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“The Best Food In Tulum!!!”
Review of El Tabano

El Tabano
Ranked #78 of 396 Restaurants in Tulum
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $50
Cuisines: Mexican
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Romantic, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Lunch, Breakfast, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Description: Inmersed in a lushious garden in the jungle side, El Tábano is a favorite amongst neighbors and visitors alike. Serving homemade flavor infused with regional character, and a touch of the chefs personality into each dish- it is a true experience of all senses.Family warmth, exquisite taste, fresh and creative food prepared right in front of you . And if you like to take the recepies, just come into our kitchen and live the joy of cooking with us.The staff is always happy to share the secrets in exchange of a smile.
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“The Best Food In Tulum!!!”
Reviewed October 19, 2008

My husband and I fell in love with El Tabano - the food, the ambiance, and the owners!! Laura and Paf have created a one-of-a-kind restaurant on the jungle side of the street, just across the road from Hemingway and Don Diego de la Playa. If you drive to quickly down the road, you will miss it - but you"ll be mad at yourself if you pass it by!

We ate there several times during our week-long trip - trying breakfast, lunch, and dinner Their menu is handwritten on a large chalkboard and you can rest assured that everything you eat is the freshest food possible! Laura has such an exquisite palette and is able to lend a delicate balance to all of her food - and rest assured there are plenty of options to choose from. Her hand-made tortillas are the best on the beach and make the beef and the fish tacos the best in the area! If the stuffed jalapenos are on the menu - you absolutely must try them!! They are not spicy, but stuffed with chicken - they are a true delicacy that you will not find anywhere else!! The meatballs in tamarind sauce are another unique creation packed with flavor and served over rice with sunflower seeds. I don't care for rice, but I loved this dish!

As much as we loved lunch and dinner, our favorite meal at El Tabano was the breakfast! The coffee was great - much better than our hotel that boasted of their coffee - and fresh squeezed orange juice to start. Homemade bread with butter and homemade papaya jam. My husband ordered the huevos rancheros and I had the huevos a la cazuela. Every bite was exquisite!! The cazuela dish is served in an earthernware bowl that is heated up with olive oil. Eggs, black beans, salsa, cheese, and cream are added to the bowl and cook in the bowl. It is still cooking and bubbling when it is served - don;t take a bite right away because it is really hot! Once it stops bubbling, take a spoonful and blow on it and take your first bite - HEAVEN! Save some homemade bread and dip it in the juices left in the bowl after you're done. My husband loved his huevos rancheros - but I fell in love with this unique creation. In fact, we loved the breakfast so much, we wanted it to be our last meal in Mexico and came back the last morning of our trip before we drove to the airport.

I simply must say - this was by far our favorite restaurant in Tulum. Laura and Paf are wonderful hosts and will take the time to explain everything on the menu to you. We left Tulum feeling like we had made two good friends. We are still missing their food and when we return - El Tabano will be the first restaurant we go to!!!

1 Thank sakeena
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 6, 2008

I visited Tulum in February/ March time with my friend. I think that El Tabano had just opened, and we were staying in a beach house opposite the restaurant...

The food was absolutely incredible, and obviously prepared with a lot of love. We ate breakfast and dinner there everyday for almost a week, so tried the menu from top to bottom! The seafood was absolutely exquisite (especially the lavendar infused shrimp), as were the salads (mango and cucumber particularly).

My friend and I like to consider ourselves "foodies", eating in a lot of high end London/ NYC restaurants, but this was equally as good with a simply wonderful atmosphere!

Brea and Puf are such a delightful team, and gave me food for thought, not just to eat! I really wanted to say goodbye to them on our last day, but just missed them. Next time!

1 Thank HanCat
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
El PasoTexas
Level Contributor
5 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Simplicity meets great food.”
Reviewed September 7, 2008

I loved the chicken breast in herbs. The simplicity of the place, dirt floor (as in many places is Tulum) and candles, and the great jazz music made a special evening.
Paf and his wife have created a great place to eat and relax.

Thank Turr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“classic cuisine with a modern flare”
Reviewed August 20, 2008

El Ta’bano Café
Yucatan, Tulum, Mexico

Mail never arrives and they aren’t sure of the address, but walking in to El Ta’bano café on a hot June evening is like slipping into the magic realism of a Gabriel Garcia Marquez story, albeit on a culinary level. Chef and owner and soon to be mother, Laura Brea and her partner in work and in life, Gerardo Paf have created a salon atmosphere where locals come to eat what is most definitely the best and most cared for food around. Flavours from Mexico and Spain, Brea’s native country, are masterfully combined to create a well balanced palate of surprising simplicity and layered complexity.

Brea grew up one hour north of Barcelona in Girona. Paf told me that the only books in her father’s library were about food. Brea spent 10 years in San Francisco, CA, a veritable food mecca, honing her chef’s skills by making meals for friends.

We began our dinner with huge shrimp steamed with sea salt and infused with lavender, a delicate taste that took me by surprise. Next on my plate were her poblano chilles stuffed with chicken and Mexican herbs and spices. To finish, a homemade chocolate flan, light as air. Unlike most restaurants in Tulum, Brea cooks with olive oil, creating a lighter fare.

One morning we came for breakfast and Paf took on the role as chef, cooking up a dish he dreamt of one night. Eggs, salsa, olive oil and beans baked in an earthenware dish was the perfect start to my day. Along with home baked bread and homemade jams.

One evening we arrived and were treated to a hot mug of thyme tea, a cure-all passed down from Brea’s grandmother, delicious and good for the soul.

Brea’s menu is created every day and put up on a large chalk board, dishes quickly having to be erased as only 3 or 4 are prepared. She improvises her menus as you can never be certain of what the market will have available on any given day. This seeming inconvenience leads her to brilliantly compose a new dishes.

We were sad to leave Tulum and the Caribbean for the chill of Amsterdam, but mostly we were sad to leave our living room café and our friends at El Ta’bano.

2 Thank aylash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Best Restaurant in Tulum”
Reviewed May 3, 2008

Tulum has it's share of good restaurants but most are mediocre tourist traps. A traveler we met during our week in Tulum suggested we try El Tabano, one of the few restaurants on the jungle side of the peninsula.

My wife & I are people who like to try many different restaurants while travelling but this one was so good, we went four times.

The cuisine is traditional Mexican but not the kind we gringos are accustomed to. Jalapenos stuffed with minced chicken, raisins & nuts is not a dish we'd find in the Mexican Restaurants in the US but husband/wife owners Laura & Paf insist the recipe comes from the local kitchens. The food is very fresh, and the menu changes almost daily.

The menu offerings are so enticing and well-prepared, that you can't help but return. (they serve breakfast, lunch & dinner - good coffee too).

Despite not being on the sea, the outdoor setting is magnificent - sit either under the thatched roof or completely unsheltered and gaze at the moon & stars while you dine.

We live in New York City where we eat world class food all the time. El Tabano offers the same world-class fare at a fraction of NYC prices (and the service is much friendlier too).

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

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