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The 39 best restaurants in Cancun: an honest review

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The fact that I have lived in Cancun for  7 years doesn’t necessarily make me an authority in food affairs. However, I used to eat out often and between my friends and I, we have compiled quite a nice list of the best restaurants in Cancun with our reviews. I hope it helps you choose your own dining places


With this post, you will see how Cancun offers a variety of international experiences for every taste and pocket, including the world-famous Mexican cuisine.

So I have made a sort of index divided by the food offered and location hoping that you will find it useful.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well.

Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

Best restaurants in Cancun hotel zone

Puerto Madero


A disclaimer first, I haven’t been there, BUT, I needed to include this exclusive Cancun restaurant on the list after reading that it is probably the best restaurant in Cancun, if you are fond of grilled meat and lobster as they are their specialities although they have a rich menu suitable for everyone. It’s also one of the most expensive but worth every penny. My trusted friends who have been there, have confirmed all that you hear about it. It’s located on the lagoon side with a beautiful view on the water if you sit on the deck or an elegant dining room inside.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

The club grill @ The Ritz Carlton 

Among the Cancun Restaurants, the Club grill at the Ritz Carlton is one of the most exclusive and upscale. Ritz Carlton opens its doors to the fine palate public who wish to try its pluri rewarded AAA 5 Diamond restaurant.
It doesn’t really need further explanation. Beside the luxurious and sophisticated menu you will find an elegant atmosphere and live entertainment. Your dinner in the opulent dining room reminiscent of a classic English Jazz club, will be preceded by an interesting Tequila tasting. Reservation required.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Il Fantino @ The Ritz Carlton 

indoor restaurant
Restaurant 5 diamonds – Fantino – Photo Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Cancun

“Avant-garde Mediterranean food, beautifully executed. Fantino features an innovative menu that works with the purity of ingredients and their natural flavors to create award-winning cuisine for food lovers and fine dining enthusiasts alike.” Quote from Hotel. This is the Ritz Carlton signature restaurant. It requires reservations.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

NI @ Nizuc Hotel & Spa

The best Peruvian experience in Mexico in the region I would dare say. This fine restaurant is located in the premises of the hotel NIZUC in a tranquil and elegant atmosphere facing the turquoise sea. It’s only open for Lunch.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

La Punta Grill and Lounge @ Nizuc Hotel & Spa

Mirroring the precious elegant style of the resort, this beautiful corner is the luxury version of a Balinese Tiki hut, made with fresh wooden furniture with seatings that are facing the fancy infinity pool overlooking the sea. The plate choice, served in elegantly decorated presentation, specializes in grilled meat cuts, fish and seafood. Here you can find the full menu.
Definitely an experience that you will never forget.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Indochine @ Nizuc Hotel and Spa

I had my best Pad thai in years, in the most romantic atmosphere on the wooden deck of the elegant Asian decorated restaurant, facing the brightly lit reflecting pool. As you may have noticed, NIZUC is my favorite place to hang out and it also offers an incredible culinary variety, even more than I have listed. You can explore further clicking here.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

La Habichuela

Mexican cuisine in a lovely setting either on the lagoon in the Hotel area or in downtown Cancun in Parque de las Palapas. It’s a very elegant atmosphere and the food is delicious offering a variety of choice of Mexican flavors with an international touch.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Thai

Among the top restaurants in Cancun, in my modest opinion, this great Thai restaurant is located in a spectacular unique settings, very suitable for a romantic dinner or a lovely gathering with friends. The table are scattered around the lagoon in the little overwater palapas. You will find it within the premises of the Shopping center La Isla.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Elefanta

Just beside the Thai restaurant (see right above) is the Indian one. Respecting the same sophisticated decoration also offers a variety of delicious Indian cuisine. For the spicy food lovers, this is the place.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Babel Odissea Culinaria

Photo © Babel

The new kids on the block, Odissea Culinaria just opened during the pandemic with the purpose to give a little boost to the cancun culinary scene in those difficult times. The place is basically like a luxury food court on the Nichupte’ lagoon, at km 13.5.

You can order your food through an app on a variety of international menus from many different countries and for all sorts of taste, including vegan food, with a total of more than 200 dishes to choose from.

sunset from a platform on a lagoon
Photo © Babel

Obviously, you will eat with an unparalleled view over the lagoon. Make sure you get there just before Sunset to have the best experience.

It’s quite an upscale restaurant so the dished and drinks are priced accordingly.

