2014/03/02 12:21:07

Favourite Isla Mujeres Restaurants?

We finally made the leap this year to stay on Isla Mujeres instead of the mainland. Have been for a day trip but never stayed over. Isla has a reputation for it's food. Looking to hear from you about your favourite bars and restaurants and what makes them special; a favourite dish, drink, price, view, decor or server? Thanks in advance!

42 comments Leave a comment
Vancouver Sundog
So many places

Freddies, Olivias, Lolas , the bbq platter at Soggy peso, Bally Hoo are just a few

Sadly Fueguitos just closed

Where are you staying on Isla
2014/03/02 12:35:06
Villa Rolandi for food, views and service, prices were up a bit this year especially on their pastas.
For seafood, most any of the places along Medina, last trip had really good shrimp tacos at at Brisas Grill.;
Sadly did not make it to Fredy's this trip, his port chop or baked shrimp is fabulous.
Had a wonderful filet in Roquefort sauce at Cafe del Mar, TwirleyB ordered the ribeye which was cut way too thin, like a breakfast steak (but they did not charge her).
2014/03/02 14:37:11
Staying at Privilege Aluxes, Vancouver Sundog. Weaning ourselves off the mega all-inclusive after 8 years at the Grand Bahia Principe. We always liked to have breakfast and dinner at the Bahia and then venture off the resort for the day for lunch and drinks and an adventure. So this year breakfast is included, which is perfect leaving us many choices for lunch and dinner. Tried Bally Hoo's last time, which was excellent!
2014/03/02 17:02:03
Vancouver Sundog
We did the bfast only option at PA a few years ago - excellent option

We made margs in our room and took them to the pool as well

Walking Hildelgo for the evening is great for dinner
2014/03/02 17:21:42
Vancouver Sundog
Have you got the new MAPCHICKS map
2014/03/02 17:28:50

ORIGINAL: Vancouver Sundog

Have you got the new MAPCHICKS map

Yes, it's been ordered.
2014/03/02 19:02:06
Vancouver Sundog
Lots of restaurant suggestions on their map - all to be trusted but places seem to open and close each month
2014/03/02 19:33:12
Rich from BC
In no specific order top three for me.
Soggy Peso... Burgers are really good. 8 Ounce patty so you may want to split with someone.
Olivia's... so many choices. Be tough to pick a favorite. Play spin the menu and try whatever you land on...
Rooster Café... I get a great coffee and breakfast is really good. Lots of food here you wont go hungry.
Don't worry about just dropping into someplace that looks "interesting" to try something new that's the beauty of Isla..
We are heading back there in 2 weeks so can do some scouting.
2014/03/02 20:24:23

ORIGINAL: Rich from BC

We are heading back there in 2 weeks so can do some scouting.

Look forward to hearing your report, Rich. Thanks!
2014/03/02 20:34:09
Isla Chica
Velasquez on the waterfront is excellent, as is Bally Hoo! Warning! Bally Hoo serves VERY strong margaritas! [:D]

Limon, located in one of the colonia neighborhoods, is very popular, as well as Morgans and Asia Caribe.

Lolo Lorena are always highly recommended. Lolo's is by reservation only. I believes she is from Belgian. It is a true culinary experience in the French style! For reservations:
Tel: 998 139 2310; Email: lololorena@yahoo.com

Try out the luncherias by the fruit market! Inexpensive and delicious! We love the 1st one, Alexis & Geovanny's.

The French Bistro has always been one of favorites, as well as Amigos.
2014/03/03 07:35:03
We spent a week on the island last year, and to get to know our way around, we rented a golf cart from Cardenas downtown,
and after that, took the very inexpensive taxi's. the Soggy Peso was our favorite "hideaway" ! We enjoyed the view from Jax
downtown. We sampled a number of places, and without my map here to refresh me of the names, it's safe to say we did not
have a bad experience anywhere we stopped!

