After a visit to Cenote Azul, we headed south to Tulum to check out a restaurant a friend recommended. We could not locate the restaurant, so we stopped at a nearby hostel to get directions. There I met a Parisian expat who now calls Tulum home. As we talked about life in Tulum, he recommended a different restaurant called Cetli. He said it was by far the best restaurant in town with run by a chef who previously worked in some of the greatest food cities on the planet. Intrigued and trusting the "local" point-of-view, I went to check it out. Cetli is located on a modest backstreet in Tulum. The restaurant, once a home, stands out as the most beautiful property in the area. Once inside, I was completely taken by the unique intimacy with an eclectic Mexican feel that couldn't be duplicated. To our surprise, we were approached by the chef who arranged a sitting for us later that evening. The restaurant is run by Mexico City-born Chef Claudia Pérez Rívas plus a staff of 1 and holds no more than a dozen tables.
Dinner that evening at Cetli was out of this world. The best Mexican food I've ever eaten and our favorite meal in Mexico. Chef Pérez Rívas turns out dishes that are equally gorgeous to the eye as they are to the mouth. Her mole sauces are delicate, yet packed with with favor. Her passion for artistry rings true in the atmosphere she has created at Cetli and the food that she turns out of her small kitchen. If you ever find yourself in Tulum, make sure you pay Chef Pérez Rívas and Cetli a visit. You won't be disappointed!