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On the Chopping Block: Where to Avoid, or at Least Go With Caution

My chubby cat could have plated this better

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Photos by Diane DiMeo


t’s dirty job but someones got to do it: tell it like it is. What place is on the ‘Chopping Block’ this issue? Boca Nariz, Vino & Gourmet (by Giada), in Aldea Zama. Let’s be real, when something opens up in Aldea Zama I get excited. Like REALLY excited. If you have been in Tulum as long as I have, and have lived in Aldea Zama,  you’d get that statement. Aldea Zama used to be a small, little community, with nothing inside but condos/houses, and absolutely no cabs anywhere. After a while, we got a restaurant, Chacabar, a cafe and maybe one other joint but that was the extent of it. It stayed that way for a long ass time, and then suddenly...POP. Places started to open. So when a place looks super nice of course there is excitement, because you don’t have to go into the pueblo or to the beach to grab something - you can stay right in Aldea Zama. 


There was much buzz about one of the latest restaurants, Boca Nariz, and of course I had to go check it out, since it was right next to one of my fav places, Campanellas. Boca was rather empty, on this particular day that I decided to pop in, however there were several wait staff there, which was promising. 

Once I sat, I was attended to immediately, and I thought that we were off to an amazing start. But alas, I was too quick in my thought process. I ordered a glass of wine, and sadly, there was an ‘exact pour’ spout on the bottle. Mind you, if I am going to pay a decent amount for a glass of wine, then I would like to believe that I am getting a decent pour. Of course, I got an ‘anal retentive, to the drop exact pour’. I felt as though my daytime rose drinking debauchery was on a downward slippery slope. But let’s not be too critical...yet. 


I decided to order something to nosh on, and I checked out the menu. Not a person who can eat salt, due to health issues, I zeroed in on a raw tuna dish. Here’s where everything goes to shit in a can REALLY quickly. I explained to the waiter (in spanish) that I did not want any sauce on my tuna and that I wanted it natural, because I cannot consume salt. He took my order, and a few minutes later, another waiter came to the table to double check on what I ordered. I again explained to this waiter the same thing, which he understood, then the original waiter who took the order came back to the table. Now there were 3 of us - 2 waiters, and myself. The original waiter piped in, and insisted that I get the salmon since it is natural. I repeated myself, saying I cannot have salt, and is he SURE that the salmon is natural, otherwise i would take the tuna. He said yes, the salmon is natural, and it was very good. So i said fine, forget the Tuna, bring me the salmon. 

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Low and behold, the salmon was NOT natural or even raw, it was cured. And we all know what you cure anything with: SALT. A LOT of salt. Here’s the thing, there were TWO waiters at my table, who were both so incompetant with the menu that neither of them knew anything about the menu items. I will contend that it is NOT their fault, but the fault of the management and kitchen. In addition, the plate of salmon served to me was so poorly presented, it was as if someone  just lifted some cured salmon from the package, and laid it as is on my plate, with a few slices of bread next to it. But the absolute WORST part? When I complained about the salmon not being natural, raw and without salt, they did nothing about it. So I just took it to go. No one came to apologize, no one took it off my bill, not a damn thing. They didn’t care. Sorry not sorry, but when I pay Tulum prices, I’d better get the service and food that goes with those price tags. And Boca Nariz did not respect me as a (rather high) paying customer. 


I even went as far as sending them a message. And further than that? I told them I would write about my experience. Their response? A thumbs up, and the words ‘OK’. So, ‘OK’. My review of Boca Nariz? ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK, and to date, one of the WORST experiences I have had in the whole of Riviera Maya. 

Boca Nariz 

Aldea Zama, Itzamna, 5ta Avenida Sur Esquina


Have a place you think should be on the ‘Chopping Block’? Send an email with info to: 


Tulum Eats Magazine is published 12 times a year, unless we decide to go on prolonged vacations. You can find the print magazine at select locations throughout the Riviera Maya, and in some East Coast establishments, where we will randomly place, during selective times. The website will be updated monthly, with selected materials that may or may not be the same as the print version. Look for us soon, in other states of Mexico.

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