Restaurant Review - a la Vibora de la Mar, Merida

Tom and I had the opportunity recently to go to a restaurant that is reported to have the best pulpo in town.  Now you may remember from a previous that I tried to prepare a fresh pulpo, well actually it was 2 rather good sized pulpo.  And they were terrible.  I vowed  in that post to always eat my pulpo out.  And this restaurant proves my point.  a la Vibora de la Mar is out of the way, at least for us.  But oh so worth the trip.   The address on our receipt says calle 34 #351 x 31 y 33, colonia Emiliano Zapato Norte.  

UPDATE - The actual physical address is Calle 32 número 55 local 14 entre 57 y 55 San Antonio Cucul, Plaza Cascadas

For you locals, this restaurant is located out past where the former Planet Bowl, now Diamonds Casino is located.  Just a bit further on in the back of the strip mall where the Cark's Jr is located.  This is a shot of the facade, but you don't see it until you are in the very tight parking lot.

The interior is nothing special.  Quite uninspired actually.  There is a large bar area, which has beer and lots of liquors for mixed drinks, unfortunately the wine selection is quite limited.  When I inquired about white wine it took 3 -4 people and quite a bit of discussion to come up with 2 bottles.  We chose a chardonay which was actually quite acceptable and a good foil to the spicyness of the food we ordered.  Unfortunately I neglected to take note of the bottle info.

Once you are seated, and have made your drink request they bring a glass of fabulous hot (temperature) and slightly spicy, rich seafood broth, a basket of chips, some sliced rather than chopped pico de gallo and habanero salsa. I must say the broth was absolutely fabulous.

This is  a seafood restaurant, so there were shrimp, crab, and fish dishes as well as what I was interested in - pulpo.

My friend Suk had recommended to me that I needed to come to la Vibora as the pulpo is amazing.  Actually Tom and I had tried one time to find this place, but Suk's directions were so bad we were in a completely different part of town.  Unfortunately, well for me anyway,  Suk is in Korea visiting with her mom.  I would have loved to share this moment with her.

We shared our lunch this day with Suk's husband Walter, and with friend Javier.  (Suk, this photo is for you so you see that Walter is getting out)

The first thing we ordered was the Pulpo Especial, which is a lovely whole octopus/pulpo cooked so tender and delicate in a fabulous guajillo chili sauce, and served over fluffy white rice.  This we shared among the 4 of us.  And to be honest it, along with the broth, chips, wine, and beer was plenty.  However, we each succumbed and ordered a taco.  Javier and Walter ordered shrimp with chipotle, I ordered fried pulpo, and Tom ordered Pulpo Negro.  All were excellent.  Well except the corn tortillas which my taco came on.  Machine made, and no good at all. The other tacos, for some reason came on flour tortillas.  I just ate the pulpo and left the tortilla.

The menu is interesting in the variety of ways they present the seafood; tacos, chalupas,  tostadas, ceviches, cocktails, pastas, empanadas, papadzules, main dishes, chilpachole which is a hearty rich seafood stew...

This is a photo of the pulpo especial, this plate had 2 smaller sized octopus.  When Suk was here her plate had one larger octopus and it was cooked so that it looked a bit like a yogi sitting on a mat.  The heads was straight up and each tentacle wrapped closely around the center, each in line so that it almost appeared petal-like.

This presentation might not have been as pretty, but it was really excellent.

If you are a seafood lover, and if you like pulpo I highly recommend you come to  la Vibora. 
As I understood it this is a lunch place, no dinner service, but don't hold me to that.