Visiting Cancun is a culinary adventure. The best restaurants in Cancun are a mix of local and international cuisine. From the famous Mexican food to the unique dishes of the Yucatan peninsula, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
And with the beautiful beaches and turquoise waters as a backdrop, dining in Cancun is an experience you will never forget.
The 17 Best Restaurants in Cancun in 2023
Cancun has a rich culture, making it the perfect place to enjoy a meal and soak in its various marvels. It’s full of preserved cultural centers like the Mayan archaeological site of El Rey and interactive museums like La Casa de la Cultura.
The best restaurants in Cancun are a mix of old and new, with some of the most famous chefs in the world creating unique dishes that can only be found in this region.
Not to mention, you’ll find Tulum-style beachside bars and world-famous nightclubs serving up top-notch cuisine. With so many options, it can be hard to decide where to eat.
Fortunately, there is something for everyone to enjoy, and restaurant hopping is encouraged for any curious visitors looking to experience the local dishes. So if you’re heading to Cancun, consider checking out any of the following amazing restaurants!
1. Kiosco Verde Marisqueria
If you’re looking for fresh seafood, look no further than Kiosco Verde Marisqueria. This restaurant is located in the heart of Cancun’s Hotel Zone and offers stunning views of the lagoon.
The menu features a wide variety of seafood dishes, all of which get prepared with the freshest ingredients. Chef Octavio Santiago currently serves as head chef and business owner. He took over the business from his father.
The menu at Kosco Verde Marisqueria includes fresh filleted fish, shrimp, octopus, soups, cocktails, and more. If you love fried and grilled seafood, you’ll enjoy the rendition of your dish cooked over an open fire.
Be sure to try their famous salsas, prepared with fresh fruits and vegetables. The establishment is open for lunch and dinner. Not to mention it’s one of the city’s oldest restaurants, so you know the food is going to be good! To ensure you get a seat there, reserve your spot ahead of time.
2. El Paisano del 23
El Paisano de 23 holds the reputation of having the best pork leg. They carefully slow cook the pork for 12 hours to produce a melt-in-your-mouth dish. The meat is used in sandwiches and taco recipes.
Don Antonio de Los Santos, better known as “Tony,” is a native of Tabasco.
Tabasco culture serves pork in many of its dishes. Watching them prepare the food is like being in a cooking show. The colorful plates and the jovial personality of the servers make the experience that much better.
Be aware, however, that El Paisano del 23 gets busy very early. To avoid long lines and wait times, it’s best to arrive before 6 pm. The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday.
3. El Socio Nais Taqueria
El Socio Nais Taqueria has two locations, but we recommend the one in Cancun. The restaurant is known for its tacos. The secret to their success is in the ingredients. They make their own corn tortillas and use local produce to make their salsas.
Their tortillas contain blue and white corn, with some dyed a beautiful rich shade of pink with none other than beet juice. Two of their specialties are the alucinogeno and pa’l puerquecito tacos.
The alucinogeno taco comes with portobello mushroom and purple cabbage topped with a rich chipotle dressing.
The pa’l puerquecito taco oozes with rib-eye and is filled with chicharron and grilled nopal. You’ll enjoy their waka waka, which is an exciting version of guacamole that uses grapefruit juice, ginger, and lemongrass.
4. Loncheria El Pocito
If you are looking for a great place for lunch, look no further than Loncheria El Pocito. While they do have awesome breakfast options like chilaquiles and even pancakes, their lunch menu will really knock your socks off.
Their papadzules are some of the best in the city. These traditional Mayan dishes come with handmade tortillas and boiled eggs smothered in a pumpkin seed sauce. Another dish you’ll want to try is their cochinita pibil.
This Yucatecan specialty is made with slow-roasted pork and served with handmade tortillas and pickled onions. No matter what you order, be sure to try their homemade hot sauce. It’s the perfect finishing touch to any dish!
5. El Cejas Restaurante y Coctelería
El Cejas Restaurante y Coctelería is one of Cancun’s best restaurants on our list despite its humble beginnings. When it opened back in the 1970s, it was situated in the middle of the jungle.
But as Cancun developed, so did the restaurant. The restaurant is now located in the heart of downtown and is one of the most popular places to eat in the city.
One unique aspect of El Cejas Restaurante y Cocteleria is the atmosphere. The restaurant features beautiful artisan crafts, colorful murals, and traditional Mexican furniture.
The restaurant is known for its seafood, but the lobster really stands out. The lobster dishes get prepared with sauces and seasonings unique to El Cejas. Don’t forget to try one of their seafood cocktails. They are truly a work of art!
6. Huelic Tortilleria
Huelic Tortilleria is a family-owned restaurant that has served the people of Cancun for generations. The restaurant is known for its fresh corn tortillas. They use a traditional method that dates back to the Maya.
They use heirloom corn that is ground by hand and then cooked in a wood-fired oven. The tortillas are used to make dishes like tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. The restaurant also offers a wide variety of seafood dishes.
