Before I even start this review I have to let you know. There is more than one Dona Tere’s Restaurants in the Merida area. Yes, a bit confusing but once you experience each local restaurant, you will appreciate the difference between each of these local kitchens.
The Dona Tere’s kitchen I love, is Dona Tere’s Cocina Economica located close to the Grand Plaza in Merida. Other Dona Tere’s restaurants are located on the highway between Merida and Cancun, and in the town of Valladolid. If you are in Valladolid, by all means check it out! I admit both are great though I have eaten at the Merida restaurant more often.
What I love about Dona Tere’s Cocina Economica is the simple, small menu. The very nature of a cocina economica is that it provides a different menu each day with one or two items only. If you want to have an authentic, down home experience, this is the place. Arrive early as locals love the food, the prices, and flavors of Dona Tere’s home cooking. One word of warning, menu items typically run out by 2 p.m.
Don’t be intimidated by the Cocina Economica. This is the real deal without any fancy pancy décor, service or plates. Plastic tables and chairs are it, and there is little chatting with the staff. They have one goal and one goal only – feed all the hungry people until the food runs out. This is the real deal when in Mexico, you could not get more authentic.
Cocina Economica, The Economical Kitchen, is a kitchen specifically created for local workers. These kitchens serve hot, cheap meals at great value. The Yucatan still observes the midday meal ritual where the largest meal of the day is served. Small families opened Cocinas Economicas so workers could have a hot meal for a fraction of the price.
Typically a cocina economica menu consists of a soup, main course and a fruit drink with one or two main course options. The family cooks during the morning, opens their doors for lunch, and closes early or when the food is gone.
The local dishes offered at the cocinas economicas makes them a great introduction to Yucatecan dishes.
If you do find Dona Tere Anjotios on the outskirts of town, or Dona Tere Loncheria in Valladolid, the menus are quite different. There is a larger menu with a wonderful variety of local dishes. The ever-changing daily menu at Dona Tere Concina Economica is part of the fun. I have sunk my teeth into Dona Tere’s Rellenos Negros (stuffed poblano chilis in a black mole sauce), Cochinita Pibil (slow cooked pork) or Lomitos (grilled beef sandwich with incredible toppings). Line ups are not unheard of as this kitchen is popular with locals and tourists. All I can say is, come early!
Location – Calle 47 between 66 y 68 near the Grand Plaza
Hours – Open Monday to Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.
This restaurant is located on Hwy 180 (what many refer to as the free highway or slow highway) on the northern outskirts of Valladolid. It is just west of Highway 295 – the highway that takes you to Ek Balam ruins and Temozon.