Acapulco's Top 10 Restaurants for Real Mexican Dining

Acapulco's restaurants offer a mix of luxurious dining and authentic Mexican eats
Acapulco's restaurants offer a mix of luxurious dining and authentic Mexican eats | © Floriano Rescigno / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Thomas Rees
1 October 2020

Once the favored holiday destination of Hollywood stars, Acapulco has always looked after its guests. The restaurant scene has been revamped over the last few years, but those looking for authentic cuisine will still find many options. From beachside cafés serving freshly caught seafood to taco joints and traditional Mexican family-run restaurants, Acapulco remains one of Mexico’s top foodie destinations. These 10 top picks show the city’s food at its best.

Zibu

Restaurant, Seafood, Asian, Thai, Vegetarian, Vegan, Gluten-free, $$$
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Make a reservation at Zibu, and it won’t just be the food that lingers in your memory. Palm-thatched roofs, a contemporary patio terrace and sublime sunset views all create an atmosphere unlike any other in Acapulco. Owned by Eduardo Palazuelos, the son of renowned Mexican chef, writer and wedding organizer Susana Palazuelos, Zibu has a stunning menu with a nod to Mexican-Thai fusion – two of the world cuisines associated with paradise. Delights on the menu include arroz oriental – a risotto-style dish with octopus, shrimp and squid marinated with ginger butter and Thai red chili.

100% Natural

Restaurant, Mexican, Vegetarian, $$$
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100% Natural is a small chain with several branches across Acapulco, aiming to fuse fabulous Mexican flavors with nutritious, wholesome ingredients. From breakfasts of fresh fruit and muesli to wholegrain and gluten-free versions of Mexican lunchtime classics, the extensive menus have plenty of vegetarian options. Though 100% Natural serves a fine selection of pasta and noodle dishes, the salads are particularly celebrated, enriched with nuts, seeds and sprouted grains to give diners an added energy surge. The Café Del Mar location is especially appealing thanks to its proximity to La Caleta beach, though the Magallanes branch is also a contender with its pontoon seating and lovely views of the bay.

Lupe de Arena

Restaurant, Mexican, Seafood
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Spend a quiet lunch or evening meal at Lupe de Arena, which overlooks glorious Santa Lucia Bay. The restaurant has a laid-back vibe, with lounge chairs and tables by the ocean. Tuck into mouthwatering delights at this popular beach club, with chef Hugo serving up a variety of authentic seafood dishes. Try the octopus a la Lupe de Arena, marinated in a top-secret recipe, mounted on plantains with a mixed black bean salad. For those not easily intimidated, the Oaxacan-style chapulines (grasshoppers) will prove memorable!

Becco al Mare

Restaurant, Italian, Seafood, Mediterranean, $$$
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Highly fashionable thanks to the restaurant’s sleek architecture, Becco al Mare takes the minimalist approach and is a real winner for diners seeking out the ultimate in contemporary Acapulco cuisine. Though primarily an Italian establishment, there are plenty of local options to tantalize the taste buds. Lovers of seafood will be particularly impressed, with tuna, red snapper, lobster, mahi-mahi and shrimp consistently on the menu. Partial to a drop of vino? Becco al Mare’s wine cellar is noted for its diversity, stocked with over 600 labels and 4,000 bottles representing both the New and Old Worlds.

La Cabaña de Caleta

Restaurant, Seafood, Mexican, $$$
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This palm-thatched beach house restaurant at Playa Caleta sits opposite La Roqueta and has won the hearts of Acapulco’s visitors for over 50 years. Service is consistently attentive, the location is superb, and the seafood is some of the best in the city. Among La Cabaña de Caleta’s specialities are clam ceviche, oysters, seafood cocktails, fish soup, grilled snapper and garlicky prawns. On top of all that, there are a handful of classic Mexican breakfast items, including huevos rancheros with refried beans, to enjoy as you soak up some early morning beachside atmosphere and fight the temptation to stay there all day.

Kookaburra

Restaurant, Seafood, French
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Kookaburra is a sleek modern restaurant that forms part of Acapulco’s upmarket La Isla Shopping Village to the southeast of the city, having moved from a location on the Avenida Escenica. Its menu is influenced as much by European cuisine as by that of Mexico, with dishes including rack of lamb, quail, roast duck with wild rice, filet mignon and black forest cake among the highlights. You’ll also find shrimp with tamarind sauce and grilled robalo (common snook, also known as sergeant fish) marinated with chilies, should you need reminding that you’re in Mexico. The expertly made cocktails, including a range of blended margaritas, are also worth sampling long into the night.

El Cabrito

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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El Cabrito has been an Acapulco staple on the restaurant scene for over 50 years, during which time it has amassed a loyal local following. Translated as “the baby goat”, the restaurant unabashedly wears its heart on its sleeve, serving up delicious fare enjoyed by a diverse clientele. The menu comprises dishes known throughout Mexico, including tamales (long maize flour dumplings stuffed with shredded meat and steamed inside corn husks or banana leaves) and enchiladas made with piquant tomatillo salsa. But the succulent spit-roasted goat (cabrito al pastor) cooked over charcoal is the house speciality, and a nod to the restaurant’s name. El Cabrito’s bar is well-stocked, and they have a range of artisan tequilas.

La Trainera

Restaurant, Seafood
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This seafood restaurant started out as a small seafood market in 2005 in the diamond area of the city, and has since grown both in reputation and size. La Trainera has two branches in Acapulco (La Isla and La Joya) along with two in Mexico City (in Polanca and the historical center). All four of them double as delis (or markets, as La Trainera likes to call them) in which an impressive seafood counter takes pride of place, showcasing all manner of creatures from the deep, from snow crabs to numerous varieties of clams. Freshness is their promise, with produce imported from Baja California, Sinaloa and Coahuila. Take a seat on the informal terrace and choose from the extensive menu that features dishes such as marlin tacos, grilled Alaskan king crab, tuna sashimi and a long list of ceviches. Make no mistake – this is a seafood lover’s paradise.

La Casa de Tere

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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Homey Mexican classics are the order of the day at La Casa de Tere, a brightly painted open-air dining room in an unassuming area of Acapulco. Take a seat at one of the long wooden tables and dig into outstanding tortilla soups, chicken with mole (a rich sauce made from upwards of 20 ingredients that include toasted spices and a variety of ground chilies) and syrupy flan. The restaurant is renowned for its pozole, a traditional hominy broth or stew popular in Guerrero and central Mexico; La Casa de Tere’s version is regarded by many devotees to be the finest in the city, and the exceptional reviews reflect it. This insider’s pick also hosts Mexican folk music with local groups performing several nights a week.

Tacos Tumbras

Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
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Perhaps Acapulco’s favorite place for tacos, Tacos Tumbras has been in a league of its own for more than 30 years. Specializing in charcoal meats and cheeses, this unassuming but highly authentic taqueria sticks to the basics done correctly – its recipe for their deserved success. You’ll find numerous classic taco combos here, but the intensely savory tacos al pastor (marinated, spiced pork cooked on a spit, lifted by a sprinkling of chopped onion and coriander) are the most popular. Along with the obligatory side of lime wedges, there are fresh tomato, tomatillo and chipotle salsas with which to anoint them. Ideal for a quick bite or a late night pit-stop, Tacos Tumbras makes a refreshing change from Acapulco’s glitzy, tourist-orientated side.

Jo Varley contributed additional reporting to this article.

These recommendations were updated on October 1, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.