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The Legend Lives on...


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#21 Carey

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:26 AM

what i don't understand, is why la choza isn't on your list? i always take folks there and have NEVER been disappointed. i never order from the menu...i ask for the specials of the day when i go during lunch or late lunch hours. their breakfasts are also great. the specials are about 45 pesos and include the drink, soup, tortillas, the meal and of course their famous sauce with chips. and for such a cool treat, the avocado pie. the afternoon hours are always filled with a nice mix of tourists and locals, and they have a parking lot on calle 3 just before you get to 10 on the left hand side. free parking. their coffee is delish too.


La Choza is on my restaurant rec.'s list in the static section of the website under moderately priced places. I'm updating these four categories as I write this and they will continue to be covered there. I like the place a lot. However, I don't mention them for the lunch time comida corrida which they do have because they do not offer this to tourists unless you specifically ask for it in Spanish. And then they don't bring you a menu with the lunch specials. They just rattle off the entrees in fast Spanish that even I who have been here 10 years and am, well, decent at Spanish -- low decent -- can only catch a word or two.

So what I'm saying is they really don't appear to want to give anyone except locals the comida corrida -- the cheap, filling lunch plate special offered so many places in town. They'll only give it to tourists that earn it by conducting their total conversation in idiomatic Spanish.

While I understand and respect their sentiments I don't want to send people here for cheap eats only to be presented with a large menu that is in English but def NOT in the cheap eats cat which in my book needs to come in around $7 or less per person not including booze.
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#22 CZMDM

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:48 AM

IMHO, let the legend live on. Los Otates serves better, cheap Mexican food than most Americans will ever find anywhere in the States and their posole is actually pretty good. Kudos to them for their success.

Are there are better places on the Island? Yes, but many of these place would cause most tourists to walk in, and with their head facing straight ahead, would eye left :unsure: and then eye right :unsure: and then back out. Leaving me to enjoy these places in peace.

This is ok by me.
Otherwise, all these wonderful local places would one day turn into Los Otates.

Yes, I'm a cynic.


I have never eaten at a Mexican restaurant in the USA that was as bad as Otates and I have been to many that were just as cheap, if not cheaper (maybe you don't move around Texas, Florida or California too often) and I have been to dozens if not hundreds of them. If Otates was in the USA they wouldn't last a week. Cheap food....cheap GOOD food is in your own kitchen. Bad food at any price is still just that...bad food. The logic behind "it's not very good, but it's cheap"...I am not even sure that makes any real sense to someone who is going out to eat.

As far as the beter places to eat on the island and your sentiment about tourists not using them and you having them to yourself....I am not sure what that even means
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#23 beachbum53

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 03:36 PM

I have never eaten at a Mexican restaurant in the USA that was as bad as Otates and I have been to many that were just as cheap, if not cheaper (maybe you don't move around Texas, Florida or California too often) and I have been to dozens if not hundreds of them. If Otates was in the USA they wouldn't last a week.

Well okay, that's 3 States down and 47 to go. I live in western WI, and here and in MN, Otates would do just fine.



Cheap food....cheap GOOD food is in your own kitchen. Bad food at any price is still just that...bad food. The logic behind "it's not very good, but it's cheap"...I am not even sure that makes any real sense to someone who is going out to eat.

ROTFL. Yeah, I guess that's why Burger King, MacDonalds, Wendys etal are experiencing such tough financial times. I don't eat at any of those restaurants, but there sure are a lot of people who do and I suspect "it's not very good, but it's cheap"... is the reason why.
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#24 Kandy

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 06:45 PM

So the question is, how does a legend like this get started? Did the place start out good and then go Hollywood or, more likely imo, is it a manifestation of the herd mentality snow balling out of control on various internet forums?

Comments anyone?


