Luxury resort Viceroy Riviera Maya is a lush escape combining a homely luxury feel of the beach and rainforest in Riviera Maya. Viceroy offers pure seclusion as guests stay in one of 41 villas, each with a heated private plunge pool. The main resort features a full-service spa, pool, and recently redesigned Coral Restaurant + Bar. Located near Playa Del Carmen, Viceroy is well located to discover this tropical part of Mexico with its cenotes, beaches and much more.
What sets Viceroy Riviera Maya apart is the culinary offering. The two world class restaurants are masterminded by Chef Julio Chavez who creates these culinary experiences each day. The Mexican-influenced international breakfast and fresh seafood specials for lunch and dinner are meticulously crafted from local ingredients gathered daily as well as several themed tasting dinners.
Breakfast at Coral
Start the day with breathtaking views of the turquoise waters and a cooling breeze with a traditional Mexican breakfast. Signature menu items include Mexican dishes you won’t find at other hotels nearby with real traditional Mexican dishes.
Start the day with a fresh coconut and a smoothie made from local superfood chaya. An ancient food source for the Mayans, chaya may just turn out to be a superfood of the future thanks to its vitamin-rich content and the ease with which and can be cultivated and regenerates. Being in the tropical region of Mexico, there are also some tropical fruits including the sweetest mangoes.
Then sit back and enjoy real Mexican breakfast favourites. Our favourite were Motuleños. Fried eggs, tostada, refried beans, ham, peas, cotija cheese, fried plantain, and Motul sauce. Something unique here was the Azteca Cake – Tortilla layers, chicken, poblano pepper, rajas, Xcatik pepper green sauce, yellow corn, gouda, red bell pepper, and pickled red onion. The chorizo is a must order on the side too. As well as chaya, there are fresh juices like a papaya juice or a signature sunrise smoothie with fresh mango, strawberry, and orange.
Sea and steak night at Coral
Sea and steak night fuse bounties from land and ocean into one cohesive menu. Beef is from the USA and is super tender and tasty. Starters include classics like beef tartare and king salmon tiradito. Indulge in a surf and turf main dish with fresh beef and signature seafood dishes. Our favourite starter, a guacamole with steak. So simple yet so clever.
Choose from various beef cuts on the landside, including short ribs, tenderloin, flank, ribeye steak, or even roast chicken. From the sea, choose savoury oysters, shrimp, salmon, octopus, bass, and ahi tuna. Curate your main course to your liking with a variety of sauces.
A Mexican Tasting Menu at La Marea
For a truly gastronomic experience, visit the luxurious living room known as the Library Lounge at La Marea. This open-air patio serves signature cocktails, cigars, and dessert before or after dinner at La Marea.
La Marea is a Mediterranean and Mexican fusion dinner restaurant emphasising vibrant colours and bold flavours. Watch the sunset as you sip on wine and nibble on Chef Chavez’s creative dishes, like his rack of lamb with peanut mole, cauliflower, and olive oil. The a la carte menu is varied and enticing.
One of the highlights were the Devilled Shrimps with onion puree, corn sourdough, lime and cilantro. A classic dish with Mexican notes. Our favourite dessert which we had a number of times were the churros. Chef uses a little sparkling water in the batter mix to give these churros a crunchy bite and melting centre. The best churros we have ever had.
The tasting menu was incredible as it was matched with all Mexican wines which you will not find. Our favourite pairing was the Al Pastor Suckling Pig, Pineapple Puree, Chopped Pineapple, Lechón Confitado al Pastor, Puré de Piña and Pico de Piña. This was paired with an extraordinary 18% ABV red wine called La Vaquera Grenache, a Mexican Syrah. It wasn’t just the red Mexican wine that was impressive. The white was equally as stunning. The Callo de Hacha con Mole de Coco chardonnay paired so well with scallops with coconut mole, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and amaranth.
Chef Julio Cesar Chavez is a real genius. He is composed, kind and really understands flavour. He is a star in the Mexican culinary world after winning “Cook of the Year, Zona Centro” – where his mastery of Tlaxcalan cooking showed off his skills. Julio champions local ingredients and his passion is paying off. La Marea was recently included in the Gastronomic Mexico Guide 2022, a compendium of 250 top restaurants around the country.
He has a few signature dishes but our favourite was a very well thought out textures of corn dessert which featured different textures and flavours of corn and presented in a masterful way with a mousse that looks just like a corn on the cobb.
Let’s Taco About It
We enjoyed a new experience at Viceroy Riviera Maya called “Let’s Taco About It” – a Mezcal and Taco Masterclass with Chef Chavez. Tacos are Mexico’s most popular and versatile dishes, with a pairing of Pozo Hondo Mezcal. We tasted different tacos from savoury to sweet and learned all about Mezcal with the owner of Pozo Hondo Alberto Alvelais.
Alberto Alvelais lives and breathes mezcal. His quest of mezcal perfection is a lifelong pursuit of world class excellence from field to table. Pozo Hondo is family-owned and today continues to use the same methods and recipe as when it was founded in 1840. Its award-winning mezcal has a distinct and unique flavour, thanks to its fermentation processes, use of the Salmiana Crissispina plant and extreme attention to growing conditions.
Coral Restaurant Antojeria Night
Antojeria, translating to a little craving, are comforting foods meant to inspire creativity with each bite. Inspired by Chef Chavez’s upbringing and travels, these small plates manifest as his take on traditional Mexican street food. A revelation of this night were the Duck “Carnitas” Tacos. Crispy, fried minced duck on top of the freshest corn tacos. The best taco we have ever had.
What about the drinks?
The drinks at Viceroy Riviera Maya are also take you on a gastronomic journey. With original bespoke cocktails, a top shelf selection of mezcal/tequila and wines from around the world, this is the place to try high end drinks from an original cocktail list.
Viceroy Riviera Maya has a great snack menu too to go with drinks. Our favourite go to throughout the week was this guacamole with chicharrones and salsa macha. The pork rinds are crispy, salty, and have a delicious meaty flavour that pairs so well with drinks.
In a nutshell
If this article doesn’t make you hungry, then nothing will! Gastronomy is taken very seriously at Viceroy Riviera Maya and we experienced something so special that we only realised how special it was when we got back home. Reflecting back on the dishes, the quality throughout the gastronomy experience was world class, with a couple of dishes being the best we have ever had anywhere in the world.
To discover more, visit: viceroyhotelsandresorts.com
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Images courtesy of Luxuriate Life Magazine / Viceroy Riviera Maya.