one is way off the beaten path. So far off that,
after I asked directions and found the boat yard where
it is located, I walked up to the porch of a shack and
asked where I could find the Cuban restaurant. "Aqui,
señor." I was there.
There is a very
small dining room that doesn't seem to be used.
Beyond that, the reason, besides the food, to seek out
El Varadero - a small porch dining room that hangs over
the narrow inlet to the Macax Lagoon. The lagoon
is where many of the yachts and luxurious fishing boats
moor, and quite a site watching them return to port
after a day's run.
I had a beer, but
everyone told me the mojitos are fantastic. My
entree - red snapper sautéed in oil and garlic.
Instead of the frijoles - black beans and rice and
sautéed plantains (bananas actually).
I think El Varadero may be my favorite place to watch
the afternoon float by. Best mojitios on
Isla Mujeres and some fine cooking going on in the
kitchen. Had fish fingers this time, accompanied
by black beans and rice, fried banana and a salad topped
Take the bay road out of El Centro. After passing
the airport strip on the right and going a bit futher
you will see the MiniSuper Guadalupe on a corner on the
right hand side. "Corona" is painted on the side
of the building and there is a giant Corona bottle out
front. Turn right on this corner. Go to the
road pretty much runs out. Turn left. Soon
you will see a sandy road and next to it a weathered
sign for El Varadero. Turn right and you will end
up in a marina. There is a building in the center
of the parking area that looks like a restaurant.
It is not El Varadero. Keep going to the building
on the water. Grab a seat on the porch over the
water and order a mojito.
The entrance has been changed to a blue gate with a
white anchor. They've also added an oven for smoking fish.
But all this progress hasn't changed the vibe - down
home Caribbean - not a care in the world as long as the
mojitos keep coming.
Update 2013: New bar built on the
porch, speeding mojito delivery time by ten to fifteen
seconds.. Dogs still as friendly as ever. Tried
their torta de cubana - A cross
between a classic Cuban sandwich and a Mexican torta.
Cuban bread, laden with braised pork, sliced ham, cheese
and sauteed onions on once side and lettuce, tomato and
cukes on the other. The pork was braised and
exceptional. Black beans and rice and watermelon and
grilled plantains on the side. Muy magnifico.