Cancun Restaurants

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by Santorini Dave • Updated: May 2, 2018

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The 10 Best Restaurants in Cancun

  1. Casitas • $$$$
    Romantic, special occasion dining in Cancun
    Beachfront fine dining at The Ritz with a sumptuous menu of grilled fresh seafood and tender steaks. Specialties include their elevated version of Yucatecan tikin xic, a whole fish coated in spices and citrus and cooked in a banana leaf, as well as their flawlessly prepared steaks. The wine selection is robust, featuring international labels as well as Mexican wines (Mexico is known for their reds, especially cabernets and tempranillos). The romantic ambiance is most profound in their signature private casitas directly on the beach, wrapped in sheer veils with softly illuminated tabletops, though they also have tables on a nearby terrace. Service is impeccable, attentive, and friendly. Reservations are required for the beachfront casitas and there is a surcharge, but it is entirely worth it, especially for special occasions. Reservations are recommended for terrace seating.
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  2. La Fonda del Zancudo • $$-$$$
    Date night dining in Cancun
    Atmospheric dining in an old abandoned house, serving gorgeous, Mediterranean-inspired dishes using fresh, local, organic ingredients, some grown onsite in their tiny garden. Standout dishes include their rich tuna tartare, baked figs and empanadas, along with their refreshing cucumber martini and sangria. They also have a chalkboard menu with daily specials, with a lot of variety, especially for seafood and veggie dishes. Seating is in an open courtyard surrounded by crumbling stucco walls with dramatic vines climbing up the sides and fairy lights strung through the trees. Reservations are not required for small groups, but larger tables may want to reach out via Facebook; they answer very promptly. This Downtown restaurant is open for dinner only.
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  3. Les Cepages • $$$$
    The best French restaurant in Cancun
    Contemporary, French cuisine in an elegant setting with rich flavors, exquisite presentation, and fantastic wines. The sophisticated menu changes seasonally, taking inspiration from locally-sourced produce and fine meat cuts, though certain popular items appear regularly, like the brie salad, lamb chops, and chocolate soufflé. The restaurant is helmed by the amiable and talented Chef Sal Luna, who makes sure to personally greet all guests he’s cooking for and to answer any questions or make suggestions, even going off menu. Table service is always warm, attentive, and personal. Les Cepages is located in Downtown and is open for lunch and dinner.
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  4. La Habichuela • $$$$
    Garden patio dining in Cancun
    Flavorful Mexican-Caribbean restaurant, famous for its unique recipes featuring delicious seafood and beef and its tropical garden vibe. Their most popular dish by far is their cocobichuela (so popular it ended up being a $600 question on Jeopardy!): curried lobster and fish over rice served inside a coconut and topped with a grilled pineapple ring. Decorated with Maya statues, dense palm fronds, and strings of lights, the garden patio is the preferred spot for dining. Save room for dessert and order a Mayan coffee to end the night; it comes with a fun tableside fire show. There are two locations, but you definitely need to visit the original one in Downtown, open since 1977, to experience the true Cancun spirit.
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  5. Surfin’ Burrito • $
    Cheap eats budget dining in Cancun
    This well-loved hole-in-the-wall has a full menu of California-style comfort food, like coconut shrimp, fish tacos, and ceviche. But they are best known for their massive mahi-shrimp burritos, loaded with grilled veggies, beans, and rice; topped with tamarind and habanero sauce, recently featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Their build-your-own burrito option is super popular, especially for those who don’t do seafood; their arrachera beef is particularly delicious. Burritos are always finished off on the grill to give a little crunch and a fuller flavor. Go easy on the drinks here; the cocktails are bigger than your head, ice cold, and strong. Seating is limited to three high-top tables and assorted bar stools, so waiting for a table can take a while; food and cocktails are all available to-go, and they deliver from 8:00 a.m. until midnight. The restaurant is in the Middle of the Hotel Zone, near the nightlife and open 24 hours.