How about this? If it's "trumpeted" in TripAdvisor, that means it's probably coming from tourists. Perhaps it's even coming from those who don't visit the island that often. However, think about where Otates is relative to the majority of tourists. It's more likely to be "stumbled upon" or found than a place back on 30th or 65.
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#25 artgirl

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:31 PM

One other thought as to why people/tourists might continually patronize a less-than-stellar restaurant..... memories. A friend of mine who recently began coming to the island is completely "stuck" on a certain few restaurants because of his wonderful first vacation memories that are hooked to those places. I have encouraged him to try other "better and more authentic" restaurants, but he says that eating at the same establishments over and over each trip gives him a feeling of belonging and he reminisces and feels the memory rush (am I making sense?) about his first visits there. He knows that there are probably other places that are cheaper.. better.. more authentic, but he has comfort in recognizing the same waitstaff.. sitting at the same table.. ordering the same food.. yada, yada. So maybe people eat at places like Otates because it holds a special place in their vacation heart.. nostalgia.
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#26 austinacoustic

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Posted 19 February 2010 - 08:33 PM

Jesus, get the torches and pitch forks out, weíre talking about tacos in Mexico!! Iíve eaten at Otates six times in the last three months, and the only things that I have to complain about are the mosquitoes in Nov. and the tripe tacos, because they tasted, well, like tripe!!! They must have done something to piss some of you off, but I think itís just that they are getting some attention and thatís unsettling to some!! I live in central Texas, and my favorite taco stands and taco trucks, my family wouldnít hose down if they were on fireÖ.
How good can a dollar taco have been to get such a scathing review six months down the road.
Iíll be back at Otates with mosquito spray and I wonít be ordering the tripe!!!

Thanks Cary for getting my link to Cozumel back on line!!!!
:D
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#27 MexFan2

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 05:04 AM

I suppose you will never find any two people with the same favorites. La Choza is one of the few places in town I refuse to go (and I have my reasons) but I know some rave about it. But do agree about Otates--one of the most overrated places on the island!
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#28 CZMDM

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 01:23 PM

Jesus, get the torches and pitch forks out, weíre talking about tacos in Mexico!! Iíve eaten at Otates six times in the last three months, and the only things that I have to complain about are the mosquitoes in Nov. and the tripe tacos, because they tasted, well, like tripe!!! They must have done something to piss some of you off, but I think itís just that they are getting some attention and thatís unsettling to some!! I live in central Texas, and my favorite taco stands and taco trucks, my family wouldnít hose down if they were on fireÖ.
How good can a dollar taco have been to get such a scathing review six months down the road.
Iíll be back at Otates with mosquito spray and I wonít be ordering the tripe!!!

Thanks Cary for getting my link to Cozumel back on line!!!!
:D


I think people are just stating what they think about Otates. To suggest that they did something to "piss some of you off" is wrong headed. The only thing they do to piss people off is serve bad food and it doesn't even piss me off....I just don't go there, but when someone says "hey that place is the best" I have the right to disagree with that. I don't think anybody has an axe to grind with them.

I do think that unlike Trip Advisor or other blog sites that cater to newbies, CMC has many locals posting and the locals are just not blown away by anything on the island just because it is new to them (because it is not). As an example: Joe Blow and his wife come down here for their very first dive trip and dive with whoever. Then they go on-line and post how great this op was, how there is no other op like it anywhere and blah, blah blah. The thing is they don't know. They don't have a point of reference. They may be praising the worst op on the island as they have nothing else to compare it to. I just think a lot of people come down here for the first couple of times and get totally excited over a place that most of the folks that live here may think is a dump. I think that is the case here.
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#29 Carey

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 01:45 PM

[quote
I do think that unlike Trip Advisor or other blog sites that cater to newbies, CMC has many locals posting and the locals are just not blown away by anything on the island just because it is new to them (because it is not). As an example: Joe Blow and his wife come down here for their very first dive trip and dive with whoever. Then they go on-line and post how great this op was, how there is no other op like it anywhere and blah, blah blah. The thing is they don't know. They don't have a point of reference. They may be praising the worst op on the island as they have nothing else to compare it to.
[/quote]

That was my point in starting this thread, Mike, not to run down Otates in particular but to discuss the phenomenon which you've just described. People reading forums to get tips for their vacations must be aware about the internet buzz that can get going and is not always deserved. I travel quite a bit myself and I've learned to really be careful about forum recommendations for this very reason. You can almost see the snowball start to roll.
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#30 CZMDM

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Posted 20 February 2010 - 03:05 PM

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#31 mslf500

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:22 PM

I don't know much about art, but I know what I like. The same holds true for food.

