Type: French fusion lunch and dinner
Neighborhood: Santa Cruz Palomeque (just outside the Merida Periferico)
Address: Santa Cruz Palomeque Main Street
How to Get There from the Centro:Go south on the Periferico. At the exit to Dzununcan, make a right turn. You will see the sign to Santa Cruz Palomeque immediately after your turn. Follow the road straight until you enter a little village. Look for the sign to the hacienda on your left opposite the village church and school playground.
Parking: In the hacienda.
Air Conditioned: No.
Outdoors: Patio seating
Drinks: Full bar
Facebook: www.facebook.com /haciendasantacruz
Hours: Open daily, 1:30 PM to 11:00 PM.
Notes:Our intrepid restaurant reporter had this to say about her experiences: Only 20 minutes from Centro, La Creole, the French fusion restaurant on the grounds of Hacienda Santa Cruz, feels as if you are going years back in time. The hacienda grounds are lush and green, with old trees gracing a large central grass lawn. We followed the meandering pebble path through the lush gardens within the hacienda walls under the shade from those flowering trees into the restaurant.
We had made our lunch reservation one day before (this is HIGHLY recommended) and our table was waiting. Two shade umbrellas covered the white-clothed table that had been pre-set with a vase of fresh-cut flowers and colorful glass stones. The days a la carte menu was displayed on a chalkboard for us. Just the act of sitting in the garden with a nice breeze, and a view of the well-kept grounds that surrounded our table created a very relaxing start to what would be a wonderful French fusion meal.
We had all opted for the a la carte menu. La Creole also offers a complete menu called Menu Degustacion that includes everything from a welcoming drink to dessert. But we wanted to be more adventurous! Once seated, we were greeted by both of the owners, Caroline Arnoux and Robert Franck, as well as manager Evelyne Douenne. This lovely French couple bought the hacienda a few years ago and came from France to live here while creating the hotel, spa and restaurant that is now Hacienda Santa Cruz.
We choose to start our lunch with an arugula salad with thinly sliced prosciutto and marinated yellow bell pepper slices, along with mini goat cheese balls. Two entrees were offered and ordered: the salmon filet with a chaya puree and a filet of beef with a red wine sauce. Each entree was served with a sautéed vegetable mix which was crisp and flavorful. Both the steak and the salmon were prepared to perfection. The dessert of the day was mini crepes with a French custard, which turned out to be a petite dessert perfect to top off each of our delicious meals. We accompanied the postre with a cup of Dolce Gusto coffee, brought to us by our friendly and attentive server.
We were invited to take a swim and tour the grounds. Ahhhh, if only we had brought our suits! Next time. Next time may be at night, too, as the garden lighting strung throughout and amongst each of the mature trees looks like it would create a magical setting.