Restaurants in Cancun

Cancun restaurants range from Asian to Italian, from steakhouses to world fusion, representing the city’s solid growth as an international destination. But its origins as a sleepy Mexican beachside town are not forgotten–there are also plenty of casual seafood and regional eateries to enjoy. At Cocina de Autor, Argentina-born chef Cristian Morales took a former mansion and transformed it into a romantic space, outfitted with crystal chandeliers and long curtains. Morales uses local ingredients like fresh tuna and lobster in a luxurious menu that showcases the best Latin flavors, including those from his home country. Helmed by chef Basant Kumar, Elefanta is one of the best restaurants in Cancun, offering Indian specialties like paneer, samosas and chicken tikka masala. Elefanta is an excellent choice for vegetarians and lovers of all things spicy. If you want to kick back with a cold beer and the freshest local seafood, head to Los Aguachiles. This huge palapa houses tostadas, ceviches, and tacos, and is perfect if you’re searching for laid-back restaurants in Cancun. There are plenty of dining options to discover.

Chef John Gray, who elevated the Ritz-Carlton’s Club Grill to iconic status in the ’90s with his classical approach to Mexican ingredients, recently, and inevitably, opened a restaurant in the Hotel Zone—essentially a glass-enclosed pier over Nichupté Lagoon.

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 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.

Although it abuts a parking lot, this beachfront restaurant offers a welcome dining alternative to hotel fare.

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

Argentinean cuisine takes center stage at this restaurant, though Mexican specialties are prepared with equal care. Tables look out over the lagoon and see directly across to downtown Cancun.

While this American chain restaurant may not sound too exotic, it has one of the best oceanfront views in Cancun.

Choose a table under the palapa or sink your toes right into the sand. This restaurant and beach club draws patrons in with their authentic dishes and small private pool.

A popular choice for Cancun locals is Playa Tortugas, or Turtle Beach. It serves seafood and classic Mexican dishes at the main beach restaurant, set under a huge palapa.

My first dinner at Casitas was an unforgettable Cancun culinary experience. In my opinion, it’s the most romantic beach restaurant in the city. Book one of their private, grass-roofed cabanas on the sand, and enjoy dinner just a few strides from the creeping tide.

Chuchito Perez is a newcomer to the Cancun scene, but an incredible location looking out over the Party Center makes this Mexican-style bar and restaurant a top choice for drinks.

Rose Bar becomes one of Cancun’s top late-night spots on weekends, especially on Fridays, thanks to a weekly Ladies Night promotion. Located within the stylish ME Cancun resort, this bar has the atmosphere of a small nightclub. A sexy but tame burlesque show on the bar adds to the scene.

While this tiny outdoor spot gained its fame from its large, overstuffed California-style burritos, the tacos are always a smart choice, too. Here, diners personalize their own tacos by selecting everything from their type of tortilla, to the meat, toppings, and salsas inside.

This small and laid-back taco joint has indoor and outdoor seating, as well as a convenient location in the center of the Hotel Zone.  After a day of shopping or sightseeing, post up at one of the yellow gingham tables with the fried chicken tacos and an order of sweet, custardy flan.