People rave about Hartwood. If you type ‘restaurant Tulum’ into Google, Hartwood will take over the search results. Set up by the American Eric Werner, the New York chef came to Tulum on holiday in 2009 and never left. He brought with him his wood-fire cooking techniques, and Hartwood quickly became the place to dine in Tulum.
Open only for dinner, the menu is very fish and meat heavy, all cooked on an open fire of course. Good news is you can actually book ahead now (just send them an email), which we did, and smugly skipped all the queues (there are always queues). We ate here on our final night and were not disappointed.
The restaurant itself is busy and atmospheric, lit mostly by countless candles. It’s loud in a way that you can still enjoy conversation, and the buzz is such that it encourages you to buy that extra bottle of wine, or a (delicious) Mezcal-coffee shot instead of pudding. It’s probably the most upbeat place in Tulum.
The menu changes daily. We shared gambas to start, which were huge and beyond juicy, and gone in seconds. As a main Rob went for the octopus, and I went for their beef, beautifully pink on the inside, and smoky and crispy on the outside. To finish I had my Mexcal shot (!) and Rob the sweetcorn ice cream. I was pretty skeptical about it, until I tried it. And then proceeded to pretty much finish the whole thing.
Conclusion: yes, Hartwood is good. And it should absolutely be on your Tulum bucket list. But don’t forget about places like Arca (right next door) and El Tabano, which might not have the same press, but definitely deserve it.
Carretera Tulum Boca Paila 7.6Km
Photo credit: All mine, difficult to take decent photos with no light!