Have you ever had a meal that was a fiesta of flavors and surprises at every turn? That is what visitors and locals find at Restaurante Benazuza, located in Grand Oasis Sens, a resort at kilometer 19.5 in Cancun’s Hotel Zone.
Benazuza is the brainchild of Chef Rafael Zafra from Spain, who trained at some of the finest restaurants in the world. Previously, he was the Oasis Hotels’ Gastronomic Advisor and is currently the Executive Chef of Grand Oasis Sens.
From the moment you enter Benazuza, it feels different than most restaurants. There's no menu here. Instead, your visit begins with an invitation to the bar for innovative “cocktails” that seem more like something created in a laboratory than a bar. Most of the delightful concoctions have roots in traditional Mexican drinks. Expect the unexpected and a bit of a show.
Most of Benazuza's "cocktails" have roots in traditional Mexican drinks — Photo courtesy of Grand Oasis Sens
After drinks, you’ll be escorted to your table for appetizers and entrees, and if you’re lucky, charming Emilio will be your waiter. He is friendly, knowledgeable and thoroughly explains each dish. He may teach you a bit of the original local language of Cancun – Maya.
As the first dishes arrive, you may be a bit perplexed by the diminutive portions. Don’t worry. There are over 20 courses in this prix-fixe experience, and Benazuza’s whimsical creations will leave you feeling completely satisfied.
Benazuza is quiet, clean and simply decorated, allowing the cuisine to shine — Photo courtesy of Grand Oasis Sens
It would be a crime to ruin the surprises Benazuza has in store. Without going into too much detail, expect what's generally referred to as "molecular gastronomy." But that name seems a bit cold for this experience, which is really a celebration of flavors, aromas, textures and temperatures.
All dishes incorporate time-honored Mexican ingredients. You’ll get a taste of everything from street food to gourmet restaurant, always with a twist. Some dishes may not be what they appear to be. That’s part of the fun.
Finally comes desserts. Not dessert, desserts. Benazuza’s pretty sweet treats are the perfect ending to this culinary escapade.
Grand Oasis Sens is located at kilometer 19.5 in Cancun's Hotel Zone — Photo courtesy of Grand Oasis Sens
The price for dinner at Benazuza is 950 pesos per person (about 56 usd). For Oasis guests in the Grand category, 675 pesos. For Oasis guests in other categories, the cost is 810 pesos. For guests of Grand Oasis Sens in Sian Kaan rooms, Benazuza is complimentary.
If you're celebrating a special occasion or have any special dietary needs, be sure to mention it when you make your reservation. Benazuza also serves an equally imaginative gourmet breakfast if you're inclined to make a morning of it too!