If you're in the mood for an authentic Mexican fiesta complete with live mariachi music, Hacienda el Mortero is waiting for you right on the edge of Cancun's Party Zone at Km. 9 of Boulevard Kulkukan in the Hotel Zone. There's also a magician that will do tricks at your table and make balloon figures for your kids. What's the perfect meal at Hacienda de Mortero? How about caesar salad prepared table side, followed by duck enchiladas, accompanied by an authentic margarita or sangria? To finish, order the caramel crepes, also prepared right at your table. Hacienda de Mortero is part of the all inclusive program at the Krystal hotel but all other patrons are welcome as well.
Recommended for Mexican because: Hacienda el Mortero provides a lively Mexican dining experience in a convenient location.
Kristin's expert tip: If you enjoy your dinner, return for Hacienda el Mortero's scrumptious Sunday Brunch.
This is real Mexican food at a great price. Tacun is located across the street from Plaza Flamingo on the ocean side of the street at km 11.5 in the Hotel Zone. This is the type of authentic, economical food you would normally only find in downtown Cancun. Unlike some larger, less personal restaurants, the owners treasure every single customer. Expect great service and a delicious meal. If you don't see something on the menu, ask. Save yourself a few pesos and eat at Tacun a couple of times during your vacation. You'll be amazed at what you get for the price, but bring cash because Tacun does not accept credit cards.
Recommended for Mexican because: Tacun serves homemade Mexican food at a reasonable price in the Hotel Zone.
Kristin's expert tip: Tacun can be a little difficult to find. Look for the brightly painted chairs.
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. All the tortillas served at La Parrilla are handmade. Seafood choices and steak are also available. Live mariachi music begins at 8:00 pm. Look for the Mole (a popular Mexican sauce) Festival each May. There is also a La Parilla in Plaza La Isla in the Hotel Zone.
Recommended for Mexican because: You can't beat La Parrilla's lively atmosphere and accessible prices.
Kristin's expert tip: Try the Caesar Salad. It is made table-side and is delicious.
Hacienda Sisal is a Mexican restaurant located on the grounds of the Royal Sands Resort near the hotel's main entrance at kilometer 13.5 in the Hotel Zone. The interior is grand and inviting. Hacienda Sisal is open for happy hour daily, and for lunch and dinner. The focus here is gourmet, traditional Mexican cuisine. On Sundays they host a popular brunch with Mexican and American dishes from 8 am to 12 pm. Hacienda Sisal features live music Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm. Order the guacamole and they'll make it at your table.
Recommended for Mexican because: Hacienda Sisal serves delicious, authenic Mexican food and offers lively entertaiment.
Kristin's expert tip: This restaurant is only open for lunch and dinner everyday except Sundays. On Sunday, they serve an incredible brunch buffet, from 8am until 2pm and it is a real crowd-pleaser.
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 Mexican because: Labna provides an experience similar to La Habichuela, but at a more accesible price.
Kristin's expert tip: On weekdays there is a lunch buffet, which allows you to try many different Yucatecan dishes at a reasonable price.
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 sampling some of the country's finest concoctions, at least visit the tequila museum located inside the restaurant.
Recommended for Mexican because: La Destileria is muy Mexicano and conveniently located in the Hotel Zone.
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.
Julia Mia is a local favorite. Owners Lupita and Irma Chavez, sisters from Guadalara, opened Julia Mia together. 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 life 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 fettuccine, and scrumptious desserts like flan, chocolate volcano, and chocolate truffles with mole and churros.
Recommended for Mexican because: Julia Mia is beautiful inside and out, the cuisine is delicious and mariachis complete the experience. It's well worth the trip downtown.
Kristin's expert tip: Visit on Friday evening to see live Mariachi music.
Du Mexique is another one of the amazing restaurants on Bonampak avenue in downtown Cancun. This is a lovely place to celebrate a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday. Located in what used to be a house, the divine ambiance, service and food make this restaurant stand out on the endless list of Cancun restaurants. The cuisine is an interesting combination of Mayan and French. Have an appetizer in the lounge or "sala", move to the 20 seat dining room for dinner, and have dessert on the patio. If you would like something special that you don't see on the menu, ask and if it's possible, they will prepare it for you.
Recommended for Mexican because: Du Mexique serves gourmet Mexican cuisine with a twist in an intimate atmosphere.
Kristin's expert tip: Try a Mexican wine with your dinner. Not many people know that Mexico produces some very good wines.
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 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 at La Hablichuela. The restaurant's signature dish is Cocobichuela, a mixture of lobster, shrimp, rice, curry sauce and tropical fruits, all served in a coconut shell. Complete your meal with a delicious Flambé dessert and Mayan coffee.
Recommended for Mexican because: La Habichuela has it all. Good food, excellent service and lovely ambiance.
Kristin's expert tip: For the best experience, request a table in the lovely garden section.
La Joya is, in one word, enchanting. From the stained glass windows and the pink flowering trees to the authentic live music and scrumptious Mexican food, a meal at La Joya will charm all of your senses. Parents will love the welcoming room off the restaurant where children can play video games, watch cartoons, take a nap or play with the nanny. La Joya recently added The Table, a divine dining experience which follows the history of the Yucatan Peninsula, as do the ingredients, cuisine, explanations and projections on the table.
Recommended for Mexican because: La Joya is more than just a restaurant, it's a divine experience.
Kristin's expert tip: Don't miss La Joya's Cadillac Margarita, which is oh so strong and oh so Mexican.