Hot Restaurants in Cancun

If you’re taking a trip to Cancun you probably want to find two really great restaurants, one for Mexican food and one with incredible fresh fish. In Cancun you’ll be delighted to discover that not only can you find several of each, but often you’ll find them together or, if you’re a little more adventurous, you’ll be shocked at the wonderful variety of delectable cuisine that can be found in Cancun.

Most visitors to this resort city tend to stay in an area called the hotel-zone. Obviously this region is chock full of hotels for tourists and the restaurant industry realizes this and has filled the space with dining options for visitors. You may be disappointed to see so many chain restaurants that you have in your home towns in the hotel-zone, but don’t disparage, there are also great local restaurants, you just have to know where too look.

It’s not surprising that in a city that thrives on tourism would have some great restaurants in their hotels, Paloma Bonita is one of those restaurants.  Paloma Bonita offers incredible authentic fare for guests wishing to have that traditional Mexican meal and the menus come in English (which not all of them do). There are three different sections to the restaurant and each one is very unique. If you’d like to take advantage of the beautiful ocean view then book your reservations in the Patio Oaxaca. For diners looking for a more authentic and regional taste, the Salon Michoacan serves up regional specialties. And for an evening out experience, La Cantina Jalisco features an open kitchen and a tequila bar with jazz trios or mariachi’s to keep you entertained. Expect to pay a bit for the meals at Paloma Bonita as its main clientele is the tourist population.

If you want to get away from the hotel scene and maybe spend a little less cash on an authentic Mexican meal then give Labna a try. Instead of being surrounded by prefabricated hotel glam, this restaurant takes its cues from the quiet residential district it’s surrounded by and the ancient Mayan monuments which are a highlight of the region.  Not to be outdone by the hotel restaurants, Labna has some truly beautiful architectural elements which only emphasize the beauty of the food. Taking a cue from the culture, Labna looks to pamper its guests with rich and fresh ingredients that harkens back to ancient traditions with original recipes.

And for truly authentic Mexican and seafood recipes with truly local prices, give El Faro a try.  This unassuming little diner rests atop a supermarket near the docks, thus the freshness of the fish. Expect to have some unexpected culinary expertise in the simple tastes that make El Faro’s steaks, fish, fajitas, and shrimp some of the best around. But be prepared to speak a little Spanish on this excursion as you have ventured out of the traditional tourist region.

Focus on the sea with a romantic evening at Lorenzillo’s, located on the Mexican Caribbean with stunning views and equally amazing oceanic bounty this restaurant is one not to be missed by the couple celebrating a special occasion. Oddly Lorenzillo’s promotes its quaint and romantic atmosphere while the restaurant’s history is as far from romantic as one can get, beginning with a Pirate names Lorenzillo, a hungry crew and the ultimate plundering of the small village in 1683. Luckily, you won’t have to fight for your meal, but if you don’t have reservations you may be battling for a table. One special note about Lorenzillo’s, it’s the only restaurant in North America that has its own lobster farm, so go ahead, order the lobster.

For a little more reasonable prices (Okay, a lot more reasonable), then Fish Fritanga is a favorite for its fresh fish fare. This small outdoor restaurant is priced for the locals but it’s located within the hotel zone and a convenient stop for tourists as well. With views of a lagoon and beautiful weather this is the perfect afternoon stop for a relaxing lunch and refreshing drink.

For more than a meal, try Jugo de Limon, a casual traditional Mexican seafood restaurant with beautiful sunsets at Nichupte Lagoon and an interactive aquarium. It’s the aquarium that makes this restaurant more than just a great place for seafood. Divided into sections, each part of the aquarium features different activities for different age groups. And for those people hoping to get up close and personal with some dolphins or sharks, you can have an experience with each of these beautiful creatures. Swim with the dolphins or “hand feed” live sharks and come away with an incredible fish tale to tell all of your friends. And if that isn’t enough fish, Jugo de Limon will serve up meals that are suitable for all tastes and even some specials just for the kids.

Moving away from the standard Mexican and seafood menu, you’ll find that Cancun has some other specialties which are not so native. La Madonna is one of those restaurants that takes the best cuisine and ingredients from a few different cultures and blends them together perfectly in unexpected ways. The main influences at La Madonna are Italian and Swiss but the well trained pallet will note a few other subtle touches as well. With a  focus on expanding your dining experience from the plate in front of  you to the room around you, La Madonna has some extraordinary architecture and ambience that will sweep you away to another place entirely. The main dining room is spectacular, but if you’re looking for romance, the terrace and the mezzanine levels are reserved for couples and offer private seclusion. If you’re looking for a little excitement in your evening, order from the wine cellar or journey to the upper level martini bar where one of the more than 150 different martinis is sure to appeal to your mood.

Remember that if you’re traveling during the high season, January to April, you may want to book your reservations in advance, you’re going to a tourist community that will be packed to the gills and diner seating can sometimes be scarce.