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Pórtico del Peregrino Restaurant

Pórtico del Peregrino Restaurant

15 July 2015 Yucatan Restaurants 32

Whenever I eat in a restaurant, anywhere in Yucatan, I generally end up with a little wave of guilt washing over me at some point during the meal. Now, mind you, the guilt is never enough to stop me from eating, but I am always well aware of just how lucky we are to be dining out in Yucatan, rather than in the States. The following is a prime example of our most fortunate circumstances.

I'm From Louisiana...

Originally from Louisiana, you can be certain that I am well aware of what good food is, and exactly how much it costs to dine in some of the finer establishments there. For the sake of comparison, one of my favorite meals in Louisiana is a shrimp cocktail, soup of the day and salad, and stuffed eggplant, finished off with a nice sundae and a cup of coffee. Now, such a meal is going to take a while to eat, but no hurry. Louisiana was, after all, settled by the same folks who settled Yucatan, so the need to rush through anything, especially a meal, is not part of our culture at all. Ultimately, the damage for such an evening, including tip, is just under $50.

…and then I came to Merida! …and found myself in El Pórtico Del Peregrino.

Oh-looky-looky! Shrimp cocktail, a stuffed eggplant and coconut ice cream topped with Kahlúa! Are you sure I’m not in Louisiana? Every once in a while, I still look around, just to make sure.

…and then our food begins to arrive. Three of us were eating out together that night. My shrimp cocktail came to the table and we must have looked as if we had lost our minds completely. Not one of us could make a sound! We just sat there, looking at it. It was huge! We were speechless and then began to giggle. It was beginning to dawn on us that we had no idea how much food any of us had actually ordered!

Thankfully, the soup and salad were of a reasonable size. The three of us shared my shrimp cocktail and prepared for our entrées. My stuffed eggplant was excellent, even though the stuffing had chicken in it, rather than Louisiana shrimp. When I was ordering, I was a bit worried about that but, considering the size of my shrimp cocktail, I think I had already had quite enough shrimp for one night. My stuffed eggplant was large, but not overly so. I think I only had to stop and rest once during the entire main course, but I was enjoying the company, so that was not a real problem. We were, however, all glad for a little break between our entrées and our desserts. I don’t believe I ever remember actually praying for a slow waiter at any other time in my entire life!

My coconut ice cream, topped with Kahlúa, came with a slice of almond cake. I made it through the ice cream, with the help of my coffee, but had to give the cake to one of my friends. What a blessing it was that we were headed for the Yucatecan Serenade, in Parque Santa Lucía. If ever a meal called for a walk, this one did! The total of my bill, for all of the above, in dollars, was about $17, plus tip. I just feel terrible about all those poor people, back in the States, not having the advantages we have – but what can one do? We will just have to think of them often and hope they can come and visit every now and again.

Did You Know...

The name of El Pórtico Del Peregrino is taken from a popular folk song about Alma Reed, a New York Times reporter, who covered the early excavations at Chichén Itzá. She admired the social reforms of Governor Felipe Carrillo Puerto, which were quite progressive for the times. Carrillo’s greatest accomplishments were reclaiming ejidos (communal farms) from the haciendas, legalizing birth control, giving women the right to vote, and translating the Constitution into Mayan. Reed and Carrillo fell in love and he called her La Peregrina, which means pilgrim. Reed wrote articles that helped recover artifacts that an American had taken from Chichen Itza. Their wedding was to be in January, 1924. While Reed was in San Francisco, preparing for the nuptials, angry hacienda owners paid federal troops to march Carrillo to the cemetery in Merida and execute him by firing squad. Today, the bullet holes can still be seen in the wall near his grave.

El Portico del Peregrino, or Peregrino's as the locals call it, is located on Calle 57 halfway between Calle 62 and Calle 60.


  • Jan Villeneuve 1 year ago

    This is a nice tribute to the Peregrino restaurant. They still serve shrimp cocktail but not so huge. I cannot remember whether eggplant is still on the menu. What I do know is you cannot eat that much for $17.00 dollars today. But yes, it still is a very good place for late lunch or dinner, reasonably priced and with a very pleasant garden atmosphere. I strongly recommend it.

  • Yucatan Living - Portico del Peregrino 6 years ago

    [...] Type: Yucatecan with some international cuisine Neighborhood: Col. Centro Telephone: 928-6163 Address: Calle 57 x 60 How to Get There from the Centro: You are right there. Restaurant is two blocks from the Main Plaza. Go north on Calle 60, turn left on Calle 57. Parking: On the street or on Calle 62 x Calle 57 in the multi-story parking lot. AirConditioned: Yes Outdoors: Yes Drinks: Full Bar Hours: Every Day: 12am to 12 pm Website Facebook Note: We reviewed it here… [...]

