Xcaret Arte uses celebrated chefs to set the table for a flavorful food story

Xcaret Arte XAAK restaurant, opening course, photo by Cristine Struble
Xcaret Arte XAAK restaurant, opening course, photo by Cristine Struble /

Stepping into Hotel Xcaret Arte is more than just a moment to escape. While the environmental beauty excites the eye and envelopes guests into that Mexican lush landscape, the food story tempts with another invitation. Blending traditions, local ingredients, and culinary creativity, the resort’s celebrated chefs present a Mexican gastronomy feast that satiates a hunger and evokes an emotional fulfillment that lingers long after the last plate is cleared.

When Xcaret resorts rose around the cenotes and tropical trees, the story blended a willingness to preserve the past while adapting to luxury that guests desire. From the quiet enclaves where couples can reconnect by a rippling waterfall to rooftop bars that offer views of an expansive sky, the reality is that the daily life struggles are packed away and replaced with these moments of respite.

Although the ambiance sets the scene for the mind to push away the distractions, it is the table where guests are welcomed into a hospitable setting that blends comfort, familiar, and a little nudge of adventure. No matter the craving, thirst, or desire, an open table is waiting.

The showpiece of Hotel Xcaret Arte is XAAK. The Mayan word is translated to mean earth. While the dishes are rooted in local ingredients and tradition, the creativity in the chefs’ approaches celebrate the connection across cultures.

Even though earth is the connection, it is the elements that set the tone for the dining experience. Walking down the fire lit path to high vaulted room, the excitement builds. Water displays that surround some of the table bring a sense of calmness and a willingness to let the experience bring a touch of the serene.

At XAAK, diners experience a multi-course tasting menu. Each course is presented by one of the chefs from the various resort restaurants. Even though each one has a connection to Mexican culture and cuisine, the international influence is felt on each plate. Whether it is particular seasoning or ingredient, each dish is has a complexity without becoming muddled.

XAAK amuse-bouche Xcaret Arte
XAAK amuse-bouche Hotel Xcaret Arte, photo by Cristine Struble /

The five celebrated chefs move in and out of their specialties without overshadowing the Mexican ingredients. From a sweet prawn to coffee ravioli, the dinner evokes a reaction as each course hits the table. Curiosity leads to satisfaction. It is a journey that can set guests down a new culinary path.

While XAAK is a stunning experience, it is just one of the many dining options at Hotel Xcaret Arte. Another specialty restaurant, Kibi-Kibi blends Mexican and Lebanese flavors.

Designed by Chef Roberto Solis, the dishes seamless combine seasonings and ingredients to excite dinners. One of the most successful dishes is the Yucatecan Rice. With octopus, venison, sausage, and more, there is a familiarity with the rice based dish, but the robust flavors have guests contemplating every bite to better appreciate the complexity.

Kibi-Kibi appetizer Xcaret Arte
Kibi-Kibi appetizer Hotel Xcaret Arte, photo by Cristine Struble /

While Kibi-Kibi celebrates the Lebanese influence on Mexican gastronomy, other restaurants showcase the connections with other iconic cuisines. From Chino Poblano, (Chinese and Mexican) to Cayuco (Mediterranean–Mexican), the fresh, local ingredients showcase the rich Mexican culture while bringing a new approach to their presentation. The heart of Mexico is never overshadowed. Instead, it showcases how the native ingredients can adapt to almost any culinary approach.

Since Xcaret always is an ambassador for Mexico, its history, and its heritage, Cantina VI.AI.PY. by Alejandro Ruiz is a lovely presentation of Oaxacan cuisine. Although some less adventurous dinners might not be prepared for some protein choices, it is a reminder that food should never fit into a small, preconceived box. Whether it is a simple stop for a cocktail and appetizer or a meal enjoyed with live music, this restaurant invites diners to full appreciate the Mexican food creativity.

Cantina VI.AI.PY. Xcaret Arte
Cantina VI.AI.PY. Hotel Xcaret Arte, photo provided by Cristine Struble /

Lastly, a stay at Hotel Xcaret Arte must include at least one meal at the Mercado de San Juan. Unlike some all-inclusive resorts, this buffet is an extravaganza. The vibrant colors and décor set the tone as soon as diners walk through the door. Whether it is breakfast, lunch, or dinner, the expansive food offerings are truly a feast. No one will ever leave hungry when they sit at this table.

When guests stay at Hotel Xcaret Arte, the resort invites everyone to stay here to feel. Food is an integral part of that experience. From the unexpected to the traditional, every table and plate has a moment which tells a story of past, present, and future. The feelings run the gamut of emotions and that concept is at the heart of a well-rounded resort dining concept.

In his book, Xuenos, Miquel Quintana Pali stated that Xcaret is a state of mind. While that statement applies to all the parks and resorts, Hotel Xcaret Arte weaves Mexican gastronomy and the culinary arts in ways that guests may not have imagined. Art is not limited to a painting on a wall or a song played on an instrument. Flavors, ingredients, and heart blend in stunning harmony on the plate. And, like any transformational experience that evokes a feeling, a visit has them longing to come back to the Hotel Xcaret Arte tables to learn more about the world and themselves.

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