Cozumel Restaurants

While you might not eat the best meal of your life in Cozumel, the island offers a surprising number of very good restaurants. Many do a respectable job with Caesar Salad, grills and anything flaming.

One of our great pleasures when visiting Cozumel is eating like a local.  This sometimes means that we might need to venture a few blocks out of the tourist district but you can still find inexpensive “real Mexican” restaurants with safe kitchens where you can enjoy a $3-$5 meal. We have personally visited every one of the following restaurants and include our own impressions of what we’ve found there: both the good and the bad.

One note to keep in mind regarding prices listed below for different restaurants: These reviews have been collected over a long period of time. We try to keep them updated but please bear in mind that with the extreme volatility in exchange rates over the past couple years; any prices quoted in pesos may have seen significant changes. Prices in dollars will tend to be more reflective of actual current prices.

Inexpensive Cozumel Restaurants

A great breakfast or an equally good choice for a real good – real cheap lunch or dinner is 3 Patitos Empanadas at the corner of Ave 30 and Calle 15. As you might imagine, the menu items are primarily different varieties of fried empanadas but we have also enjoyed very good freshly made salbutes there as well. They usually have chicken, beef (ground meat), cheese, potato, bean, a combination of meat & cheese and occasionally fish empanadas. Of those, our least favorite is the beef.

You can get your order to go or eat standing at the front counter. The food is nothing fancy but is definitely worth the price. A meal of 4 empanadas and a Coke  is about $2.50 USD per person. The hours of operation can be a little inconsistent but they are usually open early for breakfast & lunch, closed for a while in the mid-afternoon but re-open for dinner. However, we have noticed they seem to close at 12:30pm on Saturdays.

  1. tacos_2
  2. mega_coffee_2
  3. seras_3

At some point during your stay, you should have dinner at a real tacqueria. Our favorite is Los Sera’s located on Ave. Pedro Joaquín Coldwell (aka Ave. 30).  It is one of those hole in the wall places with inexpensive prices and good food that people who don’t venture far off of the oceanfront don’t think exists in Cozumel. The Tacos al Pastor con piña (grilled marinated pork with a slice of pineapple like those on the plate pictured above) at about 75 cents each and frijoles charos (bean soup) are both excellent. Other items we’ve tried and liked were the chuleta con queso taco (grilled pork chop with cheese), queso dia and the al pastor torta (grilled marinated pork sandwich.)

We’ve never ordered a pizza at Serra’s but we’ve noticed they do a big business on those as well and they sure look good.  If you visit Sera’s be sure to take advantage of the patio seating, which makes for a much cooler dining experience away from the oven. Four to six tacos and bottle of jamaica make a good meal for about $5. Like most tacquerias, this place opens after dark and will usually be hopping late into the night. While they do not serve beer, you can bring your own if you want.

Technically I think the name of this place is Gio’s Gourmet Fast Food but everyone refers to it as Gio’s Tacos. It had only been open a few months when we ate there for the first time in July 2017 but it already was doing a good local business.

Standard tacos were $18 MXN with an extra $2 MXN for cheese. We found we liked the plates with larger portions and different options liked the Chuleta Suiza, chopped smoked (ahumada) pork chops with Swiss cheese. The plates run $70-$85 MXN. There are also vegetarian options along with other items you don’t typically find in a traditional taqueria.

There were actually 2 restaurants at the Gio’s location. One serving tacos and other traditional Mexican dishes and the other grilling burgers under the name of Burger House, which eared a pretty good reputation at it’s former location at the corner of Ave 5 & Calle 3. There were 2 menus and 2 different wait staffs but the two places work closely together and will each serve meals to the same table/party. There are a few inside tables but most are on a covered patio next to the street.

I never ordered a burger but a friend who ate with us did and he was quite happy with the food.

The service was excellent, it was nice to have the variety of different options like appetizers and we loved the condiment table with multiple salsas and sauces. We liked Gio’s Tacos well enough to eat there 3-times over the 2-weeks we were in Cozumel this trip. But in some ways, if you’re going for the experience of a real Mexican taqueria; it was hard to say the tacos were better than at our old stand-by, Los Seras.

We only ate there in the evenings but it is open 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM (with a breakfast menu) and 6:00 PM- Midnight 7-days a week. Gio’s Gourmet Fast Food is located on Calle 11 Sur between Ave 25 and 30.

