Fine Dining inside a Mayan Cavern- Alux Playa del Carmen!
Few people who visit Playa Del Carmen ever venture past Highway 307. However, travelers are mistaken if they think that nothing of interest lies across this dividing line. Follow Avenida Benito Juarez a few blocks past the highway, and you’ll come across an unassuming entryway that could be mistaken for a private garden, if not for the minimalist sign above that reads ‘Alux.’
Located between Calle 65 and 70, Alux is surrounded by Juarez’s hustle and bustle, a major shopping avenue that offers everything from second-hand bicycles to handmade leather goods. Yet once you step into the courtyard of Alux, the noise melts away. You’re greeted by a quiet garden with traditional wooden furniture and twinkling lights. But this isn’t what you should be focusing on. A wide stairway opens up on the right and leads down into a natural cave opening. Once you reach the bottom of the stairs, guests find themselves in a wide, surprisingly open cavern. Far from being dark or dingy, a softly lit foyer is at the far end of the cavern, complete with modern white couches and a glittering chandelier.
The staff is attentive, seeming to appear out of nowhere to lead guests to their seats. The cave ceiling lowers in the main dining area, with stalactites reaching their mineral-rich fingers down in the corners of the naturally formed room. Narrow pathways lead off this main area, and guests are invited to take a full tour around the cave. The extensive pathways open up into secret nooks and crannies. These romantically lit corners are reserved for special guests who have chosen a more private dining experience. The sizes of these private quarters differ greatly, and Alux promises that it can host an event for its guests: from a special occasion dinner to corporate events and even weddings, the cave seeming’s adjusts its size to fit the needs of its patrons.
Once seated, you can really take the time to marvel at the subtle way that Alux has fused this restaurant into the awe-inspiring natural surroundings. The decor is limited to elegant furnishings in dark, baroque materials and chandeliers dripping in crystals, echoing the stalactites dripping into natural pools. Soft lights are hidden in the cave wall; castings colors up into space.
In the entryway, you pass a twinkling bar. It is impressively finished, a perfect balance between natural materials and modern sophistication that produces fantastic cocktails. The Mayan Sangría contains a heady mix of rosé wine, vodka, and pear liqueur. With a generous portion of fresh fruit and ice added, the mixture invokes a memory of eating Pear Drops as a child. Wine lovers are invited to the private wine cellar, where a sommelier will assist them.
There are two food menus to choose from at Alux: the main menu and the Mesoamerican Exotic Pleasures menu. Though it would be a fair assumption that everything tasted at Alux invites pleasure. Guests have a lot to choose from with the extensive main menu. From seafood and steak to fowl and fresh salads, Alux’s choice of mains may seem broad, but they don’t compromise quality. All dishes are served with beautiful presentation and good portions. The Milpa Portobello appetizer was a tasty entryway into the meal, with a tomato and artichoke stuffing, topped with grilled Parmesan complemented by a crisp and tart apple and spinach salad. The lime soup is a gourmet take on a simple Mexican classic, served with a chicken and deer roll that rounds out the dish nicely.
As always, when along the Caribbean coast, seafood is a must, and Alux’s offerings are no exception. The Tuna Passion is seared to perfection, revealing an appealing pink center, topped with ‘mojo Rojo’ sauce. The subtle spiciness of the sauce perfectly compliments the smooth, clean flavor of the tuna.
The guests talk hushedly as they sample the flavors places on their tables, and a DJ plays soft music that softly reverberates around the cave walls. The twinkling, warm lights casting shadows create a truly magical feeling in this beautifully unexpected restaurant. “Alux” derives its name from the legend of the Aluxes. Legend has it that the Aluxes are Mayan elves that come to life in the moonlight, entrusted with safeguarding sacred sites throughout the Mayan world. In a setting such as Alux, where guests are cocooned in the nurturing belly of the Riviera Maya, it is easy to believe that the Aluxes are watching over the cave and its patrons through the night.
Click here for more information about the Restaurant Alux Playa del Carmen, Mexico.