Read the reviews on TripAdvisor

best restaurants in cancun

Ilio Greek Estiatorio Cancun

World Class greek restaurant in the Cancun hotel zone, for an elegant dinner with greek taste.

Located on Boulevard Kukulcan on the lagoon side with spectacular views, this is world-class restaurant that has reached 100% 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor (more than 100 reviews)


Mexican Restaurants in Cancun

I am sure the old saying “when in Rome do as the Romans do”, is very appropriate when it comes to food choice and coming on vacation in Mexico will imply having an overdose of chilaquiles, tacos, quesadillas and everything you get at your fancy Mexican restaurant in your hometown.

What I have noticed is that the majority of the time you get disappointed because the original version is always different, and, allow me to disappoint you, the authentic one is here in Mexico.

Bear in mind that Mexican cuisine is very different from region to region and in fact you will see some “Cocina Yucateca” restaurant where they serve typical dishes from the neighboring region of Yucatan.

I have never seen Quintana Roo cuisine, probably because it has been internationalized with time, thanks to the huge increase of tourism.

Here below what I would suggest, if you wish to try some local plates, the real stuff!

plate of mexican tacos

Los Aguachiles

Los Aguachiles is one of the best places to eat in Cancun for lunch, if you like seafood. Definitely not suitable for vegans. It’s a chain of seafood restaurants that you can find also in Playa del Carmen and Tulum, although the one in Cancun is my favorite. I find it really cozy and beside the colorful, laid-back place I really love the food choice there, any kind of tacos, figurinas, and different kinds of seafood made in many different ways.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

La Habichuela

Just like the one in the “Zona Hotelera”, the restaurant in downtown offers Mexican options in a very cozy and bucolic atmosphere and yet elegant.  It is situated in Parque de las Palapas, one of the most animated area where locals love to gather and hang out in town. Especially at the weekend it is very crowded. You will definitely have the feeling you are living like a local.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

mexican dish

El pocito Comida Yucateca

I haven’t been there but I am including it in my list since a few Mexican colleagues have told me it is a very traditional and local place of Yucatecan cuisine so you might want to try it.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Mora Mora Urban Cuisine

The first time I was looking for it, I couldn’t find it. The second time I decided to go with somebody who had been there already. It’s not a classical restaurant, it’s called Urban cuisine. It’s literally like going in a private home. You need to ring a bell and tell your name. So make sure you have reserved your table in advance. The atmosphere is very laid back and somewhat willfully shabby.

I loved the garden and the homy feeling. To be honest the food was great and either if you are a vegan or a meat lover you will not be disappointed. A little of everything to make everybody happy. More than anything I love the concept of merging food an art, in fact they very often organize exposition of local artists and music events. Please refer to their FB page for the latest news. 

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Du Mexique

It’s a French-Mexican gourmet restaurant, newly open, very elegant and formal. I haven’t been there yet, but I have heard great things from my friends so I thought I would include it. Enjoy and let me know your thoughts! 

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

La Pasteleteria

Entrance of a restaurant in Cancun two men standing

They have 2 places in town, one on the Avenida Coba’ and one on the Bonampak in Plaza Las Americas. This second one is the newest and my favorite. It’s huge, very nicely decorated and with an outdoor lounge with a comfortable sofa, which you will enjoy when the sun goes down and its not too hot. The menu offer is huge.

They have delicious Mexican dishes: the cheese or mushroom soup served on a bread cup are my favorites, and they have a great pastry choice. If you are a chocolate lover you absolutely need to try La bomba a multilayer chocolate half ball-shaped, that melts in your mouth.  So if you go for lunch or dinner, you will absolutely need to leave space for dessert! 

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Food Trucks

It’s the new easy-chic and I love it. There are 2 plazas now in Cancun where you can find a parking lot on the side of a open space surrounded by fancy colored tracks selling their own food from many different cuisines: grilled meat, vegetarian, pizza ( this is never missing), Thai, burgers, and so on. Desert place and a bar. Tables in the middle and music to create the ambiance.   I really love the experience: cheap, laid back and always my rescue when my fridge is empty.

traditional guacamole

Restaurants on Avenida Nader, Cancun

Situated very close to what is called km 0 the very end of the Avenida Kukulcan , in down town Cancun  it has recently become a lively hip street full of fancy little restaurants and bars. It is actually my favourite place to hang out with such a variety of choice. Here is what I have tried but there is much more:

Sirena Morena  

I have to say, truly and honestly, that as an ex-strict raw-vegan and forever vegan lover, this is the place I have been looking for during all my time in Cancun. Not only it has a great choice of vegan plates and healthy beverages but what beats it all is the cozy and warm atmosphere and the lovely staff. We have vegan restaurants in Cancun but they lack the personal touch and homey feeling which is something that this place has in abundance.

