Ultimate Cancun Restaurant Guide: Top Restaurants, Local Eats, and Must-Try Activities for Food Lovers

Ultimate Cancun Restaurant Guide: Top Restaurants, Local Eats, and Must-Try Activities for Food Lovers

Discover the best and worst of Cancun restaurant scene with our comprehensive guide, covering everything from Cancun resort dining to local eateries. Learn about Cancun restaurants famous dishes, street food, and budget-friendly options while also getting insider tips on navigating the culinary landscape. Plus, explore exciting local activities to make your Cancun vacation unforgettable. Get ready to indulge in an authentic gastronomic adventure!

Cancun restaurant

As a seasoned traveler and food enthusiast, I’ve had my fair share of culinary experiences in Cancun. From local street food to high-end dining, I’ve seen it all. In this article, I will share my insights on the best and worst Cancun restaurants, answer common questions, and provide tips and suggestions for an unforgettable gastronomic experience.

cancun restaurants

Cancun’s Famous Food

Cancun is known for its delicious and diverse cuisine, ranging from traditional Mexican dishes to international favorites. Some of the most famous foods in Cancun include:

Tacos al Pastor

Tacos al Pastor is a popular street food in Cancun. They are made with marinated pork, pineapple, and fresh garnishes like onions and cilantro. These tacos are a must-try for anyone visiting Cancun, as they offer a unique and flavorful taste that is hard to find elsewhere. Most Cancun restaurants serve it.


Ceviche is another famous dish in Cancun, which consists of fresh seafood marinated in lime juice, cilantro, onions, and tomatoes. This dish is perfect for seafood lovers and offers a refreshing taste, ideal for the tropical climate.

Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil is a traditional Yucatan dish that is slow-roasted pork marinated in citrus juice and achiote paste, traditionally wrapped in banana leaves. This dish is rich in flavor and showcases the unique culinary techniques of the region.

Chiles en Nogada

Chiles en Nogada is a traditional Mexican dish that features poblano peppers stuffed with a mixture of meat, fruits, and spices, topped with a creamy walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds. This dish is a perfect example of the unique flavor combinations found in Mexican cuisine.

Cost of a Meal in Cancun

The cost of a meal in Cancun varies depending on the type of restaurant and the dishes you choose. On average, expect to pay:

Street Food

Street food in Cancun is both delicious and affordable, with prices ranging from $1 to $5 per item. Some popular street food options include tacos, tamales, and elotes.

Casual Dining

Casual dining restaurants in Cancun offer a wide range of cuisines at varying price points. Expect to pay between $10 and $20 per person for a meal at a casual dining establishment.

Fine Dining

Fine dining in Cancun can be more expensive, with prices ranging from $40 to $100 per person. These upscale restaurants often feature unique and high-quality dishes, as well as a more formal and sophisticated dining experience.

Street Food in Cancun


Tamales are a popular street food in Cancun and are made from steamed corn dough filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They are a filling and flavorful option for a quick and affordable meal.


Elotes, or grilled corn on the cob, is another popular street food option in Cancun. Topped with mayonnaise, cheese, and chili powder, elotes offer a delicious and satisfying snack.


Marquesitas are crispy, rolled crepes filled with sweet or savory ingredients, making them a popular street food dessert. Common fillings include Nutella, caramel, and even cheese.


Empanadas are fried pastries filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables. They are a versatile and delicious street food option, perfect for a quick and hearty snack on the go.

Best Restaurants in Cancun

Cancun is home to numerous high-quality restaurants that cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences. Some of the best restaurants in Cancun include:


Porfirio’s is a popular upscale Mexican restaurant, known for its delicious food, attentive service, and stunning views. The menu features traditional Mexican dishes with a modern twist, making it a must-visit for foodies in Cancun.

Fred’s House

Fred’s House is a seafood lover’s paradise, offering fresh, locally-sourced seafood and an extensive menu. The restaurant is located right by the water, providing a beautiful and relaxing dining experience.

