La Buena Barra is located in Cancun's Hotel Zone at km 12.6. This contemporary cantina offers modern Mexican cuisine, a high energy, upscale ambiance and exceptional service. It's very popular with both locals and tourists and has beautiful views of sunsets over Nichupte lagoon from the dining room or open-air terrace. The cuisine is from all over Mexico, and includes delicious appetizers and sides, tacos, steaks, seafood, a premium menu section and mouthwatering desserts. La Buena Barra's mixologists prepare creative crowd-pleasing cocktails. There is nightly entertainment and surprises throughout the evening. Be sure to mention if you are celebrating a special occasion.
Recommended for Group Friendly because: La Buena Barra offers a lively atmosphere that is perfect for groups.
Kristin's expert tip: For dessert try the churros or the Dulce de Leche Volcano, which is prepared tableside.
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 Group Friendly 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.
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 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 Labna'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, so be adventurous! Start off with lime soup (similar to the more familiar tortilla soup but livelier) or papdzules (corn tortillas stuffed 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. This is a great spot for a family meal. They have high chairs and a changing station available and outdoor kids play area. The restaurant is also pet friendly and offers WiFi. If you go on a fishing tour and catch a fish, they will prepare it for you! Prices on their menu range start at just 50 pesos (about 2.50 usd) for two of their famous pescadillas (fried fish tacos). They are located on the lagoon so you'll enjoy a lovely view. 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.
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.
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 Group Friendly because: Harry's Prime Steakhouse and Raw Bar provides a top-notch dining experience, from the food to the service to the ambiance.
Kristin's expert tip: Save room for the cotton candy that is delivered to each table at the end of the meal.