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photo credit: Costera Cocina Tulum

Costera Cocina Tulum image
6.8

Costera Cocina Tulum

MexicanSeafood

Fulton Market

$$$$Perfect For:Big GroupsCorporate CardsPeople Watching
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Clubstaurants are rarely known for having great food, and eating isn’t the point at Costera Cocina Tulum either. But this recent entry into the pool of West Loop untz-untz spots has its uses: a fun birthday for example, or when the Morningstar Investment Conference is in town and wants to go all out on a Thursday night.

In other words, if you're excited about seeing a pineapple on fire, you will have a good time at Costera. The “modern Mexican” dishes are benign if unmemorable, the drinks are tasty despite being batched, the service is attentive, and the overall experience is everything you want from a place you plan to plaster all over social media.

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Costera Cocina Tulum image
Costera Cocina Tulum image
Costera Cocina Tulum image
Costera Cocina Tulum image

The sprawling “Tulum-inspired” space is decked out in straw, palm trees, and enough rope for a legion of double-dutch teams. The scent of palo santo fills the air, mixing with whiffs of sulfur from bottle sparklers which appear as early 6pm. If you’re seated on the heated patio (regrettably dubbed “jungle dining”), be prepared to shout-talk over thumping house music and to use your phone’s flashlight to read the menu. The restaurant transforms into a full-fledged club after 10:30pm—that's when the fog machines emerge—but a meal here is an event no matter what time it is.

Many of the dishes at Costera emphasize style over substance, like a mini trompo al pastor flambéed tableside for 20 seconds, then whisked away to the kitchen to be returned as a bowl of overly sweet pork. Much of the surf and turf-heavy menu is perfectly fine: good enough that you won’t be mad, but slightly annoyed that you spent $58 on nicely charred snapper where most of the flavor comes from a side of semi-mushy tomatoes.

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Costera Cocina Tulum

Costera Cocina Tulum image
Costera Cocina Tulum image
Costera Cocina Tulum image

There are better Mexican restaurants in the city than Costera. But you’re not here for a meal that's going to blow your mind. You’re here for flame-topped margaritas served in tiki cups and rounds of shots delivered via airplanes with sparklers on the wings. At Costera, your sustenance is "vibes" and nature’s majesty in the form of carved wooden monkeys hanging on basket lights.

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Costera Cocina Tulum

Food Rundown

Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Short Rib Quesadillas

It’s hard to identify what’s under the disproportionately large pile of iceberg lettuce and cheese. Turns out it's short rib and tangy salsa verde wrapped in soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside fresh masa. And it's one of the best things on the menu.
Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Peruvian Ceviche

Despite being piled high with ingredients showing off some excellent knife work, the coconut leche de tigre tastes watery, and the only seasoning seems to come from the salty chips that accompany the dish.
Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Costera Cocina Tulum

Pork Shank Pibil

No matter how artfully the waitstaff plucks the bone from this dish as a final flourish, it won’t disguise how borderline dry the pork is, and how under-salted the beans are. Fortunately, the pickled onions provide plenty of heat and a nice crunch.
Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Costera Cocina Tulum

Surf And Turf

If you ever thought a McDonald’s burger would taste better with more salt and topped with a disconcertingly chewy mini lobster roll, then this is the burger for you.
Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Tagliatelle With Ragu Barbacoa

The pastas are generally a good choice, and the tagliatelle is a solid option. The noodles have the right amount of bite, the sauce is rich and tomato-y, and there’s a nice big dollop of truffle requeson to round things out.
Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Costera Cocina Tulum

Spaghetti Con Langosta

This just-fine spaghetti arrives with little seasoning and a lobster shell on top. Another great example of a dish that prioritizes plating over flavor.
Costera Cocina Tulum image

photo credit: Veda Kilaru

Mini Trompo Al Pastor

The one true miss on the menu. Costera’s showmanship is on full display with this dish, but we can’t justify ordering what amounts to a bowl of inedible jammy pork and canned pineapple.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

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