The Mexico Gastronomic Guide 2024 has named Micaela Mar & Leña in Mérida, Yucatán as the best restaurant of the year.
The awards, chosen by publisher Larousse Cocina, recognized Micaela Mar & Leña as the best out of 250 restaurants included in the guide.
Micaela Mar & Leña opened in 2018 and is located in Mérida’s historic center. The menu includes fresh oysters, shrimp tacos, dried noodles, pig’s ear tostadas, banana molotes (fried banana with cheese), duck tamale, grilled octopus, and black mole sauce.
Founders Alberto Nacif and Vidal Elías, received the award during a ceremony that marked the 10th anniversary of the guide, at the Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana in Mexico City. Some 900 people attended the event.
“More than an award, it is an important and serious commitment that we continue to give the best of ourselves for the state, our diners, collaborators, and all those who make our work possible,” Nacif told newspaper La Jornada Maya.
This is the first time that the Mexico Gastronomic Guide has recognized a Yucatán restaurant as the best of the year.
“We are grateful and also aware that this celebration is not a product of chance, but rather the result of passion and perseverance,” Nacif added.
The restaurant was named in honor of a woman named Micaela, born in Louisiana in the 19th century to a formerly enslaved New Orleans man and a Mexican woman.
After her father passed away and her mother tried to force her into a marriage at age 13, Micaela ran away and worked as a nanny for a wealthy family in Veracruz, where she learned how to write, and recorded her wood-fired seafood recipes in a diary.
According to an interview with Elías last year, the restaurant is a tribute to Micaela’s life.