Another good choice for tacos is Taco Pique located across the street from the Super Aki supermarket just north of the corner of Ave. Pedro Joaquín Coldwell (aka Ave. 30) & Benito Juaréz.  Pique has an extensive menu with lots of dishes other than tacos and a wide assortment of beverages including jamaica, horchata, fruited aquas, soft drinks and beer. There is a nice sized garden area in the back where you can dine.

For those with an itch for culinary adventure, you might consider Taco Diaz.  It is on Av. 30 between Benito Juarez and Calle 2 Norte and only a few store fronts north of Taco Pique.

Taco Diaz is also known as la cabeza Taqueria, which translate to “The Head Taco place” as they serve all parts of the cow and pig (including brain). I’ve only eaten there once and did enjoy it but for some reason, can’t convince my better half to go back with me.  To answer the obvious question: I did sample the brain taco; more correctly it was a taquito as it was rolled and fried crispy and it was decent  but my favorite dish there was the cow cheek taco.

Of all the restaurants that we enjoy in Cozumel, there is one that we dream about when we aren’t on the island.  Many times we will head straight there from the airport for our first lunch of any trip there because we know we’re going to want to go back again before we head home.

If you look real close, you can find the name of San Carlos across the bottom of the front wall but in all likelihood, the first thing that will catch your eye when you arrive at this restaurant will be the word PESCADERIA in blue painted on the front wall. Regardless of what you call it, this is a great little fish place back in the neighborhoods. They sell a lot of to go orders of both cooked and fresh fish but there are a couple tables in a small garden in the back of the kitchen where you can dine in. The conch ceviche is usually very fresh and a single serving at $80 pesos is an ample appetizer for a table of 6. A plate lunch with a fillet entrée is $180 pesos.

A whole fried fish for one also starts at around $180 pesos but can go higher depending on the weight. If you want, you can walk into the open kitchen and pick your fish out of the cooler. If more than one person wants the whole fried fish, pick out a larger one and share. The species of fish will vary depending on what they caught that day but if available, try the hog fish. Given the location, you’ll probably be pleasantly surprised to find that English is spoken here.

The easiest way to get to San Carlos is to drive east out Calle 11 past the circle at 30th and take a left onto Ave. 50B. That will be the second Ave. 50 you come to.. You may notice a blue sign in the median showing a left turn for “CMC Hospital”. Turn left at that sign. Drive past a park and over a large toppe and Santa Carlos will be in the next block on the right between A.R. Salas and Calle 3.

Up and down Ave. 30 you will see a number of take out grilled chicken (pollo asada) places. The food is good and very reasonably priced. While the side dishes vary, it usually comes with corn tortillas, pickled onions or cabbage and at some places (some pretty awful canned) spaghetti. On our last visit, a whole chicken with the sides was less than $6 USD. There are multiple locations on every block of Ave. 30 that offer a similar product but our favorite is the Triunfo Rotiseria at Calle 8 Norte and 30th where you can watch the chickens pop and sizzle as they turn over a wood fire. If you’re planning an afternoon at the beaches on the other side of the island, consider picking up lunch to go there on your way out of town.

El Candela, at the corner of Calle 6 and Ave. 5, does a big local take away business but has tables out back under a palapa and a few more inside that usually fill by about 2:00pm. When seated the waiter will present a menu but you will want to ask the question “What are the daily specials?” and you’ll be offered a choice of soup, a choice from 3 entrées, a side of either rice or spaghetti, a choice of steamed vegetables or new potatoes and unlimited refills on jamaica, an herbal tea-like cold beverage made from hibiscus flowers for a set price of about $5.50 USD. The selection of entrées changes daily but usually includes at least one chicken dish, the same pork in tomato sauce recipe that we’ve always loved at La Chosa plus one or two others. The restaurant is now also serving a very good reasonably priced breakfast and has recently introduced a new lunch menu, which includes fried banana stuffed with sweet meat and cheese.  Yum. Candela is not open for dinner and is closed on Sunday.

There are quite a few Super Hit locations around town. The one we tend to frequent at lunch time is located on the corner of Calle 15 and Ave 30. The daily specials are usually tasty and offer a good value. Their sandwiches and soups including pozolé, also are good choices. This place is a bit rustic but we’ve never had any stomach problems after eating there.