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  6. Restaurante Margely • $$-$$$
    Traditional Yucatecan cuisine Mexican food in Cancun
    Regional Yucatecan fare and familiar Mexican favorites served with panache at Market 28 in Downtown. This casual restaurant sits in the middle of the popular market, but stands out for its excellent selection of local dishes unique to the area, especially their conchinita pibil (slow-cooked pork stew), parrillada yucateca (barbecued meat with puffed tortillas, refried stuffed tortillas, and in a citrus marinade), and sopa de lima (lime soup).Great aguas frescas, margaritas, and micheladas, too! Seating is al fresco and family style, with several long picnic tables. There is usually a musician playing upbeat, acoustic songs in the square just outside the restaurant, right next to the ice cream stand (grab a coconut ice cream here on your way out!) Open daily for breakfast and lunch from 7:30am to 6:00 pm.
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  7. El Galeón del Caribe • $
    Best local dining in Cancun
    The only authentic, local-style restaurant in the Hotel Zone, El Galeón serves tasty, affordable seafood dishes under a palapa roof with a dirt floor and picnic tables arranged near the lagoon. The specialty of the house is pescadillas (fish tacos); order 3 or 4 per person. Their mixed ceviche with shrimp and octopus is outstanding and huge; two people can share this one. Pair your meal with a michelada and finish it off with their sweet fried bananas. Service is friendly but very casual, so don’t expect to be doted on. This gem of a restaurant is hidden from the street. At kilometer 19.4, you’ll see their sign and a small parking lot on the lagoon side of the street. The restaurant itself is down a set of wooden steps hidden in the foliage. Hours are loose, from noon-ish to 7:00ish. Cash only.
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  8. Los Aguachiles • $$-$$$
    Best Ceviche in Cancun
    Casual, authentic spot for super fresh seafood and ice cold drinks. The restaurant is best known for its house ceviche, made with shrimp, octopus, or a combo of the two, served with their house salsa blends. Other menu highlights include the tuna tostada, grilled octopus, and chilorio tacos (spicy pork) for the non-seafood eaters. Mezcal features heavily on the drink menu, mixed with various aguas frescas, most popularly the pepino fresco (cucumber lime) and the maracuyá (passion fruit). This humble Downtown spot is a favorite among locals, clean, welcoming, and family-friendly. Open for lunch and early dinner, from 1:00pm to 7:30pm.
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  9. Sushi Go • $$-$$$
    The best sushi in Cancun
    Unassuming, local chain, serving super fresh and affordable sushi, sashimi, and other Japanese favorites. Rolls are definitely the stars here, with the Dragon Roll (tempura shrimp, cream cheese, and eel sauce) topping the list of favorites, along with the #4 (salmon, mango, cream cheese) and #21 (spicy tuna wrapped in avocado). Their tempura udon, ribeye roll, and gyoza are also top-notch. Diners will also find a few Mexican-inspired appetizers on the menu, like spicy tuna tostadas and salmon taquitos. The atmosphere is casual and clean, with friendly staff table service, a full bar, and killer tempura fried ice cream. They also deliver to anywhere in the Hotel Zone. Open daily from 1:00pm – 11:00pm.
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  10. Porfirio’s • $$$$
    Upscale Mexican restaurant  in Cancun
    Upscale, Mexican restaurant with a lively atmosphere. Porfirio’s serves a wide range of Mexican staples, like tamales, chicharones, and elote (street-style grilled corn with cheese, mayo, and chili powder), along with more traditional, adventurous fare, like chapulines, fried grasshoppers on guacamole. The cocktail menu features unique house recipes, like their chilimango with fresh mango, vodka, chili and peach liqueur, and a robust selection of Josefinas, spicy mezcal cocktails with sweetened lemon and fresh, local fruits. Dinner is accompanied by live mariachi performers dancing among the tables, miming along with the music over the speakers. Yes, it’s cheesy but way fun! Open for lunch and dinner from 1:00pm -1:00am in the Hotel Zone.
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