If you’ve been to Tulum, Mexico or are planning a visit, chances are you’ve heard of Hartwood Restaurant. Only a quick 5-minute walk from our Mahayana Tulum homes, Hartwood was established in 2010 by two expatriates from New York City. It has quickly become the premier restaurant in the area-- and for good reason. It has been created in the vein of restaurants like Noma; taking on many of its well-known food philosophies but presenting it in a more pastoral way. Food is bought locally, grown organically or foraged. This makes for a difficult challenge serving nearly 120 guests every night. Dinner is seated in two sessions and claiming your spot at this famed eatery can be difficult, at best.
What is it that makes Hartwood such a unique place? Their menu marks the expansion of an ever-growing trend in culinary creativity: focus on local and fresh ingredients at all costs. For the team at Hartwood, this means getting inventive with flavors and creating dishes that utilize ingredients which are readily available during any given season.
To further expand on the challenges of the menu, Hartwood's location presents a set of obstacles in and of itself. Situated deep along the main hotel zone of Tulum, the restaurant sits on the jungle side of the road with limited power sources and no space for sophisticated kitchen equipment. All of the food is prepared fresh using only knives or hand-held appliances powered by a single generator. Food is cooked only in an enormous wood oven or open grill. While the style of preparation is ancient the flavors are not. Of course, the roasted meats and grilled fish are done to perfection, but there are many surprises to discover on the menu using uncommon ingredients (by North American standards). Salads made from local jicama and flowers, roasted plantains drizzled with Mexican Canela and whimsical agave glazes are just a small taste of the atypical menu served at Hartwood.
Make no mistake, you will not find Mexican food at Harwood. The dishes are locally sourced but categorized as "international" in theme, gaining complexity through the use of new flavor combinations. The atmosphere at Hartwood is very rustic yet charming and extremely romantic. Lamps and twinkle lights provide a soft ambiance while strong cocktails help make up for anything the restaurant lacks in the ways of modern convenience.
Due to the popularity of the restaurant and limited resources, they do not take reservations. Often times, long lines can be spotted well before six o’clock in the evening when the first sitting occurs. We suggest joining this line as early as possible. Or simply hanging around until the next seating at 7:30 pm. It may be a laborious task to complete during your vacation, but we assure you, it is well worthwhile.
Mahayana Tulum Beach Homes is a collection of exclusive beachfront villas in Tulum, Mexico. For more information on our homes or to book your stay, please visit www.mahayanatulum.com