Cancun's Best Restaurants

Mexico's mega-destination has fantastic food. Here's where to dine deliciously

Cancun Is a Perfect Recipe for Distinctive Dining

Cancun is America's #1 foreign travel destination for many good reasons. It's close, it's beautiful, it's fun.
• See all the reasons that luxury travelers flock to Cancun

Here's Why Cancun's Foodie Scene Has Exploded

Cancun has become an international dining mecca, too. The ingredients of Cancun's foodie boom:
• Cancun's prosperity, which has made it a magnet for international chefs
• Mexico's homegrown crop of gifted young chefs
• The rich traditions and unique flavors of Mexican cuisine
• Cancun's local cornucopia of fresh-caught Caribbean seafood and exotic Yucatecan produce
• An array of hotels, both all-inclusive and a la carte, with the budget, clientele, and vision to support high-end restaurants
• A sociable, sophisticated dining festival, the Cancun-Riviera Maya Wine & Food Festival

Hungry Yet?

All this adds up to a win-win for gourmet travelers. These are the best restaurants in Cancun.

  • 01 of 08
    ••• Tempo by Martin Berasategui in ©Gran Melia Paradisus Cancun

    Foodies Everywhere Stopped and Looked

    The opening of Tempo by Martin Berasategui in Gran Melia Paradisus Cancun hotel has raised Cancun in the esteem of foodies everywhere. The restaurant glitters with mosaic mirror walls, and the food is just as resplendent.

    The Top Guy Here is One of Spain's Reigning Celebrity Chefs

    Tempo is helmed by superstar chef Martin Berasategui of San Sebastian, Spain. This restaurant showcases the master's formidable technique and eye for striking colors. In my estimation, Berasategui is a genius, and Tempo perches at the very pinnacle of Cancun dining.

    As a dining critic, I try not to rave uncontrollably. But this could be the best cooking ever seen in the Yucatan peninsula.

    The Menu Is a Hit Parade

    Tempo by Martin Berasategui offers an a la carte menu and a six-course tasting dinner with wine pairings. How much dazzle can you take? Menu highlights:
    • A Basque-style dish of tomato stuffed with baby squid and matchless Iberian pork tenderloin (the chef's...MORE heritage and name are Basque)
    • Unforgettable desserts. Tempo's colorful, flavorful Mexican chocolate brownie with citrus marmalade, yogurt sauce, and tangerine sorbet is a primal indulgence

    Read More About Tempo by Martin Berasategui and Reserve a Table

     Tempo by Martin Berasategui on Gran Melia Paradisus Cancun's website
    • Restaurant background
    • On Facebook
    • About Chef Martin, from his own website
    • Tempo by Martin Berasategui
    Gran Melia Paradisus Cancun
    Boulevard Kukulcan, km 16.5
    Zona Hotelera, Cancún

    Tempo by Martin Berasategui entry by Guest Author Max Jacobson

  • 02 of 08
    ••• Cocina de Autor master chef Cristian Morales. ©Karen Tina Harrison

    Cristian Morales' Cocina de Autor: Swanky and Scrumptious

    This elegant downtown Cancun restaurant is set in the Spanish Colonial mansion of its owner and chef, Cristian Morales. As of 2014, this elegant eatery is Cancun's only recipient of the prestigious AAA Five Diamond designation.

    With just 38 seats, Cocina de Autor is an intimate and private-feeling feast. There are two seatings per night, Monday through Saturday.

    The restaurant offers pages of menu selections and varied dining environments. Diners may sup in Cocina de Autor's chandelier-lit salon; in the Veuve Cliquot private dining room; or amidst flowering vines on the patio.

    Cocina de Autor means author's cuisine. Yes, this is an artistic eatery, and its walls are covered with paintings collected by Chef Morales.

    Expect modern fusion food, artfully cooked and gorgeously presented, progressive in approach yet full-flavored and hearty. Chef Morales calls upon a world of ingredients including fresh-caught Caribbean...MORE lobster; Argentinean-Italian parmesan cheese; crunchy Mexican chapulines, and huitlacoche, often called "Mexican truffles." The house bubbly is Champagne Veuve Clicquot from France.

    He's a Gaucho from Argentina's Wine Country

    Chef Morales grew up in Mendoza, the heart of Argentina's Malbec-centric wine region. He knows his wines and is his restaurant's sommelier as well as its ​top chef.

    In spite of its impressive pedigree and consistent quality, Cocina de Autor is not unduly expensive. Many Cancun observers regard it as the best restaurant in town. You be the judge.

