Presented in partnership with Marriott International
The crystal blue Caribbean waters and soft sand beaches are Cancun’s main draw, however, as we all know, no beach getaway is complete without some truly remarkable food. From intimate local eateries to world-class resorts, you are never far from a delicious meal in Cancun. In Mexico, they say “¡Buen Provecho!” meaning ‘happy eating’ before every meal, and that’s exactly what you’ll be doing, but until then, we’re dreaming of biting into our next Cancun getaway.
What is Yucatecan Food
While you can undoubtedly enjoy your fill of fresh tacos, burritos, and guacamole – the Yucatan Peninsula has a unique cuisine all on its own. In fact, many of the local specialties are difficult to find in other parts of Mexico outside the peninsula. Like most cuisines around the world, modern Yucatecan food is a blend of many flavors. Primarily, a delicate combination of Mayan, Dutch, Lebanese, and, of course, Spanish influence can be felt with each bite. Habanero peppers, Seville oranges, achiote, and smoke are a few of the most distinctly impactful flavors.
For those curious to learn more about the culinary history of the region, immerse yourself in Magic Yucatan Flavors. Walkthrough the ways Cancun’s cuisine has evolved with a local chef in this hands-on culinary experience by The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun before learning how to create a few local favorites on your own enjoyed with a perfectly paired glass of wine.
Must Try Yucatecan Food
Sopa de Lima
Sopa de Lima is a popular Yucatecan soup made using a base of chicken broth and lime. The citrus allows the hot soup to remain uniquely refreshing even on a hot Caribbean day. The simple soup is filled with shredded chicken then topped with crispy tortilla chips and handfuls of fresh cilantro. Like many other popular Yucatecan Foods, Sopa de Lima is the updated version of a traditional Mayan dish. The bowl at El Cafe Mexicano features a broth with flavors perfectly balanced between spicy peppers and acidic limes and freshly fried tortillas served on the side.
While in Cancun, indulge in this dish created using a perfectly golden brown fried tortilla stuffed with a thin layer of black beans. After being fried it’s topped with shredded turkey or pork and bright pink pickled onions for an explosion of flavor in every bite. Switch up the taste between dips in the various salsas served on the side. Embark on a Cancun Street Food and Market Tour to sample authentic Panuchos and other local favorites.
Take a bite out of this signature Yucatecan dish made by marinating thin-sliced pork in a delectable Seville orange and achiote sauce. The pork is grilled over open coals adding a slightly smoky flavor that gives it an extra punch. Eat it alongside rice or wrapped in a warm tortilla, always with pickled onions.
Ceviche is a popular seafood dish served throughout Latin America, but unlike many other parts of the world, the ceviche in the Yucatan is almost always made using cooked seafood. You can find prawns and white fish options but the most popular variety (and one we can’t get enough of) is the delicious Pulpo Frito Ceviche (fried octopus). When we did decide to switch up our ceviche, the fresh and light shrimp ceviche at the Caribe Bar & Grill was the perfect poolside snack.
Must-Try Restaurants in Cancun
Coffee lovers rejoice! A great cup of caffeinated bliss is never too far away. La Isla is serving up some of the area’s finest café. There’s no better way to start your morning than with an iced latte and a fresh pastry before heading to the beach.
Sirena Morena serves some of the best vegan and vegetarian food in all of Cancun. The lush garden patio’s cozy ambiance is the perfect backdrop to enjoy a menu full of impeccably fresh food. A foodie’s paradise, order their photo-worthy smoothie bowls or vegan pozole, it’s some of the best we’ve ever had.
Lu’um Cocina Creativa
If you’re looking to kick the romance up a few notches, look no further than Chef Felipe Morales’ restaurant Lu’um Cocina Creativa. Immerse yourself in the warm yet sophisticated atmosphere that feels like you’ve been invited directly into the home of this brilliant chef. Delight in dishes that incorporate many traditional Mexican flavors in new and innovative ways and an extensive wine list featuring many Mexican wines.
Enjoy beautiful views of Nichupte Lagoon from under the thatched roof of Sasi Thai. The extensive menu features bright and flavorful dishes with an Asian Fusion flair and a number of specialty cocktails. Be sure to order the satay chicken skewers served with a side of peanut sauce as good as you would find in Thailand. While classic Thai favorites are in the menu like their flavorful Pad Thai, explore the more unusual dishes like a red curry beef or Gaeng Phed Nua.
Parque Las Palapas
Take a trip to Parque Las Palapas and eat like a local. Explore one of the many vendors that line the streets selling authentic foods and crafts and be sure to try a marquesita, a crunchy crepe-like dessert that originated in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Sea & Stones Restaurant
Sea & Stones Restaurant combines ocean views and elevated surf and turf serving up a variety of cuts alongside a beautiful selection of fresh seafood options. Get lost in the smokey flavors you’ll find with each bite from the grill cooked on an authentic “Argentinian Parilla” over a mix of wood and charcoal. Located right on the beach, you’ll be tempted to take a seaside stroll under the stars after the meal just to savor the moment a little longer.
Less than a mile from the Marriott Cancun Resort you’ll find Lorenzillo’s, a Cancun institution specializing in fresh Caribbean lobster. For over 30 years they’ve been serving these crustaceans grilled, broiled, steamed, and everything in between. Situated right on the lagoon, enjoy an epic feast over sunset views and tropic air.
When you think of Mexico, you think of tequila. And while tequila remains the most popular liquor, mezcal is definitely having its moment. Made from the agave plant, mezcal and tequila are two of the country’s most popular spirits. The key difference between the two has to do with the way the agave plant is heated. When making tequila, agave is typically steamed in an industrial oven while it is roasted in order to make mezcal giving it its classic smokey taste. Taste them straight, sip innovative mixed drinks and enjoy the Cancun mixology at your own pace.
La Sabina Mezcaleria
Both experienced and novice mezcal drinkers will be pleased by the craft mezcal selection at La Sabina Mezcaleria. Their fantastic mixologists feature the mezcal in a way that suits a variety of palates. They also have pulques on the menu, a fermented agave, and fruit drink most popular in central Mexico.
La Destileria is a bar and restaurant dishing a modern take on Mexican classics. With over 100 varieties of tequila, it’s the perfect place to pair a margarita with a variety of street tacos. Ask any local and they’ll tell you the Tamarind Margarita is a must-try.
*La Destileria looks forward to welcoming guests again soon
Curated by a team of talented mixologists and tequila connoisseurs, 150 Margaritas is every tequila lover’s dream. The extensive menu is broken down into four categories: Classics, Modern, Fusion, and Exotic, with each of the 150 cocktails featuring a different type of tequila. While you can stick to the classics, expert mixologists can also incorporate a broad range of flavors such as Serrano chili and black mole. With over 150 margaritas to choose from (and a menu that stands over four feet tall), the real challenge lies in wanting to taste them all!