Chilango’s is a style of restaurant known as a Cocina Economica, which literally translates to “Cheap Kitchen.” Cocina Economicas are usually inexpensive restaurants that serve a plate lunch along the lines of a meat and two vegetables, most often at a communal table in the kitchen or living room of a residence. If you look, you can find quite a few of this style restaurant all over Cozumel.

We’ve eaten in several Cocina Economicas in town and in our opinion; Chilango’s is one of the best we’ve tried in Cozumel. The name Chilango’s is the word used to describe someone who is a native of Mexico City so dishes from that part of Mexico are sometimes featured there.  As is typical, you’ll find long dining tables in the entry room of this home on Ave. 10 between Calles 15 & 13. It isn’t hard to find; just look for the surf board sign on top of the house. Don’t worry if you’ve never been to a Concina Economica. Just walk in, find a seat and they will bring you lunch. The food here is real home cooking and the people you find there are very nice. It’s open only for lunch.

Another very good place to try homemade Yucatan cuisine and get the chance to walk through someone’s living room is Sabores Loncheria located in a yellow house on Ave. 5 between Calles 3 & 5. They don’t speak much English here but everyone is very friendly and everything on the menu is good. Ask to sit in the garden and you’ll be walked through the kitchen where the chef will be glad to lift the lids and show you what’s cooking. It’s a changing menu but usually you’ll have a choice of 5 entrées. The meal comes with soup and an iced pitcher of jamaica (hibiscus flower tea) all for a total of less than $5. Desserts are an extra $1 USD.

Another spot the brave might try a food stand is the row of stalls beside the El Mercado or the Town Market located on Ave. 25 and Rosado Salas. You’ll get a meat entree with rice and beans and a beverage (try the papaya water drink) for US$3-4.

You won’t be able to find El Moro by yourself (and once you get there you’ll think you’re in the wrong place) so take a cab. It’s in a residential neighborhood off the main road a few blocks past the “Big Conch” circle on 65th. Everything on the menu is good, especially the seafood and the hand written specials. To be perfectly honest, this place used to be cheaper and the food a little better before it was discovered by tourists but it’s still a good experience.

We had eaten there before but a friend turned my wife onto the vegetable burrito at Otate’s on Ave 15 between Rosado Salas and Calle 3 and she now proclaims it as one of the best vegetarian meals she has ever eaten anywhere. Not a single bean or grain of rice can be found in the burrito. Rather it is filled with sautéed and grilled vegetables and topped with a mild cheese. She likes it so much that we typically will make a 2nd trip there on another night during a week long visit to the Island. My favorite order is the pozolé soup chock full of hominy, pork, chicken, onions, tomato, garlic, cilantro and who knows what else. It’s served with a side plate of raw onions, radishes and cilantro that I like to pile into the soup.  It also is a terrific meal.

Cocina Mexicana is located on the central square near the front of the Hotel Lopez. If you walk down the south side of the square, this is one of the places where the waiters stand out front and try to wave you in. Lunch specials usually include a choice of soups and entrées served with rice and a delightful fresh fruit flavored water (liquada) for about US $5.

Plaza Leza is the restaurant right next door to Cocina Mexicana and offers a similar Mexican menu. But to tell you the truth, it bugs us that every time we walk by this place we have to tell these guys three different ways that we don’t want to eat a meal with them at that very moment. As a result, we find we rarely think of going there when we are ready to eat.

Costa Brava Restaurant is located on Calle 7 about a block off the waterfront. It’s nothing fancy but is a good inexpensive choice for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  This is a favorite breakfast place for divers with specials running at about $3.

You will find Jeanie’s Beach Club located just north of Calle 11 on Ave Melgar.  This place is now operated by some of Jeanie’s former partners and in addition to the restaurant, has a small but nice beach area where you can enjoy the sun & water and have access to the food, drink and facilities of the restaurant; all at an in-town location.  While bi-lingual menus are available and the staff speaks English, your waiter will give you a menu “book” with pictures of each dish so if you can’t make yourself understood in either Spanish or English, you can just point at the picture of what you want. In addition to doing a pretty good job with the usual breakfast fare, the restaurant offers an extensive lunch menu.