La Habichuela

La Habichuela is a unique dining experience that combines Mayan and Caribbean flavors in a romantic setting. The menu is diverse and creative, featuring dishes such as shrimp-stuffed plantains and lobster tail with chipotle sauce.

Worst Restaurants in Cancun

While there are many fantastic restaurants in Cancun, there are also some that fall short of expectations. Some of the worst restaurants in Cancun, according to reviews and personal experience, include:

El Pez Gordo

El Pez Gordo has received numerous negative reviews due to poor service, lackluster food quality, and high prices. Many diners have reported dissatisfaction with their overall experience at this establishment.

La Parilla Downtown

La Parilla Downtown has also garnered negative reviews for its inconsistent food quality and poor service. Some diners have even reported food poisoning after eating at this restaurant.

Coco Bongo

While Coco Bongo is a popular nightclub in Cancun, its restaurant has received poor reviews for its food quality and overall dining experience. It may be best to stick to the club and seek out other dining options in the area.

Ultimate Cancun Restaurant Guide: Top Restaurants, Local Eats, and Must-Try Activities for Food Lovers

Cheapest in Cancun Restaurants

If you’re looking for delicious and affordable dining options for Cancun restaurants, check out these wallet-friendly restaurants:

Tacos Rigo

Tacos Rigo is a local favorite, offering authentic Mexican tacos at low prices. The menu features a variety of fillings, including al pastor, carne asada, and chorizo.

El Fish Fritanga

El Fish Fritanga is a casual eatery that serves fresh seafood dishes at affordable prices. The menu includes options like ceviche, fish tacos, and shrimp cocktail.

Los Aguachiles

Los Aguachiles is a popular spot for ceviche, tostadas, and shrimp tacos, all at wallet-friendly prices. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, making it a great spot for a relaxed meal.

Good Restaurants that Locals Go To

For a more authentic dining experience, consider visiting some of the restaurants that locals frequent:

La Parrilla Cancun

La Parrilla Cancun restaurant is a bustling restaurant known for its traditional Mexican dishes and lively atmosphere. The menu features a wide variety of options, including tacos, enchiladas, and fajitas.

Peter’s Restaurante

Peter’s Restaurante is a cozy eatery that serves international cuisine with a Mexican twist. The menu includes dishes such as coconut shrimp, chicken mole, and pasta with poblano pepper sauce.

El Rincon del Vino

El Rincon del Vino is a wine bar and bistro located in downtown Cancun. The menu features tapas, charcuterie boards, and an extensive wine selection, making it a great spot for a casual night out.

What food is famous in Cancun?

  • Tacos al Pastor
  • Ceviche
  • Cochinita Pibil
  • Chiles en Nogada

How much is a meal at a restaurant in Cancun?

  • Street food: $1-$5 per item
  • Casual dining: $10-$20 per person
  • Fine dining: $40-$100 per person

Does Cancun have good street food?

  • Yes, Cancun has a vibrant street food scene, with options like tacos, tamales, elotes, marquesitas, and empanadas.

Can you eat in Cancun?

  • Yes, there are plenty of dining options in Cancun, ranging from street food and casual eateries to upscale restaurants.

What are the worst restaurants in Cancun?

  • El Pez Gordo
  • La Parilla Downtown
  • Coco Bongo (restaurant)

What are the best restaurants in Cancun?

  • Porfirio’s
  • Fred’s House
  • La Habichuela

What are the cheapest restaurants in Cancun?

  • Tacos Rigo
  • El Fish Fritanga
  • Los Aguachiles

What are some good restaurants that locals go to in Cancun?