I am actually adding this piece of writing to this post while sipping my cinnamon-flavored coffee on the lovely porch, looking at the rain coming down. I love to sit and work here and get tempted by their delicious snacks and drinks.

Even if you are not a vegan devotee I am sure you will enjoy coming here, anyway. Let me know please, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Lu’um

It offers a very sophisticated international menu with an attention to details in service and presentation, but most of all to taste. It’s a very little restaurant with delicate and fancy decorations. The owners are a lovely couples who put their passion on food and wine into creating  this little gem. You will be positively impressed.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

El Pescado Ciego

I love this place and went back there several time. The menu is not super rich but it has exactly what i love. Octopus and seafood in different ways. It’s not the only thing , though, meats and other delicacies are also in the menu. It’s half Mexican I would say. Laid back and  moderate prices.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Nomads

This one is the HIP place of the moment. The trendiest of the area and probably the whole Cancun. They manage to brand themselves as the cool spot to be. And in fact for good reasons: fancy atmosphere, good music, delicious international cuisine with a huge choice and interesting presentations. A good selection of wine as well. Suitable for a great dinner and hang out with friends.  Service and plates  decorations are remarkable too.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

El Tigre Y el Toro

Although the food didn’t particularly impress me, it is a place where I would go back, for the cozy atmosphere and the bucolic setting in this little pebbly garden. Service is great as well. 

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

La fonda del Zancudo

This is definitely my favorite place in terms of setting and decoration. It is in fact built within the ruins of an old house. The decorations includes trees and plants hanging from the ancient walls, everything meticulously arranged in details. The food is also quite peculiar. It has an Italian imprint but with international touches. Service is great too. It is definitely an experience you will be happy to try.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

El Rincon del Vino

Its a lovely terrace on the Avenida Nader where you can sip you glass of wine from a wide choice while eating tapas, Spanish style. It’s delicious and with a merry atmosphere. During weekends they also have live music sometimes. You can check out when making the reservations. Indoor sittings available, also.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Italian Restaurants in Cancun

La Familia Don Corleone

tables and chairs in the patio of a restaurant
Photo © Restaurant

La Familia Corleone is a renowned Italian Restaurant where you will find great creative Italian dishes made by the sweet and talented italian chef Giulia.

I am sure you have known I Famosi Pasta and Don Corleone, her previous restaurants, that she merged into one bigger space on the Avenida Huayacan to offer a better service and a delicious and diverse menu, all authentic Italian.

pasta dish
Photo © Familia Corleone

Il Cenacolo

A very formal environment located in the hotel zone in Cancun (Puerto Cancun). It is one of the most demanded and talked about, not only for the excellent food but for the elegant ambiance and the lovely location. I confess I haven’t been there but I needed to include it in here for the sake of information and because of the great review I get from friends and acquaintances.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Con El Bigolo

Top-rated Italian gourmet restaurant and pizzeria in Cancun. Definitely, the best pizza in Cancun, confirmed by an Italian.

Read the flattering reviews on TripAdvisor

Restaurants in Puerto Juarez, Cancun local flavors

Puerto Juarez is so dear to me since I have lived there for a few months on a beachfront apartment and it sits in one of the best memories of my life, for the view I had when I was home.

It’s not a place where you actually pass by, unless you are taking the ferry to Isla Mujeres, or you are staying in one of those hotels along the cost.

They have built a few 5 stars Resorts at the end of the road on a virgin beach and it is still developing tremendously fast.

Here I have found a few lovely restaurants, where you can have the best and freshest fish ever, directly from the sea. So you cannot get it wrong. In fact the area has always been  known as a fishing village before the development of Cancun has absorbed it into the same town. Nevertheless fishing has remained an important activity here.

If you are staying in an apartment and feel like cooking here is where  you can find the best fresh fish for your banquet. But if you are looking for an authentic restaurant, here is my choice:

Marbella

fish dish on a table with sea views in the background
Photo courtesy of Restaurante Mar Bella

We can say this is an iconic place in the area and if you love fish, Marbella offers the best food in Cancun. They opened long time ago as a fish market, one of the biggest in the area as they had their own fishing boats. From there it comes the brilliant idea to open a restaurant on the  upper level of the shop. But it is not a common one.  

