The Best Restaurants on Isla Holbox, Mexico

Pull up a chair and settle in for a feast of flavors at one of the best eateries on the relaxed Mexican island of Holbox
Pull up a chair and settle in for a feast of flavors at one of the best eateries on the relaxed Mexican island of Holbox | © zstockphotos / Getty Images
Alex Robinson

Fancy a pizza? Or a plate of jumpingly fresh seafood? On the super-chill island of Isla Holbox, in Mexico‘s Quintana Roo, between swimming and sunbathing, you can pull up a chair and settle in for a feast of flavors. Here they are, the best places to eat on Isla Holbox.

1. Naranjas

Restaurant, Mexican

Naranjas Holbox
Courtesy of Naranjas Holbox

It’s a simple space – an open-sided palapa with log-cut tables on a sand floor, but Naranjas serves one of the best breakfasts in Holbox. The generous servings of Mexican eggs (cooked ranchero style with tortillas and thick sauce or scrambled with tomatoes a la mexicana) would be enough for most, but set breakfasts also come with fruit plates and refill coffee. Croissants, pancakes, bowls of açai and huge smoothies are available as sides.

2. Las Panchas

Restaurant, Mexican

With a palm-thatch awning and a scattering of wooden tables spilling out onto the sandy street, this family-run restaurant – in crab-scuttling distance of the beach – has no barefoot-chic pretensions; but it does serve some of the freshest seafood in town, and at the best prices. Simple grilled fish, fried seafood and avocado-based salads come with slices of lime and optional zingy home-made habanero sauce. In the evenings, there’s live music.

3. TacoQueto

Restaurant, Mexican

tacos al pastor, mexican taco, street food in mexico city
© Marcos Castillo / Alamy Stock Photo

The look is simple: plastic tables and a plain canvas awning, but you won’t find better tacos at this price in Holbox. The menu is packed with classics – meaty burritos, quesadillas oozing with cheese – and there are house specials like the al pastor (made with pulled pork) and the sirloin (made with prime beef). There’s food to go (the beach is a stroll away), and you can bring your own beer (bought at the supermarket on the corner).

4. Le Jardin

Restaurant, Mexican

Eating at home? Picnicking on the beach? Make a pit-stop in Holbox’s best bakery, in the center of the village. As the name suggests, Le Jardin tilts its beret to France – serving almost-Parisian pastries, fresh croissants, quiches and baguettes to go or to eat in – in the light, airy, open-sided café space. The in-house menu includes omelettes, smoothies and if you ask, strong European-style coffee. And the bakery is open for breakfast.

5. Mandarina

Restaurant, Mexican

Las Tortugas Mandarina restaurant
Courtesy of Casa Las Tortugas Petit Beach Hotel and Spa / Expedia

Fine dining with an ocean view? It’s at the Mandarina – a Mex-meets-Med restaurant at Las Tortugas, Holbox’s coolest boutique hotel. Begin upstairs at the Ama Bar – with the house Hoja Santa cocktail (Espadín mezcal, Mexican pepperleaf, chili and tonic) and sunset views. Then head to the Mandarin’s dining area – all distressed wood tables under a palapa in cork-popping distance of the waves, and order seafood fresh from the sea.

6. Barba Negra

Bar, Mexican

It’s just a handful of tables under an open-sided palm-roofed awning, but Barba Negra serves the best meat and veggie tacos and aguachiles (Mexican shrimp ceviche) in Holbox. The Yucatán special, taco de campechano, comes with grilled beef, chicharron (pork rinds), and longaniza (red pork sausage with annatto seeds). Have yours with an ice-cold craft beer or one of the excellent house cocktails – they even make the delicious mixers in house.

7. Roots

Restaurant, Mexican

Roots serves wood-fired pizza on rustic wooden tables in the heart of Holbox village, five minutes’ walk from the beach. There’s hammock space for chilling out with a cocktail, and the restaurant inhabits a traditional Mayan nah thatched cottage. There are myriad pizzas (lobster, oaxaqueña: with grasshoppers) and all kinds of veggie options. Top tip: if you dine here in the evening, wear long sleeves and pants – the mosquitoes are voracious.

8. El Chapulim

Restaurant, Mexican

Celebrated chef Erik Winckelmann’s bonsai bistro sits curbside under a palm-thatch awning a block from the beach. Erik himself visits your table to tell you what’s available on the ever-changing four-dish-only menu. The emphasis is on quality ingredients. He chooses only the best of what’s available, depending on the season and the catches of the day in the village fish market. Cocktail mixer ingredients are all locally sourced, or prepared in-house.

9. Rosa Mexicano

Restaurant, Mexican

This place serves traditional Mexican comfort food in the heart of Holbox village, near the main plaza. Ceviche verde (Sinaloan shrimp-based ceviche) is tangy with lime, enchiladas come stuffed with chicken, fresh fish or octopus, and the long, strong watermelon margaritas are a refreshing tonic after a day in the Holbox heat. Rosa’s opens early and serves big breakfasts of Mexican eggs, tostadas, chilaquiles and plates of tropical fruit.

10. Raices

Restaurant, Mexican

Lunch on the village beach? Head to Raices – a palm-thatch palapa sitting right on the choicest patch of Holbox’s white sand. This is where you can pull up a plastic chair, sit in your wet swimwear and eat wrigglingly fresh fish or shrimp (served in tacos or salads). Or sip a cooling cocktail in a swing seat at the bar or on the shaded sun loungers: diners get all-day access, and the sea’s so close you’re almost in the waves.

If you’re looking for a greater taste of Holbox, why not try one of the best bars in town? There are countless reasons why you should visit this beautiful island, but for some specific ideas for your itinerary, check out our list of the best things to do while you’re here. And look no further for the best places to stay.

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