  • La Parrilla Cancun
  • Peter’s Restaurante
  • El Rincon del Vino
Ultimate Cancun Restaurant Guide: Top Restaurants, Local Eats, and Must-Try Activities for Food Lovers

Here are some tips and tricks to help you navigate the dining scene in Cancun and make the most of your gastronomic experience:

  1. Do your research: Before heading to a Cancun restaurant, read reviews online, and ask locals for recommendations. This will help you avoid tourist traps and find hidden gems.
  2. Try a variety of food options: Don’t limit yourself to just one type of cuisine or dining experience. Try street food, casual eateries, and fine dining restaurants to get a complete taste of Cancun’s culinary offerings.
  3. Sample local dishes: When in Cancun, be sure to try traditional Mexican and Yucatecan dishes like Cochinita Pibil, Tacos al Pastor, and Chiles en Nogada. This will give you a true taste of the region’s culinary heritage. Finding a good Cancun restaurant is awesome, but dont get stuck on one place.
  4. Ask for less spicy options if needed: If you’re not accustomed to spicy food, be sure to ask your server for milder options or request that the chef tone down the heat in your dish.
  5. Be adventurous with your food choices: Don’t be afraid to try new dishes and flavors. Mexican cuisine is incredibly diverse, and you may discover some new favorites during your trip.
  6. Hygiene is important: When trying street food, be mindful of hygiene. Look for stalls that are clean and have a steady stream of customers, as this is a good indicator of food quality and safety.
  7. Learn some basic Spanish phrases: Knowing a few basic Spanish phrases can go a long way when dining out in Cancun. Phrases like “por favor” (please), “gracias” (thank you), and “la cuenta, por favor” (the bill, please) can be helpful.
  8. Be mindful of tipping etiquette: In Mexico, it’s customary to tip between 10% and 15% of the bill for good service at sit-down Cancun restaurants. For street food vendors, tipping is not required but always appreciated.
  9. Carry cash: While many restaurants and food stalls accept credit cards, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash in Mexican pesos for smaller establishments and street food vendors.
  10. Stay hydrated and use bottled water: Cancun’s tropical climate can be hot and humid, so be sure to stay hydrated throughout the day. It’s also recommended to drink bottled water and avoid tap water to prevent any potential stomach issues.

Resort Restaurants vs. Local Restaurants in Cancun

When visiting Cancun, one of the most significant decisions you’ll make is whether to dine at resort Cancun restaurants or venture out and explore local eateries. In this section, we will delve into the pros and cons of each option and help you make an informed decision for a memorable culinary experience.

Resort Restaurants

Resort restaurants are typically found within the confines of Cancun’s numerous all-inclusive hotels and luxury accommodations. They often offer a diverse range of dining options, from buffet-style meals to à la carte fine dining experiences.


  1. Convenience: Resort restaurants provide easy access to dining options, especially if you’re staying at an all-inclusive hotel. You can enjoy meals without having to venture far from your accommodation.
  2. Variety: Many resorts feature multiple restaurants, each specializing in a different cuisine. This allows you to try a wide range of dishes without leaving the resort premises.
  3. Familiarity: Resort restaurants often cater to international tourists, so you’ll likely find familiar dishes and flavors on the menu, which can be comforting for some travelers.
  4. Quality and consistency: Resort restaurants generally maintain high standards of quality and consistency, ensuring a satisfactory dining experience.
  5. All-inclusive packages: If you’ve booked an all-inclusive package, you’ll have access to meals and drinks at the resort’s restaurants as part of your stay, making it a cost-effective choice.


  1. Higher prices: Resort restaurants tend to be more expensive than local eateries, as they cater to tourists and often have higher overhead costs.
  2. Less authentic experience: Dining at resort restaurants might not offer a true taste of local cuisine, as they often cater to international tastes and may modify traditional dishes to suit tourists’ preferences.
  3. Limited interactions with locals: By sticking to resort restaurants, you might miss out on opportunities to interact with locals and learn more about Cancun’s culture and traditions.
Ultimate Cancun Restaurant Guide: Top Restaurants, Local Eats, and Must-Try Activities for Food Lovers

Local Restaurants

Local Cancun restaurants are independently owned establishments that cater primarily to the local population. They can range from simple street food stalls to family-owned eateries and upscale dining options.


