When in Cancun and looking for a totally hip and romantic dining experience, head to Thai Lounge, located in La Isla shopping mall in the city's Hotel Zone. Think the location seems a bit too busy for romance and relaxation? Think again.
As soon as you step foot in the restaurant (after passing the entrance of Indian sister restaurant Elefanta), the fact that you are in a shopping mall in Mexico is quickly forgotten. You’ve now entered Southeast Asia, and you’re fittingly welcomed by a Buddhist altar and the sweet smell of burning incense. After dark, dramatic lighting and electronic music add to the ambiance. On weekends, Thai Lounge features a live DJ beginning at 10 p.m.
Thai Lounge is one of Cancun's most romantic restaurants — Photo courtesy of Thai
As you make your way along the winding paths through the thick tropical foliage, you’ll realize that any seat in the house is perfectly lovely, but if you want one of the coveted over-the-water private hut tables, reservations are a must. (If you have your hotel concierge make your reservation, you may receive a free welcome drink.)
Most of these tables, each a separate thatched-roof hut, are tables for two to four diners, but there is also a larger over-the-water section that holds two large tables, big enough for groups of 10 or so. Thai’s friendly waiters present you with bug spray (this is an open-air restaurant) and in addition there are tiny jets that periodically distribute bug spray automatically under each table.
You must make a reservation if you want an over-the-water table — Photo courtesy of Thai
All of the over-the-water tables provide a front row seat for Cancun’s spectacular sunsets over Nichupte Lagoon and the twinkling lights of Cancun’s skyline. If you are at Thai Lounge late in the evening, you may even get to see a crocodile or two. In addition, there are some tables that actually have a view of the pool (an under-the-water view) of the aquarium next door. So don’t be surprised if a dolphin or two stop by to say “Hola!”
What about the food? Chef Supoj Thamtino is from Bangkok and took the position at Thai Lounge in 2004 after working in Bangkok, Germany and the Czech Republic. The menu includes starters, salads, soups, three curries, noodles, rice, veggies, vegetarian dishes, meat, seafood, chicken and four very interesting desserts. Menu items are conveniently marked with one, two or three chili peppers, so you know just how hot things are going to get. The best way to enjoy Thai is to share all of your entrees so that everyone is able to try many different dishes.
It is important to note that if you plan to dine at Thai Lounge with your family, there is no children’s menu. However, waiters are happy to make suggestions. There are also various appetizers and/or entrees that work for even the pickiest eaters.
The best thing about Thai Lounge is the ambiance — Photo courtesy of Thai