Cozumel Restaurants and Dining
(Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico)
Amongst the cheapest places to eat in Cozumel and a popular alternative to more mainstream restaurants are the island's many 'loncherias'. A typical Cozumel loncheria is generally a fairly small, open-air dining venue, with usually just one cook and a handful of dishes. Most of Cozumel's loncheria restaurants specialise in fast food (comidas corridas) and are perfect for a quick and inexpensive meal, which often include beans, salsa and tortillas.
Many restaurants around Cozumel take full advantage of the island's spectacular coastline and offer fine dining with great sea views, often featuring outdoor terraces. Whilst a large number of the restaurants in Cozumel specialise solely in traditional Mexican cuisine, others cater specifically for tourists and include American-style fast-food restaurants, gourmet seafood dishes and Italian pasta.
What to Eat
Much of the cuisine on offer at restaurants around Quintano Roo and the Yucatán Peninsula favour classic Mexican dishes, which have a strong connection with the Maya. When dining in Cozumel, look out for the following dishes, which have become regional specialities in this part of Mexico:
- Cochinita pibil - marinated spiced pork, wrapped in large banana leaves and often smoked
- Sopa de lima - tasty broth made with shredded chicken and locally grown limes
- Huevos motulenos - fried eggs sandwiched between corn tortillas and topped with salsa, ham and cheese
- Papadzules - similar to soft tacos, with a pumpkin seed sauce and chopped hard-boiled eggs
Where to Eat
Restaurants around Cozumel are easy to locate and a good way to find a selection is to simply take a stroll around San Miguel's main plaza, the Plaza Central. If you are looking for the tasty food served at a true Mexican loncheria restaurant, then simply head to the Mercada Municipal and follow your nose. Here you will find extremely cheap soups, salads and main courses.
San Miguel de Cozumel is where you will find the highest concentration of restaurants, catering for literally all tastes. Good dining options are located on the Avenida Juárez, Calles Morelos and Avenida 5 Sur. Seafront restaurants are plentiful along the Avenida Rafael Melgar, where some of the best views in the whole of downtown San Miguel de Cozumel await. The Hard Rock Cafe is located along the Avenida Rafael Melgar and always attracts tourists, boasting large windows, which overlook the waterfront and a classic menu, with steaks, salads and chilled desserts. However, when cruise ships arrive in Cozumel and dock nearby, this popular dining venue can quickly become fully booked.
A handful of restaurants are dotted along Cozumel's Eastern Highway (Costera Este Highway), which edges the island's coastline. A good dining option can be found next to the Playa del San Martin, where the views across the Caribbean Sea, live music and 'full-moon parties' make the actual food almost secondary.
Along the Northern Highway (Costera Norte Highway) and around the North Hotel Zone, restaurants also enjoy Cozumel's coastal scenery. The Southern Highway (Costera Sur Highway) has become especially popular with scuba divers and beach lovers, where restaurants are known to serve you on the beach itself and provide cocktails, hammocks and superb views across the eastern shoreline.