One of their most popular is the tlacoyos, sopes, and tamales, which come filled with pineapple, peppers, mole, and cheese. One interesting thing about this establishment is the tortilla machine that’s on display.
This machine created tortillas for decades and helped the family serve their community for generations. It is a testament to their commitment to tradition.
7. Mar de Miel Cafe y Cocina
Mar de Miel Cafe y Cocina is one of Cancun’s most popular cafes. The cafe is located in the Hotel Zone and offers a wide variety of breakfast and lunch options. The cafe is known for its fresh-squeezed juices, made using fruits and vegetables sourced from local farms.
It’s the perfect place for breakfast as they serve Mexican baked goods like conchas as well as global favorites like cinnamon rolls, croissants, and even sourdough breads. Their overnight oats are also a must-try!
The cafe also offers a wide variety of sandwiches, salads, and pastries. One of their most popular items is the avocado toast, served with a side of pickled onions, jalapenos, and cilantro.
If you are looking for something sweet, be sure to try their churros. These Mexican fried doughnuts are served with a chocolate dipping sauce and are the perfect way to end your meal.
We had to add Herbivoro to our list of best restaurants in Cancun because it’s one of the city’s only vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. The restaurant is 100% plant-based and offers a wide variety of dishes that will please even the most carnivorous eaters.
Herbivoro is known for its inventive dishes, like their tasty chicken nuggets made from sweet potatoes and the beet tartare. But they also offer more traditional Mexican staples, like soy al pastor tacos, pizza, and their popular lentil-quinoa burger.
The menu at Herbivoro includes smoothies, a lemonade bar, all-day breakfast, toasts, and bowls. No matter what cravings you have, Herbivoro has a dish that will satisfy you.
9. Axiote Cocina de México
Axiote Cocina de Mexico is a restaurant that specializes in traditional Mexican cuisine. The menu features their famous duck tacos, made using organic and free-range duck. If you are looking for something a little lighter, try their ceviche.
The ceviche comes with fresh fish that is marinated in lime juice and mixed with onions, cilantro, and tomatoes. Their veracruzan rice with shrimp is also a popular dish. The rice is cooked with a variety of spices and herbs and topped with fresh shrimp.
No matter what you order, be sure to try one of their margaritas. The restaurant has a wide selection of tequila and mezcal. Their bartenders are experts at crafting the perfect cocktail.
10. Le Chique Restaurant
Le Chique is one of Cancun’s most upscale restaurants. The restaurant is located in Puerto Morelos and offers breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. Le Chique provides a fine dining experience.
The menu features a wide variety of cuisine meant to reflect something unique, not anything or a particular culture. For example, some of the entrees get marketed as desserts.
The chef’s goal is to surprise customers and foodies alike with a new experience you’ll never forget. The menu at Le Chique features French-Mexican cuisine, and the dishes are designed to be shared.
Some of their most popular dishes include the pork rind huarache, the esquites bone marrow, and the apple of the coconut and caviar dishes. Their tasting menu is the perfect way to experience everything the restaurant offers.
Their smoked quail egg, for example, is a must-try. The egg is smoked over a bed of hickory and mesquite wood and served with a side of chipotle mayo and foie gras.
11. Puerto Madero
Puerto Madero is one of Cancun’s most popular seafood restaurants. The restaurant is located in the Hotel Zone and offers stunning views of the lagoon.
The menu at Puerto Madero features a wide variety of seafood dishes, including shrimp, lobster, and fish. One thing that stood out was the salads. They come prepared for you to share, and the ingredients are all very fresh.
Even more interesting, when you order a Caesar salad, waiters come to your table and prepare it in front of you.
They also have a wide selection of wines and beers, as well as a variety of tequilas. Their black cod was so tasty that we had to get it twice. The cod is marinated and cooked on a charcoal grill.
12. Tempo by Martin Berasategui
Tempo by Martin Berasategui is a Michelin-starred restaurant that offers a unique dining experience. The restaurant sits in the Paradisus Cancun Resort hotel zone and offers stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.
One thing that makes this restaurant stand out is the fact that it’s adult only, and each guest must come dressed up. With that said, the dress code is not too strict. You won’t be out of place if you don’t wear a suit or dress.
You just can’t wear shorts, flip-flops, or sportswear. They prefer you to wear gowns, long pants, and dress shirts. They only have a tasting menu, which features different dishes.
They don’t have an a la carte menu, so you’ll have to trust the chefs to choose the right dishes for you. The beauty and essence of the restaurant make it unforgettable and perfect for a romantic night out.
13. Kaxapa Factory
Kaxapa Factory is a restaurant that specializes in Venezuelan cuisine. The dishes they serve are really what make this place so special. The ingredients are all fresh and locally sourced.
The menu features arepas. You can choose from various fillings for your arepa, including chicken, beef, and vegetables. We highly recommend their pabellon criollo, which is a dish made with shredded beef, black beans, plantains, and cheese.
