An Escape from Cozumel

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An Escape from Cozumel

Cozumel is by no means a foodie hotspot, nor do the words fine dining come to mind when you think of Cozumel’s food scene. However, there is an escape from the cruise ships, tacquerias and anything related to Mexican cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate those Mexican food experiences as well as the other respected dining establishments because I do love food and tacos as much as the next guy. Cozumel does offer some variety. There is Kinta a Mexican Bistro, coffee at Starbucks and even upscale dining at Pepe’s, one of Cozumel’s oldest restaurants. But I do find myself missing the variety that we had back home in NJ/NY where you can find any type of cuisine from Indian to Middle Eastern on a whim.

I finally had the opportunity to dine at a place that has an Asian influence and it is actually pretty good…Rock n’ Java’s Thai Noodle Bar. Lisa Ramiraz and Ernesto Alvarez opened Rock n’ Java’s Thai Noodle bar in 2008. Lisa brings the same service and quality of food to the Thai Noodle Bar as she offers at her 15 year old Cozumel restaurant Rock n’ Java Caribbean Bar & Grill. With 20 years of experience in the food industry, Lisa knows what it takes to run a successful restaurant.

When you walk into the Thai Noodle bar you immediately get a sense of calm. The dimly lit dining room has only about seven tables, which gives you an intimate dining experience. You are greeted by Ernesto himself who provides you menus as you soon as you sit down. The restaurant has a full bar and drinks can be customized to your liking even though they offer specialty frozen beverages and martinis. The first time I dined I had the Mint Lemonade Slushee. Freshly made with mint, this frozen blended beverage provides a cooling punch which pairs perfectly with the spicy dishes. Although, I am not a fan of crushed ice you certainly could order this drink simply on the rocks. The second time I dined Ernesto recommended a Pomegranate mint cocktail. Tart, sweet, tangy and refreshing.

As for the food…well this is as close as I can get to the Thai food that was available to me in the states. Don’t want to dine in? You can even take it to go (para llevar) in a Chinese food takeout carton and chopsticks (nice touch) or call (872-4405) to place an order for delivery or pickup.

During our first dining experience Pawel and I shared the Summer Rolls as an appetizer. This simple dish is a mix of julienne vegetables wrapped in rice paper rolls served with a soy/ sesame sauce. It was not the easiest dish to eat by chopsticks and I am not sure whether the rolls are suppose to be served hot or cold as they were kind of lukewarm. Overall, not a terrible dish as it was esthetically pleasing. Perhaps additional seasoning to the filling would bring this dish to another level?

For the entrée we shared the Thai Medallions Style Pork BBQ. We requested the dish to be served with rice noodles rather than the egg noodles (I love that you can order any dish to your liking). Upon ordering from the “Noodle Bar Favorites” you are asked the level of spiciness from 1-5 (5 being the hottest). We tried our entrée at a level 4, easily handled. Note: This dish offers a punch in the cumin department so be prepared for that.

On our second dining experience we ate the Thai Egg Rolls (a combo of chicken & beef). The beef rolls could have used a touch of salt to bring out the flavors. What I liked most about this dish was the variety of dipping sauces that were provided (similar to the ones offered at P.F. Chang’s if you are familiar with this franchise of restaurants). It even comes with a long lost condiment (for me at least since moving to Cozumel)…Sriracha (oh how I miss you). As for the entrée we shared another “Noodle Bar Favorite”, Thai Pepper Steak at a heat level of 5 (still manageable if you like spice).

Rock n’ Java’s Thai Noodle Bar has a menu that is even pleasing to those who are looking for low-carb or vegetarian options. They even have the option of customizing your own dish as well as selecting half-portions (though I recommend ordering a large as it is a good deal and easily shared with still having leftovers for lunch). Prices are reasonable, service is superb and you most likely will not walkout without having dessert as Ernesto can be quite convincing (we had coconut ice cream with banana fried wontons – YUM).

Rating:   (out of 5 toques)

Location: Calle 11, close to Avenida Rafael E. Melgar

Flickr Photos

**Post Image Adopted from Rock n’ Java’s Thai Noodle Menu

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Copyright © 2017 Cozumel Chef: Cooking & Food Tour Services in Cozumel, Mexico. Food photography by Emily Egge.