Several readers of the blog have requested that I write more reviews about restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions in Mexico.
I have already started doing that; however, I decided that the distinction of being named an official Q-Roo Paul’s Pick will still be reserved for those extra special places.
Although we eat out quite often (about six days a week), we don’t name many restaurants as official picks. In 2017, there were only two and the last one was almost six months ago. Today’s pick will be the first one for 2018.
So, without further ado, I’m happy to name the Sal de Mar Restaurant in Cozumel as an official Q-Roo Paul’s Pick (cue the band and release the balloons).
Sal de Mar
This restaurant has only been open for a little over a year and we first discovered it when a friend who lives part-time in Cozumel took us there for dinner.
When I first walked in, I was impressed by the meticulous effort that had gone into designing the interior of the restaurant. It was spacious (with multiple seating areas), inviting and had a contemporary look that you rarely see in other restaurants in the area.
We decided to start with a few shared appetizers that included some delicious Edam cheese croquettes. I could have eaten two plates of them.
The appetizers were so good that we couldn’t wait to move on to the main course. There were so many dishes to choose from. Sal de Mar has an extensive menu that includes everything from seafood to brick oven pizzas.
We decided to order steaks, which we rarely ever do at a new restaurant because we are both very picky when it comes to the quality of the meat and the preparation.
From the moment I took the first bite of the filet, I was hooked. It was perfectly seasoned, cooked the way I like it and served with a four-cheese sauce that was amazing. The steak came with a baked potato and vegetables (also perfectly seasoned) and I enjoyed every bite.
That night, everyone at our table must have been suffering from beef withdrawals because this is what our dishes looked like:
Linda loved her meal as much as I did and we both vowed to return to the restaurant during our next visit to the island.
Almost two months later, we returned briefly to the island to do some research for another blog article. Linda and I were excited to return to Sal de Mar and have a great meal before heading back to the mainland.
On this visit, we started chatting with one of the partners in the restaurant, Juan Carlos, and we learned a little bit about the history of the business and the building.
It turns out that the building was actually his grandfather’s house that he built in 1945. It was renovated over a year ago and was converted into a restaurant that is owned/operated by Juan Carlos, his brother, his parents and his high school friend who happens to be an excellent chef.
I mentioned to Juan Carlos that we enjoyed our first visit so much that felt compelled to return. I told him that I wanted to try something new this time and he suggested a sampling of various dishes prepared at the chef’s discretion. We agreed and the culinary adventure began.
We tried a wide variety of dishes ranging from beef carpaccio to lionfish. By the time the evening was over, we had sampled more than half a dozen dishes and we topped it all off with a fantastic Coco Alaska dessert.
The one thing that all of the dishes had in common is that they were all well-thought-out. The ingredients weren’t merely tossed together, they were carefully chosen and combined to make each bite something special.
I even ate something that I have never liked before, octopus. In the past, it was always been chewy and tasteless, but not this time. It was delicious and I ate the whole thing. I will probably order this the next time we go.
Monday to Saturday from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm
Sunday from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm
Menu and Reservations
You can find a complete menu on their site (with prices) and even book a reservation.
Let’s Wrap This Up
Whether we go to Cozumel for the day or we stay a week, this restaurant will definitely be one of the places that we visit. If you decide to try it for yourself, you might even run into us there.