Last Updated Mar 12, 2024

Restaurants: Where to eat in Cancun?

Cancun and Riviera Maya are one of the most popular touristic corridors in Mexico and in the world. These destinations are just not about the beach, the jungle or the amazing hotels you can find there. The native culture and the art expression in these places are also relevant. And one of the most interesting aspects on this cultural subject is gastronomy, in other words, the food offer. The need to satisfy the tasting preferences of a constant flow of tourist from all the corners of the world has set the conditions for many world class restaurants to open their doors in Cancun and Riviera Maya. The interesting thing about gastronomy and restaurants in Cancun is that there’s a wide variety of foods styles available. Although, there is great influence by North American dishes and food chains, the presence of other gastronomic styles, as well as the direct inheritance of Mexican gastronomy, is remarkable.

The diversity of restaurants in Cancun is shown throughout the hotel zone, as well as in some places close to downtown. In the case of the Riviera Maya, specifically Playa del Carmen, the main concentration of restaurants occurs along the 5th Avenue. In this post we talk about some of the main restaurants in Cancun: their style, their main dishes, where to find them, etc. We think is a good idea to categorize the restaurants depending on the type of food they offer. So, the main categories are:

  • Mexican food Restaurants.
  • Seafood and fish Restaurants.
  • Steak and meat Restaurants.
  • Italian food Restaurants.



Restaurants in Cancun: Mexican Food.

Many foreign tourists might think that, when there is a talk about Mexican food, the main topic is tacos. However, among the variety of Mexican food restaurants in Cancun there are seafood restaurants, specialty restaurants, Yucatan native food restaurants and even cantina-like restaurants (The traditional cantina was a place for drinking, enjoying some on-the-house botanas - bar snacks - and playing card games, or dominoes). Among the main options to enjoy Mexican in Cancun food are:

  • Los Chachalacos. One of the best taco restaurants in Cancun. Here, the meat is cooked in a charcoal grill and you can enjoy your tacos with handmade tortillas. The decoration is set according to the fashion of a traditional street taco restaurant of the center of the country (Mexico City style!). They are located at km 9.5 of the hotel zone, but they have some other branches across the city.
  • Chuchito Pérez. It is a restaurant with eastern-like Mexican cuisine where it is possible to find everything from sushi to a steak. It is located at kilometer 9.5 of the hotel zone.
  • Cantina La 20.It is located in the Marina Town Center Mall in Puerto Cancun, this is an option for those who want to experience the atmosphere of a traditional Mexican Cantina. Mariachis and trios play music while a wide variety of Mexican dishes and beveages are served.
  • La Parrilla. It is a Mexican food restaurant focused on traditional and native dishes: tortilla soup, enchiladas, chilaquiles, tacos and more. In the hotel zone, you can find it in La Isla shopping mall.
  • Los Coapeñitos. Mexico City’s style tacos. This restaurant is famous for its Campechanos Tacos (a mixture of two types of meat). Its decoration is a tribute to the classic titles of Mexican cinema. It is located on Av. Carlos Nader, very close to the City Hall.
  • Porfirio's. If you are looking for a sophisticated place with a cheerful atmosphere, this is the best option. In Porfirio’s you will find a menu with different Mexican dishes including esquites, tortas ahogadas, bone marrows, lobster tamales and delicious tacos and steaks with the best sauces.

Restaurants in Cancun: Seafood and Fish.

Like any destination close to the sea, Cancun has a wide variety of restaurants focused on seafood and fish. Among the most prominent are:

  • Las Hijas de la Tostada. Here, the seafood is “Sinaloa” style cooked. The main dish in this restaurant is the “Tostada” which is a toasted tortilla with food over it. In this case, the food is shrimp, crab, octopus, fish, etc. There are also dishes like aguachiles, seafood cocktails, fish tacos, etc. This restaurant is located at kilometer 3.5 in the Hotel Zone (Kukulkán Boulevard).
  • Lorenzillos. This restaurant is already a classic in Cancun. Its menu is focused on seafood and the most popular dish is lobster. It is located at kilometer 10.5 of the hotel zone and it has an extraordinary view of the lagoon.
  • Mocambo. With an attractive ocean view, this restaurant in Cancun offers typical Mexican seafood and fish dishes. Its facilities are wide and illuminated. It also offers a wide variety of wines.
  • El Cejas. This restaurant is located in Mercado 28 and it offers a wide variety of dishes based on seafood and fish. Its decoration and facilities are less sophisticated than the other restaurant we have already mentioned, but the food is tasty and you can also experience how is to eat in a traditional Mexican Market.

Restaurants in Cancun: Steaks and Meat.

  • La Vicenta. It is a restaurant with a wide variety of grilled steaks, as well as an extensive offer of drinks and beverages. It is located inside the city in Plaza Azuna, near the former bullfight arena.
  • Puerto Madero. Tasty Argentinian style steaks are offered in this restaurant, as well as fish and seafood. The wine menu deserves to be considered whenever you visit this restaurant. It is located at kilometer 14 in the hotel zone.
  • Bovinos. It is a Brazilian steakhouse with some of the best meat in the city. The service format is Rodizio and buffet, so you can eat all you can. It is located in the city in Yaxchilan Avenue.
  • Bandoneon. Another Argentinian style restaurant. It is located next to Plaza Las Américas in the city. The menu includes steaks, pizza, fish and ceviches.
  • Cambalache. It is located in the shopping center "La Isla", this restaurant offers a wide variety of prime steaks, as well as an attractive wine menu.

Restaurants in Cancun: Italian Food.

  • Limoncello. It is a trattoria located at kilometer 5 in the hotel zone. It has an amazing view from its terrace to the Lagoon. So, it could be the perfect place to dine with your significant other. The menu includes dishes from all the regions in Italy.
  • Cenacolo. It is located at kilometer 12.6 of the hotel zone, in “La Europea” building. Its most outstanding dishes are those based on seafood and pasta, which is homemade. It has a view of the Lagoon and a pianist usually plays on the evenings. There is also another branch in the Marina Town Center shopping center in Puerto Cancún.
  • Bacoli. It is located at kilometer 17 of the hotel zone, it has a cozy decoration and a family-oriented atmosphere. Whether you order pizza or pasta, a satisfying experience is guaranteed here.
  • Piola. Arguably, the best pizza in Cancun is made here. It is located in front of Plaza las Americas in the city.
  • La Dolce Vita. It is one of favorites of the inhabitants in Cancun. Its main dish is the homemade pasta. The fish and the seafood is also good. It is located in the city in Caba Avenue 87.

Accommodation Service Modality

When we talk about restaurants in a destination like Cancun and Riviera Maya, it is important to consider the type our accommodation service in which we are going to stay. In the post about Hotel Services in the region, we talked about the two main modalities: All Inclusive and European Plan. One of the main disadvantages of choosing an All-Inclusive Hotel is that it limits the opportunities to experience the restaurant offer in Cancun. So, if all this information about the restaurants in Cancun has caught your attention, it is a good idea to think about the accommodation service modality in which you will be traveling to avoid additional expenses that can hurt your travel budget.

Want to learn more about restaurants in Cancun, check out this guide!