Houston >Restaurants >
Mexican >Yelapa Playa Mexicana
2303 Richmond Ave, Houston, TX | Directions 7709829.734093 -95.415174
Monday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Tuesday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Wednesday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Thursday 11:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Friday 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Saturday 11:00 AM - 11:00 PM
Sunday 11:00 AM - 8:00 PM
Neighborhoods: Central, Greenway/ Upper Kirby
Inventive, attractive, tasty food! – All I keep on reading about is this wonderful ceviche at Yelapa Mexicana, so I made it my mission to sample it for myself. On a perfect weather, perfectly sunny day, I met a girlfriend on Yelapa's tranquil patio for lunch. The lunch menu was pretty extensive and mouthwatering. You get to choose two items for $9.99, a STEAL for the food you get. I chose the Cebiche with lychee and mango, that tasted as delicious as the menu description, and the chalupa, presented as two cute artistically rendered mounds of meat atop beans and crisped tortilla -again, delicious. My friend had the Carnitas with green papaya salad - my favorite dish of the afternoon. The perfectly crisped carnitas tasted similar to chinese roast pork with an interesting combination of spices, sooo good. The service was excellent and we were even greeted by the owner himself. We both left on a food high, and my girlfriend liked it so much, she returned within days with her husband in tow.
Yuck – Bought a Groupon online and made a reservation to check this place out Friday 1/14/11. When we arrived, there was only one other set of customers, which I thought a little odd for 5pm on a Friday. I ordered their basic margarita, which tasted extra sour and a little salty, but since I like salt, I wasn't complaining. The chips and salsa weren't anything special, but 'The Real Guacamole' was pretty interesting and unique. I ordered the Pollo con Maiz ( I think that was the name)...and for a $20, it looked like they'd dropped two chicken breasts in a deep fry with some lime flavoring and a bunch of salt. Some type of gravy (again too salty) and mushrooms came on the side. It was disgusting and I was shocked by the amount of fat on the chicken pieces. My boyfriend ordered the barbacoa tacos, and they weren't much better.....too much smoked taste and overly salty. At least the rice and beans were good! Unfortunatly, I barely made it home before it all came back up. I don't know if the margartia mix may have been bad, or the chicken was bad, but in any case....I WOULD NOT recommend this place to anyone.
disappointing – My husband and I have been to Yelapa twice, the first time it was great. We sat on the patio, watched a movie and had some really good food and a couple drinks. I fell in love with their guacamole and mango ceviche, and decided that's what I wanted for my birthday dinner.
It was just about a month later that we went for the second time and the weather was perfect for the patio, except the hostess said the patio was closed (even though there was a huge banner stating "patio now open!"). Alright, whatever, we ended up sitting next to an open door in the main(?) dining room, and we got a nice breeze.
That was as good as the night got, our waiter was weird and kind of rude, we only got one set of chips and salsa for a table of 6, he kept forgetting to pick up glasses/beer bottles so we had a table full of trash. The food was completely different, the enchiladas were not stacked like before, now they were small and rolled, the ceviche I had gotten in a martini glass with crackers were now lumped on one side of a huge plate with....nothing. Just one molded lump of stuff, no chips, no crackers. I told this to the waiter who said they don't have crackers. We had to buy the chips, the ceviche tacos were this insanely small portion of deconstructed tacos, and there was barely any flavor to anything.
None of us were impressed in the least with our food or drink choices. No managers checked on us that night, just our weird sarcastic waiter who paced around looking like he wanted to do something, but when it came to, we had to wave him down for refills and whatever else we needed. I thought they'd ask if we were celebrating anything, especially when I opened my presents, but apparently they were just in the way of my plate.
The parking sucks, one small parking lot is shared with another restaurant.
I am probably never going back there again, first time was a hit, second was a dismal miss, it seemed like a completely different restaurant, only the building was the same. Parking is horrible, food was bland, portions were small, the service was pretty bad. I was left actually embarrased that this place was what I picked for my birthday, no one enjoyed dinner.
Fresh Salads that Sing Summer – I went to a Recipe for Success party and had their avocado salad and a peach tortilla salad. At parties, nobody ever eats salads. At this one, the salads were gone in seconds, and Yelapa had the longest line. Their salads tasted so healthy and fresh in this humid weather.
We also met the owner, and he was very polite.
Avoid Yelapa at all cost!!! – Horrible.! Just plain horrible.! My wife and I eat out every meal so we know restaurants and food. For $22 I couldn't even see my snapper and it stunk to high heaven. My wife chicken enchaladas were almost as bad. We threw some money on table and ran out. Let me save you from being sick and ripped off; scratch this one off your list to try!
Everything was Excellent! – My "foodie" friend and I had drinks and dinner here last week and thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the experience. Service, very good -- attentive, knowledgeable, but not overbearing. Margaritas, excellent (both my friend and I believe our own Margaritas to be the best ever, so we're pretty discriminating judges).
We shared the "real guacamole" for an appetizer -- awesome! I had the vegetarian Quesadilla, which was delicious - as good as any I've had; which being a native Houstonian, is a LOT (and had the leftovers for lunch, the following day)! My friend had a grilled fish dish (Mahi Mahi, perhaps?) and loved it.
The atmosphere also gets high marks from both of us -- cozy, but light and airy at the same time - -festive, not fussy. I plan to return soon -- and often.
Yelapa, worth swimming for! – This restaurant is themed after the small fishing village, Yelapa, close to Puerto Vallarta Mexico. To get to the city, most people take sail boats- I guess the really fit could always try swimming there, and if the food is anything like this restaurant, it would definitely be worth the agonizing swim. The food is incredibly innovative. It's not Tex Mex - so those going to the restaurant expecting cheese enchiladas are going to be sorely disappointed. This restaurant combines the flare of Yelapa into a fusion of asian, Spanish, and Mexican - and results in great foods.