And, the Chedraui store covered all we needed to make our breakfasts!
2014/03/03 08:26:29
Soleil Soul
Barlito's is one of my fav sandwich/bakery place, reasonable.  Everything is freshly made there, lots of vegetarian and healthy options.  Great place to people watch.
2014/03/03 17:25:34
Rich from BC
We also love Barlito. It has moved recently and is now at Marina Paraiso. Closer to the beach by playa Norte.
We will look for when we are there in 2 weeks.
2014/03/03 19:02:20
Is sunset grill still there? They used to have really good ceviche. Also, Zama's had great lobster tacos and quesadillas, and Playa lanchero (now hs different name), had wonderful Xik n Tik. Faynes always had a really good surf n turf deal too.

It has been about 6 years though so......................
2014/03/04 06:53:26
Sunset Grill is still there, had lunch there last May.
Zama's is still there also, although we did not stop, some controversy since they do not seem to have a consistent policy. Some folks have to pay a cover charge which is deducted from the food and drink bill to use the pools and bali beds, others get charged a cover in addition to what they spend on food and a few do not get charged a cover. They have SUPER clean banos though crunch.
2014/03/04 10:01:10
Kim in STL
We have been staying at Ixchel Condos for the past few years on Playa Norte, and just love the Island. We have had many good dining experiences and a few bad ones too. Here is my rundown:

Roosters...north end of town..great breakfasts here...the Torta Rustica with ham, spinach, eggs with spicy fried potatoes for 90 pesos is just wonderful. On Sunday the breakfast special is two eggs on a biscuit with lobster gravy for 110 pesos, and it is to die for. The chorizo, cheese and veggie omelet is also very good. They serve you their homemade rosemary cranberry bread hot out of the oven as soon as you order. It is worth fighting over!

Alexia and Giovani's food stall at the market....we eat here all the time, and it is dirt cheap, plus the breakfast, lunch and dinner are so good. The owner is a wonderful lady, and the place is a favorite of all that stay at Ixchel, which is just a block away.

Lola Valentina...best stuffed grouper with cheese, shrimp and pablano peppers with a pablano sauce over rice...try the stuffed jalepenos..OMG..stuffed with beef and cheese...not like the poppers you get frozen either. Their masa encrusted chicken stuffed with bacon, cheese and jalepeno was a big hit with friends, and the garlic shrimp in coconut milk was my hubbies favorite meal of the trip.

Mango Cafe...located in Colonia and Punta sur...well worth the trip to find it. Went there for breakfast with friends, and had some of the best Mayan coffee and masa encrusted pablano's stuffed with scrambled eggs, cheese, onion and bacon, then topped with crema and house made salsa verde, and a side of fried potatoes. My hubbie loved his eggs benedict with chaya and cheese, and friends enjoyed the wonderful coconut encrusted french toast with toasted almonds...This place is small, cute as a button, and very clean. Can't wait to go back and try the lunch menu out.

Abuelos...located across the street from Ixchel condos, and towards the main market. This tiny super friendly mom and pop has some wonderful Aztec soup..HOT!...good fajitas and very good fish tacos. Yummm

Rolandi's Pizza...middle of the main drag. Great hot bread, great pizza, salads and pasta...eat here at least twice on our trips...

Bo Bo's Fish...across from Olivos...very small with several stools on the sidewalk. Owner is from Canada, and is great to talk to. Service is slow because everything is made to order. If you are wanting a fantastic hamburger and top notch chicken wings, this is the place. The wings are as good as any we have had in the states, and his sauces are outstanding...good on the wallet too...love this place!

Fredy's...owner is very friendly, but a bit tipsy when we were there...so were we though! The big hit with friends was the pork chops served with a baked potato and spinach, and we loved the baked shrimp with cheese, onion, and his special sauce, also served with baked potato and spinach...I love that! You always get served the same crap in every restaurant in the roo...rice and mixed vegges.....also great garlic soup and very good strong drinks.. that should give you a start...enjoy you lucky person!

