Saying Goodbye to an Akumal Institution

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…