Best Waterfront Dining in Cancún

Cancun Waterfront Dining: Tasty Cuisine and Spectacular Views

When you think of Cancun you may think of Mexican food... tacos and enchiladas washed down with a cold margarita on the rocks, but Cancun is actually home to restaurants that serve cuisine from all over the globe.

If you want to eat on the beach, you'll have to eat in a resort or one of the only restaurants located on the Caribbean in the Hotel Zone... Almadia Cancun, a seafood restaurant located at km 9.5. There are also a few seafood "restaurants" (tables and chairs set up on the beach) at Playa Tortugas (Turtle Beach) at km 6.5 that serve fresh seafood. In addition there are a few eateries in Plaza Forum that provide a view of the Caribbean.

Visitors will find countless waterfront dining options on the lagoon side of the Hotel Zone, and they all provide a front row seat to Cancun's unforgettable sunsets. Thai is well, a Thai restaurant, located in La Isla shopping mall that serves up the best ambiance in Cancun. Puerto Madero, Lorenzillo's and Fred's Seafood & Raw Bar are a few of Cancun's best restaurants. Harry's Prime Steakhouse and Raw Grill and Cenacolo Zona Hotelera are also located on Nichupte Lagoon. Tora is a new Japanese restaurant with a breathtaking show. All have outdoor seating available. 

For something more economical try Fish Fritanga or El Galeon del Caribe aka Las Pescadillas, a Cancun hidden treasure.


Zona Hotelera

One of Cancun's oldest restaurants, Lorenzillo's has been a favorite among locals and tourists since it opened in 1979 due to it's ambiance, outdoor deck, impeccable service and delicious cuisine. Since there is a lobster farm on the premises it's no surprise that the menu consists primarily of seafood dishes. A few meat, poultry, pasta and combination dishes are also offered. For starters, try Las Cornamusas, which are lobster croquettes, served with chipotle mayonnaise. There are many lobster entrees to choose from, plus fish and shrimp. Finish off the evening by indulging in one of Lorenzillo's sinful desserts.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Lorenzillo's has been open for decades because they serve up delicious food and unforgettable Cancun sunsets.

Susan's expert tip: This restaurant has a lobster farm on-site and you can choose your own lobster.

Read more about Lorenzillo's →

El Galeon del Caribe (Las Pescadillas)
Photo courtesy of Myrna Carrillo - Myrnation

El Galeon del Caribe aka Las Pescadillas, is a rustic (to say the least) hidden treasure in Cancun's Hotel Zone. Tucked in between the mangroves on Nichupte Lagoon at km 19.4 of Kukulcan Boulevard (across the street from the GR Solaris Cancun) Las Pescadillas, is essentially chairs and tables under a palapa, but they serve the yummiest, freshest pescadillas (fried corn tortillas stuffed with fish) around. They also serve delicious ceviche, garlic shrimp, soft drinks, cold cerveza and more. This is traditional, authentic Mexican seafood at its best, and the price can't be beat. Oh, and there's no dress code.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: El Galeon del Caribe is nothing fancy, but they serve authentic, delicious Mexican seafood.

Kristin's expert tip: Order 2 o 3 pescadillas. One won't be enough.

Read more about El Galeon del Caribe (Las Pescadillas) →

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 Waterfront Dining because: Fish Fritanga is great for the entire family and their food is yummy and economical.

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.

Read more about El Fish Fritanga →

Hotel Zone

Tora combines gourmet ingredients and ancient and modern techniques to create fine Japanese cuisine presented in innovative ways. The large menu includes a special vegan section, signature cocktails, Japanese whisky and of course, Sake. The deck, with tables on different levels, candles and plush white sofas, offers spectacular views of sunsets over Nichupte Lagoon, while inside, bamboo, plants and twinkling lights create a dreamy, glamourous atmosphere. Excellent service and fun surprises complete the experience. Special tasting menus are available for events like birthdays, anniversaries or even a wedding reception, for groups of at least 15 people.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Tora's beautiful decoration, scrumptious Japanese cuisine and fun surprises make for a unique dining experience.

Kristin's expert tip: Stop at the bar on your way out for some fun!

