Your guide to the best Cancun dining starts here, all from firsthand experience and visited several times. I have reviewed and listed only the best of the best to ensure that your dining experience is a memorable one.
Click on a link below to go directly to your selection on this page:
$$$ - Expensive $$ - Moderately priced $ - Very affordable
Click on the following link to view the Cancun Hotel Zone Map that will show you the locations of each restaurant listed on this page:
All Cancun dining experiences listed on the web page are fantastic places to eat. Editor's choice for the best food for the money is Hacienda El Mortero and overall best dining experience (food and service) is Puerto Madero.
For the best in Cancun dining, Puerto Madero is my favorite and I visit each time I am in Cancun, no exceptions. Plus, it is the first restaurant that I go to. In other words, I can't wait to get there.
Puerto Madero is located in the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) and features Argentine cuisine that includes a wide variety of high quality dishes of grilled meats, fish and lobster.
From start to finish, our Puerto Madero dining experience usually lasts about 3 hours. The service is the best that you will find anywhere. You will be served by multiple waiters simultaneously. There is a great selection of Argentine beef usually in the 14 ounce range per portion plus selections of Kobe beef from Japan. Their seafood menu is second to none and the Ahi Tuna and Lobster have become two of my favorite dishes.
Puerto Madero also has a great selection of wines from Argentina.
This is an expensive place to eat with entrees in the $30 to $60 range. Add in a nice bottle of wine and an appetizer and your bill including tip will most likely be around $250 for two people. However, it is worth every penny and seeing that you don't get there very often, it is a must visit.
Whole Grouper for 2
Chilean Sea Bass
At the end of your meal, don't forget the Mayan coffee. It is prepared table side and not only is a great show, but it taste wonderful too.
Also located in the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) is another of my Cancun dining establishments, La Hibichuela Sunset. There is also a La Hibichuela Downtown Cancun but the Sunset location has the sunset view as the name implies.
La Hibichuela's design is colorful and bright and has been designed as a Mayan ruin. There is also a very nice outdoor patio section. Plan on reservations about 30 minutes before sunset, usually between 6 and 7pm depending on the time of the year.
The restaurant serves Mayan influenced recipes and focuses on quality seafood meat and poultry. Prices range from $30 to $50 USD (350 to 600 pesos).
The Mayan lobster, shown below, is my favorite.
Plus here is one of a fantastic shrimp entrees.
Reservations are recommended, especially around sunset.
Another great Cancun dining experience is Fred's, located in the Hotel Zone
across from the Marriott. Fred's specializes in prime seafood. The
crabs legs and lobsters are very good. There is also a small selection
of prime cut beef.
Similar to Puerto Madero and La Hibichuela, Fred's has a great sunset view overlooking the lagoon. There are outdoor cabanas available but most people who eat at the cabanas also smoke. The service is also very good but not in the same class as Puerto Madero.
Two of my favorite dishes are the seafood soup (shown above) and the grilled seafood platter with crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops and octopus (shown below).
Fred's is expensive with most entrees between $20 and $60 USD. Reservations are recommended. We had a very enjoyable dinner and I highly recommend Fred's House Seafood Market and Grill.
For the best in authentic Cancun dining, Hacienda El Mortero is
the place. Located in the Hotel Zone towards downtown, this
Cancun restaurant gets my vote for best food for the price. Hacienda El
Mortero offers traditional Mexican cuisine at a very affordable price.
Our total bill for four people, with drinks, dessert and Mayan coffee
was under $150, including a nice tip.
Pictured below is Grouper Vera Cruz:
The dining area is bright and clean, and the servers are extremely attentive and friendly. The Mariachi band is the best.
Try the house Margarita, biggest and strongest that I have ever had and don't forget the Mayan coffee with melted vanilla bean ice cream added !
This is a restaurant that can easily be overlooked. I can't tell you how many times I have driven by but did not notice it until somebody suggested that we try it.
Another great restaurant for authentic Mexican and Mayan cuisine with a very nice seafood selection is Hacienda Sisal. Located in the heart of the Hotel Zone, Hacienda Sisal offers very nice portions and great service. The preparation of the Mayan coffee is not only entertaining, it tastes great. Ask for Alejandro as your waiter as he is the best.
Entree prices are in the middle as compared to Hacienda El Mortero and Puerto Madero plus this is also a nice family restaurant. I has a little bit of a touristy feeling but don't let this distract you from visiting.
If you like lobster then Lorenzillos is the place for you. From broiled, steamed, fried, cajun and grilled, Lorenzillos has it all, fresh from the pen. Just add one of their fabulous cilantro, butter or garlic dips and you will have one of the best meals of your life. Lorenzillos is located on the lagoon side in the Hotel Zone and offers a fabulous view of Cancun and the surrounding area. In addition to lobster, they offer Seabass, Yellowfin Tuna, Salmon and Grouper.
For lobster, Lorenzillos offers the best Cancun dining experience, from great good, view and atmosphere.
During my first few trips to Cancun I tried several restaurants because they were a known entity in the US such as The Outback Steak House, Bubba Gump and Hooters. While the food was good, you need to remember that food is different than the US, despite all of the above being large international chains. The standard meat in Mexico is thin and moderately chewy. A hamburger probably won't be ground beef but instead a very thin steak. If you want great meat you need to visit one of the restaurants listed above such as Puerto Madero.
As I explored Cancun more, I started eating at places that I had never heard of and was pleasantly surprised. Why eat at a chain restaurant in a foreign country when there are so many great places to eat in Cancun ? So in summary, I would recommend avoid the "chains" and be adventurous. I did and it paid off big time.