Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
7.6KM Tulum Mexico
¡Atención por favor, lovers of Tulum! You’ve no doubt either heard about Hartwood, the remarkable, open-air restaurant in Tulum, Mexico, or even tried to go, but have you gotten in? There are countless articles about this magical eatery – opened in 2010 by a hipster couple from Brooklyn – extolling its much-deserved virtues that seem hard to believe (No stove? No fridge?). Believe them all, by the way, and yet I’m going to tell you the most important thing you need to know about Hartwood: Go as a party of eight. That’s right, eight. Hartwood (in)famously does not take reservations, and as it’s become insanely popular of late, it seems you have to forsake your after-beach shower and stand in line for hours just for the possibility of a table. Um, no. Vacation in Mexico = afternoon siesta, right? So what to do?! Well, I recently traveled to Tulum for a certain, ahem, milestone birthday and brought along 7 milestone-making friends with me. Hartwood, you see, does take reservations, but only for parties of 8 or more. “Mmm, here’s to you!” my friends said as they sipped their grapefruit habenero-infused margaritas and toasted my birthday. “No, here’s to you,” I replied, “because you all got me into Hartwood!”
Why all the hub-bub? The romantic, rustic atmosphere sets the tone, the tropical cocktails almost knock you out, and by the time you taste the rosewater-scented sea bass ceviche, you know you’re in for something special. Fall-off-the-bone pork ribs made my knees weak, and the charred and luscious “Arrechera Angus” was possibly the best steak I’ve ever had. You’ll want to take pictures of the creative and colorful sides, like the largest, smokiest red beet I’ve ever seen, and you’ll want to savor your dessert, a lime tart that tastes like what citrus and heaven must taste like if they met. Finally, another juicy cocktail, mixed with a blender that is the only electrical appliance used at Hartwood, because that might be the biggest reason of all for all the fuss – this extraordinary restaurant uses no electricity (only a small generator for said blender) but rather relies solely on sustainable energy, a wood-burning oven, and lots of good knife skills. It is truly the epitome of living (deliciously) off the grid.
So if you’re in Tulum only with your beau, or maybe on a girls’ trip with your BFF’s, find a way to bump up your party. Make friends with that couple you always see at breakfast! Ask your fellow yogis after your morning yoga class! Did I take 7 friends to Tulum with me just so that I could get a reservation at Hartwood? No. Would I? Um, could you pass the plantains?