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Mexican cuisine is recognised as one of the three most popular food styles in the world and Cancun is as good a place as any to sample authentic Mexican meals. The city's status as a celebrated holiday destination also ensures that there is a huge variety of international cuisines on offer, and although eating out in Cancun can be expensive it is also extremely rewarding.
The Yucatan Peninsula has its own unique flavours and specialities and Yucatan cuisine is often less spicy than that from other regions in Mexico, making it a good option for foreigners with sensitive palettes. On the other hand, those who relish the burn should look out for dishes spiced with hot habanera chilies!
Seafood restaurants dominate in Cancun, which should be no surprise considering the quality and quantity of fresh seafood in the region. Popular seafood dishes in Cancun include a variety of lobster specialities and ceviche (a kind of raw seafood salad).
For fine dining there are many upmarket restaurants. Some of the most highly acclaimed can be found in the Ritz Carlton Cancun Hotel and in the Fiesta Americana Gran Coral Beach Hotel.
In downtown Cancun there are some hidden gems and the far cheaper fare found where the locals eat is often the best authentically Mexican food you can find in the city. Tulum Avenue and Yaxchilan Avenue have some of the best restaurants.
French / Plaza Nichupte Local 15, Downtown, Cancun
For a stylish gastronomical experience in Cancun, Les Cepages is the favourite. The restaurant serves international cuisine, with a French influence, and meals are creatively and beautifully presented. Specialties include lamb chops with mint sauce, duck with honey caramelized apples and roasted quail. There is a good wine selection and the service is superb. This world-class restaurant is slightly off the beaten tourist track in Cancun but well worth seeking out. Les Cepages is open 6pm to 11pm on Monday, 3pm to 11pm from Tuesday to Saturday, and is closed on Sundays.
Mexican / Blvd. Kukulcan Km 11.5, Cancun
This small, simple restaurant serves fantastic, authentic Mexican food in a friendly and laid-back setting. Tacun is great value for money, a rare thing in Cancun, and serves yummy food in liberal helpings. Locals and tourists alike consistently rate the spot highly. The restaurant doesn't accept credit cards so be sure to take cash. Tacun is open daily for lunch and dinner.
La Dolce Vita
Italian / Avenue Coba N. 87, Downtown, Cancun
Consistently rated as one of the top restaurants in Cancun for many years, La Dolce Vita serves fresh seafood, pizza and home-made pasta in the Italian tradition, and has a good selection of international wines. One of their signature dishes is Boquinete Dolce Vita, which is local snapper topped with shrimp and mushrooms, enclosed in puff pastry, and served with lobster sauce. La Dolce Vita is elegant but friendly. The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday from 1pm to 11pm, and is closed on Sundays.