2014/03/04 11:52:15
Wow! Thanks so much, Kim, for taking the time. I'm getting so excited (and hungry) reading everyone's suggestions. Thanks to all and keep 'em coming!
2014/03/04 12:31:06
Kim in STL
After reading this thread again, I got a wild hair and booked a week on the south end of Isla for November! Too bad LG doesn't rent on Isla....oh, well...going to Akumal in May...
2014/03/20 14:31:20
We always just start on one end of Hidalgo, and peek at everybody`s plates as we walk by, then decide where to stop and eat......
2014/03/26 22:46:43
hi there....we were on isla last may staying at ixchel
one of our favourites was bahia tortuga ....great bar next door almost to soggy peso.
if you go to bahia tortuga on sundays Sol Rockers are playing ...great band.
rent a golf cart and do a tour that is on mapchicks map....punta sur is amazing ...great views.
we're headin back in may for two weeks this time with our mexico buds from nova scotia.
new mapchicks map has been ordered
only 38 sleeps and we are back!!!!!!!!
....there is also great snorkeling out at the light house ( forget name ) or day trip to isla contoy

2014/03/27 10:31:32
Vancouver Sundog
one of our favourites was bahia tortu

Great place

Did you just love their little dogs

If at the Soggy Peso, ask about their spider
2014/03/27 14:43:17
stwartNewfoundland: was the snorkeling at the lighthouse from shore, or part of a boat tour? Was it shown on the Mapchick map? Thanks.
2014/03/27 22:57:07
Love Isla... just as you get to the ferry docks, embark, out to the street and turn left, walk to first bar/restaurant for the life of me can't remember the name ( and it's no wonder), but we start here, drinks flow and the food to die for, service the best you,'ll ever find. We drank all their tequila and one of the waiters ran out(literally) and got us more. Upon his return we offered him and the owner to join us in a few sips. Probably one of the most fun times on the island and we stay at least one night across the street on every trip on our way to Akumal or after.
2014/03/28 07:17:20
We'll be on the island the latter part of May. We're looking forward to hitting up a few new places along with some of our old favorites. Bally Hoo on Medina for sunset views, fish tacos and strong margaritas. Velasques on the water for garlic fish or shrimp. Both are excellent. El Veradero, really cute cuban place on the inlet close to the marinas. Try their fish fingers, chicken fricasee and some great mojitos. Lola Valentina's was great. Great atmosphere, wonderful food and creative margaritas. Well worth the few extra pesos this place might run. Nice thing about Isla Mujeres is the range of food prices and variety of foods. Something for everyones pocket book and taste buds!
2014/03/28 09:22:59
I can't believe we have never stopped at Isla coming or going.
So many places to eat!
And we only have 4 nights: Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue. In June.
I saw some places are open certain days/nights or have music certain nights.

Does anyone want to help me to plan our meals by day?

Like maybe Roosters for Sunday breakfast, the one day it is not served at our B&B.
Was it Sunday for the good band somewhere to eat too?

Oh yeah: Bahia tortuga has a band on Sunday, very near Soggy Peso.
Are there other places with music?
We are not too interested in marachi, I like Brazilian jazz samba from the 60's (old dude that I am),
And we both like Caribbean beach sounds: reggae, buffet, even Chesney.

Several recommends for Bally Hoo...

Great dinner with a sunset view, which one? Or ones?

Thanks all you Isla experts!

