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.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Marakame has an extensive menu, lovely ambiance and a kids area.
Kristin's expert tip: Visit on Friday or Saturday evening and sit in the garden, the live music starts at 10 pm.
When visitors and locals go in search of a festive Mexican meal, they usually end up at La Parrilla. The restaurant features a large salon and terrace, festive colors and fountains, and those wanting a little variety can order a margarita mixed from one of 50 different tequila brands. One menu favorite is tacos al pastor, which is made with pineapple, pork and salsa, and other Mexican staples are served with handmade tortillas. Plenty of seafood choices and steak are also available. Live mariachi music begins at 8:00pm. Look for the Mole (a popular Mexican sauce) Festival each May.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: La Parilla provides a lively Mexican atmosphere, with live mariachis.
Kristin's expert tip: Try the Caesar Salad. It is made table-side and is delicious.
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.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Carlos n' Charlie's isn't just for adults anymore, at least, not before 9pm or so.
Kristin's expert tip: Carlos n' Charlie's is fine during the day and early evening but as it gets later the atmosphere is no longer appropriate for children.
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 cocoa, cinnamon, cloves and garlic and served with turkey or chicken) purports to be some of the best in Cancun.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Perico's serves delicious Mexican food and they always encourage visitors to get involved in their shows and silliness.
Kristin's expert tip: Audience participation is encouraged here so be ready to join in the fun when the show starts.
This American chain-restaurant is just as popular in Cancun as it is in the good ol' US of A. Cancun, a city surrounded by water, has some wonderful seafood restaurants to choose from, but Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is often busy because guests recognize the name. In addition to the wide variety of shrimp dishes, you'll also find salads, sandwiches, steaks, and scrumptious desserts on the menu. The dessert sampler is a real crowd-pleaser. When you order a margarita, the drink it prepared at your table. This family-friendly establishment has a special menu for children and there is a small play area for kids.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. serves up delicious seafood and special surprises for the little ones.
Susan's expert tip: Request a table on the terrace so you can enjoy a great view of the lagoon.
Sometimes, while on vacation, you tire of all the local cuisine and you just want a burger. Well, when that craving hits you in Cancun, go to Johnny Rockets. The soda fountain theme will make you think you've traveled back in time to the 1950s. The restaurant serves up some of Cancun's best hamburgers, but the BLT sandwiches, chili dogs, and onion rings do not disappoint either. The service is good and food is normally served quickly. This restaurant is in a busy part of the shopping mall, near the Interactive Aquarium.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Johnny Rockets serves kid-friendly food in a family friendly atmosphere.
Kristin's expert tip: Be sure to save room for a milkshake or malt. They are heavenly!
This casual seafood restaurant is located smack in the middle of the Hotel Zone but it's also a local favorite. El Fish Fritanga 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 lovely 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).
Recommended for Family Friendly because: At El Fish Fritanga, the kids can run around while parents enjoy cocktails.
Kristin's expert tip: Fish Fritanga delivers in the Hotel Zone so if you feel like staying in one night, have them bring dinner to your doorstep.
The name Senor Frog's is synonymous with fun. This 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. Around 9 pm this family-friendly restaurant turns bar/nightclub. 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 a party. They feature a glow party, foam party, reggae night, and have a Latin night with a live band.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: There is never a dull moment at Senor Frogs, not even during dinner.
Kristin's expert tip: Senor Frogs says: "Children are always welcome for lunch or early dinner and there is always a surprise in store for them". Around 9 pm the atmosphere is no longer appropriate for kids.
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.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: La Casa de Los Abuelos serves homestyle Mexican food and they have a deluxe kids area.
Kristin's expert tip: Children need to wear socks in the playroom. If your kids aren't wearing socks or you forgot to bring some, no worries, they sell them right there.
Mextreme is a colorful open-air Mexican restaurant located at km 9 in the Hotel Zone, right in the heart of Cancun's Party Center. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, and a whole bunch of fun. Waiters put on little shows, do magic tricks and even prepare guacamole right at your table. Mextreme is not for party poopers, so if you're not in the mood to play along, this isn't the restaurant for you. Be sure to try one of their many flavored margaritas and one of their "parillas" which can be shared by 2-3 people.
Recommended for Family Friendly because: Mextreme is located in the Party Center and there are always little surprises during a meal.
Kristin's expert tip: If you order a "Taco Party for Two", keep in mind that it will actually feed 3 or 4 people.