Cancún + The Riviera Maya

Restaurants in Cancún + The Riviera Maya

Part of the Hotel Villa Rolandi on Isla Mujeres, this upscale restaurant serves Swiss-Italian fare amid panoramic views of the Caribbean Sea. Beginning with a private yacht transfer from Cancún, the dining experience at Casa Rolandi is considered the most romantic on the island.

Close to San Miguel's central square, the palapa restaurant is justly renowned for traditional Mayan food with complex, rich sauces. Standouts: shrimp chiles rellenos, chicken in red mole sauce, and grilled barracuda.

Up-and-coming chef John Gray and his Mexican mother-in-law opened this 36-seat waterside restaurant. Locals gather for Sunday dinners of fresh fish, ribs, and vegetables, grilled on the barbecue.

The bar and restaurant on the ninth floor of the new Hotel Wynston has panoramic views of the harbor, the town center, and the sea. In addition to the usual spirits, the bar stocks an extensive wine list to complement the restaurant's Mediterranean-Asian–fusion menu.

A local institution in Playa del Carmen, Super Carnes is a small, open-air restaurant known for its grilled steak. The unassuming space is decorated with plastic furniture, and although the restaurant plays to tourists with piñatas and mariachi music, the food is authentically Mexican.

This hotel restaurant offers a relaxed version of the Ritz experience—even the waiters seem more at ease than their European counterparts—with the same exceptional food, whipped up by executive chef Rainer Zinngrebe, formerly the head of major kitchens in Hong Kong and Singapore.

This adults-only, all-inclusive resort caters to travelers who prefer quiet relaxation over a lively party atmosphere.

This nautically themed seafood spot is just a few blocks from San Miguel's oceanfront. Capi specializes in tangy but smooth ceviche, and a spicy huachinango (red snapper) in an adobo of achiote sauce.

This massive Argentinean steak house, located inside a nondescript shopping mall, has an ardent following, and for good reason—its meat dishes, many of which are grilled over charcoal and wood fires to succulent perfection.

This, intimate, open-walled Italian restaurant forgoes menus and sticks with a consistent rotation of a handful of pastas made in-house and two to three dishes built around fish caught that day. Each meal begins with an antipasto platter that includes bruschetta, focaccia, and cauliflower.

Meaning “the monkey cave,” La Cueva del Chango is an immersive dining experience. The restaurant is designed to resemble a cave, complete with small waterways, lush tropical foliage, and a pair of resident spider monkeys.

To find this restaurant, walk through the Cinco Soles shops to the colonial building's interior courtyard. Once you're in, relax with lightly battered mahimahi tacos and a cold Mexican beer or a tequila—there are more than 200 varieties.

At the most intriguing place to dine in Playa del Carmen, chef Ramón Lizaola has tapped a time-tested resource—his mother, who handed down methods for preparing impossible-to-pronounce Mayan dishes redolent with achiote, pumpkin seeds, sour orange, and xcatic peppers.

Located at the Maroma Mayan Riviera Resort, this beachfront restaurant fuses the Mediterranean tapas concept with authentic Maya and Creole flavors.

Chef Sergio Leoni serves Italian classics—seafood risotto, grilled sea bass and fennel—in a stylish setting, with formal service (an especially solicitous waitstaff, a surfeit of white linen).