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Tulum, Mexico

Colourful, locally sourced dining with a relaxed vibe in Mexican beach paradise

What makes it special? Apart from its truly iconic location in Mexico’s postcard-perfect beach resort of Tulum and the fact that Noma chef René Redzepi calls it “the place I dream about,” Hartwood is also the place to go for delicious, hearty dishes made from fresh local ingredients in a super-relaxed setting.

Who’s the chef? Eric Werner began his career as a pastry chef at Payard in New York City after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America. He worked at Wylie Dufresne’s 71 Clinton Fresh Food, but it was later, at Peasant and Vinegar Hill House, that he learnt the wood-fired cooking techniques he now uses at Hartwood.

The story behind the restaurant: Werner and his wife Mya Henry were on holiday in Tulum in 2009 when they had the idea to ditch the fast-paced restaurant life in New York. They set up Hartwood from scratch and settled in Tulum, where they now live with their daughter, Charlie.

What’s on the menu? Werner serves up vibrantly coloured dishes such as jicama salad with mint crema, tuna ceviche with ruby red tiger’s milk marinade, and roasted grouper collar.

Want more? Werner and Henry have just published their cookbook, Hartwood, so those who can’t get to Tulum can drool over the pictures and try out the recipes instead.

Images: Hartwood by Eric Werner and Mya Henry (Artisan Books) Copyright © 2015. Photographs by Gentl & Hyers

On the pass

  • Eric Werner (pictured with wife and co-owner Mya Henry)

Style of food

  • Wood-fired meat and seafood

Standout dish

  • Roasted collar grouper