Recently, I was invited by the owners of The Cottage Restaurant in Tulum to come and enjoy their food and hospitality. I had heard many great things about The Cottage and their reviews on Trip Advisor promised a delicious dining experience, but it was really the story behind this modest establishment that stuck with me. A story of true, modern day romance as well as a love affair with food.
When I entered the small but tastefully appointed bistro, I was warmly welcomed by Maribel who co-owns the restaurant with her husband Jackson. All smiles, she quickly whisked me to a table where I was promptly served a chilled glass of Sauvignon Blanc and immediately fell into comfortable conversation with this lovely young lady. She told me she and her husband had opened the restaurant two years ago when they moved from Boston to Tulum. Boston? I was intrigued.
Maribel, a Tulum native, told me she was working as a nanny in Massachusetts when she met her Brazilian born, soon to be husband at a local Latin American church. Jackson was working in kitchens around the city where he discovered his passion for cooking. They fell in love and married. They also shared a common love of baseball, particularly the Red Sox. The couple decided to move to Maribel’s home town and open their own restaurant. Maribel’s family helped them get their start, and with Jackson’s culinary skill and Maribel’s front-of-the-house management know how (admittedly, she leaves the cooking to Jackson with the exception of her delicious cakes) their little restaurant slowly gained popularity. When asked about whether or not they have children, they smiled at each other lovingly and answered, “Right now, our restaurant is our baby, but if business keeps going well maybe soon…”
Ah yes, this is a restaurant review and I am sure Maribel and Jackson would appreciate my telling you about their delicious food. The menu has traditional, fresh seafood and Mexican fare, but the difference is that the dishes are served with a French flair. The tortilla soup was amazing. All of the ingredients are blended together thus releasing the flavors even more and giving this once common consommé a creme like texture. I sampled smaller versions of 3 different entrees – all beautifully presented in gourmet style. The chicken stuffed with spinach and cheese was quite tasty and a favorite of the Trip Advisor community as well as the perfectly cooked fish served in a white wine sauce, however it was the garlic fish served with a Merlot reduction sauce that was truly inspiring. I have always associated this type of sauce with hearty beef and mushrooms, but when paired with the delicate fish grilled in oil and garlic…mmm what a wonderful surprise! Unfortunately, I had to pass on dessert, but I will certainly leave room to try one of Maribel’s pasteles the next time I’m in…and there will be a next time. One other thing I must mention is the great value. At The Cottage Restaurant, one can enjoy French inspired cooking at reasonable Mexican food prices.
The Cottage Restaurant is located on Tulum Ave. at Jupiter and Alpha Sur, across the street from the bus station.