If you head to Tulum, Mexico and want great tacos in a low-key setting, stop by Safari.
The name “Safari” implies nature. If that’s what you’re looking for, you won’t be disappointed with the largely outdoor restaurant located at Carretera Boca Paila, Kilometer 8, near Hotel Cabanas Los Lirios Tulum.
Owner Luis Aguilar knows a thing or two about tacos! He returned to Mexico to open Safari in 2015 after working as a chef at Tacombi, a taco chain in Manhattan.
The casual restaurant accommodates about 35 diners under a thatched roof. As you enter, you will see a bamboo wall to the right and a small bookcase with tchotkes. At the foot of the restaurant, a bartender serves cocktails, cervezas (“beer”), vino (“wine”) and other drinks.
Adjacent tables to your left allow you to dine completely al fresco surrounded by palm trees.
Off to one side sits a metallic 1971 Airstream that functions as a kitchen. The staff also cooks some food items over a wood-fired pit.
Starters cost 95 Mexican pesos (just under $5 US.). They include Yuca truffle fries, Yin Yang guacamole, rice and beans and esquites (or little corn-cup): corn kernels lightly sauteed in vegetable oil served with avocado and cotija cheese. You have to squirt a bit of lime juice over them and stir them up!) Esquites are a popular snack or (“antojito”) served at festivals and fairs in Mexico.
When it comes to tacos, there is something to please every discerning palate. At 45 Mexican pesos or about $2.25 US dollars, you can try a few: pork pastor, vegetariano, crispy fish or pescado a la plancha (“grilled fish”), or shrimp mole verde.
I recommend the crispy fish taco, morsels of beer-battered fried fish come served on a taco topped with red cabbage. The vegetarian taco, laden with lettuce, avocado and two types of mushrooms was also tasty.
You can wash it all down with a variety of sodas or waters — all of which cost about 50 pesos (about $2.50 US) — including agua fresca de jamaica ( and infusion of dried red hibiscus water) or agua de clorofila y menta (chlorophyll and mint water) and velvet soda made of maracuya (passion fruit) and pomelo (grapefruit). I tried the agua fresca de jamaica which was somewhat tart and refreshing. Hisbicus water is said to help lower blood pressure!
If you want to try a more upscale restaurant while in Tulum, check out this link:
That’s the Lowdown!
If you want to learn how to make restaurant-quality meals at home, check out this link: