Cheap Eats of the Month: Loncheria la Esquina, the Proverbial Diner, Yucatan Style Serving Up Large Plates of Food From Their Huge Menu, with a Daily Special Menu Showcasing 4 to 6 Specials
By: Jonty Rees | November 2020
Loncheria La Esquina translates to The Corner Diner, and you’ll find it at the corner of Calles Jupiter Nte and Polar Pte
Photos by Bernardo Flores
Full disclosure - this kind of joint is right in my sweet spot. A classic loncheria is the Mexican equivalent of the diner, where you’ll get comfort food just like your Abuela used to make, and you won’t leave hungry. Loncheria La Esquina translates to The Corner Diner, and you’ll find it at the corner of Calles Sol Oriente and Jupiter Sur, in the heart of Tulum Centro. It’s a busy, fast-moving restaurant that opens out onto both streets, offering great people watching as Tulum’s eclectic residents move by.
The menu covers all the standard Mexican favorites, from a full breakfast selection that is served all day, through antojitos (tacos, tortas, sopes, huaraches, gringas), burritos, enchiladas, nachos, full plate “specials” and finally a seafood menu including fish and shrimp.
Over the course of two visits, I sampled enchiladas, nachos, and huaraches. Each time I came away happily full, and impressed with the level of care that went into even the most humble of dishes. At 45 pesos for each plate, you could excuse a bare-bones offering, particularly in the case of enchiladas, which are very often served in a lonely row without accompanying sides. Not at La Esquina. Here, their enchiladas, for 45 pesos, were well stuffed with shredded white chicken, generously covered with sweet mole, with two other options of sauce to choose from: salsa verde and salsa roja (green or red sauce). They were topped with an artful swirl of media crema (Mexico’s version of half & half), a sprinkling of Queso Fresco, slices of onion and a green salad. On the side were black beans and mildly garlicky white rice with diced carrots and zucchini. It was a lot of food, and a heat-defeating siesta would have been a perfect follow up.
The Nachos, with chicken, had a similarly satisfying pile of queso sauce, pico de gallo, guacamole, beans, onions, and shredded chicken on a plateful of crispy tortilla chips. One person could finish it, but you’d do better with a helper. Our shared Huarache con Arrachera was big and well presented with piles of grilled beef on a bed of salad with swirls of crema. If there was a thick tortilla under there, which there was, we had to dig to find it. The tortilla was thick, fresh, and the texture was amazing, it was reminiscent of a homemade corn based Naan. Washing all of this down with a cold Agua Fresca added only 15 pesos, so a hearty meal at La Esquina will likely set you back comfortably less than 100 pesos.
When a restaurant is always full of local working folks, you can be sure it’s going to deliver, and Loncheria La Esquina certainly does!
Loncheria La Esquina Calle Jupiter Nte y Calle Polar Pte, Tulum QR 77760
Hours Mon-Sat 7 am to 8 pm, Closed Sundays
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