    Dishes to Try at Cocina de Autor

    • Tuna stuffed with requeson cheese, cilantro pesto, and arbol chile
    • Mussels with Hidalgo chiles
    • Lobster carpaccio
    • Lechon roast piglet with Argentinean chimichurri sauce
    • Barbacoa goat cannelloni
    • Osso buco with three chilies
    • Dessert trilogy

    Check Out Cocina de Autor and Reserve a Table

    • Cocina de Autor's English-language website
    • Cocina de Autor
    Avenida Xpuhil, Cancun
    (52)998-251-9145

  • 03 of 08
    ••• Labna the restaurant is named for Labna the Mayan temple. ©Frankmx/Wikimedia Commons

    What Did the People Who Built Chichen Itza Eat?
    Find Out Here (and Be Impressed)

    Labna is named for mesmerizing Mayan ruins two hours away, a satellite temple complex to the towering Chichen Itza. Labna is set in downtown Cancun, a 10-to-15-minute cab ride from the Zona Hotelera.

    Labna's atmosphere is nostalgic, with romantic low lighting, hand-carved Colonial-era Mexican furniture, and courtly, old-fashioned servers. Prices are as gentle as the waitstaff.

    Many Mexicans Feel Mayan Cuisine Is Their Country's Best 

    Labna is the very best of the few Cancun restaurants dedicated to the wondrous cuisine of the local region of the Yucatan. Comida Yucateca is arguably Mexico's most flavorful native cooking style.

    Yucatan cuisine is influenced by Mayan and Caribbean culture. It is fragrant with local spices, tart with local citrus fruits, red with annatto seeds (also called achiote), and spicy with fiery habañero chiles. Slow-cooked turkey and pork dishes are especially savory.

    Marvelous...MORE Mayan Dishes to Try at Labna

    • Poc chuc, pork baked with tart local oranges
    Sopa de lima, tortilla soup with lime and turkey
    Cochinita pibil, pork wrapped in banana leaves and baked with achiote and garlic, the signature dish of comida Yucateca

    Find Out More About Labna and Reserve a Table

    • Labna's English-language menu
    Labna
      Margaritas 29 SM 22
      Manzana 20, Cancun

    Labna entry contributed by Guest Author Max Jacobson

  • 04 of 08
    ••• Le Chique Chef Jonatán Gómez Luna. ©Karen Tina Harrison

    Where Your Meal Is Like a Magic Show

    Le Chique is set several miles south of Cancun in Azul Sensatori by Karisma hotel. But every Cancun cabbie knows just which dark beach road to take here. Your adventure has just begun.

    Le Chique, c'est unique. This establishment is half restaurant, half magic show. Its seductive dining room beckons with curtains and mirrors, like a circus. And the waiters here behave like impresarios, with smiling eyes and a dramatic flair.

    The Experience, in a Word: Entertainment

    Le Chique's meal is food as entertainment; the term molecular gastronomy doesn't begin to describe the sheer showmanship of this restaurant. Chef Jonatán Gómez Luna is a wizard who transforms food into sensory impressions and events: intensely flavored smoke, gelée, crystals, foam.

    And what you think you're eating is not what it turns out to be. That beaker of foam you're instructed to sip from? Wow, it's a martini. The sushi roll in front of you? It's a salad, or...MORE perhaps a dessert. Le Chique delivers one surprise after another.

    Meet One of Mexico's Superstar Young Chefs

    Chef Luna, born in 1982 in Mexico City, is a leading light of his country's culinary explosion. "Dining is not a necessity," says this fearless innovator. "It is an experience." Le Chique's experience requires 27 chefs in the kitchen, including 16 culinary students from around the world.

    The meal is a cavalcade of 15 courses, some just a few swallows. Le Chique's most talked-about dish is called Scotch Brite, after the green-and-yellow scrubbing sponge. That is what it looks like, 100%. But it's dessert. No wonder Le Chique is decorated like a Hall of Mirrors.

    • Le Chique web page
    • About.com review of Azul Sensatori by Karisma
    • Le Chique Chef Jonatán Gómez Luna's bio
    • Azul Sensatori by Karisma hotel website
    • Le Chique observes a dress code: no T-shirts or tank tops, flip-flops, sports shorts, or baseball caps
    • Insider tip: bring a sweater; Le Chique is dramatically chilly
    • Le Chique
      Azul Sensatori by Karisma hotel
      Bahía Petempich, Puerto Morelos
    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08
    Lumiere French restaurant in Cancun at Le Blanc resort
    ••• At Le Blanc's Lumiere restaurant, the menu is French and the mood is magical. ©Palace Resorts

    Lumiere, a Dining Beacon on the Beach

    French culinary technique is a major component of modern Cancun cuisine. And Lumière restaurant is français all the way. Lumière is as seductive as you dare hope a contemporary French restaurant to be, with super-sexy lighting and shimmery textiles. Service is just as engaging.

    Lumiere's Home: a Really, Really Nice Cancun Hotel

    Lumière is set within Le Blanc Spa Resort, a supremely stylish hotel in the heart of Cancun's Zona Hotelera. The restaurant is open only to guests of this deluxe all-inclusive hotel. Lumière constitutes one more reason to stay at this resort, which is one of Cancun's very best hotels.

    Dress for an Occasion!

    Reservations are essential. And let it be known that Le Blanc guests don their best designer garb for this elegant restaurant, open only for dinner.

