Cozumel is one of the top tourist destinations in all of Mexico. Known for its gorgeous white-sand beaches with crystal clear water, this Caribbean island is one of the best places to go for a beach vacation in Mexico. We have been to Cozumel countless times, as the island’s vibe is a perfect blend of relaxation and fun.
Over our many visits, we have figured out which of the local restaurants serve up the best food, including delicious seafood caught daily by local fishermen. This list will provide you with our picks of the 30 best Cozumel restaurants with friendly staff, authentic Mexican food made with fresh ingredients, and ice-cold beer and margaritas.
We have broken them out into several categories to make your search for the perfect restaurant in Cozumel even easier. For more information on visiting Cozumel, be sure to read our comprehensive Cozumel travel guide.
The Best Restaurants in Downtown Cozumel
Cozumel is a pretty big island, and there are great restaurants dotted throughout. However, the vast majority of attractions and stores are within the town of San Miguel de Cozumel, and this is probably where you will spend the most time while in Cozumel. Here are the best restaurants in the downtown area of Cozumel.
1. Le Chef Cozumel
$$$ | Seafood & Mediterranean
Le Chef Cozumel is a highly-rated restaurant right along the north end of the main street on the west side of the island. Located just a short walk from the central square, this restaurant is conveniently located and serves up some delicious meals. Their lobster sandwich is a fan favorite, but you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu.
2. Frida’s Restaurant Bar
$$$ | Mexican & Italian
Frida’s Restaurant Bar is located right in the main square of San Miguel de Cozumel, and they serve up delicious food with friendly service. This is a great place to go if there are any picky eaters in your group, as Frida’s serves a little bit of everything, including some fantastic pizza. As there is often live music in the square, their outdoor seating is prime on a Friday or Saturday night.
Frida’s husband owns a German-themed snorkeling company on the island, and his tours are easily among the best things to do in Cozumel.
3. La Choza Cozumel
$$$ | Mexican
La Choza Cozumel is a traditional Mexican restaurant located within walking distance of the main square. La Choza Cozumel is one of the most popular restaurants on the entire island, and it is a great spot to try some authentic Mexican cuisine. Despite its popularity, La Choza charges reasonable prices and is sure to appeal to your taste buds.
4. Casa Mission
$$$ | Mexican & Seafood
Casa Mission is one of Cozumel’s best restaurants when it comes to fresh seafood and great atmospheres. The fresh fish served here is always a treat, and the lime soup has become famous around the island. On top of that, you can always count on Casa Mission to provide good service. To sweeten the deal even more, Casa Mission is known for frequently having live bands and other entertainment, which are sure to enhance your dining experience.
5. La Cocay
$$ | Mediteranean
La Cocay is one of the closest things that Cozumel has to true fine dining. This restaurant serves truly great food, and it is the kind of place that you visit on a special occasion. From great service to some excellent Mexican and seafood dishes, La Cocay is an excellent restaurant that costs a lot less than you might expect based on the quality of the food and experience.
6. K’ooben Laab
$ | Mediteranean
K’ooben Laab is one of the best Italian restaurants not just in Cozumel, but in the entire state of Quintana Roo. That is high praise, as Quintana Roo includes other popular tourist destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cancun, and Tulum. From incredible homemade pasta to some outstanding tiramisu, K’ooben Laab is a place you don’t want to miss.
7. Pancho’s Backyard
$$ | Mexican
Pancho’s Backyard is an upscale brunch and dinner place right in the heart of downtown Cozumel. Just about everything served here has a great taste to it, whether you are interested more in the catch of the day or the mouthwatering dessert options. While the brunch is delicious, Pancho’s Backyard is also a place where you can have a great night sipping on nice cocktails, like their popular banana margarita.
8. Gatropark 140
$-$$ | Multiple Food Vendors
Gastropark 140 is a local favorite, and it is much more than just one restaurant! This place is an outdoor food court with a handful of different restaurants located inside. If you are on a budget, this is an awesome spot to try some great Mexican food at a good price, and it is conveniently located within walking distance of the main plaza.
9. Restaurante Palmeras Cozumel
$$$ | Mexican
Restaurante Palmeras Cozumel is literally in the center of the town of San Miguel de Cozumel. This restaurant is a bit on the pricier side because of its convenient location, but its fajitas and margaritas are delicious. If you are looking for a nice restaurant in the center of town with a broad Mexican menu, I recommend Restaurante Palmeras Cozumel.
$$ | Mexican
Machete is a little hole in the wall tucked back a few blocks off of the main square. The food here is very tasty, the drinks are strong, and the staff is very friendly. I think Machete is one of the best places in Cozumel to just grab a drink and enjoy some snack foods. While Senor Frog’s is one of the most popular chain bars in Cozumel, I much prefer holes in the wall like this one.
11. Burritos Gorditos
$ | Mexican
If you want a good burrito, look no further than Burritos Gorditos. Burritos Gorditos easily serves up the best burritos on the entire island, and they are one of the only places that specialize in them. While burritos aren’t a very authentic Mexican food at all, there is no denying that the ones they make here are delicious!
12. Thirsty Cougar
$$ | Mexican
Thirsty Cougar is a Mexican restaurant located within walking distance of downtown that is known for its giant margaritas, delicious ceviche, and fresh guacamole. Its bright color scheme and designs are what make it one of the favorite places on the island for many tourists, but the food is worth the hype as well.