They pride themselves for offering a special menu that you wouldn’t find anywhere else, other than your home. In fact you can basically make up your own plate, choosing your favorite ingredients, deciding how much fish you want and how you want it to be cooked.

 The waiters are always ready to suggest their best recipes, though or guide you through different options. Their location facing the water make it a real plus. They have recently opened a second location in Isla Mujeres which I haven’t seen personally yet but considering the quality of food here and adding the sunset view, for sure it will make it a great dinner option.  

By the way, the restaurant in Cancun is only open from 1 to 7 pm, while the one in Isla Mujeres until 11pm.  Due to the popularity, it is always super busy so you are kindly suggested to make your reservation by phone or on their FB page. 

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

El Kiosko verde

It is a cute tiny restaurant on the road side, almost in front of the ferry. I should be ashamed to say that during  my time living in the area I have never noticed it, but that’s the truth.  I have tried it once and beside the great service and the familiar atmosphere the food is outstanding. Their speciality is anything on the grill from fish to different kinds of cuts. I had the octopus, my forever favourite, and it was really great. 

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Puerto Santo

front of a restaurant on the beach with chairs and table and people eating
Restaurante Puerto Santo during Lunch time . Photo courtesy of Puerto Santo

Located on the beach within the premises of the Residential Amara, it is a family-owned little restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious seafood meal or just appreciate the lovely ambiance while sipping your drinks. I am sure you will be tempted to try the rich menu, though! It’s open from lunch through dinner. During certain nights you will also find pleasant live music to entertain the guests.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Cafes in Cancun

Sirena Morena

This is definitely my favorite coffee’/bar and vegan restaurant of all the time. Best coffee’ and vegan choice and super cozy ambiance. Please check in the Avenida Nader section on this post to read my review. 🙂

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Rooster

They have 2 cafes, one on the trendy avenida Nader, its very small but cute and cozy, with a lovely breezy rooftop. I love to go there and sip my soy chai latte or a  healthier natural juice. They offer delicious breakfast, salads and hearty sandwiches for lunch. The other place is bigger and very comfortable and it is located on the Av Suyaxchen close to Mercado 28. So if you decide to have a walk around the colorful souvenirs, that’s a great place to stop by for a coffee.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Dolceamata la creperia

It’s a lovely little spot specialized in crepes salted sweet and with many different fillings – it is also  located in Plaza Bonita, just outside Mercado 28, if you wish to have a sweet stop during your shopping time.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Pepe Piraña

Caffe bar with two people waitress behind

I love this place and the art that displays. The lights are hanging from the wall with flashy red cables carefully  wrapped around a tube. The wooden tables and chairs are all different and creatively assembled. I love to go there and work on my blog when I can. The staff is lovely and the owner is always around to make sure everything is into place. They offer heart-feeding deserts and great empanadas, an Argentinian speciality which is a half-moon shaped pizza-bread filled with different kind of food, from veggies to meats. They also have a variety of juices and coffe’. WIFI is very good and included. It’s located just below IBIS hotel and beside the restaurant PIOLA, on agenda Tulum, the heart of Cancun.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Antoinette 

It’s a french restaurant and coffee’ bar… very french: in the decorations and in the delicious pastry. The croissants are the best in Cancun, to me. They have a huge space inside and one lovely garden at the back. Their menu is huge and with a variety of  choice. Ideal for a delicious breakfast, lunch, or a casual snack. Beware WI FI is not always working, to my disappointment.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Starbucks

Well, it’s Starbucks, I don’t have to add anything else. There are 3 POS in the city and another 3 along the hotel zone. I have to say I love Starbucks and the concept. I always find a cozy atmosphere and great to work. I am not sure why, but it is the only place where even if it is crowded I am able to focus and get things done. Well,  food is not the best quality and we all know, but chai latte with soy milk will remain my best treat!

Empanadas

A great snack to take away. I Love empanadas. This little place is located in Plaza Nichupte’ and you can either order them to take away or eat there even though it is very small and you can only sit at  a bar. They don’t have WIFI.

Read their reviews on TripAdvisor

Well, we arrived at the end. This is my choice and I hope it comes in handy. I will be adding on more when I try more.  In the meantime ENJOY and please if you have a minute to spare let me know your thoughts or suggestion. I would love to hear from you.


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