It had to happen eventually so it should come as no surprise that there is now a Starbucks in Cozumel at the Punta Langosta Mall on Ave. Melgar.  A more economic yet still good quality coffee option is the coffee shop inside the Mega supermarket where they will serve complimentary pastries with your coffee selection.

There also a branch of the Mexican chain Italian Coffee Company in the shopping center a the corner of Ave. 30 and Calle 1.  We haven’t been to that one but some local friends tell us they like it better than Starbucks.  What used to be known as The Coffee Bean has re-emerged on Calle 5 near the water front as El Coffee.  It probably doesn’t belong in a discussion of inexpensive food options but we love not only the coffee creations but also the excellent selection of very well prepared home made desserts.  This place has a bit of a hip locals type place feel to it.

An evening visit to Michoacan’s ice cream is a local tradition in Cozumel. There is one located on Ave 20 near 1st and another closer to the downtown square. There are lots of others around town including one on the parking lot level of the Mega supermarket. We’ve sampled several varieties including pineapple (more of a sorbet than ice cream), strawberry, chocolate and mamay; a tropical fruit that looks like it has cantaloupe skin but an oblong shape. It isn’t Ben and Jerry’s but it is more than decent and reasonably priced. A small cup is about $1.

Moderaterately Priced Cozumel Restaurants

For authentic home style Mexican cuisine try La Choza, It is still located on Ave. 10 but has moved from the corner of A.R. Salas a few storefronts south. It features interesting soups, condiments, nightly specials and what we think is the best flan in Cozumel. The price of your entree at lunch and dinner includes a choice of soups. If you visit here for lunch, ask about the daily specials. Prices for the unadvertised lunch specials will be significantly cheaper than similar meals on the menu but your waiter won’t mention them unless you ask. The fixed price lunch will also include unlimited refills of jamaica (drink).  Lunch and dinner favorites are the pork in tomato sauce and seafood either grilled or Vera Cruz style.  Ask your waiter what is the freshest fish that day.  Chances are, it was delivered by a fisherman that morning.   Our son says La Choza serves the best beef fajitas in Cozumel and my brother says they have the best margaritas in the world. This place is a good choice for breakfast too.

  1. credit: bobbyedwards on Flickr

Casa Denis is a small place with outside seating and what many consider the best choice for moderately priced dining in the downtown square area. It features a traditional Mexican menu including empanadas, tacos, soups, sandwiches and full dinners. It is located on the mall, a half block east and a half block south of the central square right across from the entrance to the Cozumel Flea Market. In our opinion, this is a much better choice for lunch or dinner than either Plaza Leza or Cocina Mexicana, the other on-the-square restaurants listed earlier in this document. One word of caution – While the food costs here are reasonable, a large marguarita will run you $60 pesos at Casa Denis.

For a long time now, whenever we’ve wanted seafood in Cozumel, we’ve headed for Pescaderia San Carlos (see our review above.) But after several years of hearing good reports, we have finally made a visit to Pescaderia La Perlita.  La Perlita is way back in the neighborhoods just past Ave 65 and as a result, it used to be totally a locales place.  While it still enjoys primarily a local clientele, it has now been “discovered” by tourist.  It has a large menu with a lot of variety including several preparations of Lion Fish.  We had wanted to sample the Lion Fish but at $200 MXN, it seemed kind of pricey so we passed on it.

At our table, we ordered the Piscado Frito (whole fried fish), Filete de Ajo (filet with garlic), Cocktail de camarón (shrimp cocktail) and Filete de Pescade Empanizado, or deep fried breaded filet.  Upon ordering, the waiter brought out 2 beautiful red snappers for us to choose from for the whole fried fish.   The service was friendly and attentive.  The beers were cold and in general, the food was very good.  The filet in garlic was excellent as was the shrimp cocktail.  The whole fried fish was also very good but to this writers taste, I prefer the same dish at Santaa Carlos.  And while the portion was huge, in the spirit of trying to give an honest review, I have to report that the empanizado was disappointing.

One advantage La Perlita does have over San Carlos is the hours.  San Carlos is only open for lunch while La Perlita is now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.   La Perlita is located on Calle 10 between Ave 65 Bis and Ave 70. Because of 1-way streets, it’s best to turn on to Calle 10 off of Ave 70. Telephone 987 869 8343 or you can reach them thru their facebook page.