My map chick map is from 2010 and never got to be used,
But for $15, it's probably time to order the newest ones?
2014/04/26 12:55:29
The ribs at Soggy Peso are supposed to be good on Sunday, sadly we were not there on a Sunday, they do run out so don't get there too late.
2014/04/26 13:23:48
ulle trautvag
Ate dinner at Ballyhoo per recommendation by Crunch. Very good seafood platter with good drinks.  Nice to watch the sun set and see the boats come and go.
2014/04/26 13:37:32
I just backed out of a three week trip to Isla Mujeres.  I was researching and ended up calling some friends that live there.  Well....the North end beaches are elbow to a-hole due to the Cancun day trippers  coming over on the ferry.  SInce the North end beaches made that list of top 10 beaches in the Caribbean, it is a freeking ZOO! THey do say it calms down some after the last ferry of the day. Worse than Akumal, just what I was trying to get away from.  
ANother awesome place bites the dust, IMO. 
Just trying to keep flight time under 5 hours...looks like a 13 hours trip is ahead of us. 
2014/04/28 14:47:35
Laura Mapchick
Th snorkeling by the lighthouse is only accessible by boat, not a lot of shore snorkeling on the island, the are by Mia Reef hotel or Garrafon de Castilla.
So many great places to eat on the island, I tend to enjoy the small local places more, a few of my favorites:
La Lomita
The market stalls, I like the one on the end, Tacos Tumbras
La Bruja
El Varadero Cuban restaurant, the best mojitos!
Lolo Lorena for a special treat! he does private dinner parties at her home.
2014/04/28 15:10:16
ulle trautvag
ScubaBum, when I was there two years ago Playa Norte was almost empty and it was fairly scenic.  But what I didn't like was that the water was very shallow for a long distance out and reached barely above my knees.  I tried to snorkel the break at Avalon Reef hotel which is now  called Mia Reef and scraped my knees on the bottom.  Snorkeling was nil. I'd go back to Isla for a short two-day jaunt, especially to swim with whale sharks but not spend a week's vacation there.
2014/04/28 19:49:50
Well, we just returned from Isla about a week and a half ago and it was everything we hoped for and more. We stayed at the Privilege Aluxes, upgraded to the Suite Deluxe. Well worth the extra $25 per night that we paid. Huge living room with leather furniture, kitchenette (basically an area with bar fridge, cupboards, stove top but no pots, pans or utensils), beautiful bedroom (very comfortable bed) with large windows facing in 2 directions, large marble bathroom and large balcony. We were on the third floor, and although others have mentioned the school noise at 7:00 a.m., it really didn't bother us. The hotel was spotless, and the staff were incredibly friendly, welcoming and helpful. We opted for the breakfast only plan, and the buffet food quality was excellent. Lots of choices, the hot items changed daily and we were never bored with it. The only odd thing was that our room had a coffee maker in it and the coffee was good but the coffee in the restaurant was terrible. But that was my only very minor complaint. Never a problem getting a lounger on the hotel beach, there were plenty no matter what time we went. The hotel is perfectly located with the beach across the street, the town right beside it, a 10 minute walk to the ferry dock, and a 2 minute stroll to the restaurants of Hidalgo Street.
As for restaurants on the island, oh my god, we have to go back several times to even make a dent in them! Started off at Bally Hoo: great location, fish taco's good but not as good as the last time we were there. Rooster has two locations, the coffee shop on the eastern side of the island (great coffee, lattes, cappucinos, and baked goods, etc.) and the restaurant on Hidalgo (didn't make it there). We picked up a coffee one morning and walked down and sat on the seawall on the eastern shore to drink it, fantastic. For dinner we loved Lola Valentino's on Hidalgo (the stuffed Grouper was heaven, Kim in STL), Rolandi's pizzeria for great pizza on Hidalgo, Brisas on Hidalgo. We also loved Cafe Francais just off Hidalgo on a corner. The food and service was great and dinner also included a drink of your choice for about $17 per person. Another favorite was Cafe Mogogua, a cool open air place with deck chairs overlooking the sidewalk and great