Merlot Bistro is a quite charming place. The front exterior
has a series of large, curtained windows facing Tapachula. Inside,
the walls have artwork and many nooks and crannies are filled
with wine bottles. You can immediately view the core menu items
by passing by the glass counter in the center of the room. The
delicious desserts, succulent meats and basket with samples of
the night's bread specialties are attractively displayed.
The dining area has a very large sliding glass door that opens
onto the intimate patio, where you can relax in a garden-type
setting. Tiny white lights decorate the trees at night. The ambiance
at Merlot Bistro leads one to immediately feel at home.
Merlot Bistro has now expanded, doubling their original size.
When we visited in the summer of '99 the live musicians were no
longer playing, but we were still happy with the food, drink,
The specialties at Merlot Bistro are wine, salads, cheese and
The salads were above average and only 37 to 20 pesos. They are
very fresh, flavored with fruity olive oil and interesting combinations
of ingredients. One of my favorites is the salad la española
- lettuce, nuts, grapes topped with large, thin slivers of parmesan
cheese - delicious! The greek salad was covered with very generous
portions of big chunks of feta cheese and proved to be a big hit.
The Malaya salad had chunks of mango - served with a tangy lime
dressing, those ordering it were quite happy they did. The large
salads were large enough to make a good meal combined with soup
or a large appetizer plate.
You can construct your own sandwich at Merlot Bistro - Choose
from a list of 8 types of meat - including 3 kinds of jamón
(ham) - Virginian, Bavarian, or "Selva Negra" (Black Forest).
There are four types of cheese available: Chihuahua, Gruyere,
Manchego or Monterrey. With parsley, sesame seed, whole wheat
and pita bread available, your choices multiply geometrically.
Prices for these sandwiches range from 39-55. pesos, depending
on how many types of meat and how many types of cheese you want.
There are several special grilled sandwiches - we tried the
"La Americana" which was turkey with melted cheese and grilled
mushrooms and bell pepper. It was very good. Many enjoyed the
"La Salmon," big, thick slices of smoked salmon with Philadelphia
cream cheese and capers for 58 pesos. Several people sampled and
enjoyed the Tortas del Chef - which were tortas with cheese and
served with gravy, very tasty. There is also pannini, including
a vegetarian one (with cheese, mushrooms and tomato) and a delicious
fondue for two people for 65 pesos. The del Campo sandwich was
very bland, but fresh and wholesome with it's vegetables and queso
Appetizer plates include various kinds of cheeses and a marvelous,
tiny, pickled and spicy hard-boiled egg, "huevos de codorniz,"
or quail egg; it's really quite delicious, it's mildly hot. Soup
choices were minestrone and clam chowder and both were good.
The menu is only in Spanish, but if you speak English, you will
discover you are already familiar with many of the terms - roast
beef, corned beef, salami, etc.
The wine menu is very extensive and includes wine from our favorite
Mexican winery, Monte Xanic, and wine from Chile. A bottle of
Monte Xanic will set you back 334 pesos, but it is worth the price;
or try a glass of the viña kristel for 29 pesos. Sangria
is available, but oddly, it is listed on the menu along with nonalcoholic
drinks, under the heading "refrescos." Don't be fooled, this Sangria
is made with wine. Cerveza is quite reasonably priced at 14 to
18 pesos per bottle. They have delicious fresh lemonade, Italian
sodas and of course the ubiquitous Coke.