Sunday, May 31, 2015

Gran Bahia Principe: La Gran Tortuga and Ristorante Tequila

In my previous posts regarding our stay at Gran Bahia Principe in the Riviera Maya I covered the Sian Ka'an section of the resort and the Alux and Maiko restaurants.  I have also previously covered our stay at the Coba section of the resort in 2012, including dining at the buffets and drinking at the bars, dining at Le Gourmet, and dining at Don Pablo and Mikado. On this most recent trip we spent a fair amount of our dining time at the buffets, because the food at them is actually quite good and we get a good variety for two people who have very different tastes in food.

La Gran Tortuga

La Gran Tortuga is a one of the ala carte restaurants in the Tulum section of the resort and is therefore available to guests staying anywhere in the Gran Bahia Principe resort. Make reservations either at the customer service desk or via the Bahia app upon arrival at the resort.

The style is Brazilian BBQ and in a style similar to Fogo de Chao they will bring skewers of meat to the table for service. In order to tell the service staff whether or not you wish to have more brought to the table they have cards with green on one side and red on the other. Green means "bring me more" and red means "no more at this time". You can always flip the cards over one way or the other during the course of your meal.

Just like Fogo de Chao there is also a lovely buffet of appetizers and sides.  I'm rather partial to the fried plantains and yucca.  If you imbibe they will also bring you a delicious and refreshing caipirinha as a welcome drink.  You may order more if you like.

So how was the food?  Fantastic. The skewers of meat had some sides that were well done and others that were more medium or more rare. Specify what you want when they come the table.  The chicken, beef, and pork were all delicious.

Green means "more please", red means "none for now".

The restaurant is open air, however there was talk about adding air conditioning. 

Grilled veggies and a variety of sauces, including chimichuri, brought to the table.

Fantastic table service. 

Where the magic happens. 


I didn't cover the desserts because we really didn't have room for them. There are desserts, including chocolate truffles, on the buffet. We have always had a lovely experience at La Gran Tortuga and return there every time we visit Gran Bahia Principe.

Ristorante Tequila

I feel like I have to specify Tequila the ala carte restaurant versus tequila the drink.  For the purposes of this post I will be talking about the restaurant at the Gran Bahia Principe resort.  This one is also located in the Tulum section of the resort and any of the resort guests may dine here.  It's one that most travel agents specify as child friendly.  I believe this is because of the relaxed atmosphere and buffet featuring a wide variety of dishes that are approachable to a wide variety of palates.  Kids are sometimes difficult to please, so variety is a good thing. 

This restaurant is a hybrid sit-down restaurant and buffet.  Order your entree and soup from the menu and then go to the buffet for everything else.

This restaurant was open air. There was a wedding reception in there at the time we visited. 

The buffet included a large variety of Mexican foods, including desserts. Dolce de leche empanadas, anyone?

A selection of different ceviches. Ceviche is the local dish in the Riviera Maya. I highly recommend it, especially if you enjoy fish. It's light and refreshing.

Tortilla soup doesn't really photograph well. The lime soup looked the same so I didn't include the photo.  Both were quite delicious and a nice start to the meal.
Chicken Yucatan was a chicken breast stuffed with veggies. I would have preferred more spice in the sauce, but this may be how this particular dish is supposed to taste. 
Mole (pronounced mole-ay) is the Lovely Spouse's favorite food and the mole at Tequila did not disappoint. It's a rich, savory sauce that, when properly made, takes several days to simmer and prepare. The sauce is made with chocolate, chilis, and a wide variety of other spices.  Every Mexican chef has their own version.
The food was very good for Mexican casual fare. I would definitely go back because it's nice to have Mexican food while in Mexico. However I still wish there was Mexican fine dining at the resort. We get Mexican fine dining in both San Antonio and in Austin and while it's not what people think of when they think of Mexican food, I believe most world travelers would enjoy the experience.

In case you were wondering, yes, you can get tequila at Tequila. They have a selection available. I personally prefer the sipping tequilas so I usually go for an anejo or extra anejo (those are tequilas that have been aged in wooden barrels).  They also had margaritas and other tequila-based drinks.

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