Situated amid the tropical jungle foliage of mangroves and Salam, Chechen and Chaká trees, Chaká restaurant at the AAA Five Diamond Grand Velas Riviera Maya is now open for dinner with a new Yucatecan menu inspired by the region’s traditional cuisine. The four defining pillars of Mayan cooking – Achiote (Annatto seed paste), citrus, habaneros (hot peppers) and smoke – are heavily used throughout the new menu which showcases the cuisine of the Mayan peninsula.
Standout appetizers include empanadas filled with pork, Oaxaca cheese and tomato sauce, served with avocado mousse, pickled onion, tomato, lettuce and sun-dried tomato dressing; dzotobichay tamales, a small variety made of masa and lard seasoned with achiote and habanero, filled with pumpkin seeds and wrapped in chaya leaf; and shredded beef tacos with a citrus infusion, topped with chicharrón (deep fried pork rind) on homemade guajillo chili tortillas. The authentic sopa de lima, a chicken soup spiked heavily with fragrant local lime juice, is also on the menu for tasting before the main event, which could consist of grouper marinated in achiote and spices served with plantains, fried onion, julienned vegetables and sweet-and-sour orange sauce or pollo pibil, chicken cooked underground with its juice, served with white rice, caramelized corn, refried beans, “chicharrón prensado” and coriander sprouts, among other options. Highlights of the dessert menu include yuca doughnuts with horchata ice cream and a pumpkin sweet topped with Xtabentún (an anise liqueur made in Mexico’s Yucatán region) flavored cream.
Touting the reputation as the “foodie resort’ of the Caribbean coast, Grand Velas Riviera Maya features eight varied restaurants, including Chaká and Cocina de Autor, the first all-inclusive restaurant in the world to hold the AAA Five Diamond Award, all included in the nightly rate.
Chaká is open for dinner from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Reservations are required. Outdoor terrace and indoor, air-conditioned seating is available.
For reservations or more information on Grand Velas Riviera Maya, call 1-888-407-4869 or visit rivieramaya.grandvelas.com.