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The EAT List

The 13 best restaurants in Cancún

The best restaurants in Cancún offer scenic seaside views paired with fresh seafood and a necessary dose of mezcal

Written by
Kelly Lewis
&
Lori A May
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Arguably one of the best things to do in Cancún is sample and savor regional Yucatán flavors while taking in breathtaking Caribbean views—we call that combo a no-brainer. The city's culinary influences range from local to global, which means there's an abundance of street tacos and fresh seafood that anchors a restaurant scene that also serves up fusion foods and haute pairing menus. From highbrow to lowkey, you’ll find a bite for every budget here. On your next visit to the city, be sure to stop in at one of the best restaurants in Cancún.

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Best Restaurants in Cancún

What is it? A laidback, indoor-outdoor treehouse-style café with traditional Mexican food and international fare.

Why go? A brunch buffet is served from 8 am to noon (Monday-Friday), and there is a variety of Mexican dishes including barbacoa, quesadillas, and fresh corn tortillas on the menu. In the evenings, there’s also live music and a festive ambience. 

What is it? A Tulum-style eatery on the beach with a mezcal dinner pairing option.

Why go? Sacbé sits right on the beach, located in front of the Marriott Cancún Resort. This must-visit venue has an unbeatable pairing menu curated by a certified mezcalier, not to mention a Sunday brunch where every bite is focused on regional Yucatán cuisine. With hammocks, beach pillows, and swing set seating right at the bar, it’s also a super cool place to hang (pun intended) along the beach.  

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What is it? A casual seafood restaurant with tables in the sand overlooking the lagoon. Located in the middle of Cancún’s Hotel Zone, it’s popular with locals and tourists.

Why go? There’s a kids play area to keep the youngsters busy while you munch on savory ceviche tostadas, buttery lobster tails, vodka fettucine, or the house specialty of whole fried fish.

What is it? Mexican fusion seafood, served to you in romantic cabanas set over the water. Located in Cancún’s Hotel Zone.

Why go? Navios has epic seafood and a remarkable wine list. Expect standout dishes like robalo al pastor: sea bass carpaccio served over pineapple with cilantro rice.

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What is it? A fine dining seafood restaurant with a thatched-roof, overlooking the lagoon in the Hotel Zone.

Why go? Popular for its catch-of-the-day offerings, this restaurant is associated with Royal Resorts. But even if you aren't staying the night, Captain’s Cove is conveniently located right in the Hotel Zone, which means you can still book a table and enjoy the whole fine dining experience without venturing too far from your own accommodations.

What is it? A Cancún staple that’s been serving lobster for more than 30 years.

Why go? At Lorenzillo’s, come for the live lobster and stay for the atmosphere. This Cancún landmark serves lobster almost any way you want it. Get it grilled, boiled, steamed, or dripping in butter. 

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What is it? Located within La Isla Shopping Village, this popular restaurant serves Thai and Indian classics at a split-venue inside palapa roof huts that overlook the Nichupte Lagoon.

Why go? Sunset dinners along the lagoon are incredibly popular, so make a reservation to enjoy your choice of satay and spicy lime prawns or tandoori and masala. The inventive cocktail menu focuses on martinis, mojitos, and margaritas.

What is it? A neat little Japanese joint that’s been serving up authentic sushi, ramen, tempura, and the like since 2006.

Why go? Share a “boat of abundance” with a pal to get a generous sample of sashimi and sushi served with lobster. Want to get up close to the kitchen? Book a seat at one of Irori’s teppanyaki tables—you'll watch as chefs cook your food on a sizzling iron griddle right in front of your eyes.

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What is it? A Tulum-inspired venue with music, entertainment, and high-concept menu.

Why go? Dining at Chambao is an event. Here, the (literally) smoking cocktails and chef-driven dishes are just part of a spectacle that includes evening contortionist performances and models who parade around the restaurant serving fashion with sparklers during an interactive bottle service. Go for the high-end surf and turf, stay for the sensory overload.

What is it? A raw bar and seafood bistro frequented by locals in downtown Cancún.

Why go? The modest exterior will deceive you—inside, this happening locals’ joint is jamp-packed with artisanal seafood dishes and a raw bar that highlights natural seasonings. Can’t decide? Go for classic tostadas served with a shot of mezcal.

 

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11. Parque de las Palapas

What is it? A park in downtown Cancún where locals hang out and eat from a variety of street food vendors.

Why go? The food available at the stalls in Parque de las Palapas is delicious (think Mexican cakes, empanadas, and cheesy treats) but the people watching is even better. Come to the park at sunset and be reminded that people actually do live here.

What is it? A café with a relaxed vibe where locals go for espresso and quick bites.

Why go? Go where the locals go in downtown Cancún for wallet-friendly eggs benedict and avocado toast. For lunch, enjoy a coconut shrimp burrito like no other. At any hour, savor freshly-roasted espresso or chill out with a fresh fruit smoothie.

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What is it? A family-friendly eatery with endless burger options in the city.

Why go? Not every meal in Cancún needs to revolve around seafood—when you're craving a juicy burger, here’s the best place to go. Choose from sirloin or ribeye patties with every topping imaginable, and add a side of fries or nachos to round out the meal.

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While the beaches of the Hotel Zone are almost always packed with sun-worshipers, Cancún is the gateway to key Mayan sites, including the ruins at Tulum and Chichen Itza. In Cancún itself, you’ll find an underwater art museum and Mayan ruins, while a killer food scene has emerged in recent years, offering everything from 1am street tacos to experimental French-influenced dining and more must-try restaurants. Here’s how to make the most of Cancún.

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