Restaurant of the Month: Elio al Mare in Progreso
Each month Yucatan Today visits a restaurant in order to describe what it has to offer. This is not a review; it is a summary of the menu, service, ambience, prices, and opening hours.
This unassuming house-turned-restaurant on the beach, 10 blocks east of the malecón in Progreso, is no longer a best-kept secret: people are discovering that it is well worth going out of your way to eat in this gem of a restaurant. In fact, it is worth driving to Elio al Mare for dinner from Mérida.
Elio al Mare, a casual beach hideaway, is situated right on the beach. Being away from the malecón means no busy street between your table and the sand. Palm trees, swimmers, horseback riders, and the colorful Elio al Mare boat on the sand are all at your feet. Tables are on a patio under a palapa, where you can feel the ocean breezes as you dine and watch the sunset.
Visitors are welcomed by either Elio or Bruno, the father and son owners, and served a delicious sangría, made from many fruits, wines, and various other spirits, and marinated overnight. It is a fantastic way to relax and get into the mood for your feast. Both Elio and Bruno are Italian, as is the chef, and their menu reflects their Italian roots. Seafood and pasta are the specialties here, and, combined with the spectacular setting, the experience is unforgettable.
Antipastos include Carpaccios of either lobster, salmon, tuna, or beef; various seafood salads; and clams and mussels when available. Not on the menu is the shrimp dish featured in one of the photos here in our Related Gallery: simmered in fresh tomatoes, garlic and olives, and topped with melted mozza cheese...just out of this world!
Fresh salads include Mixed, Greek, Caprese, and various combinations with avocado.
The signature fresh homemade pastas include Fettucine with lobster, Bolognese, Matriciana, Carbonara, Boscaiola, Alfredo, and Salvia. Tagliolini pasta comes with either zucchini and shrimps or the popular “Mountain and Sea”, described by Bruno as containing the following: extra virgen olive oil, garlic, parsley, mushrooms, roasted red pepper, calamari, shrimp, white wine “y mucho amore”. Raviolis are filled with either lobster or spinach and ricotta. The fresh pastas are perfectly made and perfectly cooked. Pasta lovers will think they have arrived in Pasta Heaven.
Also on the menu: Gnocchi Gorgonzola and Lasagne Bolognese. There are various dishes made from dry pasta, as well as risotto with lobster, seafood, clams, zucchini and asparagus, or gorgonzola and saffron.
Main course: Catch of the day grlled, fried, with vodka, with lemon, or Alla Pizzaiola (tomatoes, oregano, capers, white wine, garlic, olive oil). Calamari: grilled, with shrimp, or fried. Shrimp: grilled, steamed, fried, flambé, or rolled in bacon. Lobster: fried, grilled, or Alla Pizzaiola. Crab in season: steamed or “in crazy water with tomato and pepper.” Mixed plate to share: lobster, shrimp, squid, fish filet (grilled or fried). Meats: grilled steak, roast beef, pork steak, chicken breast (fried or Parmigiana). Side dishes include vegetables and potatoes. Desserts include tiramisu, dessert of the day, Gelato sunk in coffee, and Fruit Macedonia. There is a full bar and selection of red, white, and sparkling wines.
Be sure to click through the photos in the Related Gallery!
Hours: Wed.-Sun. 1 pm – 10 pm. July and August: 2 pm – midnight every day. Calle 21 No. 60 x 40 y 38, Progreso. Tel. 969 935 0804.