One of Cancún’s oldest restaurants, La Habichuela was a 1970s original whose owner wanted a place to hang out with friends. It’s become an upscale dining room featuring local Mayan recipes alongside Mexican-Caribbean fare. The now iconic restaurant borders downtown’s Las Palapas Park, and has a charming backyard garden adorned with twinkly lights and climbing vines. Start the evening with balché, an ancestral Mayan drink made from the bark and roots of the balché tree that have been soaked in honey and water. For your entrée, try the amaranth fish bathed in flavorful tamarind and mango vinaigrettes.
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On the Beaten Path
If you are in Cancun looking for an awesome, authentic meal in a very cool setting with outdoor seating, and super friendly staff this place is the best. It’s not off the beaten path, but it’s delicious, authentic and presents a scene. We stumbled upon this place as we were wandering on the main street from the downtown market through the mall (hello, ZARA) headed back toward the hotel zone. Passing a few restaurants, we saw some menus, but nothing of interest. When we came up to La Habichuela, we had a split second thought that it may look a little dramatic...but how is the food? That was the only pause until the most friendly GM enticed us to come in. I’m not going to lie, we were suckered into going - but the guy was right, and the dining experience ended up being amazing. The scene is quite pretty, and sitting outside in the garden in the back was fun. The food was amazing, and the GM really gave us service as if we were family. It ended up being a three course meal, and maybe he gave us one...which were the appetizers. Admit that I was glad being suckered in worked. I highly recommend this place, and I’d definitely go back.