  • Natasha Wiegand 7 years ago

    I'm very surprised at any positive reviews for this restaurant. It was the worst meal we had in all of the Yucatan. It was so bland that I couldn't finish my food. I felt like I was chewing on sawdust. My husband was likewise disappointed with his meal. He adores Tortilla soup so has it before every meal whenever we are in Mexico. He couldn't eat his and had a similar reaction to his meal. We skipped dessert and just got out. They had some decent wines. The service was slow, but we expect that when traveling outside the US. The patio was gorgeous. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone.

  • Brenda Thornton 7 years ago

    Well, this was hysterical. Having visited, eaten, and nearly passed out from trying to complete a meal in NO, I could understand the message, but to have someone from NO praise the food in the Yucatan is truly an inspirational thing.

    Most of my friends from NO, and Louisiana sniff their nose at seafood prepared in any manner by anyone other than a purist from their neck of the woods.

    Perhaps, now, I will be able to harness my friend from Baton Rouge to travel to Merida with me.

  • LeAnne Armano 7 years ago

    A friend and I ate at Portico de Peregrino last night (April 21 2008). While the food not the worst we’ve ever had, it was certainly mediocre. The service, however, was terrible.

    We mostly went in to have some fresh fish. A full ten minutes after we ordered we were told they were out of the snapper. We ordered two salads and two entrees (salmond and shrimp). The fish was decent. One of our salads never came, and the fruit salad was nothing to write home about. My fish was accompanied by a tomato stuffed with what could only appear to be half a cup of sour cream with mayonaise that had been sitting out and yellowed heaped on top of it and plain rice (not the potato advertised). The service was slow beyond belief, and we even stated at our entrees getting cold on the serving tray for a a full five minutes before the server brought it to our table. Other diners looked equally bored and displeased with the experience. I don’t recommend anyone go there, everywhere else in Merida has been better. The coffee shop on the other side, however, is awesome. They even managed to make an iced mocha for my friend which was exceptional and a great deal at only $1.60 US.

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    Hola, Bill!
    There is actually no hotel exactly across from the Peregrino. The closest hotels are either Mision Merida at one end of the block on the same side (and it is now closed, sold to someone else and due to reopen soon) or Hotel Colonial at the other end of the block on the far side of the street (on the corner actually) and facing Calle 62. Hope that helps!

  • Bill McDermott 8 years ago

    Last year we stayed at the hotel across the street from the Peregrino. Could anyone tell me the name of that hotel?

    Bill McDermott

  • Ceci Sullivan 8 years ago

    Thanks so much for the reply's. Hoping to come visit soon! Tried getting the movie on Ebay but it doesn't have English Captions. Maybe the new one will. Thanks again, hope to see you if you live down there!

  • Khaki 8 years ago

    Cici, If you go to this site: Cantante del Mayab you can hear a snippet of Peregrina. The site is slow loading - just leave it alone and let it do its work - you'll get a concert of trova that will help you understand what it was that your husband's aunt fell so much in love with in Yucatan.

  • Working Gringos 8 years ago

    Dear Cici,

    The lyrics to La Peregrina are:

    Peregrina, de ojos claros y divinos
    y mejillas encendidas de arrebol,
    mujercita de los labios purpurinos
    y radiante cabellera como el sol.

    Peregrina que dejaste tus lugares
    los abetos y la nieve, y la nieve virginal
    y viniste a refugiarte en mis palmares
    bajo el cielo de mi tierra, de mi tierra tropical.

    Las canoras, avecillas de mis prados,
    por cantarte dan sus trinos si te ven
    y las flores de nectarios perfumados
    te acarician y te besan en los labios y en la sien.

    Cuando dejes mis palmares y mi sierra,
    peregrina del semblante encantador,
    no te olvides, no te olvides de mi tierra...
    no te olvides, no te olvides de mi amor.

    The movie we think you're asking about is also called "Peregrina". It was produced in 1966, starring Antonio Aguilar as Felipe Carrillo and Sasha Montenegro as Alma Reed. It was released on DVD last year, and you can sometimes still find a copy on Amazon. A remake is currently in production, directed by Carlos Bolado.

  • Ceci Sullivan 8 years ago

    Alma Reed was my husband's Aunt. I'm looking to find the song La Peregrina, and I heard there was a movie (does anyone know the name) about Felipe Carrillo. Alma's nephew, my husband, has been famous, like his father also. To read more you can go to The Gene Sullivan Story or

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