With a population of fewer than 10,000 people, the fishing town of Puerto Morelos remains a favorite among in-the-know travelers for its white-sand beaches, small-town charm, and unbeatable snorkeling just off the coast.
While it sits halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos has a culinary scene that easily rivals the region’s much larger cities thanks to its freshly-caught seafood and its passionate locals.
In the middle of Puerto Morelos is the laid-back El Merkadito restaurant. With a name meaning “The Little Market”, this space serves up an extensive seafood menu alongside some of the best ocean views in town.
El Merkadito boasts a spectacular location on the white-sand beach in Puerto Morelos, considered by many as one of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful beaches. Open on three sides, the deck offers fantastic views of the Caribbean Sea no matter where you’re sitting. Kitschy nautical décor and a bucket of salsas and utensils on each of the wood tables let you know that this is a casual eatery where you’re meant to just relax and enjoy the flavors.
El Merkadito specializes in seafood, with plenty of Mexican and Caribbean coastal favorites. Fill up on massive tostadas topped with ingredients like scallops or octopus carpaccio. Savor seafood tacos stuffed with shrimp tempura or marlin. Or keep it cool with classic, lime-soaked ceviches. At the beginning of the meal, the waiter brings even more salsas to try with your bucket of tostadas or on your meal, with options like garlic mayo, chipotle sauce, and tamarind sauce to add some fun flavor.
If you’re not in a seafood mood, this restaurant also has pastas, burgers, steaks, and a great guacamole.
And of course, no Mexican seafood restaurant would be complete without traditional cheladas and micheladas on the beer menu, and El Merkadito is no exception. A chelada is a Mexican beer served with lemon juice and salt. A michelada is a Mexican beer prepared with lime juice and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. Both are usually served in a chilled, salt-rimmed glass.
To make your lunch or dinner extra special, try the margaritas and mojitos.
El Merkadito is open from noon to 9 p.m. every day of the week, making it a wonderful choice for lunch, afternoon bites, or early dinner during a stay in Puerto Morelos. There’s no designated kids’ menu, but children are more than welcome. The restaurant is located half a block north of the town square on Avenida Rafael E. Melgar, between Calle Jose Maria Morelos and Calle Javier Rojo Gomez. You can find an entrance from the street as well as a front entrance right on the beach.
For pricing, main dishes run from $150 to $295 pesos. Individual tostadas range from $68 to $75 pesos, and two-taco orders go from $90 to $110 pesos.
Ready to experience the beautiful beaches, snorkeling and Puerto Morelos restaurants? Have a look at our list of vacation rentals in Puerto Morelos and contact LocoGringo so we can help you plan your next trip.