This collection of great restaurants in Cancun shows that the Mexican city is awash with cool places to enjoy authentic local dishes as well as exquisite international fare. As the tourism epicentre of the ever-popular Yucatán Peninsula, this fun-loving city knows how to cater to a variety of palates.

    But the culinary competition is fierce throughout Cancun, both in low-key Centro and the glitzy Zona Hotelera. And with such an array of options to choose from, it can be tricky to pinpoint the perfect place to eat. To help you decide, we’ve rounded down the top restaurants in Cancun, to show you where to eat in the city and what to try.



    A gourmet take on traditional Mexican recipes

    Porfirio’s is your one-stop shop for upscale Mexican cuisine with glittering waterfront views. Straddling Nichupte Lagoon, this fine-dining restaurant packs out each evening as holidaymakers relish in gourmet tacos in front of the setting sun. Traditional dancers, mobile tequila carts, and whimsical mariachi bands make for a memorable evening.

    But above all else, Porfirio’s has earned a stellar reputation for the food. Its culinary team whips together a blend of traditional Mexican recipes with modern haute cuisine in an intriguing mix. If you’ve still got space for dessert, simply flag down the wandering churro cart.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan 1, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 1 pm to 1 am

    Phone: +52 998 840 6040


    El Fish Fritanga

    Tasty fresh seafood in an unassuming locale

    El Fish Fritanga is all about tasty seafood cooked and served fresh on the beach. This buzzing casual eatery fries the catch of the day by Nichupte Lagoon, with delicacies like fish, squid, and octopus adorning the menu, each cooked and crumbed to perfection. Don’t miss their signature ceviche – it’s obtained legendary status in Cancun.

    Locals and tourists frequent this cost-effective seafood haunt, making it an excellent choice to sample authentic Mexican cuisine. For something other than seafood, there’s also a solid selection of meat dishes, plus a late-night taco stand with all the usual trimmings.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan, La Isla, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 11 pm

    Phone: +52 998 840 6216



    Delicious Japanese cuisine with a twist

    Irori is a Japanese restaurant in Cancun that is small and intimate. Even so, it plates up the best Japanese fare in town, hands down. The unpretentious Centro eatery is a hit for its ramen and tempura, which it’s been serving with gusto since 2006. The highlight, however, is its succulent selection of tepanyaki meats. Watch in awe as a skilled chef fries each piece at your table on a sizzling iron skillet.

    If you’re feeling bold, give one of the Mexican sushi fusion dishes a go – you’ll be surprised how well the combo works. Another interesting offering is their unique take on the Caribbean Roll. If you’re craving Japanese cuisine but would rather stick to Zona Hotelera, give Tora a shot instead.

    Location: Entrada por, Avenida Tulúm Oriente 226, Plaza del Mar, Viento, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 1 pm to 9 pm

    Phone: +52 998 892 3072


    Ilios Greek Estiatorio

    Fantastic Greek cuisine with a show

    Ilios Greek Estiatorio brings Mediterranean flavours to the Caribbean while putting on a wild show. The buzzing Nichupte Lagoon restaurant has a live DJ, costumed dancers, and passionate plate smashers accompany almost every meal. This isn’t the place for a quiet evening nibble.

    The cuisine, of course, is Greek, with grilled meats, fresh fish, and courgette balls aplenty (don’t forget to slather on tzatziki). There’s a solid selection of ouzo-infused cocktails and sensational baklava to devour for dessert. It's all a tad pricey, but well worth the splurge.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan Km 13.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 1 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +52 998 251 6596


    Harry’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar

    A classic American steakhouse serving prime imported beef

    Head to Harry’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar if you’re craving succulent red meat in Cancun. This widely popular Nichupte Lagoon steakhouse specialises in USDA prime beef, a prestigious classification covering only the finest cuts. Each juicy Kobe or Angus steak comes cooked to perfection (just how you ordered it) with a side of salad and the sauce of your choice.

