Ask For Directions *
Open for lunch and dinner or
until the fish runs out.
Grouper In Garlic Butter
This 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).
Update 2009: 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 with avocado.
*Directions: 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.
Update 2012: 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.