Las Palmeras Restaurant is on the central square across from the ferry pier and because everyone knows it, a good place to meet at as in “I’ll meet you at 8 at Las Palmeras.” Insist on a street side table. The mariachi band is not the best in the world but is sincere. The food is decent and considering the location, really not badly overpriced (at least not on the menu.) However, be sure to check your written bill carefully as the waiters sometimes attempt to tell you how much you owe without providing a written check and/or overcharge on the bill they provide you and try to pocket the difference. This is another good place to try the Cochinta Pibil. Unless you’re really hungry, a single order of the fresh fruit is enough for two at breakfast.

Those trying to find the old Pasta Prima Italian restaurant at the original location near the corner of Rosada Salas and Ave. 5 or on the top floor of the El Cantil Norte Condominiums or on Ave 10 near the corner of Calle 2 can give up.  We enjoyed it in the past but the place is now closed; perhaps for good.

In July 2017 we were stayed at the Casa Mexicana hotel on Rafael Melgar (the waterfront road) and were using a parking lot next to the Hyperbaric Chamber Hospital on Calle 5. As we walked between the lot and the hotel, we passed by a place with a few street side tables and an outside grill on Calle 5 by the name of Colores y Sabores. There was a friendly greeter there offering the menu. We didn’t stop in on the first or even 2nd pass by the place but one evening there was a terrific 3-piece band playing some Cuban tunes and we decided to stop for a drink on our way to dinner. We were enjoying the music so much that we ordered an appetizer, which was very good and then a Yucatan sampler plate that was equally good.

We invited some friends to meet us there the next night to listen to the music before dinner and ate a full meal there again a few nights later. The band we were listening to those 2-nights was the house band from La Rumba, a Cuban restaurant/bar/dance club a few blocks away near the Church on Ave 10.

There isn’t music every night and when there is music, it’s not always the La Rumba band but the food is good enough and reasonably priced to warrant a visit.

You’ll find a good version of Texas style fajitas at Ernesto’s Fajita Factory. While the downtown location on Ave. R. Melgar is now closed, there is still one in the south hotel district near the Casa Del Mar. The portions are large but not cheap by local standards. On the other hand, daily breakfast specials here are a good deal.

La Veranda (formerly D’Pub) is located 2 blocks from the Main Plaza on Calle 4 Norte between 5 and 10. As the name implies, the outside tables sit on a porch overlooking a nice small garden, which makes a pleasant setting for a cold drink. The food includes influences from all over the Caribbean. La Veranda is owned by Ernesto of local fajita fame.

The Mission is another good Mexican restaurant that has unadvertised inexpensive lunch specials that you won’t know about unless you specifically ask about them. For dinner, the shrimp entrees are good as are the traditional Mexican dishes including flan and the flaming coffees. If you’ve been on the Island before and couldn’t find The mission where it was the last time you were here, try looking on Adolfo Rosado Salas between calle 5 and Ave R. Melgar or about a block off the waterfront.  It’s open 7 days a week from 11am to 11pm.

The Parrilla Mission on Ave Coldwell (aka 30th) between Calles 2 & 4 is another restaurant from the same owners and features a full range of Mexican favorites including tacos.  It’s open for breakfast, lunch & dinner.

The prices at Casa Mission fall somewhere between moderate and expensive category but we list it here with the other Mission location to avoid confusion. Beto Miranda, the owner and a long time Cozumel restaurateur has opened this place at his beautiful mission style home just off of Ave. B. Juarez & Ave. 55. Tables wrap around the veranda of the hacienda and spill out onto the lawn. The downstairs of the home is open for dinner guests to have a look around. Towards the back of the property Beto keeps his pet monkey and two African lions in cages. Some may find the housing conditions of the animals offensive but others see the same thing and find it an amazing sight. The menu includes all the standard Mexican favorites and the service is usually very good. You’re paying a little extra for the atmosphere but for a special occasion, it is probably worth it.  Casa Mission is open Monday to Sunday from 4pm to 11:45pm.

Del Museo is located on top of the Cozumel Museum on Ave. Rafael Melgar and provides a very nice view of the downtown beach area. To date, the only meals we’ve eaten there are breakfast but we’ve heard it is a decent choice for lunch or dinner as well.  If you do have a meal there, plan on spending some time taking a look at some of the cultural and artistic exhibits in the Museum.