An interesting comment our floor mates made was that we still visit as vacationers, 7-10 days at a time. When they live there six months out of the year, their restaurant choices and number of times eat out are different.

Otates, nothing fancy, but good and filling. I'll eat a bowl of pesole and a beer for dinner. What maybe $4? What do you want for $4? If I am parked on Melgar, it's an easy walk.

I've been to el Moro 5-6 times. Their pescado a la Veracruz hits the spot for me. Denise likes here garlic fish. It's maybe a buck or two more than it should be, but still good.

El Foco has a good filling meal but is more than Otates.

Los Serras, enjoyed my meal there as well.

Casa Denis- so-so meal, but I was there for the atmosphere.

Los Dorados- used to be one of our favorites, not any more since the menu changed.

La Choza- loved the old location. The new location, not so much.

Cameron Dorado- killer lunch tacos. Closed on Sunday.

Abuelo- don't even get me started about the crappy service and meal we had. I might go back....after I go to all the other places I want to visit.
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#32 Carey

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 02:33 PM

You really oughta try Chilangos and Las Seras on 30, Mark. Almost across the street from each other on Avenida 30 between Morelos and Calle3 5. Easy parking. That way you'll be comparing apples to apples. Those places are CHEAPER and better than Otates in my not in the least humble opinion.
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#33 nauticab

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 04:11 PM

So what I'm saying is they really don't appear to want to give anyone except locals the comida corrida -- the cheap, filling lunch plate special offered so many places in town. They'll only give it to tourists that earn it by conducting their total conversation in idiomatic Spanish.


actually this is not true with la choza. sure, you HAVE to be aware of the lunch specials, but each time i brought tourists with me for the lunch specials, they gladly explained and DESCRIBED the menu choices in perfect english. all you have to do is ask. i did not ask for my friends. he blabbered off in spanish for me, then one of them said "english" and he said it all. i have had several different waiters, all with good enough english to explain the dishes.

and "las" seras is LOS SERAS. their pastor pizza is delish. corner of 30th and morelos.
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#34 MexFan2

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Posted 26 February 2010 - 05:45 PM

I think pesole at Otates must be similar to pozole. For 4 dollars, I expect good pozole.
And agree, I eat much differently than those who dont live here. For example, many seem to like Coconuts but oher than the view, I see no attraction there. Many good local places that do get a mix of locals and tourists, such as El Pique--one of my favs for tacos.
As for Abuelo Gerardos, a long established restaurant , well liked by the locals despite his central location. Have always received good service , good food and good value there. Of course , its not a place where the waiters try to act as if they are your best friends, which some tourists like. But they have always done their job for me, in a professional manner.
And several locations got themselves into the tourist business by paying taxi drivers well. Two that are pioneers in this are El Moro and La Choza.
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#35 3m

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Posted 13 March 2010 - 07:42 PM

I like Otates. Go there a lot. And my various family members - including picky eaters - like it. So not sure why the criticism.

But then I really like another place north of Otates whose name escapes me: a yellow Tweety Bird on the front. Provided I eat there before they turn on the loud music. (My husband calls the place "The Noisy Bar".

I was surprised that there were hardly any places listed that were east of 30th. Lots of great food back there.
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#36 MusicMan

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 11:17 AM

I think your point about the language intimidation problem will keep these places from being swamped and going Hollywood, however. They'll get the discerning, more experienced, slightly more adventurous travellers who read this. And, you know, we need to write a short tutorial on how to order the lunch-time comida corrida for those folks.


Carey,

I think that's a great idea. My wife and I've been to Cozumel a couple of times, and while I speak enough mangled Spanish to get by in a restaurant with a standard menu, I admit to be being a bit nervous about the comida corrida thing. Not that I couldn't handle it on my own, but I really appreciate knowing how things work ahead of time. By the time I did the bag drag for the first time, I had studied enought that I felt like I had done it a dozen times.

