It’s an unassuming place, outfitted with a little screened door, draped with lace curtain. A wooden sign reading abierto. But inside, the light filters through palms overhead and long-tailed lizards eye you behind fuchsia flowers. Il Giardino, it’s called, a cocina economica just down the road from where I’m living in Cozumel.
Cocinas economicas are household restaurants dotted all over Mexico. They’re cheap, comfortable, and popular because they serve up solid, from the soul, food. Maria both lives in and owns Il Giardino and offers nontraditional fare in the realm of jerk chicken and even pasta. A bit wore out on fish, I had a hankering for the jerk chicken, rice, and potato salad; Stacy ordered a spicy shrimp pasta. Both were lovely. We had bread and chimichurri sauce before the meal, and all this, and two Coca Colas, was $200 pesos. Can’t beat that.
This is going to be one of my mainstays.