Isla Mujeres is a tiny island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico best known for the whale sharks that swim nearby in the summer. But here’s a secret: the food on Isla Mujeres is outstanding. What’s even better is how affordable everything is.
Most restaurants on the island serve Mexican food or Mexican with a Caribbean or Cuban twist. Ironically, a lot of menus have a pizza and pasta section, so at least that will please the picky eater in your group. Even though a lot of menus were similar, the food was meticulously crafted and flavorful enough to compete with even the best food cities.
So grab some pesos (most places are cash only) and put on your stretchy pants because there’s plenty of good food, whether you’re here for a day trip or a full vacation.
Where to Eat in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
I rarely repeat restaurants while traveling, no matter how good they are. But Lola Valentina couldn’t keep me away. The Chile Poblano stuffed with chicken slow roasted in adobo and covered in a black bean sauce at dinner enticed me to try the BLGT Eggs Benedict for breakfast a few days later. Let’s just say guacamole is the world’s best addition to eggs benny, and when it’s on a cheese biscuit… well you know I had to have that twice! The staff is awesome and the decor is adorable — they have swings at the bar!
Another open-air spot on the Miguel Hidalgo street is Rooster’s Cafe, a coffee shop and restaurant focused on breakfast and lunch. The menu is an extensive list of creative offerings that hit the spot no matter your mood. Everyday basics like Mexican Breakfast (eggs covered in a black bean sauce, cheese and meat) and the Lisbon Omelette (Portuguese sausage, red onions and bell peppers with potatoes) sit alongside Lobster Biscuits and Gravy, Creme Brulee French Toast, Rooster Benedict with chipotle hollandaise and chorizo, and Mole Eggs Benedict. The lunch menu is equally as impressive.
On the other side of Isla Mujeres is a tiny house-turned-restaurant crammed with colorful tables and walls full of artwork for sale. Mango Cafe serves Caribbean and Mexican cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The chile poblano stuffed with scrambled eggs, onions and ham, then deep fried and drizzled with sour cream was as memorable as it sounds. The dragon fruit mojito was the proverbial cherry on top.
Walking into El Patio feels like finding a secret hide-away. The exterior looks like a regular restaurant but after walking through an archway an intimate patio emerges with a bar surrounding a giant tree. It has a treehouse-like feel like its sister restaurant, The Joint, but with less weed innuendos. There’s live music and dining on the rooftop overlooking the Miguel Hidalgo street. Don’t miss their happy hour for half off margaritas.
Ruben’s Restaurant encompassed everything that was great about Isla Mujeres all in one place: good food, great prices and friendly service. The authentic Mexican food was delicious, the portions were massive and the food was surprisingly affordable. The service was some of the most hospitable I’ve ever received — they let us change our table mid-meal when it got too stuffy inside, then offered to switch back when it started to rain. Plus Ruben himself made sure we were happy with everything and even sung “happy birthday” to one of us.