    Lumière means light in French, and the gifted kitchen team has a gentle but sure touch. The restaurant offers one style of dining: a leisurely, seven-course chef's...MORE tasting menu. This series of artfully presented small plates delivers the refined French recipes that luxury diners crave, with confident Cancun spin and Yucatecan panache.

    Lumière Menu Highlights

    • Fresh-baked baguettes and brioches with French butter
    • Gallic indulgences like truffles and foie gras, made new with Yucatecan accompaniments and seasonings
    • Fresh-caught Caribbean seafood, never overcooked
    • Decadent French desserts ennobled with Mexican xocolātl (chocolate, an Aztec invention)
    • Wines from France, California, South America, and Mexico's fast-improving wines from Baja California (give them a try!)

    Read More about Lumière

  • 06 of 08
    Ramona-Restaurant-Nizuc-Resort-Cancun-Mexico.jpg
    ••• Ramona ©Nizuc Resort

    The Top Restaurant in Cancun's Fabulous Design Hotel

    Ramona is one of several standout restaurants at Nizuc. This exquisite, architect-driven resort opened in 2013 on a semi-private island just off the southern end of Cancun.

    But Ramona has the feel of an independent restaurant; behind the giant shutters that serve as windows is a view of sky and sea.

    Named for Nizuc's owner's daughter, Ramona has a romantic, antique Mexican feeling, updated with natural, local materials like wood, slate, stone, and greenery. Patrons can choose to dine on Ramona's lovely covered patio overlooking the beach, promising extraordinary natural light as the sun sets and the music of crashing waves.

    What You'll Feast on at Ramona

    Ramona chef Bladimir Garcia is committed to Mexican heritage ingredients and dishes, and to honoring the seasons and local produce

    • His ceviches are creative and daring. The "trilogy plate" presents three ceviches: with lobster and cilantro; shrimp with coconut...MORE and mint; and unexpectedly crispy octopus. All are fresh-as-can-be and visually stunning

    • The local Yucatecan classic, cochinita pibil, a slow-cooked pork dish, is reinterpreted as a Mexican-style stuffed dumpling
    • Fresh, local seafood showcases Caribbean lobster (served with a rich, creamy plantain puree) and hogfish, with a delicate texture and sweet undertones (don’t let the name fool you)
    • There are always healthy and/or vegetarian menu options
    • Ramona's bread basket is a treat; do not miss the huitlacoche sweet roll

    Here's Where to Taste Mexico's Suddenly Hood Wines

    Ramona's wine list spotlights excellent Mexican wines from Baja California.
    • Standout wines from Casa Grande, the oldest winery in Mexico, over 400 years old
    • And the Viognier and Barbera from Santo Tomas winery, owned by Nizuc's owner

    Reserve Your Table at Ramona

    Ramona is open for dinner only; reservations are required. 
    • Ramona website

    • Ramona
      Nizuc Resort
      Blvd. Kukulcan Km 21 + 260
      Punta Nizuc, Cancun
    • Luxury Travel's thorough look at gorgeous Nizuc

    Ramona entry contributed by Guest Author Starre Vartan

  • 07 of 08
    ••• The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun's kitchen maestro, Chef Rory Dunaway. ©Karen Tina Harrison

    What's for Dinner Tonight, Hon?

    And now for something different: dinner that you help cook. One way to get off the restaurant grid, in a good way, is to take kitchen classes at the Viking Culinary Center at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun.

    Here, charismatic, Alabama-bred chef Rory Dunaway entertains eight lucky vacationers at a time with personal stories, cooking pointers, and simple yet perfect dishes. Chef Rory can work magic with a chicken and a bowl of peppers. Your own kitchen life could change.

    And You Won't Have Any Dishes to Do

    The wine (and tequila) flow, and so does convivial conversation once dinner's ready to be served and savored. It's a great Cancun evening.

    No doubt, you will enjoy your culinary evening at this classy yet lively hotel, whose walls are adorned with historic paintings of pre-industrial Mexico.

    The Ritz-Carlton Cancun's Restaurants Rock, Too

    Should you decide to return for a restaurant meal at The Ritz-Carlton the property's Mediterranean spot, Fan...MOREtino, and its steakhouse, The Club Grill, are two of Cancun's highest-rated eateries. 
    • More in-house options: Sushi & Ceviche Bar and Caribe Bar & Grill.) In 2013, a property Dine-Around offers a meal course in each of the hotel's splendid eateries
    • The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun Culinary Center
    • The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun's dining options
    • Luxury Travel's refresher course on The Ritz-Carlton hotel brand
    • Luxury Travel's scoop on The Ritz-Carlton's peak hotel service
    • The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun
      
    Retorno del Rey #36
      Zona Hotelera, Cancun

  • 08 of 08
    ••• Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun. ©Karen Tina Harrison

    About Visiting Cancun, America's Top Foreign Destination

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    • Luxury Travel's reasons to visit Cancun
    • See below for Luxury Travel's top Cancun hotel picks!