Saying Goodbye to an Akumal Institution

Posted May 13, 2011 by Kay Walten in Food & Drink,Riviera Maya Destinations

Que Onda Restaurant

Upon hearing the news, my head spun with disbelief – the first stage of grieving.


At first, I thought is was just some vicious rumor directed at my plans for a Summer vacation in Akumal filled with fresh pasta and pomodoro sauce just like my grandmother used to make, but alas, it was true. My little Italian trattoria in the Mexican jungle was shutting its palm fronds to the general public and becoming a private retreat for artists only.

Then the anger (stage 2 of grieving) took hold and I began to feel unjustly abandoned, just like when Il Gardino in Tulum closed without even a word or a fresh bruscetta goodbye! How could Maribel do this to me? Wait! Perhaps we can make some sort of deal – bargaining, stage 3. Maybe I could convince her to open to the public 2 nights a week. It could be a limited menu of only 3 or 4 of my favorite dishes. Surely this sounded like a reasonable alternative to cutting me off completely! Unfortunately, the answer was no. Perhaps the bar would stay open to the public in the evenings, but no more rich pasta carbonara or Vive Mexico shrimp cooked in oil and strips of poblano.

Depression descended over me. I was entering stage 4. I began to reminisce about the first time I ate at Que Onda. My family and I were on our first vacation to Akumal 15 years ago. We had stumbled into the empty palapa one late afternoon, after a day of snorkeling in Yal Ku, and we were very hungry. Maribel came out to greet us and informed us that all she had left was pasta pomodoro and vegetarian lasagna. We said we would take it all. Que Onda had me at my first bite.

Acceptance, stage 5. Que Onda’s last night open will be Sunday May 15. Yes, my old friend and I had a good run. I would always have my memories of the flavors and we still had 4 nights to spend every waking meal together. After that, the pasta gorgonzola would only exist in my dreams. Maybe it’s not too late in life for me to learn how to paint…


  1. Jill, May 13, 2011:

    So sad to hear. We loved Que Onda. On our 2 trips to Akumal we ate there several times.

  2. Lucy, May 13, 2011:

    I ate at Maribel’s on the night she opened, attended her 10 year party (oh and was proposed to there (should have stayed home that night) and will be sorry to see my favorite Akumal restaurant close…I just wish her the best in the new endeavor…

  3. Martine, May 13, 2011:

    Awfull!! We just found out about this place. Had dinner there twice. Was wonderful. So Sad.

  4. david seth michaels, May 13, 2011:


  5. Adios, Amigas. Bueno Suerte., May 13, 2011:

    You will be missed.

  6. Robert, May 13, 2011:

    Wait, What???!!! This is sad news indeed! We always enjoyed dining at Que Onda when ever we were in Akumal. We have brought friends to Akumal, we have brought family to Akumal, even when it is only my wife and I, Que Onda was always part of our dining out plans. Hey, I’m an artist, does this mean we can still dine there?

  7. kay, May 13, 2011:

    Sorry the restaurant is closing. But you should stop by since you are an artist and see what is going on. Maybe it is something you can be a part of!

  8. AnotherBob, May 13, 2011:

    That is truly sad news ! We have enjoyed many a meal at Que Onda and will miss it. Great food and a very friendly and fun staff. A very unique place to dine in a relaxing atmosphere. What will we do now ? Let the mourning commence. Wait, maybe we can paint some pasta with gorgonzola ? That would be artistic ! ! !

  9. Dona0706, May 13, 2011:

    This is so disappointing. We always made it to Que Onda when we were there……and always enjoyed their hospitality and pasta offerings. We will truly miss the staff and the wonderful food, but wish her the best as she moves on!! Thanks for the memories ! !

  10. Adriana, May 15, 2011:

    Que lastima…lots of great memories sharing tasty morsels of food and laughter with the VicCirc and extended family.

  11. stephen, May 15, 2011:

    My wife and I are sorry to hear this, Akumal needs more good resturants not less and Que Onda was near the top of the list.

  12. Valeri, May 16, 2011:

    so sorry to hear this. We always made it a point to go to Que Ondo when we were in Akumal. Best pasta around and great atmosphere.

  13. Bongi, May 23, 2011:

    This is very sad news. I heard about the closing in February when Susan and I were visiting. We stay at Luna Azul and stopped daily at Que Ondo for mojitos. La Buona Fortuna Il Mia Amica.

  14. Kelly, May 23, 2011:

    Ugh. That just – sucks.

  15. fran, February 6, 2012:

    Well, so much for recommendations to daughter and granddaughter…We really will miss very good italian meals and ambiance. We stayed at Casa Gatos and it was our personal restaurant….

  16. Sandra, March 10, 2012:

    Que Onda has re-opened :) We are heading down to akumal for our first trip and cannot wait to go… :)

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