Cancun is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. This thin, tropical stretch of land, which was once home to just a few coconut farmers, is nestled between the turquoise Caribbean Sea and sparkling Nichupte Lagoon, so it’s no surprise that Cancun is also one of the best places on the planet to eat seafood.
Fresh seafood is available everywhere you look in Cancun, from swanky fine dining eateries to casual beach restaurants where you can dine with your toes in the sand. When visiting Cancun, try one (or more) of these excellent places to enjoy the freshest seafood prepared with traditional regional recipes.
It’s important to note that most restaurants on the following list are only open for lunch, so visit early, and with your appetite in tow!
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This local favorite is definitely off the beaten tourist path but it’s well worth the extra effort it takes to get there. Located just past the ferry to Isla Mujeres in Puerto Juarez and perched right on the Caribbean Sea over a convenience store, Fish Market Marbella Rawbar & Grill serves lobster, shrimp, fish, crab, scallops, oysters, octopus and more. There is no menu at Marbella — just order from the chalkboard on the wall. Prices are calculated by weight. Some would say this is where you’ll find the best seafood in Cancun.
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Lorenzillos is located in Cancun’s Hotel Zone at kilometer 10.5, and is one of Cancun’s oldest fine dining restaurants. The specialty here is lobster. Customers can choose their own from the live lobster tank and have it prepared however they choose. The setting is gorgeous, with a palapa roof and a nautical feel, and it’s the perfect setting to celebrate a special occasion. The restaurant sits over the water and offers a front row view of Cancun’s spectacular sunsets and downtown skyline. Sit on the terrace and help feed the resident crocodiles. Lorenzillo’s is a little pricey, but it’s worth every penny.
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El Galeon del Caribe (also known as Las Pescadillas) is also located on Boulevard Kukulcan in the Hotel Zone, but pay close attention, or you may miss it. This rustic restaurant is located at kilometer 19.4 right across the street from GR Solaris. The parking lot is little more than a dirt patch with a stairway that leads down to a palapa with dirt floors and wooden tables. Pescadillas, or deep fried fish tacos, are what they do best here, and at the equivalent of around only 1 USD each you can afford to eat a lot of them. Trust us — you will want to. Another highlight is their fresh ceviche. Wash it all down with an ice cold Mexican beer.
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El Cejas is one of Cancun’s oldest and most beloved seafood restaurants. Located downtown in Mercado 28 (Market 28) this is a perfect place to have lunch after shopping for handicrafts. The restaurant offers a huge selection of seafood dishes — try a shrimp cocktail (very different from the style you’ll find in the U.S.), sea bass in perejil (parsley) sauce, or camaron a la diabla (devil’s shrimp). The open air restaurant is festively decorated and there is often a Marimba band entertaining the customers. If someone approaches your table selling their wares, just smile and say “No gracias.”Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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You have to take a boat to get to Playa Lancheros, which is located on Isla Mujeres, a small island that sits off the coast of Cancun. When you arrive, head out to the main drag and rent a golf cart or grab a taxi to Playa Lancheros, which serves the best Tikin Xic fish in the area. Tikin Xic is a recipe from the neighboring state of Yucatan and consists of a whole fish marinated with adobo de achiote (paste made from seeds and other ingredients) and sour oranges, then wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. Be patient, it takes 40 minutes to make. Playa Lancheros serves other types of seafood as well, in a rustic, beachfront atmosphere.