    The service here is outstanding, and there’s a great selection of non-steak dishes such as sandwiches and Mexican treats. Although the place is relatively pricey, enormous portions make it all worthwhile. If you arrive before sunset, sit outside on the waterfront deck to enjoy the lagoon view.

    Location: Km. 14.2, Kukulkan 1, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 1 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +52 998 840 6554



    The best place for lobster in all of Cancun

    Lorenzillo’s is a seafood restaurant in Cancun that lobster lovers head to. This long-standing Cancun institution has been serving the sought-after crustacean for over 30 years, and it’s refined the art to a tee. Whether you get it grilled, steamed, or boiled, you’ll be hard-pressed to find tastier lobster anywhere in Cancun.

    The key to Lorenzillo’s success lies in its private offshore lobster farm, where a team of dedicated biologists oversees developmental growth. Diners can handpick their crustacean fresh from the in-house tank, and the nautical-themed restaurant boasts brilliant Nichupte Lagoon views.

    Location: Kukulkan Km 10.5, Punta Cancun, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: From 1 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +52 998 883 1254


    photo by julie corsi (CC BY 2.0) modified



    The flavours of India and Thailand come to Cancun

    At Elefanta, Cancun’s top Asian restaurant, exotic aromas waft through the air. Like most Zona Hotelera digs, Elefanta lies on the shores of Nichupte Lagoon to enhance the ambience and guarantee epic sunset views.

    But it’s the authentic Indian cuisine that reels in the crowds, from spicy vindaloos to crispy naans and juicy kofta. You’ll also find an eclectic array of tempting Thai dishes – think tom yum goong soup or som tam salad. Our pick of the bunch, though, has to be the tandoori chicken or paneer, served piping hot from the charcoal-fired oven.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan, La Isla, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 5 pm to 11 pm

    Phone: +52 998 176 8070



    An awesome Argentine steakhouse where red meat is king

    Cambalache is your best bet for delectable Argentine meat in Cancun. This upscale South American steakhouse serves only the finest cuts of imported beef (try the bife de chorizo). All come in enormous portions big enough to share.

    The venue doesn’t get busy until late, as is the Argentine style. In the meantime, stroll around the canals of Plaza La Isla to work up an appetite – you’ll need it to finish these big, meaty servings. If you’d rather dine by the lagoon, try its sister restaurant instead – Puerto Madero Cancun. Either way, remember to wash down your meal with a glass (or better yet, a bottle) of imported Argentine Malbec.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan, La Isla, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 1 pm to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +52 998 883 0902



    Handmade pasta and other Italian goodies

    Cenacolo serves Cancun’s best Italian food along with stunning Nichupte Lagoon views. While the osso buco and risotto are superb, the place is especially famous for its handmade pasta – try the spaghetti alla chitarra or pesto gnocchi. Try not to overindulge on cheese-laden fresh bread entrees because you’ll need plenty of room for the main course.

    For a light meal, Cenacolo makes a solid selection of yummy salads and authentic lentil and minestrone soups. Its amicable waiters can suggest the perfect glass of fine Italian wine to accompany every meal – living la vida dulce.

    Location: Torre La Europea, KM 12.6, Blvd. Kukulcan, La Isla, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Daily from 2 pm to 10 pm

    Phone: +52 998 885 3603


    Captain’s Cove

    A popular place for beef and seafood by the lagoon

    At Captain’s Cove, an outstanding fine-dining restaurant located on Nichupte Lagoon, steak and seafood are par for the course. To savour the best of both worlds, combine them with the mouthwatering surf and turf dinner.

    As part of the Royal Resorts group, most patrons dine here on all-inclusive package deals. Nonetheless, it’s still an excellent place to go for a succulent steak or seafood feast on your own dime. Book ahead and roll up early to watch the sunset from the charming thatched-roof balcony.

    Location: Blvd. Kukulcan KM16.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico

    Open: Monday–Saturday from 5 pm to 10.30 pm, Sunday from 8 am to 10.30 pm

    Phone: +52 998 885 0016

    Harry Stewart | Contributing Writer

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