Read more about Tora →

Cenacolo Zona Hotelera
Photo courtesy of Grupo Cenacolo

Cenacolo Zona Hotelera, located at km. 12.6 of Blvd. Kukulcan in the la Europea building, serves upscale Italian dishes and beautiful views of Nichupte Lagoon. The main focus here is seafood, and all of the pasta is handmade and homemade every day. Service is excellent, their wine list includes 100 wines and portions are large. The decor is chic, light and modern, which in combination with Cancun's unparalleled sunsets over the lagoon, creates a lovely ambiance. There is another Cenacolo restaurant located in Marina Town Center. Dress up and leave your flip-flops at the resort for this fine dining experience.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: From the ambiance and the location on the lagoon to the handmade pasta and extensive wine list, Cenacolo is a delightful fine dining experience.

Kristin's expert tip: Plan your dinner around sunset and sit on the terrace. Have your hotel concierge make a reservation for you so you'll be sure to get a table.

Read more about Cenacolo Zona Hotelera →

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 Waterfront Dining 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: Make a reservation for just before sunset, sit outside on the terrance and save room for the cotton candy that is delivered to each table at the end of the meal.

Read more about Harry's Prime Steakhouse and Raw Bar →

Fred's Seafood & Raw Bar
Photo courtesy of Fred's Seafood & Raw Bar

Fred's Seafood & Raw Bar offers fresh, delicious cuisine in an elegant waterfront setting. The extensive menu includes hot and cold starters, raw bar, tacos, soups and salads, lobster, catch of the day, rice and pasta and mouthwatering seafood, beef and chicken main courses. Be sure to save room for one of their delectable desserts. There are gluten free options available and service is impeccable. Outdoor dining is available, with tables overlooking the lagoon for a great view of the sunset. Private outdoor cabanas are available for small groups. Fred's is a dining experience worth leaving the resort for.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Fred's serves exquisite food and the private cabanas on the lagoon are lovely.

Susan's expert tip: Reserve a private cabana for your small group. This is a great place to watch the sunset so if you arrive in time to watch the sun go down, get a table by the window or out on the terrace.

Read more about Fred's Seafood & Raw Bar →

Zona Hotelera

Arguably one of Cancun's finest and certainly one of its most popular restaurants, Puerto Madero is named for the Buenos Aires port district that has risen to upscale trendiness in recent years. The decor has a stylishly industrial feel, much like the district itself. Argentinean cuisine is their specialty. They serve lots of fresh seafood and prime steaks grilled to your specifications, and also offer excellent pasta and salads. If you're watching your pocketbook, order a few appetizers and share them. Puerto Madero is the perfect restaurant for a big date or a special anniversary or birthday. Dress to impress.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Puerto Madero is one of the best and most popular restaurants in Cancun.

Kristin's expert tip: Reserve a table on the terrace for a romantic dinner.

Read more about Puerto Madero →

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 Waterfront Dining because: Thai's ambiance cannot be beat. The private huts are charming. This is a restaurant you won't soon forget.

Kristin's expert tip: Call ahead to reserve a private, over-the-water table for special occasions.

Read more about Thai →

Almadía Cancún Bar & Marisquería
Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse

There are many restaurants on the lagoon in Cancun, but Almadia Cancún Bar & Marisquería (formerly Mocambo) is one of the few oceanfront eateries in town. Located right next to Playa Caracol, a popular public beach, Almadia serves up some of Cancun's best seafood. Open for lunch and dinner, the dining area is open-air and covered with a large palapa (thatched roof). There are gorgeous views of the island of Isla Mujeres off in the distance, as well as of the lighthouse which is located a short distance away at the Hyatt Ziva. The cuisine has a gourmet, contemporary twist and in addition to seafood, they serve pasta and steak.

Recommended for Waterfront Dining because: Almadia Cancún Bar & Marisquería is one of the only restaurants in Cancun that is located on the ocean and is not in a hotel.

Susan's expert tip: If you want a front row view of the Caribbean Sea, make a reservation. The tables with the best views fill up quickly.

Read more about Almadía Cancún Bar & Marisquería →


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