La Habichuela has been a fixture in Cancun for over 30 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 lounge. You'll find 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 Group Friendly because: La Habichuela is one of Cancun's oldest and best restaurants.
Kristin's expert tip: Made a reservation for your group in the garden dining area after dark.
The specialized cuisine of the Yucatan is Labn�'s forte. If you've never had this colorful cuisine before you're in for a treat. The menu is divided into two sections, Yucatecan dishes and Mexican haute cuisine � be adventurous! Start off with lime soup (similar to the more familiar tortilla soup but livelier) or papdzules (corn tortillas stiffed with boiled eggs and smothered with pumpkinseed sauce). Move on to pibil (pork with achiote, baked in banana leaves) or Maculam fish (baked in foil with hoja santa). If you visit for lunch, you can sample several different flavors from the buffet.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Labna offers a taste of local cuisine and they are happy to cater to groups.
Kristin's expert tip: On weekdays, there is a lunch buffet, which allows you to try many different Yucatecan dishes at a reasonable price.
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. Thursday-Saturday nights they feature live music outside under the twinkling lights in the trees. 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 Group Friendly because: Marakame takes reservations for groups and also has a private room available for parties, showers, etc.
Kristin's expert tip: Visit on Friday or Saturday evening and sit in the garden, the live music starts at 10 pm.
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 Group Friendly because: Mextreme is lively, fun, economical and large enough to accommodate groups.
Kristin's expert tip: If you order a "Taco Party for Two", keep in mind that it will actually feed 3 or 4 people.
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 Group Friendly because: El Fish Fritanga is casual, fun, economical and they have plastic tables that groups can push together.
Kristin's expert tip: El Fish Fritanga delivers in the Hotel Zone so if you feel like staying in one night, have them bring dinner to your doorstep.
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 Group Friendly because: La Parrilla provides an authentic Mexican atmosphere and will accept groups.
Kristin's expert tip: Try the Caesar Salad. It is made table-side and is delicious.
When people think of Mexico, they may picture sunny beaches, haciendas, and sombreros, but the owners of La Destileria have some other images to highlight-excellent Mexican cuisine and tequila. Start with a dish like spiced corn soup or stuffed pastries that feature chicken, cream cheese, and mushrooms. After you've had your fill, head to the bar and ask for a margarita created with one of the more than a hundred tequilas on hand. If you're not interested in at least sampling some of the country's finest concoctions, at least visit the tequila museum located inside the restaurant.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: La Destileria serves delicious Mexican food and will happily arrange for large groups.
Kristin's expert tip: Go early in the day and take the tequila tour, where you can learn how tequila is made. The tour is followed by a tequila tasting. The cost of the tour/tasting is less than $10 USD, per person.
Julia Mia is Cancun's newest Mexican restaurant and is quickly becoming a local favorite. Owners Lupita and Irma Chavez, sisters from Guadalara, opened Julia Mia in June. The restaurant features contemporary Mexican food, but never forgets to incorporate traditional flavors and ingredients. The inspiration behind Julia Mia (My Julia) is a woman "that's not afraid of anything or anyone, she enjoys ilfe and her traditional Mexican drink, tequila, as well as the best selection of recipes from Mexico which integrate tastes and smells, always respecting and honoring each ingredient." Expect to be wowed by the tostadas, flautas, sopes, quesadillas, enchiladas, sea bass tacos, blue crab taquitos, roast corn soup, red pozole, chicken with mole, salmon al pastor, corn smut and goat cheese ravioli, garlic octopus fettuccini, and scrumptious desserts like flan, chocolate volcano, and chocolate truffles with mole and churros. Julia Mia is open daily from 1 pm to 12 am.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Julia Mia serves amazing gourmet Mexican dishes and is happy to welcome groups.
Kristin's expert tip: Julia Mia is new on the scene so if the taxi driver doesn't know where it is, tell him/her that it's across the street from Costco and just a block away from OXXO.
This is arguably Cancun's best Thai restaurant and it happens to be the prettiest too. Actually, it's one of the most beautiful, romantic settings in all of Cancun. People rave about the food, the decor, the service, and the waterfront location. As the name implies, Thai cuisine is the specialty of the house. The food and setting will make you feel as though you've been transported to Thailand. The atmosphere is unbeatable and includes soft lighting, ambient music, incense burning, plants, trees, palapas, palm shelters, gardens and little wooden huts. Make sure you arrive on time if you have a reservation because they will only hold your table for 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the lagoon for a visit from the resident crocodile. Thai is located in Plaza La Isla at km 12.5 in the Hotel Zone.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Thai Lounge has two lovely, large over-the-water tables for small groups.
Kristin's expert tip: Call ahead to reserve a private, over-the-water table for special occasions.
Prime cuts of USDA, dry-aged and Kobe beef are served at this upscale, waterfront restaurant. Beef that is dry-aged has more flavor and is more tender than beef that has not undergone the dry-aging process. Kobe beef from Japan, Australia and USA is offered, as well as several Kosher steaks. Kobe beef hot dogs, burgers, sliders, and even tacos are available for those that crave beef but want to try something a little different. There is an extensive selection of wines to accompany the melt-in-your-mouth steak. Your team of waiters will take wonderful care of you. Harry's is worth the money.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: Harry's Prime is one of Cancun's best, most popular restaurants and they can cater to large groups.
Kristin's expert tip: Save room for the cotton candy that is delivered to each table at the end of the meal. Portions are large. You might want to consider sharing an entr�e or side dishes.