Dining Delights in Cancun and the Riviera Maya
Collected by Michelle da Silva Richmond, AFAR Local Expert
Scattered throughout Cancun and the Riviera Maya, scores of restaurants and small eateries beckon, dishing up everything from gourmet fare to fast food. Options range from traditional Mexican "picante" to "nouvelle cuisine" from all over the country, to international dishes. Yucatécan dishes often include recipes drawn from ancient Maya favorites.
Av. Juárez Mza. 217, Ejidal, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Named after the mythical Alux drawn from Maya lore, this unusual restaurant is located inside a naturally formed cave. According to legend, Aluxes are the guardians of property and only appear at night. Born in the moonlight, they seek magical...
1 avenida entre 30 y 32, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
One of Playa's newest hotels, Cacao is being touted as a "kicked-back, relaxed 'hippie chic' boutique, 60-room hotel. Conveniently situated on Playa del Carmen's 5th Ave. in the heart of the destination’s fashionable restaurant, club and boutique...
Carretera Federal 307 Cancún-Puerto Morelos, Mza. 01 Lote 1-02, 77580 Puerto Morelos, Benito Juárez, Q.R., Mexico
One of the newest - and most popular - attractions to hit these shores, "Xoximilco Cancun," is a floating fiesta, offering entertainment, colorful anecdotes, history, good food and drink - and three hours of sheer delight. Thanks to the...
5ta Av. s/n esq. Calle 22 Norte Local 1 y 2, Centro, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Yaxché specializes in Maya and Yucatecan cuisine. The décor recalls a Maya palace and the food is award-winning – and delicious. Try the nohuc, lemon seasoned prawns on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes accompanied by grilled vegetables, followed by...
Kukulkan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Situated on Cancun's lagoon with indoor or alfresco seating, this is one of the area's classic restaurants. Northern Italian cuisine made with fresh local ingredients is the specialty, along with excellent service.
Prolongacion Yaxchilán 2-01 Local 101 Mz 1, SM 17, 77500 Benito Juárez, Q.R., Mexico
One of Cancun's newest restaurants, Julia Mia (My Julia) serves Mexican nouvelle cuisine, with traditional favorites at affordable prices. This downtown restaurant is definitely worth a trip from the Hotel Zone. Julia Mia reflects the belief of...
MZA 4 LTE 7, Calle Quinta Avenida, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
The 33 main dishes served at Mi Pueblo are drawn from the culinary favorites of 33 cities throughout Mexico. Locals and tourists alike frequent this place for delicious homemade Mexican food. Leading the list are corcholatas callejeras, sweet...
Boulevard Kukulcan Km 10.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
At this longtime Cancún favorite, seafood - especially lobster - leads the list of specialties. Set on the lagoon, the vistas as well as service are excellent. The menu is varied, albeit pricey, but locals and tourists return regularly.
Calle Margaritas #25 Mz 20 SM 22, Centro, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Stepping into Labná is like stepping into a Yucatécan home. The vaulted ceiling - decorated with a pre- Hispanic mural - evokes the area's past. The specialty here is authentic - and excellent - Maya cuisine. Leading the list of local favorites...
Calle Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Spend a few hours browsing Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), a lengthy pedestrian-only path where a slew of bistros, restaurants, and cafes vie for your attention with boutiques overflowing with designer duds, upscale jewelry, Maya carvings, shiny...
Quinta Avenida 17 Mz. 27 Lote 14, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
It may look like an ordinary 5a Avenida restaurant from the outside, but once inside Aldea Corazón, you're transported to an intimate jungle enclave - complete with small cenote and Maya ruins. It's the perfect rendezvous place after a busy day of...
La Isla, Boulevard Kukulkan Km12.5, La Isla, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
It may be located in an outdoor shopping mall, but this restaurant in the Hotel Zone certainly has Southeast Asian vibes. A foliage-lined path punctuated with sweet incense takes you past a Buddhist altar to small tables with lagoon views....
Blvd. Kukulcan, La Isla, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
La Madonna is perfect for a couples dinner in Cancun. This Italian restaurant tries its hand at old-world style with a romantic ambience to match. The diverse menu could keep you coming back, but it's the equally long wine and martini list that's...
Avenida KM 13,5. Lote 24, Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 9.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
When in Cancun or on the Riviera Maya, go to Cenacolo Mare—an Italian restaurant that specializes in pasta and seafood. This is their Mediterranean appetizer consisting of mozzarella, zucchini, mushrooms, sprouts, and roasted pepper and pesto...
Av 38 Norte Mz. 4 Lote 3, Zazil-ha, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
When visiting Playa del Carmen, La Cueva del Chango (Monkey's Cave) is an especially good choice for breakfast. Nestled in a jungle setting with Maya gods peeking through the patio décor, breakfast favorites include fresh papaya, huevos a la...
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