Looking for a Yucatan experience?
What do you get when you mix a museum of Yucatan cuisine with a casually elegant restaurant serving Yucatan specialties and craft cocktails? Museo de la Gastonomica Yucateca. Unfortunately, we were nearing the end of our month in Merida when we finally visited. We had been on the hunt for the perfect accessible place to experience authentic Yucatan food in Merida before finding this dining experience. If only we had known earlier, we would have returned many more times. Perhaps even daily.
We had never been to a place quite like this and MUGY won our hearts. There is a small museum in rooms set to the right of the restaurant. Colorful signage and historical artifacts tell the history of Mayan cuisine. Do you like immersive experiences? So do I, and you can’t get any more immersive than gathering outside in their simulated Mayan puebla, watching classic dishes being prepared, and then watching the final steps of Conchinita Pibil. What if I told you it even included free samples of this specialty?
You won’t want to miss this!
Conchinita Pibil is slow-roasted seasoned pork and each afternoon at 2:30, you will watch the actual pig being lifted from the pit in the ground that is lined with banana leaves. My family wasn’t sure I would be up to seeing this part, but it was fascinating. The Museum staff had guests form a line and they handed out serving-size cups for us. Throughout the day you can observe tortillas being made and marinades being prepared. We waited as the men lifted the pig and portioned out generous samples into our cups. We then scattered across the courtyard village to enjoy our samples before heading inside to request a dinner table.
Is it Accessible?
There is a ramp into the building and the path through the museum or the restaurant was ramped where needed and with wide enough aisles to pass easily. When you exit the museum portion through the rear of the building into the outdoor Mayan village display, the path narrows at times and has some rough texture to the ground. I had no problem rolling my manual chair into the area. However, since it can be crowded, making it more difficult to stick to smooth areas, having a friend along to give a hand can be a good idea.
The museum admission and Conchinita Pibil experience is free. It is not required, or even necessarily expected, that you stay for a meal in the restaurant, but if you don’t, will be missing out on the best Yucatan specialty meal we had in Merida. The service was top-level. There is live music on Friday and Saturday evenings. My family was very impressed by the unique craft cocktails and wished they could try each one. I enjoyed the MUGY special beans, which are refried beans topped with longaniza sausage and pork rinds, while my family enjoyed the Conchinita Pibil two ways, both on tacos and a sandwich. We loved it all!
Museo de la Gastonomica Yucateca is located on Calle 62 between Avenidas 55 y 57. Calle 62 is a fairly busy street and if you take an uber as we did, it will pull off to the side of the narrow road. The road itself is cobblestone with raised sidewalks. We found it worked best to position my wheelchair behind the car when it was lifted from the trunk, rather than alongside my door. I then had assistance getting to my chair, but that seemed better than being sideswiped by traffic. I rolled with assistance to the corner where it was smoother and had a fairly steep curb cut to access that narrow sidewalk. We stood to the side and waited as groups of people passed and then I was able to roll down the sidewalk and into the restaurant. It wasn’t a perfect situation, but it was workable. If you need more than a quick drop-off, ask the driver to find a nearby place to park and then you can make your way back there.
PROTIP: Don’t arrive at 2:30. Arrive early enough to not be hurried as you walk through the museum portion, heading to the Conchita in the back. Then you will have space to maneuver on the outdoor walkway and see everything
I hope you will be able to visit MUGY if you’re looking for an accessible Yucatan dining experience in Merida. I think it was a perfect introduction to excellent Yucatan dishes. We had tried smaller, local restaurant versions but found we had a greater appreciation for the dishes once we visited here. We would love to return and try everything.