Rock’n Java serves a very good breakfast and lunch including a broad list of vegetarian meals and homemade deserts. With airlines now reducing food service, we frequently will order by phone and pick up a club sandwich or chef’s salad to go on our way to airport. It’s located on the waterfront near the main Dive Paradise office — just north of the Barracuda Hotel.

Chillin’ Bistro & Lounge opened since our last visit in 2016. We asked around and heard good things about it and since it is located in our neighborhood beside the park in front of the Corpus Christi Church, we took the short walk up the street and gave it a try on our 2nd night in town.

The restaurant regularly features weekly meal and nightly drink specials and we took advantage of the 2 for 1 (for a total of $80 MXN) Martini special that night and were quite satisfied with the drinks. Service was good and it is a lovely setting on top of one of the very few modest hills in town looking out over the park and a picturesque view of the well-lit Church at night from both inside and patio seating.

For those with a long memory of the local Cozumel restaurant scene, this is the same space created by the original incantation of La Cocay.

We ate at Chillin’ a few nights later with friends and then again on our own a week later had good experiences on all 3 occasions. Over the 3-meals we enjoyed the Mahi-mahi and Grouper entrée specials, the Chicken Panini from the regular menu as well as a couple salad specials, a soup and dessert. With drinks, a shared appetizer, 2 entrées and a shared dessert our bill came to roughly $30 USD, higher than most of our meals in Cozumel but a bargain for what the same meal would cost at home.

For those not interested in a full meal there is an extensive appetizer menu and live music on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning around 10 pm.

Chillin’ Bistro & Lounge / 25 Avenida Sur 1132, Gonzalo Guerrero, Cozumel / Phone: 01 987 120 2863

Another new restaurant we visited in April 2017 is the Maple Bakehouse Café, located justMaple Bakehouse treats around the corner from Candela on Calle 6 near the corner of Av. 10. As the name implies, this place has some of its roots in Candada. We didn’t have a meal but did see and smell some nice looking sandwiches and breakfasts on our visits there. The place is small and only has a few tables but is a great source for high quality style of baking that you more likely to find in San Francisco than Mexico. The cinnamon buns were terrific as was the apple strudel and orange flavor pastry. In addition to the sweets were beautiful baguettes and rounds of sour dough breads and while we didn’t try the coffee, it sure smelled good.

Maple Bakehouse Café / Calle 6 Norte 33, Centro, San Miguel de Cozumel, Q.R. / Phone: 01 987 872 5807.  There is a 2nd much larger service location (with counter service but no eat in facility) located on Ave 65 across the street from the Boxito plumbing and tile store.

One by one, a variety of Asian restaurants have been addedComida Vietnam facade to the Cozumel dining scene in recent years.  Other than Mexico, our favorite travel destination in the world is Southeast Asia and our taste tends to run more towards the authentic than the Westernized version of Asia cuisines.  With that said, if you’re getting tired of Mexican food, any of these would provide a serviceable alternative but in all honesty, don’t go in thinking you’re going to get the best Asian meal of your life.

The oldest Oriental alternative in Cozumel is Sam’s Wok located in the palapa mall across the road from Puerto Maya (cruise ship pier) south of the town.  Our understanding is that the location was picked to cater more to cruise ship crews than to tourists.

Sorry to report that Comida Vietnam located on Pedro Joaquin Coldwell (Av 30) between 5 Sur and Morelos, which wasn’t open very long but had become by far our favorite Asian restaurant in Cozumel was closed in July 2017; perhaps permanently. It was a small place located next door to Fu Lin, a Chinese Restaurant.

With its 2nd floor location on the corner of Ave. Melgar and Calle 3 (where you will find the stairway leading there) Chi Chinese Restaurant and Bar provides a nice view of the waterfront.  If you’re in the mood, the Sunday lunch buffet is a good deal.

While they offer a larger variety of cooked items than most sushi bars, Midorisushi is generally considered the best choice for sushi on the Island.  It is upstairs on Rosado Salas between Ave. 15 and 20.  We haven’t tried it yet but on our last visit noticed another sushi restaurant less than a block from the waterfront on Calle 3 .