for people watching. They had lattes, cappucinos, pizzas, mexican, a bit of everything. We had the chicken and beef fajitas and they were excellent. Sunset Grill, just a quick walk from the hotel on Playa Norte had great food, reasonable prices, and a spectacular sunset viewed from our table in the sand. Our big splurge of the trip was dinner at Hotel Rolandi at the south end of the the island: 5 Star Hotel with a gorgeous fine dining room overlooking the water. Make your reservation for 7:00, the sun sets at 7:30 and it is beautiful. After the sun sets, the lights of Cancun sparkle like jewels across the channel and make for a very memorable evening. Food was good, service was outstanding, a shared appetizer (try the calamari!), 3 glasses of wine, 2 entrees (seafood risotto) and 2 Mexican coffees prepared flaming at the table cost $132US with tip. We rented a golf cart for 24 hours ($50US), toured the south end of the island, and made our reservations at Hotel Rolandi during the day (request a waterside table) then headed back to the hotel to shower and change before going back to Hotel Rolandi for our 7:00 dinner. I would recommend renting a golf cart from Ciro's. Their carts stand out from the rest of the blah-beige horde and are faster. We rented a cherry red 57 Chevy replica which we named the Heavy Chevy, which had others pointing and staring all day. They also had Jeep Wrangler replicas. We stopped at the Soggy Peso in the afternoon to check it out and it happened to be rib day. The platters coming out of the kitchen were massive, and everyone seemed to love them but they were just more than we needed that day with a nice dinner reservation that evening. We made a note to go back on the next trip as it seemed like a cool place.
During the day our favorite beach club was the Fenix, near the bridge to the Mia Reef Hotel. Great spot, free use of the beach beds if you spend 200 pesos (about $20) on food and drink. They have a live band most days and a back up DJ. Great ceviche and cold beers. I think they're closed on Mondays. We went to Zama's Beach Club as well. Nice spot, great guacamole made right in front of you at your table or on the beach. However, we thought it was a bit of a rip off as they charged us for use of the beach loungers even though it was deserted there that day and we had spent about $40 on lunch and drinks. Jax Bar is right across the street from the hotel and the upstairs patio was a great place to view the boats coming and going. Good fish tacos too.  It was interesting sitting in the restaurants near the ferry docks (Muelle 7 was nice) and watching the thousands of daytrippers come in on an endless stream of giant catamarans. Mostly college age students walking off the boats early in the afternoon and staggering back on later after a day at the beaches and waterfront bars. Most places have 2 for 1 happy hours from 5-7. But most of them stuck to the beach and beach clubs on the Cancun side of the island. Any time we walked on Playa Norte it never really seemed that crowded.
One last bit of advice: as per Vancouver Sundog, order the MapChick Isla Mujeres maps ( www.cancunmap.com ) at least a month before you leave. For $15 they are updated, accurate and an invaluable resource for getting around and finding places.
We loved Isla Mujeres, the beaches and water are stunning, so much to see and do, great food and so many choices for bars and restaurants. You can spend as much or as little as you want to. It is completely safe to walk around the town at night after dark and we never felt timid about doing so. After dark when all of the daytrippers have gone back to the mainland, the island takes on a very cool vibe. We can't wait to return.
2014/04/29 16:26:06
Very nice write up playaguy. Muchas Gracias!
2014/04/29 19:44:42
nice review, playaguy.
We will make use of your recommends in about a MONTH, woo-hoo!
We've never been.
2014/04/29 23:15:41
Is Playa Loncheros still there? Famous for tikin-xic fish tacos.
2014/04/29 23:21:59
Yes, Playa Loncheros is still there, not a fan of tix n chick but a nice place to hang on a weekday, used to get overrun by daytrippers but they do not stay long, most tours take them to a private beach club for a buffet lunch from what I understand.
