Eric Werner and Mya Henry, who are originally from New York, are in charge of a popular restaurant in Tulum. The restaurant focuses on using sustainable practices and ingredients that are sourced locally.
Their kitchen, which is open and includes a grill and oven, runs solely on solar power. The menu changes everyday to feature the freshest produce and catch of the day from the local fishermen. At night, the courtyard is lit up by lanterns and has a rustic-chic atmosphere where you can expect to see models, photographers, and creative individuals from the East Coast.
Hartwood in Tulum does not have a fixed menu. Instead, they offer daily options made with locally sourced ingredients from nearby farms and ranches. These Mexican-inspired dishes are always unique and innovative.
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Due to its popularity, it is important to reserve a table ahead of time. Hartwood has a beautiful outdoor setting with a gravel floor and palm trees that complement the creativity of the dishes. Walk-ins are not typically accepted.
Eating at Hartwood
Hartwood is a must-visit if you’re within 50 miles of Tulum. The expat chef and owners use local ingredients to make delicious food on Tulum’s beautiful beach. The menu changes daily, and although the prices are similar to those in New York or San Francisco, the food is worth it. The cocktail menu is unique and refreshing, and they have successfully captured Tulum’s vibe. They are currently open Wednesday through Sunday, from 6 to 11 p.m.
Hartwood and People Queuing for Hours
When we arrived in Tulum, I sent an email to Hartwood on the first evening requesting a table for the next day. However, Hartwood did not respond. The next day at 5:30 PM when the restaurant opened, we showed up but it was already packed. It seemed like some people knew the unofficial opening hours and had lined up hours prior. The man at the door let us know that there was no space available.
It was surprising that a restaurant in Tulum, which has a warm and humid climate, would encourage customers to wait in long lines for a table. Instead, it would be much better if they could implement a booking system that allows customers to enjoy the beach during the day and arrive for dinner in the evening. I believe that preparing for a meal is also part of the dining experience. Queuing may be fine for quick bites in a street food market like Taipei where the wait is usually short, but not as much for sit-down meals.
Is it worth the wait?
Tulum has a must-try experience that lives up to its hype. The food, cocktails, people watching, and atmosphere are all very enjoyable. Although some of the taco stands and beach ceviche places are cheap, the expensive NYC-style meals can be a bit hard to accept. However, it’s worth splurging since you only live once!
A Dinner Worth Waiting For
Before visiting Tulum, I had heard about Hartwood from both friends and locals. Hartwood is an open-air restaurant located on the jungle side of Tulum. The restaurant is sustainable and uses solar panels for energy and a wood-burning oven for cooking. The menu changes almost daily based on locally sourced produce. Although the wait can be very long (I waited around an hour at the bar), the experience was worth it. I really liked the jicama salad which was fresh and had a dressing made of prickly pear juice. The grilled octopus was also delicious.
Bottom Line: Hartwood Review
Hartwood is highly recommended for its food and it’s worth making an effort to visit. The menu changes daily and may include dishes such as jicama salad, ceviche de aguja with ginger and mezcal, agave pork belly, and grilled octopus, along with great cocktails. To avoid a very long wait for a table, it’s best to email for a reservation at least a month in advance. Otherwise, expect to wait with the many others who were also recommended to come here.