The first (and only) Thai style restaurant we’re aware of in Cozumel is RJ Thai Noodle House located on Ave. 11 less than a block from Ave Melgar.  It shares ownership with one of our favorites, Rock “N Java and like Rock ‘N Java, they offer a free wifi zone. It’s a good place to take the vegetarian in your life that is tired of watching you eat tacos.  They’re open 4-11pm.  Call 869-2794 for delivery.

Expensive Cozumel Restaurants

  1. Mcdonalds_1

While Kinta Mexican Bistro is one of the newer additions to the local restaurant scene, it has rapidly gained a reputation as one of the best places in town for modern Mexican cuisine. Once you make it through the rather modest entrance on Ave. 5 between Calle 2 and 4 (just a block north of the main central square) you find yourself in a small but lovely air-conditioned dining room but we usually try to sit out back in the garden.  The menu tends to change but favorites include a vegetarian chile relleno, black been soup, pork tenderloin and filet mignon. And we absolutely loved the bread pudding. Kinta has a decent wine list and makes a very nice sangria.  They’re open Tuesday-Sunday 6-11 PM.  You may want to call 869-0544 for reservations.

When La Cocay first opened on the Corpus Christi square, it was about block from our house.  It was such a treat to have what we thought was the best international style restaurant in town so close and we were happy to be regulars there.  Since the restaurant  moved to their current location at Calle 8 between Ave 10 & 15 we aren’t as frequent in our visits but the food is still terrific.  The concept is to apply a Mediterranean influence to local ingredients and present them in a genteel atmosphere.  And it still works.  Most nights you won’t need it but you may want to call 872-5533  to reserve a table.

Guido’s Pizza, formally known as Pizza Rolandi, is located on Ave. Rafael Melgar on the north end of town and while it is not cheap, it is very good. Along with the pizza, they offer a very nice salad, “puff” garlic bread, various Northern Italian specials and homemade sangria. Garden diners find themselves under a canopy of bougainvillea and philodendra vines and are treated to an eclectic mix of recorded music. This is a great choice for a late leisurely lunch.

To add to the confusion, there is now a branch of Pizza Rolandi down near Calle 11 on Ave Melgar.  We’ve haven’t been there yet but have eaten at the one in Isla Mujures and found it decent but not as good as Guido’s.

Pancho’s Backyard is a part of the Cinco Soles retail store on the north end of Ave. Rafael Melgar. It is the site of one of the oldest tourist hotels in Cozumel that catered to wealthy Mexican Nationals from the mainland before Cozumel was discovered by gringos. The area that is now the restaurant was formally the hotel lobby and it is a lovely setting. The food is very good and offers some interesting modern twists on standard Mexican dishes but at a higher price than most other Mexican restaurants in town.

At Pepe’s Grill the local seafood and steaks are recommended. This is the nicest salad bar in town and can be eaten without worry of picking up a stomach problem. Try to sit upstairs by a window. Sometimes this place is a little pretentious but the food is good. A reservation during the busy seasons and holidays is not a bad idea. It is located on the waterfront on the corner of Ave. Rafael Melgar and Rosado Salas. Telephone 87 20213.

You can pick out your own lobster and pay for it by weight at The Lobster House. If you don’t eat lobster, don’t bother visiting this place because that’s just about all there is on the menu. It is located several miles north of the center of town across the street from Hotel Playa Azul.

What used to be known as The Coffee Bean has re-emerged as El Coffee.  We used to love not only the coffee creations but also the excellent selection of very well prepared home made deserts but we haven’t been there since the name change. It is located on Calle 3 near the Pizza Hut a few blocks south of the central square.

Where else but in Cozumel would American fast food be considered “expensive”. If you have to…you can find Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Subway, and Domino’s on Ave. Rafael Melgar. Most of the ingredients are imported from the States, which does help insure a reasonable facsimile of the food but also contributes to prices that are quite a bit higher than what you find back home. One additional note from a recent visit – The Dairy Queen that was next to Morgan’s on the square has gone to that big blizzard in the sky.

The Punta Langosta shopping center at the cruise ship pier near downtown is home to a large number of chain restaurants. We’ve never eaten in any of the Punta Langosta locations of these restaurants but we’ve heard that typically, prices will be higher than you would find in a U.S. location of the same chain. Eateries at Punta Langosta include: Starbucks, Subway, Burger King and Baskin Robbins.  There is a 2nd Burger King at Ave 30 & Calle 1.