Sign up with email


Already a member? Log in.

Trouble logging in?

Not a member? Sign up!

The oldest suburb in Mexico City, Santa María la Ribera has seen better days, but it continues to surprise us with cultural and culinary discoveries. One of the most emblematic sites of this colonia is Alameda Poniente park, where, at the center, sits the beautiful Kiosco Morisco, a Porfirio Díaz-era pavilion that is often used as the backdrop for wedding and quinceañera photographs.

Right in front of the park is Máare, a Yucatecan restaurant that has been one of our most delicious discoveries in Santa Maria la Ribera. In business for more than eight years, this restaurant is the brainchild of José Ramón and Gabriela Castilla. Although José Ramón has lived in Mexico City for 25 years, he’s extremely proud of his Yucatecan heritage. Wearing an apron with the Republic of Yucatán flag, he told us how important food has been in his life and how much he enjoys cooking and sharing his family recipes with his clientele.

“The dishes we serve here are classic Yucatecan recipes,” he said. “Some come from my family and others have been taken from cookbooks and friends. However, the dishes that people seek out the most are sopa de lima and cochinita pibil.”

Lima agria, or sour lime, a fragrant citrus fruit that grows in the Yucatán, is used in many dishes, but the most popular is the soup made with turkey broth and served with fried tortilla strips. Pibil is a sauce made with achiote, a spice made from the red seed of the annatto tree, and is one of the most commonly used sauces in Yucatecan cooking. Besides cochinita pibil, or pulled pit-cooked pork, Máare also offers chicken and turkey cooked in this delectable sauce.

The spicy food may even make you say “Máare!” – an expression of surprise in the Yucatán

Yucatecan cooking is one of the spiciest in Mexico. The food at Máare keeps the heat to manageable levels, but each table holds a small wooden salsera with the fiery house salsa, made from habaneros, which will bring the Scovilles that the region’s food is known for. It might even make you say “Máare!” – an expression used in the Yucatán to show surprise and astonishment.

Máare serves other typical dishes, such as salbutes, fried tortillas topped with cochinita pibil, lettuce, pickled red onion, tomato and avocado; panuchos, similar to salbutes but with black refried beans; tamales yucatecos, filled with chicken or cochinita pibil; and chamorro pibil, a delicious pork shank cooked in that wonderful sauce.

After one of our many delightful meals at this restaurant, José Ramón served us a shot of Xtabentún as a digestif. The Yucatecan anise and honey liquor also finds its way into Máare’s ambrosial flan, which comes in additional versions with cajeta, the Mexican version of dulce de leche, and au naturel. They’re the perfect sweet finish to take the edge off all that heat.

Editor’s note: To celebrate the ‘Year of the Neighborhood,’ we will be republishing dispatches from the less-visited areas – like Santa Maria La Ribera – that our correspondents are planning to explore this year. This article was originally published on April 25, 2014.

  • ChilakillersMarch 28, 2019 Chilakillers (0)
    When Brenda Miranda and her partners started Chilakillers seven years ago, it was on a […] Posted in Mexico City
  • KolobokJanuary 23, 2019 Kolobok (1)
    Located in the picturesque neighborhood of Santa Maria la Ribera, Kolobok – the little […] Posted in Mexico City
  • Coox HanalMay 28, 2018 Coox Hanal (0)
    The holiday season is one of the more subdued times of the year in Mexico City. Many […] Posted in Mexico City
PJ Rountree

Published on January 11, 2018

Related stories

March 28, 2019

Chilakillers: Breakfast Bomb

Mexico City | By Lydia Carey
By Lydia Carey
Mexico CityWhen Brenda Miranda and her partners started Chilakillers seven years ago, it was on a lark. They were freelancers – like so many young professionals in Mexico City – who needed some extra cash and thought, “Who doesn’t love chilaquiles?” The only problem? None of them had much experience in the kitchen. But the mother…
January 23, 2019

Kolobok: From Russia with Love

Mexico City | By James Young
By James Young
Mexico CityLocated in the picturesque neighborhood of Santa Maria la Ribera, Kolobok – the little Russian restaurant that could – bustles in the Mexico City dusk one recent Sunday afternoon. Patrons cluster around the warm light of the to-go window, shouting out empanada orders over the sound of a band playing nearby in the neighborhood’s Plaza…
May 28, 2018

Coox Hanal: Peninsular Gastronomy

Mexico City | By Ben Herrera
By Ben Herrera
Mexico CityThe holiday season is one of the more subdued times of the year in Mexico City. Many people leave the city for vacation or to visit family and friends in other parts of the country. We, however, tend to stick around more often than not, traveling around the city and enjoying the relative peace. That’s…
Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar
EUR Euro