TOP 10 RESTAURANTS in CANCUN
People ask me all the time what restaurants to go to when they head down to Cancun. That's because for over 12 years now I have been going to Cancun several times a year for business. So I have become a bit of an expert regarding the restaurants in the Cancun hotel zone area. I can tell you that it doesn't matter if you are looking for awesome ambiance or casual street side tastiness on a budget, I can point you in the right direction. Here is my take on the top 10 restaurants in Cancun.
By the way, in case you have interest, these are the places that keep me coming back to Cancun so often. I'm in the vacation condo rental business in Cancun. So much nicer than a hotel room, especially for larger groups.
BEST RESTAURANT: SEAFOOD MEDIUM PRICED + ROMANCE & GREAT VIEWS: NAVIOS
For those that don't know, Cancun has an ocean on one side of the street and fresh water bay on the other. People drive from all over Cancun to come to Navios. The entire restaurant is built OVER the water. And Navios also managed to configure their floor plan so that almost no matter where you sit you have water around you. The sunsets over the bay are beautiful at night. And the after dark lighting at this open air restaurant is VERY cozy and romantic. The restaurant even has private palapas surrounded by water where you can have your group of 6-10 people eat at a completely private setting surrounded by water. At night the light glistens off the gentle waves and it is truly an experience. And the food is outstanding, and reasonable too. My wife and I have been coming here for years, you can get the fresh grouper for $18, which is my personal favorite. My wife loves their filet. But no matter what you choose the food is so good. I have had guests who have been engaged here at Navios and for good reason. It makes for a meal you will never forget.
BEST RESTAURANT: MEXICAN FOOD - MEDIUM PRICED : LA DISTILLERIA
In the mood for some great Mexican and some really tasty Margaritas? La Distilleria is the place to go. Its not real high end, so it won't break the bank. And they make great Margaritas here. They have regular Margaritas and Strawberry and others and they have them in different sizes. My favorite here is the steak fajitas. You have to ask for them though because they are no longer on the menu, but they'll still make them for you. They come out fresh off the grill, piping hot. You build your own with fresh flower tortillas and the vegetables, meat, and all the trimmings. La Distilleria also has great fresh guacamole. And don't forget the Mariachi instrumentalists and singers that come by to spice things up a bit. There is dine in or there is outside dining with a nice view of the bay. There is valet parking, no regular parking available. Enjoyable time, food is excellent and the Margaritas are really good. I recommend Sausa Silver for the tequilla, to me that is the smoothest one out there.
BEST RESTAURANT: STEAKHOUSE + VIEW/AMBIANCE - HIGH END : HARRY'S
So you love steak and this is a special occasion. Or maybe you love steak and price isn't a factor. Or maybe you want an outstanding steak, outstanding service and gorgeous views. If you fall into anyone of these 3 this is your steak house. If you want top quality in every way then Harry's is your place for steaks. Meaning, you get first class service, and outstanding ambiance, especially at the outside tables that over look the bay with surreal lighting. Then there are the steaks which are absolutely outstanding, tender and juicy and the taste is supreme. I have never had a side that was anything other than excellent. If you have a couple of cocktails, plus appetizer and dinner you are looking at around $125 a plate and that's staying in the medium area of the menu, it can be substantially more. It's first class all the way here at Harry's.
BEST RESTAURANT: MEXICAN FOOD - LOW COST/EXCELLENT QUALITY : LAS BRISAS
Don't judge a book by its cover. Sometimes greatness comes in humble surroundings. Las Brisas is a true Mexican street side stand with delicious Mexican offerings. Always fresh, always so tasty. You are looking at $5-$6 a person! Now that's a bargain. And if you spend $6 you will be absolutely full, even if you have a big appetite. Las Bravas is not open for dinner, only for breakfast and lunch. I will give you another casual option for Mexican in these listings for dinner. If you are looking for a true roadside Mexican stand this is it. Tasty food every time, hot off the griddle and fresh. They do also serve Coronas. Plus, this little stand has an upstairs dining area with a really nice bay view. You will miss this place if you are driving down the strip, so keep your eyes ready at approximately kilometer 13.5 on the strip (Cancun Hotel Zone). If you are in a car, parking is right out front and very limited.
BEST RESTAURANT: MEXICAN FOOD - MEDIUM to HIGH END: HACIENDA SISAL
Hacienda Sisal offers outstanding Mexican tastiness, along with the more traditional steaks and seafood. All the food is so good here. The inside has an almost stately feel to it. The service is always excellent. The chairs are so comfortable too. This is a unique restaurant. If you have a larger group and some are in the mood for Mexican, while others want steak or seafood, everyone will be happy here. It makes for a great night out. Its obvious from the moment you walk in that this is a special restaurant, very classy feel, very well run, very clean. You have a lot of menu options from the low twenties to mid 40's and higher (in dollars). This is a no smoking restaurant as it is all indoors.
