"Mariscos" means seafood in Spanish, and that is exactly what you will find at this downtown restaurant, the freshest seafood in town. Located conveniently right across the street from Costco (look for the giant palapa), the excellent service, authentic Mexican Caribbean open-air ambiance, cool artwork and twinkling lights complement the delicious seafood dishes they serve at very reasonable prices. The menu is huge and includes refreshing and creative cocktails. Try the tamarind margarita. El Oasis is kid-friendly and offers a great kid's menu (think fresh fish in the fish sticks).
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: El Oasis offers excellent service and ambiance and the freshest seafood at reasonable prices.
Kristin's expert tip: Try the baked plantain with ice cream, caramel and nuts for dessert.
Finally, Greek food in Cancun! A Greek goddess will warmly welcome you when you arrive at Ilios Greek Estiatorio, a breathtakingly beautiful restaurant located on Nichupte Lagoon in the Hotel Zone. With a contemporary concept, authentic Mediterranean flavors are accompanied by spectacular décor, the hippest DJ music, dancers, sparklers, hookahs and even plate breaking! The friendly, attentive staff serves spinach pies, lamb skewers, eggplant chips, baked octopus, rack of lamb and all your other Greek favorites. They also offer a selection of premium fresh fish and seafood and imaginative mixology cocktails. For dessert, don't miss the baklava, it's wonderful!
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Ilios' breathtaking décor, entertaining music and shows and delicious Greek cuisine make it a complete dining experience.
Kristin's expert tip: Make a reservation for Thursday, Friday or Saturday for the full show experience.
Tora combines gourmet ingredients and ancient and modern techniques to create fine Japanese cuisine presented in innovative ways. The large menu includes a special vegan section, signature cocktails, Japanese whisky and of course, Sake. The deck, with tables on different levels, candles and plush white sofas, offers spectacular views of sunsets over Nichupte Lagoon, while inside, bamboo, plants and twinkling lights create a dreamy, glamourous atmosphere. Excellent service and fun surprises complete the experience. Special tasting menus are available for events like birthdays, anniversaries or even a wedding reception, for groups of at least 15 people.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Tora's beautiful decoration, scrumptious Japanese cuisine and fun surprises make for a unique dining experience.
Kristin's expert tip: Stop at the bar on your way out for some fun!
Cenacolo Zona Hotelera, located at km. 12.6 of Blvd. Kukulcan in the la Europea building, serves upscale Italian dishes and beautiful views of Nichupte Lagoon. The main focus here is seafood, and all of the pasta is handmade and homemade every day. Service is excellent, their wine list includes 100 wines and portions are large. The decor is chic, light and modern, which in combination with Cancun's unparalleled sunsets over the lagoon, creates a lovely ambiance. There is another Cenacolo restaurant located in Marina Town Center. Dress up and leave your flip-flops at the resort for this fine dining experience.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: From the ambiance and the location on the lagoon to the handmade pasta and extensive wine list, Cenacolo is a delightful fine dining experience.
Susan's expert tip: Plan your dinner around sunset and sit on the terrace. Have your hotel concierge make a reservation for you so you'll be sure to get a table.
This Argentine steakhouse has been one of Cancun's most popular restaurants for many years. Delicious cuts of meat, large portions, and top-notch service make this place a real crowd pleaser. Cambalache and Puerto Madero restaurant are owned by the same company and both have outstanding reputations for serving tasty, high-quality food. If you would like to order the salad find someone to share it with otherwise you won't have room for your steak. Cambalache is located in Plaza La Isla and is a great place to have a late dinner. It's worth skipping your all-inclusive meal for one night.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Cambalache is perfect for a late dinner and drinks. Their steaks can't be beaten.
Kristin's expert tip: After dinner take a stroll around Plaza La Isla.
This cozy restaurant in downtown Cancun is a quaint, European style eatery that locals and tourists visit over and over. The restaurant is run by a family, the owner Peter, his wife Claudia, their son Eder. Dishes include shrimp, fish, veal, beef and pasta, desserts, and a small, but good wine list. Prices are considerably lower than they would be for a restaurant of this caliber in the Hotel Zone. You can easily take the bus to Peter's Restaurante by getting off at the first stop downtown and walking just a few blocks to their location on Bonampak. If you are celebrating a special occasion be sure to mention it when making a reservation.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Peter's is a beloved Cancun restaurant. Owner Peter and his wife, son and staff really value every customer.
Kristin's expert tip: Be sure to make reservations as the charming dining room has only 8 tables.
Porfirio's offers the best of Mexican cuisine, using traditional ingredients and techniques to create modern Mexican dishes. This beautiful restaurant, located on Nichupte Lagoon in the Hotel Zone, offers indoor and outdoor seating. Outdoor is the way to go if you want to witness one of Cancun's spectacular sunsets. A lively ambiance is created with traditional performances featuring dancers and mariachis, and contemporary house music in between. Porfirio's offers more than 100 tequilas and mezcals, served from a cart that goes table to table and mixes specialty cocktails. Service is unparalleled. For dessert try the churros cart, or for little diners, the ice cream truck dessert.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Porfirio's offers an upscale, authentic Mexican dining experience with delightful surprises.
Kristin's expert tip: Charge your phone before you arrive because Porfirio's offers plenty of Instagramable moments. If you are celebrating a special occasion, make sure you mention it to your waiter.
Harry's Prime Steakhouse and Rawbar's specialities are USDA prime, Black Onyx and Kobe beef prepared to perfection. They also serve tempting appetizers, other meats like lamb and ribs, seafood, hamburgers and sandwiches. Harry's also offers delicious desserts and a variety of creative cocktails. Service is top notch. The restaurant was recently remodeled and expanded and feels like a scene from The Great Gatsby movie. Portions are large, so you might want to consider sharing an entree or side dishes. Once you dine at Harry's, you'll return time and time again.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Harry's Prime Steakhouse and Raw Bar serves Cancun's most coveted steaks.
Susan's expert tip: Make a reservation for just before sunset, sit outside on the terrance and save room for the cotton candy that is delivered to each table at the end of the meal.
Arguably one of Cancun's finest and certainly one of its most popular restaurants, Puerto Madero is named for the Buenos Aires port district that has risen to upscale trendiness in recent years. The decor has a stylishly industrial feel, much like the district itself. Argentinean cuisine is their specialty. They serve lots of fresh seafood and prime steaks grilled to your specifications, and also offer excellent pasta and salads. If you're watching your pocketbook, order a few appetizers and share them. Puerto Madero is the perfect restaurant for a big date or a special anniversary or birthday. Dress to impress.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: Puerto Madero's food, service and ambiance are impeccable. People return over and over.
Susan's expert tip: Reserve a table on the terrace for a romantic dinner.
La Habichuela has been a fixture in Cancun for over 40 years and is located in what was once owner Armando Pezzotti's home. The delightful ambiance which includes Mayan sculptures, trees, plants and twinkling lights can be enjoyed in the open air garden or from the indoor section. Offering high quality food made with the finest ingredients and superb service, the restaurant's signature dish is Cocobichuela, a mixture of lobster, shrimp, rice, curry sauce and tropical fruits, all served in a coconut shell. No meal at La Habichuela is complete without the Chichen Itza dessert and Mayan coffee.
Recommended for Best Restaurants because: La Habichuela is a Cancun institution that has been open since 1977.
Kristin's expert tip: For the best experience, request a table in the lovely garden section.