search

Beyond Nachos and Tacos: Cancun's Best Mexican Restaurants



If you love real Mexican food, you'll be in heaven in Cancun. Here you'll find everything from taco street stands and budget-friendly beach eateries to fine dining restaurants that serve gourmet Mexican cuisine.  

La Habichuela located in downtown Cancun serves delicious Yucatecan food and seafood dishes, and is one of the oldest restaurants in Cancun. Labna, located next door to La Habichuela also serves Yucatecan cuisine in an elegant atmosphere.

For upscale Mexican food, Julia Mia offers gourmet cuisine at a reasonable price in a lovely atmosphere. La Parrilla provides a lively ambiance complete with live mariachi music. Both of these restaurants are also located in downtown Cancun.

In the Hotel Zone, try La Joya, La Destileria, Hacienda el Mortero or Hacienda Sisal.

For something that pleases your palate and is very easy on the wallet, try "street food". Taco stands on street corners or the food vendors in Parque de las Palapas downtown are great places to try authentic Mexican street food. Look for the stands with the longest line of locals and eat there. You aren't likely to be disappointed with the flavor or quality of the food, and the prices can't be beat.   


Advertisement

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.

Read more about Hacienda el Mortero →


9
Hotel Zone
Tacun

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.

Read more about Tacun →


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.

Read more about La Parrilla →


Advertisement
7
Zona Hotelera
Hacienda Sisal
Photo courtesy of Hacienda Sisal


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.

Read more about Hacienda Sisal →


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.

Read more about Labna →


5
Zona Hotelera

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.

Read more about La Destileria →


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.

Read more about Julia Mia →


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.

Read more about Du Mexique →


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.

Read more about La Habichuela →


1
Hotel Zone
La Joya
Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse


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.

Read more about La Joya →


Map

Meet Kristin Busse

After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.

Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University....  More About Kristin

×