The owners of a new restaurant in Tulum called The Dining Experience recently invited us down to try it free of charge in exchange for an honest review of the place.
Since starting this blog, we have received numerous invitations like this but our normal response is to politely turn them down. In fact, this is the first time that we have ever accepted an invitation from a restaurant. So why the change of heart?
We decided to make an exception in this case for two reasons: 1) their website made the experience sound pretty cool, and 2) readers have been asking us to post more reviews of restaurants, hotels, attractions etc.
We told the owners that it may not be to their advantage to have a brutally honest, retired cop write a review of their place. They thought that was amusing and told us to come down and try it anyway.
Luckily for them, we had a great time.
The Dining Experience
Calling it a ‘restaurant’ is a bit misleading because it is much more than that. It’s a highly-entertaining, adults-only, 3+ hour gastronomic journey with multiple courses, amazing cocktails and a lot of interaction with the other guests. All along the way, you’ll learn all about the culture and history of the area.
All of the dinner experiences are done in English.
The dinner was scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm but we followed the recommendation of the staff and arrived early to enjoy a sunset walk on the beach first.
The restaurant is located near the southern end of the beach road and that section of the beach is relatively deserted. It felt like we had the whole beach to ourselves. Here are a couple of pics from our walk:
After our leisurely — and may I add romantic — walk down the beach, we returned to the restaurant where we were welcomed with a delicious cocktail made with Mezcal and tropical fruits. I’m not normally a fan of Mezcal but this drink was delicious and I got a second and possibly third glass (I lost count).
A major component of the experience is to interact with staff members and other guests. Before we sat down, we had a meet-and-greet session out on a dock located next to a cenote.
One of the staff members, Luis, shared some history of the area dating back to the Pre-Columbian Era. I was very impressed by his knowledge of the subject.
All of the guests sit together at a long table and at the head of the table stood our host for the evening, Janae. She was a super-energetic, charismatic, funny and highly entertaining woman. She did an amazing job!
The meal consisted of multiple courses, all highlighting the delicious local cuisine of the area. As each dish was presented, our host would share some history behind it. We’ve lived in the area for almost three years and I still learned a lot.
As I said before, this experience is very interactive. We learned how to mix amazing cocktails and then we made them for the person seated to our left. Although we didn’t know any of the guests before we arrived, it wasn’t long before we were all laughing and having a great time together.
We did a few other group activities but I’m not going to tell you what they were because I don’t want to ruin it for you. Don’t worry, it wasn’t anything embarrassing.
The whole experience took about four hours, but to tell you the truth, the time just flew by. We were still having fun right up until the taxi came to pick us up.
By the way, we met the owners in person while we were there and they shared some of their background with us. It turns out that Tulum is not their only location, they also have “experiences” in Argentina and Thailand.
The Dining Experience is located on the beach road inside the Hotel Manglex.
Prices and Reservations
Since prices are always subject to change in this world, I don’t like to include them in my reviews. You can find that information and book a reservation via their website:
Let’s Wrap This Up
If you’re ever in the Tulum area and you’re looking for a unique way to spend your evening after a long day at the beach, you should consider going to The Dining Experience. We plan on going back, so you might even run into us there.