident and we want to let you know, we have a new chef with more and new ideas for the menu and new promotions.
Is good to know you enjoy the wine, the chimichurri and the live music, your right our guitarist name is Pablo.
I would really like to see you again in El Envero and give us another chance, with all the new elements in the staff.
We hope that this event does not keep you from returning to our restaurant, we offer you a free meal and we hope you find our changes satisfactory.
Thank you for your ti e and comments.

Sincerely
Iliana Avelar
Restaurant manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2013

This is a local spot for us, so this review is a compilation of many many visits. El Envero is a stop for us for breakfast lunch and dinner. With so many choices in Playa, this restaurant and wine bar keeps bringing us back, for the good selection of wines and the reliable menu. The location right on the way to the beach makes it great for a break on the way there or back. The service staff is so so sweet, and they really know their job. The bar is fully stocked, and even though it's a wine bar, they make a mean martini. Nightly specials like the wine pairing dinner on Thursdays, pasta night on Tuesdays, and live music most nights, keep it all interesting and engaging. Don't miss this delightful restaurant on your next trip to Playa!

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1  Thank Karen D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 13, 2013

There is no friendlier spot in town with wine, food and entertainment to match. We especially enjoy the Thursday wine pairing,but there is something going on everyday. It's good for lunch,breakfast or just to sip a glass and have a snack. Ricardo the owner loves to talk wine and also has an ear on the local music scene. Snowbirds, expats and locals are all here. Give yourself a treat and drop by.

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1  Thank JMADNyc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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