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Feb 23, 2007 09:45 PM

Restaurant recommendations in Cancun?

A friend and I are going to Cancun for vacation at the end of March ("en route" to Boston from LA, if you can call a wee detour a bit southwest of Boston still en route - not our first choice of vacation locales, but the easiest Mexican city to fly in and out of given trip constraints), and I was wondering if there were any restaurants people recommended? I've perused the boards, but there isn't that much recently. (I did bookmark what I've already found on this site).

Hopefully, there isn't a complete dearth of good food there. If it helps, we're staying downtown, and really, will eat anything. I'd prefer more local cuisine, but again, anything good will do.

Also, taking a day trip to Tulum, and will stop at Playa del Carmen on the way back, as well as a day trip to Isla Mujeres, so if there are any recommendations for either of those places as well, that'd be great.

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  1. I just got back from cancun a few weeks ago and the food there was amazing!

    First place in el centro to definitly hit up is La Parilla, it's a two story restaurant with some sort of meat thing cooking outside. The food is amazing, there's a decent Mariachi band always playing, and the alcohol is excellent, if you have any desire for tequilla I highly reccommend their tequila tasting option for an after dinner adventure. This is by far my favorite restaurant in cancun, we went there twice on our trip, it's very good.

    On the completely opposite spectrum is a restaurant called Captain's Cove in the Hotel Zone. This place isn't technically in the el centro but you can catch any shuttle labeled "hotel zone" for something around 6pesos a person. I reccommend spending a day on the beach at one of the random hotels then going to Captain's Cove. This place is slightly more americanized and definitly more expensive, but I must admit, the food was amazing. It was right on the water, the service was fantastic, and the lobster enchilada was by far the most perfect dish I've ever eaten. The only reason I say La Parilla as the first stop is because it's actually in el centro, more authentic, and definitly cheaper.

    On a side note not relating to food, we stopped off at Playa del Carmen, and unless you're wandering through there to get on the ferry to Cozumel, I really see no reason to ever venture there. It's not a short drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen, and Cancun definitly had better restaurants, better general atmosphere, and it looked less sketchy. I know my cousin and I were wandering around the streets of el centro way into the late hours of the night and we felt completely safe even though we were definitly the only white english speaking people there.

    1. Don't know about Cancun but, Playa del Carmen has, and there is a Chowhound attitude here, some great restaurants. Great places Babes, 2 locations; Swedish Thai- great drinks, Cueva de Chango(spelling Monkey Cave) wonderful reasonable. Many others look at web site amazing ideas for good everything.

      BTW all tastes to all folk--Playa is safe and it is wonderful walking on the main St 5th Ave. In my opinion don't waste your time in Cancun go directly to Playa and Tulum. These towns are wonderful and you are in Mexico, not America, The food was great, service everywhere was wonderful and the people in general could not be kinder and more hard working.

      1 Reply
      1. re: cappie

        Just got back from Cancun and wanted to add that yes, Captain's Cove is very good. We ordered the Lobster Enchiladas and we were impressed. The employees were very accommodating and the drinks were strong.
        We did not get a chance to visit Playa del Carmen, but had heard from everyone we spoke with that the beaches are nice. Enjoy!!!

      2. Note: Just noticed after posting that this thread had been moved up from way back in February. Sorry, as the original poster has long since returned from her trip. Oh well, maybe someone will come along looking for suggestions for food in Cancun.

        I do have to offer a dissenting opinion about La Parrilla. It's a chain restaurant, and I've always found it overpriced for the quality of food we've had there. Just not that impressive, although people seem to like it for its "authentic" atmosphere.

        For good, super cheap food, head across the street to El Poblano. You won't find tons of atmosphere there, and the service there is typical of Mexican restaurants that don't cater to tourists, but you will find kick butt food. Don't expect any presentation...if you order the tacos, you'll get a plate of meat and some tortillas on the side and no more! The salsa is good and hot as well.

        La Farola is on the same street, has a nice cozy atmosphere and serves Argentinian food (since cancun has a sizable population of expats from Argentina).

        For seafood, if you want a view, head to Puerto Juarez just outside of downtown Cancun, or La Pescadilla on the lagoon side of the Hotel Zone. If you don't want a view, but just good food, head to El Timon Jarocho on Lopez's a hike, but the food is delicious.

        For fancier food and high end serves, La Habichuela is very nice and right downtown.

        On the other end of the spectrum are the tacos that are sold just outside the bus station in the mornings. Buy from the cart run by the two women, not from the men. They usually have 7 to 10 choices of fillings, and throughout most of the morning, people are around the cart 2 or three deep.

        If you want Yucatecan food, try Restaurante Emaro, which is just by Mercado 28. They apparently have a sister restaurant in Merida. The panuchos and salbutes are a bit pricier than they should be, but it'll be a good intro to regional food. I was mystified by the menu at Yaxche in Playa del Carmen, as was my husband (a Yucatec Maya) and we found that while they did have some of the typical dishes of the region, a lot of things they just stuck Mayan words on as names. Plus, the hostess couldn't even speak a word of Spanish to communicate with my husband, so after looking at the menu, we continued walking. Definitely not a place to truly discover how the people on the peninsula eat.

        As you may get the sense, I have more experience with non-touristy eating establishments that are not known for superb service. If you want more recommendations for places that people who live in Cancun frequent, let me know more about what type of food you'd like!

        3 Replies
        1. re: GabachaYucateca

          Thanks for the info....We will be tehre in a few weeks.

          Anything that you might recommend around the Ritz Carlton? for kids?

          1. re: jkao1817

            Captain's Cove really is good and I once ate at La Joya which is widely believed to be the best in Cancun, sort of Nuevo Mexican food, so I recommend that.

            1. re: bronwen

              Where is El Poblano and captains Cove? We are leaving this weekend and staying at Rui Palace Las Americas. yes it AI with husbands coworkers but we may venture out on our own.