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Modern Mexican Food: Cancun's Cutting Edge Restaurants

by CatherineGordon April 2014 - last edited May by Moderator

Why settle for tacos or burritos when you can try more adventurous fare? With its gourmet restaurants and top chefs, Cancun is the perfect place to sample modern Mexican food. Here are a few of the best eateries serving up delicious cutting-edge culinary creations.

Cancun Mexican Food | Julia Mia

El sope with octopus served at Julia Mia © Julia Mia


Julia Mia in Downtown Cancun is the perfect starting point to try modern Mexican cuisine. This elegant restaurant, owned by sisters Lupita and Irma Chavez, offers old-time favourites reinvented with a twist for the contemporary palate. Dishes such as ceviche with tequila negro or tuna with flor de Jamaica are all exquisitely presented. Mezcal cocktails guarantee merriment while mariachis provide the soundtrack.

Cancun Mexican Food | Ramona

Inside the Ramona restaurant © Nizuc Resort & Spa

Set in the perfect location overlooking the beach in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, the Romana at Nizuc Resort cooks up contemporary versions of old-time Mexican favourites. For a new rendition of a Mayan classic, try the hog fish tikin xic with habanero pepper or rediscover tomal, stuffed with foie gras and served with roasted corn foam and fruit chutney. In charge of the kitchen is chef Bladimir Garcia, one of an exciting new generation of young Mexican chefs.

Cancun Mexican Food | La Joya at the FiestaAmericana Grand Coral Beach Resort & Spa

Drinks and snacks at La Joya © La Joya

Also in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, you’ll find La Joya at the Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Resort. This hacienda-style eatery has a festive vibe, with a mariachi stage show and old black and white Mexican movies projected on the walls. Chef Francisco Flores Obieta has expertly blended Mexican cuisine with his own culinary ideas to create an innovative menu. The chef, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu Paris, serves imaginative dishes including Caribbean lobster pozole or a cactus leaf salad with roasted grasshoppers.

Cancun Mexican Food | LolaValentinas

Lola Valentina in Isla Mujeres © Lola Valentina 

If you make a trip to Isla Mujeres, where the restaurants have a laid-back feel, you’ll find Lola Valentina on Avenida Hidalgo. This airy eatery throws Mexican cuisine into the mix with Caribbean ingredients. Breakfast boasts Veracruz eggs Benedict with fried plantain and black beans, and the fresh juice margaritas served later in the day, including watermelon-jalapeno and strawberry-chipotle, are a big hit with diners. Look out for the fish tacos with mango sauce or the chicken mole enchiladas on the evening menu.

Cancun Mexican Food | Mestizaje Sin Fronteras

Chocolate and mole dessert with ice cream at Mestizaje Sin Fronteras restaurant in Playa Del Carmen © Mestizaje Sin Fronteras

Head down to Playa Del Carmen and you’ll be spoilt for choice. This chic city is full of restaurants and chefs cooking up a storm of Mexican delicacies. One of the top eateries on 5th Avenue is Mestizaje Sin Fronteras, which is notable for its range of Mexican artisan beers and 100 per cent Mexican wine list. Mestizaje is popular with knowledgeable foodies for its use of fresh local ingredients and friendly service. Dishes such as turkey with hibiscus mole sauce or rib eye steak with sweet potato chips and pea purée are presented in a minimalistic style but packed with flavour.


Virgin Atlantic operates direct flights to Cancun from London Gatwick. Book your flight today.

Have you sampled Cancun’s modern Mexican food? Let us know in the comments section below.

Written by Catherine Gordon


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About the author: CatherineGordon

Catherine Gordon

British freelance journalist Catherine Gordon is based in Cancun, Mexico. She writes about Cancun, the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan for newspapers, magazines and online media. She specialises in travel, culture, health, luxury, water sports and off-the-beaten-track city guides. Her website can be viewed at www.catherinegordon.net