Definitely start the meal with one of the Chef's innovative guacamole plates - the seasonal fruits that he uses are wonderful and the combination of ingredients really become a party in your mouth. I definitely also would not miss out on the Sopas - they are so delicious and filling.
For a dessert, we deviated from the norm and DRANK a shot of chocolate and a separate rice milk mixture - it was all full of flavor, light, yet filling.
The restaurant also offers complimentary valet so parking should not be an issue.
Definitely not authentic – After seeing a few good reviews I decided to check this place out. We ordered a campechana which was overly sweet. It was obvious the sauce was bottled and not homemade. After a few bites, I had enough.
I ordered some pork tacos which sounded tasty on the menu. When they came it was another matter. The pork was overly salted to the point of being unedible. The tortillas weren't even homemade, but instead were prepacked and not were lukewarm. I ended up dumping the pork on a different place and left the tortillas there. The waiter asked if there was a problem and I said yes the packaged tortillas were horrible.
I subsequently spoke to the manager who said "we trying not to the the typical Tex Mex restaurant. " And I said typical would be nice in this instance, instead I got bad food.
Oh I forgot...all for the price of $80. Don't waste your money here.
Innovative, rich and lusty seafood with latino-asian spice! – After an accidental meeting with owner Chuck Bulnes, I made up my mind to try this new 'innovative Mexican' that everyone seemed to be talking about. I liked Chuck instantly and his obvious intolerance for b.s made it clear that he would run a good restaurant. When I heard that Chef Wiley had worked at Meatpacking's Spice Market during the days that I frequented it as one of my favorites, I knew I had to try Yelapa.
Needless to say, I've decided to like the place before I set foot in the door, but the immediate warmth of the service and the Zeppelin sounding softly from the kitchen made me feel at home. Our server, along with an array of staff that waited on us, was quick to describe the specials and recommend a new drink not yet on the menu - a jalapeno mojito, which I opted to try. We ordered a few cebiches to start, Peruvian style of course (its nice that they offer cooked but it is blasphemy to order it!)
A few comments have been made in regards to the servers at Yelapa and a general lack of knowledge regarding the Chef's creative menu. I have to agree that they understanding of exactly what Wiley is doing back there isn't quite there yet. However, our waiter describing the aoili as a "fancy salsa" (oh yes, he did), didn't necessarily strike me as a bad thing. Chuck obviously hired these guys because they are dependable, good waiters, not aspiring food industry celebrities. The service is solid and completely without pretension. I like it.
Besides, if you have any questions regarding the food, both Chef and Owner are likely to make their way to your table at some point and happy to discuss it. They were also happy to send over complimentary shooters of gazpacho and guacamole as a birthday gift.
The cucumber gazpacho hit our palettes first: creamy and complex, first the hint of avocado, then a sneaky trace of banana and finally, a shockingly perfect piece of smoked mussel. The jalapeno mojito arrived shortly after and despite my lack of enthusiasm for tequila, provided the perfect backdrop of crisp and spicy throughout the meal. We then tore through the deconstructed guacamole with far too much speed. We couldn't help needing to experience the mix of avocado and cinnamon with the Asian twist of persimmon and watermelon radish on our tongues, only to be left wondering "why have I never made guacamole like this before?"
Each plate we tried left us with that same feeling of pleasure and awe, almost like going on a first date with someone you really hoped to like due to their attractiveness and finding out that somehow, they really are awesome. The cebiches and the barracuda special, despite being a teeny bit dry - they all delivered.
For dessert I chose the malta float despite wanting to also try the rosewater flan. I had been craving malta and a trip to Fiesta was not on my list of birthday to-do's. The hot buttered rum sauce tied the flavors together well and I will be making these at home for years to come! Not a highlight of the Yelapa experience, they are working on their desserts and from what I hear, just hired a pastry chef. I am all to excited about what is to come!
In summary: does Yelapa convey the ambiance of the beach town from where it takes its name? No, it delivers far much more than the fresh from the sea thrown on hot coals that I've had in the Puerto Vallarta area. Is Yelapa the healthy, clean flavors of seafood you would expect? No, it is rich and lusty.
In a world of baked sea bass, Yelapa you are the scallop wrapped in bacon.
REAL mexican food with fine cuisine flair – Im in love! the drinks are unique and awesome, service is down to earth, great ambience, cute decor, AMAZING food. I cant wait to go back, finally some REAL mexican food in Houston!
A Mostly Lovely Meal – I went here with my husband and in-laws and had a lovely dinner despite a few minor flaws in service.
I ordered an appetizer of chips and salsa which was interesting. It tasted like they used lemon juice in the salsa instead of lime juice, so it made for a welcome change of pace.
There was much more salsa than chips and when I asked for just a few more chips to polish off the salsa, our waiter brought us out a whole order more of chips and salsa without checking with us. I'm not sure where the failure of communication was, however there were several other moments where the table collectively raised an eyebrow due to service (waiter taking our orders with his elbows on our table, not bringing back change from a $100 bill...).
For entrees, I had lamb sopes which were presented beautifully. My husband and father in law both had cebiche (proclaimed marvelous) and mother in law had the fish tacos which she enjoyed.
For dessert I had the chocolate cake (which happened to be a roulade) and the rest of the table ordered the rosewater flan. The flan entranced all who tasted it, however the cake was dry and unimpressive.
Chocolate cake and minor service missteps aside, the quality and presentation of the food will bring us back to Yelapa in the future. It is a wonderful new restaurant in Houston.
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