BEST RESTAURANT: STEAKHOUSE - HIGH END: RUTH'S CHRIS
Most people know about Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Its just as good in Cancun. If you don't know, Ruth's Chris offers truly outstanding steaks and sides. The food is beyond outstanding. The steaks come on plates sitting at 450 degrees which keeps that steak hot all the way through dinner, just the way it should be. There side dishes are huge, and so good. I highly recommend one side for 2 people. The lyonnaise potatoes are my favorite side, covered in caramelized onions and garlic seasoned to perfection. Their steaks are tender, juicy and prepared to perfection. Its my favorite steak house in case you can't tell. Now Ruth's Chris is high end, but much less than Harry's. In fairness, there is no view here at Ruth's Christ Cancun. The restaurant is all indoors. If you are a smoker, they do have a smoking area outside that they created just for smokers and you can take drinks out there. We usually walk out at about $75$85 per person including a couple drinks and tip. Kilometer 13.5.
BEST RESTAURANT: FOR WATCHING THE BIG GAME: CHAMPIONS
So this restaurant probably wont make anyone else's list, but it will mine. Sometimes its about the big game. If it's NFL playoff time i'm not going to a restaurant, no matter how good the food is, that does not emphasize the big games going on. And that's why Champions makes the list. There really is no other big time sports bar/restaurant in the Cancun hotel zone. So Champions is the only game in town in this regard. Champions does have good, casual food, burgers, onion rings, nachos and the like, a lot of finger food items. And on game day, you can always catch your favorite team because the staff will put on your game at one of the 16 TVs throughout the restaurant, especially if you get in there a little early. It's located right out in front of the Marriott Casamagna, you would never find it if you didn't know this because the Marriott is set way back from the road. Kilometer 14.5.
GREAT CHOICE: STEAK AND SEAFOOD COMBO - HIGH END: PUERTO MADERO
For surf and turf Puerto Madero is a long standing Cancun favorite. It is high end, nice outside area overlooking the bay, and just a first class place all around. The food is superb whether it be a choice steak or crab legs or lobster or any of their side offerings. No shorts allowed at dinner time. The feel inside is cozy and warm. The service is always excellent. You can't go wrong at Puerto Madero. It will set you back about $75-$90 a plate after a drink or two plus tip, and this is at the middle of the menu scale. Kilomter 14.1.
BEST RESTAURANT: ITALIAN FOOD: SAVIOS BY LA DOLCE VITA
There are very few Italian restaurants in Cancun. Fortunately, that doesn't matter because Savios by La Dolce Vita has not only terrific Italian food, but they have it at really reasonable prices. Their pasta dishes are incredible, so good. The reason for the long name is that the owner has had a restaurant for many years in Cancun central called La Dolce Vita. He has established such a brand among locals that he wanted this new name of Savios backed up by the strength of La Dolce Vita. So why did he just not name this one La Dolce Vita? Because he wanted a distinction as the inland La Dolce Vita does offer some things that Savios does not and vice versa. You are looking at around $15 per plate for many offerings. Remember, this is the Cancun hotel zone so things are more expensive here because the real estate cost alone to purchase the building is sky high. n a nutshell Savios is great food, great price, great service. Kilometer 15.
GOOD ONE: HIGH END SEAFOOD WITH AMBIANCE: FRED'S HOUSE
Fred's has a unique and really cool atmosphere and very tasty food. The Cancun strip is blessed with outstanding restaurants, especially for seafood. Fred's offers a fairly wide assortment of menu items and the prices vary quite a bit so there is something for everyone price wise. There are even several pasta offerings here. You can't make the list without outstanding service (other than Champions which is average service). And Fred's does't disappoint in this regard. A lot of the outside booths are especially nice for private small groups and families. Great night out at Fred's.
BEST RESTAURANT FOR CASUAL, GREAT TASTE, GREAT VIEW: 19.5
I promised you another Mexican road side stand since Las Brasas is not open for dinner so here you go! It is known simply as 19.5. The stand has a very casual dining area that has a terrific view of the bay. It's open early and closes late and offers a nice blend of Mexican, salads, and black angus burgers. The food is excellent and reasonably priced. The owners name is Joe, great guy! As with any of these local places it is a good idea to pay in pesos, because otherwise the exchange rate you get in paying with dollars is not favorable. I have had most items on their menu and they have all been really good. If you end up staying in one of my penthouse units Joe will take special care of you. Kilometer 19.5.