Great trip report playaguy and yes Casa Rolandi restaurant is fabulous, always used to hit it for my last night on Isla. Sadly the resort has been bought by Zoetry, hopefully they will not mess with the restaurant or make the place AI. I was lucky to stay there one night last year with TwirleyB who scored an internet deal there, great staff and fabulous rooms.
2014/04/30 07:38:58
If only there was more snorkeling from shore on Isla.  That report made me want to go back.
2014/04/30 12:50:23
Laura Mapchick
Great report Playaguy and thanks for the recommendation!
Playa Lancheros is still there but it has changed a bit, not that same rustic place of old, they built a fancy new restaurant, and when I say "fancy" I mean nicer than what they used to have :) Day trippers from Cancun park next door. Prices have also risen, but the tik 'n xic is still good!
Two good (not compared to Akumal) but decent snorkeling from shore at Garrafon de Castilla on the south end and around the bridge to Mia Reef, (previously the Avalon)
Crunch, I think you need to spilt your trip between PoMo and Isla :)
2014/04/30 15:01:39
I have to admit it's been 10 years since we were at Isla.  But I remember Play Lancheros well and the tik n xic - very tasty and I have a picture of my wife holding a nurse shark.  Very safe they said, back before we became "aware". 
We loved snorkeling Castillo Garrafon - mainly because they were cheaper than Garrafon and didn't make us wear vests.  We also snorkeled the wild side of what was then Avalon and saw the most amazing fish ball of what we were told were tarpon.  Again, before we realized the  meaning of fish balling like that.
But the restaurant we loved most we didn't find until the night before we left.  The Sunset Grill.  We loved the food and the ambiance, very laid back.  The prices were great, service was phenomenal and even now as I think about it, I get that warm fuzzy feeling I get when I think about La Buena Vida.  Again 10 years gone but I'm glad to hear it's still there.  Isla lost us when we found Akumal.  We still talk about going back - just never seem to get there.
Now we are pushing farther south to Tankah on our next trip.  First time in a villa.  I guess that's been our evolution from AI (Grand Bahia) to timeshare (Avalon Reef) to Coz(AI) to condo (La Sirenas and Mi Casa del Mar) and now to a villa (Casa de Ensueno).  Can't wait to see where we go next but I sure hope to hear about Isla some more.  Maybe we should go back again.
2014/04/30 15:55:20
stranded in suburbia
Oh my...I cannot believe it's 7 years since I've been on my Isla. Reading this thread has made me very homesick. I'm thinking of making the trip around Thanksgiving this year. It's good to see many of the old faves are still there. One place I never see mentioned is Miguel's Moonlight. I met Miguel 10 years ago when he was the bartender at Posada Del Mar. He opened his own place about 8 years ago and I love the vibe there. Great bar (Miguel is one of the best bartenders on the island) and there's always a lovely fun group there in the evenings. Barlito at Marina Paraiso is a fabulous place I haven't been, but the owners are longtime friends and they now have the infamous Ziggy in their kitchen. I can't wait to be there again. Many of my friends have moved to the island at least part-time, some full. It's making me happy thinking about reconnecting. Thanks for this post. It made me smile
2014/04/30 19:09:39
Stranded, Miguel gets talked about on some other travel forums and hear his place is great. I did not know Ziggy was at Marina Paraiso, that is great, met him many years ago when he was still married to Donna Jane and working at Chili Locos, then later at Sergio's Playa Sol. Two good places that are gone and will be missed. BTW, read ChiChi and Charlie's is setting up on Playa Sol, there is a bar there now with a bartender Chucho.
2014/05/01 07:24:37
Laura Mapchick
Ziggy had been at another great restaurant up until about a week or two ago, it's called Monchis and is near Mango Cafe, I love that place and hope it's still as good without Ziggy. He is happily cooking away at Marina Paraiso!
Miguel and his famous pomegranate margaritas still around, but he moved from his original spot on  Hidalgo to Ave. Madero for you old timers :)
2014/05/01 14:51:12
stranded in suburbia
Thanks Laura. My Mapchick map is from 2007! I'll have to get a new one before I go!
2014/05/01 16:03:45

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