  1. Authentic cuisine: Local restaurants offer a more authentic taste of Cancun’s culinary scene, allowing you to experience traditional dishes and flavors that might not be available at resort restaurants.
  2. Lower prices: Generally, local restaurants offer more affordable dining options than resort restaurants, making them a budget-friendly choice.
  3. Cultural immersion: Dining at local restaurants provides opportunities to interact with locals, practice your Spanish, and learn more about the region’s culture and customs.
  4. Unique atmosphere: Local Cancun restaurants often have a unique and charming atmosphere that differs from the standardized ambiance of resort restaurants.


  1. Less convenience: Venturing out to local restaurants requires more effort than simply dining at your resort, as you’ll need to research options, navigate transportation, and potentially deal with language barriers.
  2. Inconsistent quality: While many local restaurants offer excellent food and service, you might encounter some with subpar quality or hygiene standards. It’s essential to read reviews and ask for recommendations before choosing a local restaurant.
Ultimate Cancun Restaurant Guide: Top Restaurants, Local Eats, and Must-Try Activities for Food Lovers

Local Activities to Enjoy While in Cancun

Cancun is not only a paradise for food lovers but also offers a plethora of exciting activities to make your trip unforgettable. Here are some local activities you can enjoy while in Cancun:

  1. Explore Mayan Ruins: Visiting the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza is a must for history and culture enthusiasts. These archaeological sites provide a glimpse into the rich history of the Mayan civilization.
  2. Swim in Cenotes: Cenotes are natural freshwater sinkholes found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. These hidden gems offer a unique swimming experience in crystal-clear waters surrounded by lush vegetation. Some popular cenotes near Cancun include Cenote Ik Kil, Cenote Dos Ojos, and Cenote Azul.
  1. Visit Isla Mujeres: Just a short ferry ride away from Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a beautiful island known for its pristine beaches, vibrant marine life, and laid-back atmosphere. Rent a golf cart to explore the island or spend the day snorkeling and discovering the colorful underwater world.
  2. Dolphin encounters: Several facilities in Cancun, such as Dolphin Discovery and Delphinus, offer the opportunity to swim with dolphins in a controlled environment. This memorable experience allows you to get up close and personal with these intelligent creatures.
  3. Go on a jungle adventure: Experience the thrill of ziplining through the jungle canopy or taking an ATV tour through the lush tropical landscapes that surround Cancun. Companies like Selvatica and Xplor Adventure Park offer various adrenaline-pumping activities for adventure seekers.
  4. Discover the underwater museum: The Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) is a unique underwater art installation featuring over 500 life-sized sculptures submerged in the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. The museum is accessible through guided scuba diving or snorkeling tours, offering an unforgettable experience for art and marine life enthusiasts alike.
  5. Stroll through Mercado 28: Mercado 28 is a bustling market located in downtown Cancun, where you can find a wide array of souvenirs, local crafts, and traditional Mexican foods. This vibrant market is the perfect place to immerse yourself in local culture and practice your bargaining skills.
  6. Experience the nightlife: Cancun is famous for its vibrant nightlife, with numerous bars, clubs, and entertainment venues to suit all tastes. Dance the night away at popular spots like Coco Bongo, Mandala, and The City, or enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere at one of the many beach bars along the Hotel Zone.
  7. Take a day trip to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve: The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located south of Tulum. This protected natural area is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including jaguars, manatees, and hundreds of bird species. Guided tours of the reserve offer the opportunity to explore mangroves, lagoons, and ancient Mayan ruins while learning about the region’s unique ecosystems.
  8. Relax on the beach: Last but not least, don’t forget to take some time to relax on Cancun’s beautiful white-sand beaches. Enjoy the warm Caribbean sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and unwind with a refreshing cocktail or a good book.

By combining unique dining experiences at both resort and local cancun restaurants with an array of exciting local activities, your Cancun vacation is sure to be a memorable one. Don’t be afraid to venture out, try new dishes, and immerse yourself in the rich culture and stunning natural beauty that Cancun has to offer. Check out my other Cancun posts. HEREhttps://www.travaddic.com/?s=cancun

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *