Wild, Tulum, Mexico
photo Kristin Hanes

Wild

I arrived at Wild, on the outskirts of Tulum in southern Mexico, after bumping in a taxi down a long dirt road carved into the belly of thick jungle. We’d rumbled past gurgling generators, the only power keeping restaurants and hotels electrified in a town that’s grown too fast for the grid.

Wild—whose menu offers a unique blend of Lebanese and Yucatanean cuisine—seems well named. Its candlelit outdoor tables can feel a little too close to the nighttime sounds of the jungle. The restaurant lives in fusion with nature, and apparently, so does the staff.

“You’ll see all kinds of animals run through here,” a host told me, “and we even feed the racoons.”

I first sipped an exquisite cocktail made from Ancho Reyes liqueur, mango puree, and coconut, then sampled the tomato salad, made from a delightful mix of local heirloom tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and compressed green tomatoes with a salsa fresca and tomato consommé. The salad tasted tart and bright, the consommé good enough to finish with a spoon. The selection of appetizers included rosemary smoked shrimp, black recado braised pork belly, and fire-roasted beetroot salad.

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My entrée was locally caught whole white fish decorated with sumptuous green mole, jalapeno jus, roasted poblanos, nopales, and red bell peppers. The skin crackled in my mouth; and the sauce was just spicy enough to add flavor without overpowering the delicate white meat. 

While the food at Wild was a treat, the service was not. The waiter forgot some ordered items, and sometimes seemed to forget about me. While waiting for him, though, I did indeed see a family of racoons run right through the restaurant. Wild, to say the least. —Kristin Hanes


Wild restaurant, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Kilometer 10, Tulum, Mexico, wildtulum.com (no phone)

BJT reviewers dine anonymously and pick up the check.

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