Do you have a sweet tooth? If so, you’ll want to try their arequipe, which is a type of Venezuelan dulce de leche. The restaurant also has a wide selection of Venezuelan beers and wines.
14. El Palmar
El Palmar is a restaurant that offers a taste of Mexico City. The menu features a wide variety of Mexican dishes, including tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas. One thing that makes this restaurant stand out is its use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
The dishes get prepared with a lot of love, and it shows. The service is amazing, and the staff is always willing to help you choose the perfect dish. Their enchiladas are some of the best we’ve ever had, and their margaritas are to die for.
Not to mention, they serve pancakes and bacon for breakfast, which is always a bonus. If you’re looking for a truly authentic Mexican dining experience, this is your place.
15. Casa Oaxaca
Casa Oaxaca is a restaurant that offers a taste of Oaxacan cuisine. The menu features a wide variety of traditional Oaxacan dishes, including mole, tamales, and enchiladas. One thing that makes this restaurant stand out is the portions they serve.
The portions are enormous, and the dishes are very filling. The cocina oaxaquena is also reasonably priced, which is always a bonus. Many restaurants offer various options.
But if you are vegan or vegetarian, it may serve you best to find a restaurant that specializes in your dietary needs so you can be sure that the dishes get prepared to your liking. Luckily, Cancun does have vegan and vegetarian restaurants worth checking out.
BaoVegan is a vegan restaurant that offers a variety of plant-based dishes. The menu features a wide range of options, including soups, salads, main courses, and desserts.
One thing that makes this restaurant stand out is that they serve pizza. As someone adopting better eating habits, having a veggie pizza is a game-changer. That served alongside one of their salads makes for a perfect meal.
The ingredients they use are all fresh and locally sourced. And you can rest assured that your order gets prepared carefully and correctly.
We opted not to use the meatless meat, but the dishes we ordered were still outstanding. If you’re looking for a truly unique dining experience, add BaoVegan to your list of eateries to visit.
17. Icaza Cocina de Herencia
Icaza Cocina de Herencia is a family-owned restaurant with three locations. The best part about this establishment is their desert and pancakes. The pancakes get made to order.
You can get them with many toppings, including chocolate, fruits, and ice cream. Another great dish they have is the rye toast covered in berries and powdered sugar. It’s the perfect snack because it combines so many different flavors, and it’s not too sweet.
If you need healthy carbs to get through the rest of your day, the rye fruit toast is your go-to. The service is amazing. The staff is patient, friendly, and willing to help you better understand their menu items.
Things to Consider
When choosing a restaurant, you should keep a few things in mind:
- Dietary Restrictions
First, consider your budget. There are a wide variety of restaurants in Cancun, and they all have different price points. You should choose a restaurant that is within your budget so you can enjoy your meal without breaking the bank.
Next, consider any allergies you may have. There are a lot of restaurants that serve seafood, and if you’re allergic to seafood, you’ll want to find a restaurant that has other options.
Many restaurants also use peanuts in their dishes, so if you have a peanut allergy, you’ll want to find a restaurant that doesn’t use peanuts in their cooking. Then there are lactose intolerance and gluten-free options.
If you have sensitivities related to this, it may serve you best to find a restaurant specializing in dairy and meat-free options. It eliminates the possibility of eating something that goes against your goals.
Finally, consider any dietary restrictions you may have. There are a lot of restaurants that serve meat, and if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you’ll want to find a restaurant that has other options.
Not to mention, some people have sensitivities to beans and gluten. If you have any doubt, always ask to ensure you don’t irritate a sensitivity while on your planned vacation.
Finally, consider the atmosphere of the restaurant. Do you want a casual dining experience or a more formal dining experience? Do you just need a quick bite to eat, or are you looking for a romantic evening out?
Knowing what you want will help you narrow down your options. There are a lot of great restaurants in Cancun, so you should be able to find one that fits your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions about Cancun:
What food is Cancun, Mexico, known for?
Cancun is known for various foods, but some of the most popular dishes include tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and guacamole. However, one can find just about any type of food in Cancun, even burgers and fries.
Does Cancun have good food?
Cancun has a lot of great restaurants that serve a variety of food. You can find anything from Mexican food to Italian food in Cancun. If you love seafood, you’ll feel like you’re in paradise because there are a lot of great seafood restaurants.
What seafood is Cancun known for?
Cancun is known for its fresh seafood. You can find a variety of seafood dishes, including shrimp, lobster, octopus, fish, and crab. Even if the restaurant isn’t exclusively a seafood eatery, they likely have seafood options.
What seafood is native to Mexico?
Most restaurants will prepare their food with fresh, locally caught fish. Some fish that are native to Mexico are halibut, largemouth bass, Pacific bluefin tuna, and snapper.
The Best Restaurants in Cancun: Final Thouhts
Cancun is a place to experience, but we think these are the best restaurants in Cancun. These are all great places to try while you’re in Cancun. Remember to double-check dietary restrictions and allergies, and most of all, enjoy it!