A guide for my friend
A close friend is going to Cancun soon. She is a super foodie. This is mainly written for her but you might get something out of it too.
Her hotel may be all inclusive, but just in case she is motivated to wonder out for a meal.
In order to get anywhere, you will probably use a taxi. I'm going to offer you three restaurants. They are all about the same distance form your Excellence Playa Mujeres, assuming it is on the mainland where I think it is and not on Isle Mujeres. You should negotiate a price with the driver before you leave the hotel. Google says the cab rides should take about 20 minutes. I would assume such would cost $200 peso or less. Do the same negotiation ahead when you flag a cab to return. The restaurant will get you a cab if you ask.
Lets take the strangest high end one first. It is called DU MEXIQUE By Sonya Grimond. Opens at 7pm Sonya will come to your table. This is high end french, with a Mexican twist. I believe that the chief will come out and present the menu to you and talk about each dish. Because the dollar is so strong, you should be able to get out for 100$ US or 150$ with wine. I had a Pinot Grigio glass of Grigio Terre that was one of the best Pinots I have ever had. Disclaimer: If I said that about a beer, you should pay attention. About a wine, not so much. I don't have the money to spend on real wine so my taste tends to Oaked Chardonnay.
You get an idea of the smallness of the restaurant. That is all the tables there are! The first plate shows the peta they brought me gratis. The second is the appetizer I ordered. It is a cheese souffle. I loved the texture but was disappointed to not taste more of the particular cheese flavor, though I have forgotten what cheese it was. Lastly the main course, chicken with mushrooms. I was a little afraid of the vegetables on potatoes that came with it but they were excellent. I thought the food was excellent but the atmosphere was even better.
My next choice offers the same great personal touch. Peter's Restaurante Peter is the chef and is right there talking. Now, in order to avoid making a reservation, my trick is to show up right when they open. I did this with DU MEXIQUE also. The other trick here at Peter's, if you have any trouble, they allowed me to sit at the bar. It is not as romantic BUT Peter is right there asking about everything. You really get to see what is going on.
Sorry I only have the one picture. The restaurant is not large but certainly 3 times the number of tables of DU MEXIQUE. I had a hard time choosing an entree and settled on the special. Clearly it had mushrooms but I admit to having forgotten what else. It was very good. I was disappointed to learn that the special cost almost twice as much as the normal entrees. Another general Cancun lesson was: forget my normal Gin Martini and just order a Margarita or a shot to Tequila. I'm sure some of the high end hotel bars can make a decent Martini but I never got one.
Lastly, but not last in any way, is La Habichuela. Old world Mexican. Service over the top. Wonderful selection. Again, the manager is right there to greet you and see to your every need.
I had the black bean soup and another Mexican standard, chicken with Mole sauce. This restaurant prides it self on traditional food but also has a wide selection. The atmosphere was wonderful. Service was very attentive and I felt I could sit as long as I wanted.
I ate at this downtown location and at their "hotel" satellite, called La Habichuela Sunset out in the Hotel Zone. La Habichuela is right in the middle of the downtown action. It is a little hard to find on foot but your taxi driver should be going there regularly. A wonderful added attraction to this one is that it is right on Pargue Las Palapas. Now, if you were not adventurous, I might not be saying this. But you know about big lots and by the pound. You enjoy seeing how the other half lives. In Spain, every night everyone in the town shows up at the central plaza. That is what this is. Kids, street food, teenagers, tourists. Everyone is here. Great scene to see!
And, it is totally safe. Cancun is super safe. I walked everywhere late at night and saw nothing!! One passed out fat 40 year old lady at my 7/11 (they call it oXXo) at 9pm. That was it! If you get out of your hotel, you will see the heavy police presence. They all ride with there flashers on, all the time. Stand on any street corner and in a few minutes you will see a police military pick up truck go by with 4 men in the back with body armor and machine guns. When I showed up for my daily 6am bike ride at the park, there was a motorcycle military person with body armor and a machine gun. He probably had been there all night. Anyway, I would enjoy Pargue Las Palapas and not worry at all. Of course one has to use common sense. Don't hold 100$ bills aloft!
Enjoy! I loved the food everywhere. I'll post another couple pages on my less expensive outings.