Cancun places of intrest to eat/drink
I will put aside my intense aversion to Club Med and answer:
When we were in Cancun in November we ate at Los Almendros, authentic neighborhood Yucatan restaurant. I had a dish made of tortillas with egg and sauce of ground sunflower seeds and my husband had a pork dish in black sauce. It was great, homemade, and insanely cheap. I've added the link to it's description in Fodors.
P.S. We loved the guided tequila tasting at the Ritz Carleton, which was really cool and educational. We learned about and tasted silver, reposado and anejo tequilas and a couple tequila-related liquors. It was expensive - I think $45 a person but I don't remember.
It's been just about 7 years since we visited Cancun, so I warn you advance, none of what I say may be true anymore. I do not exactly keep up with the Cancun food scene. Still, we had a lot of really great food in Cancun during our visit. Since the meals at our hotel were ungodly pricey, we never at there.
Even within the tourist haven penisula part of Cancun, there are sprinklings of great and authentic food. We found a place right near our hotel, the Camino Real, that specialized in quesadilla's. We had them about 3 or 4 times during the week. Yucatan food itself is fantastic, and you will find plenty of places around town, especially in Cancun "city" that specialize in things like sopa de limon, turkey en mole and chicken pibil. Yucatan cooking has as an eye towards the Caribean. For instance, black beans are used here way more often than in standard mexican food. This is also the land of the habenero, and some of the stuff can be suitably spicy. There is a local beer, Leon I believe, that should be sold in the US, it is one of the best Mexican beers.
I've saved the best for last. Ms. VI and myself had one of our greatest chowhound adventures in Cancun. We were working off of an Access Cancun book, and we had read about a place that specialized in drinks and botana's, rather like Mexican tapas. We took the bus to the spot on the penisula where it was supposed to be and found zilch. Luckily, as you will find, english is widely spoken in Cancun. The bus driver and some others looked over our book and realized that another branch of this place still existed. We took the bus all the way back into town and got off at the end of the line as directed. We thought it would be there, but the bus driver told us we would need a taxi now. So he arranged for a taxi, and we drove. And we drove. Far away from the tourists. Far enough away that we starting wondering a bit. Only to be dropped off in a wonderous open air cantina.
You order drinks and *something* from the menu, the rest is gratis. Little snacks to enjoy with the drinks. We had a chicken mole, some tounge and other dishes until we exhausted the gringoish repetoire. We inveiled on them, however, to bring more, and we when we hit the pig's feet escabiche, we knew to stop. They called us a cab home, and we left sated.
I cannot possibly find you this place today, but perhaps someone else on chowhound can. If not, do ask at your hotel for an authentic botanas joint, and do not be afraid if it takes you a while to get there.
You can go to Cancun and never touch Mexican food. There is even a Ruth's Chris steakhouse.