Linda and I are coming down for a couple of weeks in Oct/Nov and, though staying at an AI, intend to do SOME eating/drinking in town. I would love to give Sabores a shot, since the first time we stayed in town, we were right across the street from them (at Villas Las Anclas) and never darkened their door.
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#37 Charles

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 02:59 PM

Sabores has a waiter that spoke pretty decent English. This year was the first time that I saw a waiter that wasn't part of the cooking/kitchen staff. They're experienced at dealing with the language barrier.

My complaint about Otates that the last time will surely be my last, the meat was tough as shoe leather and their frijoles charros were completely void of meat or even meat flavoring. Sort of like I ordered a BLT sandwich and it had no bacon nor tomato.

There are lots of places worse than Otates, they just don't get trumpeted on tourism forums, I'd rate it below average. If you looked at 50 taco places, there might be 25 better, ten might be about the same and perhaps 15 might be worse. A lot of places are really struggling as their costs continue to rise and if they increase their prices much, they lose a lot of customers. Too many places have had to cut corners with quality and quantity to not raise their prices.

I remember when a bunch of restaurants in Chiapas had a price war as to who could sell the cheapest meal. The place that won for the cheapest, soup, meat, two vegetables, beverage and dessert....one small chicken wing was the main course, a heaping teaspoon full of rice and beans, postage stamp sized flan, they used to sell three times as much for double the price. The food was good, but a light eater could easily eat three meals.
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#38 cozdude

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 07:49 AM

wow, I don't get all the hatin' on Otate's! Omar and his family, as well as the servers there, have always been nothing less than gracious to my wife and I. I eat there quite often on my trips to Coz, and have never been disappointed. And here's the thing -- there are far more locals at Otate's than tourists every time I've been there, so that tells me something. Their pozole is great, and I've enjoyed the more unusual tacos (like beef cheeks, eyes, etc.) as well. Not the best tacos on the island (those are at the Market, for sure), but a damn sight better than just about anything you get in the States.

Carey, I'm disappointed that you would single out Otate's in your forum for criticism, particulary when your criticism amounts to nothing more than "I don't get it." Plenty of places deserve criticism (I for one, will second El Capi Navigante being one of the worst places on the island and not worthy of mention), but Otate's is not one of them, IMHO. I hope your bias isn't motivated by something ulterior . . .
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#39 Carey

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 08:00 AM

Read the comments from others, Cozdude. I ain't the only one with this opinion.

But I started the thread to make a point. The point is this: internet buzz/hype and how it impacts on people's buying decisions, how the steam roller gets ripping along for one place, the in vogue at the moment place, and other restaurants, hotels etc. get left in the dust behind.

There is no other hidden agenda on my part save discussion of a phenomenon that has completely transformed travelling -- the internet. And there is also a desire to set the record straight. The record being that there are a lot of good places to eat cheaply, authentically and deliciously. Not just Otates which seemed to be getting the lion's share of the internet publicity band wagon while other little joints languished.
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#40 cozdude

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 08:22 AM

Carey, obviously, people's opinions can differ, but I thought it unkind of you to single out Otate's which, as you said in your O.P. was not terrible, and not overpriced, but just overhyped. That's hardly a good reason to single out Otate's from among many who meet these criteria. I just think singling them out, particularly given your standing as the Dean of this forum, is a bit irresponsible, when your criticism isn't so much that Otate's sucks, as that you think they get too much attention at the expense of others. Not a good enough reason to disparage a decent establishment and potentially drive away would-be customers, thus hurting their bottom line, IMHO. I think it's absolutely a public service when you single out places that rip people off, or make people sick, or treat customers with disdain. But you've said nothing of the sort about Otate's -- and none of it would be true, based on my 6+ years of eating there. You could easily have gotten your point across without singling out Otate's. I've eaten all over the island, and I always seek out the out-of-the-way places, and Otate's remains deserving of its reputation as a good, cheap place to eat.
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