As an international destination, Cancun offers a bite of the best of Mexican gastronomy in its restaurants throughout the city. The locals are the best connoisseurs: they know both the highly publicized places and the not-so-publicized, but which serve the finest dishes. Take note of the following restaurants that locals love in Cancun.
Restaurant, Caribbean, Seafood, Mexican, $$$
A nice restaurant out of the hotel zone with a local Mexican feeling, a wide variety of seafood, and delicious lobster. Relax with a glass of wine while sitting in front of a beautiful view of the Caribbean sea. An excellent service and delicious seafood, choose your dish and tell the waitress how you want it cooked. To get to Mariscos Marbella, you have to go inside a little market and then to the second floor. It is a popular place that fills up quickly, so it’s recommended to arrive early to avoid a long wait.
La Playita Restaurante Bar
Restaurant, Bar, Mexican, Seafood, $$$
Enjoy the delights of seafood in the town center of Cancun. Although it is not a typical tourist place with a view to the beach, you can see the bullring and hustle and bustle of everyday Cancun from the terrace. Taste traditional dishes with a contemporary twist: shrimp nachos, tortilla with garlic stuffed with octopus, aguachile and shrimp broth to name a few. Why not pair it with a coconut mojito.
Restaurant, Barbeque, Buffet, $$$
Located on Yaxchilan, one of the main avenues in Cancun, La Parrilla is the best choice when looking for a traditional Mexican restaurant. Founded 40 years ago, it is about as old as the foundation of Cancun itself, and is still famous for its wide menu of typical dishes from all over the country, such as tacos, cheese chicharrón, roasted meats and mole. Make a reservation and spend a nice time in a place full of colors and folklore, where Mariachis add a cheerful touch everyday from 7:30 p.m. You can have a takeaway service or make a reservation.
Restaurant, Mexican, $$$
Checándole is a family-friendly restaurant serving Mexican food with a homemade taste. What locals love is the picturesque environment with the taste of traditional cuisine – food is served on clay dishes, joined by diverse Mexican salsas made of green or red tomato and chile. When you go to Market 28, this is the place to make a stop to eat fajitas, refried beans, breaded chicken or quesadillas. Ask for their popular service called “comida corrida,” which in Mexico is a sort of daily special meal comprising a starter, soup, and main course for a very cheap price.
Restaurant, Mexican, Barbeque, Seafood, $$$
Atotonilco is one of the restaurants in Market 28 that stands out for gathering what in Mexico is called the ‘3 B’: Bueno (good), Bonito (nice) and Barato (good price). Take typical Mexican food while enjoying the sound of the marimba – a Mexican instrument from the old times – played by two or three men. Have a Deviled steak, flank steak fajitas, stuffed calamari with shrimp, chilaquiles with mole and octopus in yellow sauce. Don’t miss the traditional Tikin Xik, a fish wrapped in a banana leaf, prepared in the Meso-American style. Delicious food, easy place and good service.
Lu’um Cocina Creativa
Restaurant, Mexican, Seafood, Contemporary, Caribbean, none
Located on Nader Avenue, Lu’um brings a different concept to Cancun: author cuisine with typical Mexican ingredients in their own unique style. The atmosphere is cozy, the owners – a friendly family – give you warm attention and make sure you get an explanation of every dish and the right wine pairing. The food is gourmet, with creative presentation whether it be a veggie pizza, cheese board with a prune jam, or spaghetti with lamb. The chef comes to your table to explain you the specials of the day, and in case, offers you a chocolate or wine tasting. In this boutique restaurant your dinner is whole experience – excellent for a date.
Restaurant, Mexican, Contemporary, Seafood, $$$
Beautiful is the word that describes this restaurant. Enjoy delicious dishes of fusion cuisine with a Yucatecan touch on the shores of the Nichupte Lagoon with live jazz music. The food is gourmet, served in a stylish way: try the avocado bamboo with shrimp, octopus zarandeado and camaronillas, and for dessert fried banana with cajeta, or flan with coconut ice cream. The restaurant is a complex of palapas on the lagoon, an awe-inspiring place to watch the sunset and the moonlight; truly romantic. The attention, the decoration and the atmosphere makes it really spectacular.
Restaurant, Seafood, $$$
Also located in Market 28, this is a restaurant always full of tourists. There are colorful decorative papers hanging from the ceiling and a marimba brightening the environment. Service is quick and warm, and the food is good and fresh. El Cejas has a varied menu, so what should you try? Shrimp ceviche, lobster, fish fillet and the delightful gratin oysters, but what you shouldn’t miss is the shrimp cocktail with beer, you’ll love it. It’s a place of good taste, price and quality.