By Laura Winfree
August 08, 2014
5 Restaurants that Cancun Locals Love
Credit: foodfolio / Alamy

The electrifying beach city of Cancun is also known for its spectacular restaurants and mouthwatering cuisine. In this destination, you can indulge in all kinds of dishes, ranging from authentic Mexican-style tacos to romantic Italian dinners and everything in between. What many travelers don’t know is that the famously tantalizing flavors of Cancun extend beyond the reach of the Hotel Zone, all the way into Downtown Cancun where most of the locals live. This exciting part of the city boasts its very own wide array of excellent restaurants where the locals love to eat. When it comes to restaurants, Cancun residents look for what they call the Three B’s: “Bueno, Bonito y Barato” (Good, Attractive, and Cheap), so of course the eateries that follow this rule are destined to be a huge success. When venturing into Downtown Cancun, make sure to try at least one of the most popular restaurants in the area.

Los Arcos

One of Downtown Cancun’s most iconic restaurants, everybody in town has been to Los Arcos at least once. This restaurant and bar is situated on Avenida Yaxchilan, a street known for its laid-back nightlife. Here, you can enjoy classic Mexican fare, all kinds of drinks, an open-air atmosphere, and live rock music.

El Muellecito

This nautical-theme bar and restaurant is a favorite spot for younger locals to hang out with friends and watch whatever big game is on TV. El Muellecito serves excellent seafood, like shrimp tacos and ceviche, but most of its patrons don’t show up until late at night to enjoy some one-liter micheladas, or spiced beer. It has an air-conditioned indoor area, along with a breezy outdoor terrace and a top-level deck.


Specializing in a wide variety of Italian cuisine, Cheester has become so popular with the locals that they now offer several locations throughout the Downtown Cancun area. It’s known for its fun-loving attitude, unique pasta recipes, bright décor, and huge portions— you can easily split most items between two or three people.

La Dolce Vita

Downtown’s most romantic restaurant has a cozy and inviting ambiance for a dinner date or a group meal right in the heart of town, located just one block from the entrance to the Hotel Zone. Open since 1983, La Dolce Vita serves traditional Italian cuisine including delicious seafood, fresh pizza, and homemade pasta.

Va Q’ Va

Located in an off-the-beaten-track area of Downtown Cancun, Va Q’ Va is worth a visit if you’re dying to try authentic Mexican seafood during your stay in Cancun. This immense restaurant is packed with locals on weekends, offering amazing ceviche, flavorful micheladas, and tasty fish recipes in an indoor-outdoor atmosphere.