Modern Mexican Food: Cancun’s Cutting Edge Restaurants

By: Catherine Gordon

April 16, 2014

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.


Julia Mia in Downtown Cancun is the perfect starting point to try modern Mexican cuisine. This elegant restauran offers old-time favourites reinvented with a twist for the contemporary palate. Dishes such as salmon wrapped in banana leaf 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 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 grouper fillet marinated in annatto and 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 are a big hit with diners. Look out for the fish tacos with mango sauce or the chicken mole enchiladas on the evening menu.

Inside the Alux restaurant © Curtis & Renee / Flickr

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. Alux, on Av. Juárez, serves up the likes of lobster with local liqueur xtabentun, and duck with pineapple-infused sweet potato mash, from within a real-life, candlelit cavern.


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



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

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