Cancun is a vacation destination with something for everyone, including families. Often wrongly labeled as Party Central, Cancun also boasts endless activities, tours, resorts and restaurants for all ages.
You might be surprised to hear that popular bars like Senor Frogs, Carlos n' Charlie's and Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville are also family-friendly restaurants, as long and you and the kids hightail it out of there by 9 or 10 pm. Local downtown favorites like La Casa de los Abuelos and Marakame feature play areas and children's menus. Planet Hollywood in Plaza La Isla is a great place to stop for lunch and the kids are sure to want a t-shirt as a souvenir. What child wouldn't love a place called Chocolate City? Also located in La Isla, their menu features a variety of chocolate items and the restaurant has a special kids area and even babysitters. Fish Fritanga is a delicious seafood option located on the lagoon in the Hotel Zone with a small playground and a great view for mom and dad. Dolcemente Pompei is one of the few oceanfront restaurants in Cancun. Mom can enjoy the waiters in their togas and the kids can enjoy the outdoor play area. Perico's is a lively Mexican restaurant in downtown Cancun that encourages audience participation in its frequent shows.
Note: It's not a restaurant per se but Plaza Kukulcan's food court has a brand new play area for kids and lots of restaurant choices.
So when in Cancun, check out these restaurants that the entire family can enjoy.
10 Dolcemente Pompei
This is an authentic Italian restaurant perched on the very edge of the Caribbean Sea in the Hotel Zone. The waiters wear fun Roman togas and are happy to make menu choice suggestions. They serve homemade pasta and their desserts are out of this world. This is a family friendly restaurant. There is a small playyard located close to the outside dining area. It's fun to watch the pirate boats cruising the high seas from your table. This restaurant is a little difficult to find. It is set away from the street right next to Casa Maya at km. 5.5 in the Hotel Zone. (998 849 4006)
Hidden in an upscale neighborhood in downtown Cancun, Marakame is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They even deliver. This indoor/outdoor restaurant is great for an event, like a baby shower or birthday, a family breakfast or a romantic dinner. They have an small indoor playground for the kids. Marakame features an extensive menu of pasta, seafood, salads, pizza and a fully stocked bar. The ambiance is welcoming and relaxing. Leave your board shorts and flip flops at the hotel, this crowd is casual but fashionable. To arrive, take the bus, get off at the first stop downtown and then take a 25 peso taxi to the restaurant. (887-1010, 887-0187)
8 Planet Hollywood
Everyone knows what makes Planet Hollywood fun...the movie and TV props and memorabilia. This family restaurant is located in Plaza La Isla in the Hotel Zone, which is a great place to spend an afternoon or evening and Planet Hollywood is a fun family option for lunch or dinner. Young children will be given materials for coloring and bigger kids will beg for a Planet Hollywood Cancun t-shirt. For the most part the fare is American, like hamburgers and salads. Normally cast members from "The Mask" are hanging around the restaurant, so make sure you get your picture taken with them. (998 883 0643)
7 Carlos n' Charlie's
Carlos n' Charlie's is not only a Cancun party institution, it's a restaurant that serves delicious food, and if you visit during the day for lunch or in the early evening for dinner it's a fun place for the entire family. Kids can order non-alcoholic versions of delicious fruity adult beverages and the extensive menu features a wide variety of choices, including appetizers, Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes, BBQ, hamburgers, sandwiches and dessert. The ambiance and staff are always entertaining and a lot of fun. Carlos 'n' Charlie's is located in the Hotel Zone at km 8.5 in Plaza Forum by the Sea. (998-883-4468, 998-883-1862)
Diners can literally "saddle up" to the bar at Perico's because the bar stools, well, have saddles on them. This lively atmosphere is perfect for group lunches or just groups in general. Waiters dress as Mexican zapatas (revolutionaries), and diners are routinely treated to entertaining performances by magicians and mariachi bands. The food is the typical Mexican fare, and the mole sauce (usually made with flavorful ingredients such as cinnamon, cloves and garlic and served with turkey or chicken) purports to be some of the best in Cancun. (998-884-3152, 998-884-0415)
5 Margaritaville Cancun
All of your Parrothead dreams come true at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville. Located in Plaza Flamingo at km 11.5 in the Hotel Zone, this lively restaurant is fun for the family in the early evening. They feature live music everyday at 8 pm. Wednesday is karaoke night and the fun begins at 7 pm. They have an extensive menu which features Volcano Nachos, Key Lime Pie, the Who's to Blame house margarita and of course, the Cheeseburger in Paradise. On Sundays kids eat free and mom and dad receive free welcome margaritas. You can also find Margaritaville on Cozumel and in the Cancun International Airport, Terminal 3. (998 885 2376)
4 Senor Frogs
The name Senor Frog's is synonymous with fun. This open-air bar and restaurant has sawdust on the floor so you don't have to worry about your children making a mess. Kids can order "virgin" versions of the famous drinks in yard glasses that people love to take home as souvenirs. Frogs claims to have the "Funniest Family Dinner in Town" and they are currently working on a new version of their Sunday afternoon Kid's Party. The lively staff always makes sure everyone has a blast. Conga lines, balloons, confetti and craziness are the norm here. Senor Frogs know how to throw an ageless party. (998-883-1092)
3 La Casa de Los Abuelos
La Casa de Los Abuelos (The Grandparents' House) is a Mexican family restaurant and bakery. They have four locations, two of which are in Cancun. The idea here is that the food is traditional Mexican fare, something your abuelos (grandparents) might make, if you are Mexican of course! Try one of their unique quesadillas, one with chorizo (Mexican sausage) and potato, or even nopales (cactus). Then try some pan dulce (sweet bread) for dessert from the bakery. This restaurant is great for families because they have an enclosed playroom which is supervised by nannies where kids can hang out before or after they eat. (998 884 5164)
2 Chocolate City
Chocolate City is a restaurant featuring, well, lots of chocolate...chocolate martinis, chocolate desserts, and best of all, their chocolate fountain. When you walk in the door you'll be overwhelmed by the sweet smell. However, they also have good food including pizza, pasta, steaks, sandwiches and seafood. This is a family restaurant located in Plaza La Isla in the Hotel Zone. They have a Chocokids play area where children can play video games and board games, watch TV or even get their hair styled. They also offer packages for children's birthday parties and babysitting in the kids area for children under 4. Don't miss the kids show every Sunday at 3:30pm. (998 840 6496, 998 840 6503)
1 El Fish Fritanga
This casual seafood restaurant is located smack in the middle of the Hotel Zone but it's a local favorite. El Fish Fritanga's restaurant is open daily from 11 am to 11 pm but their taco stand is open from 7 am until 1 am. This is a great spot for a family meal. They have high chairs and a changing station available and an outdoor kids play area. Prices on their menu range from 10 to 200 pesos (USD: 75 cents to 15 dollars). They are located on the lagoon so you'll enjoy a great view. They have all this to offer plus their food is delicious. Try the ceviche or fish tacos with a frosty chelada (prepared beer drink). (998 840 6216)
About Kristin Busse
After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.
Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University. Chicago was her home for the next 9 years.
Mexico has been good to Kristin, she became a mother and achieved her lifelong dream to become a professional singer. She loves to explore the area on the weekends with her 3 year old son, and she enjoys sharing her experiences and discoveries with others through writing and social media.
Read more about Kristin Busse here.
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