13. Guido’s Restaurant
$$$ | Italian
Guido’s Restaurant is a favorite among many visitors for its truly original location and its gorgeous garden area that can rival any roof terrace dining area. The restaurant serves authentic Italian cuisine, including homemade pasta and delicious pizzas. While the food is very good, what makes Guido’s one of the top restaurants in Cozumel is its magical feel and ambiance.
If you are craving Italian food, you can’t go wrong with Guido’s.
The Best Restaurants by the Beach in Cozumel
Cozumel is known for having the best beaches in all of Mexico, from powdery white sand to crystal clear waters. These are pretty magnificent views to have while you eat dinner! Here are a couple of the best restaurants by the beach in Cozumel.
14. La Monina
$$ | Mexican & American
If you’re imagining a nice dinner by the beach, La Monina is one of the best places to check out in Cozumel. This restaurant is part of a beach club, and it offers a full menu of mouthwatering Mexican dishes that are all worth checking out. This restaurant is slightly more upscale than many on this list, but it isn’t nearly as formal as fine dining.
15. Money Bar Beach Club
$$ | Mexican
Money Bar Beach Club has been a favorite of ours for over a decade. This little beach club south of the downtown parts of Cozumel serves up delicious food with panoramic ocean views and beach access. While the food isn’t fancy in any way, the menu is pretty wide and the prices are affordable given the fact that the restaurant is located in a beach club. There are also many drink specials here, providing you the opportunity to crack open an ice-cold beer and go for a swim in the Caribbean Sea!
The Best Restaurants in the Cozumel Hotel Zone
There are a few different hotel zones in Cozumel, but the one most commonly referred to as the hotel zone is on the northern part of the island. There aren’t many great restaurants up that way outside of the hotels, but there are two that really stand out as great places to eat.
16. La Cabaña del Pescador Grill Lobster House
$$$ | Italian
La Cabana del Pescador Grill Lobster House is a popular place located on the north end of the island. Their seafood is regarded as some of the best on the island, and people rave about their Key Lime Pie. This lobster shack is a particularly great option for people staying on the northern end of the island, as there are not many other great restaurants up that way.
$$ | Seafood
Located in the northern part of the island, Buccanos is one of Cozumel’s many fantastic restaurants located right on the beach. This place is most popular for its seafood, including some really good fish tacos and coconut shrimp. As there aren’t a lot of outstanding restaurants up in the northern part of the island, this place is a must if you are staying in that area.
The Best Coffee Shops and Breakfast Spots in Cozumel
Everyone needs a little breakfast in the morning, and Cozumel doesn’t disappoint. Whether you are looking for a quick bite from a bakery, some sinfully good French toast, or some authentic Mexican breakfast staples, Cozumel has you covered. Here are the best places for breakfast in Cozumel.
18. Maple Bakehouse Panaderia
If you are looking for the best coffee shop in Cozumel that isn’t named Starbucks, look no further. Maple Bakehouse Panaderia is a delicious, local shop that serves up delicious breads, baked goods, and fantastic coffee. This is not to be confused with the Maple Bakehouse, which is a related, but much larger restaurant on the other side of the town. If you go to the larger Maple Bakehouse, you simply can’t pass up on the French toast.
19. El Palomar Cozumel
El Palomar serves both brunch and dinner, and the food is truly magnificent. This is one of the best restaurants on the entire island. From delicious tacos to a whole grilled octopus, the menu here is filled with incredible options that will not disappoint. The portions tend to be generous, the prices are affordable, and the cocktail list is almost as extensive as the menu. El Palomar is a bit more upscale than most of the places on this list, and the atmosphere is very nice.
20. El Sazón del Camarón
El Sazon del Camaron is not exclusively a breakfast place. In fact, it is more of a brunch place than a breakfast place, and they close before dinner. El Sazon del Camaron is known for its menu of scrumptious seafood tacos, including fish, shrimp, octopus, and more. They also make their own salsas and ceviches, and you can’t go wrong with any of their cocktails, either.
21. La Candela
Many people think that La Candela serves the best Mexican breakfast in all of Cozumel, and I can’t disagree. They serve a very nice menu of Mexican breakfast favorites, and they do a great job making them. This place has a very rustic Mexican feel to it, and it is a spot that you don’t want to miss.
22. Ciri’s Coffee Bar
Ciri’s Coffee Bar is another cute coffee shop located on the island. Ciri’s Coffee Bar prides itself on serving high-quality Mexican coffee, and coffee lovers love their espresso beverages. While it is a bit further away from the downtown area, Ciri’s Coffee Bar is still very accessible by taxi and is a great, small place with a relaxing atmosphere.
The Best Restaurants Near the Cruise Terminal in Cozumel
Cozumel is most popularly visited as a cruise port, but many cruise guests prefer to just stick around the area by the cruise terminal. There are a handful of great restaurants right by the cruise ships, and my favorites are these three:
23. Bar Mandy
$ | Mexican
Known for its simple, high-quality, affordable Mexican dishes, Bar Mandy is a fantastic place to go if you are looking for a great bite to eat just a few steps away from your cruise ship. This restaurant is not fancy by any means, but it offers up good food just a few minutes away from where all of the cruise ships dock. Bar Mandy offers a very relaxed atmosphere along with traditional Mexican dishes, like huevos rancheros.
24. Ix Kool
$$$$ | Mexican
Ix Kool is one of the best Yucatecan restaurants on the entire island. If you read my Merida travel guide, you know that Yucatecan food is some of the best food in all of Mexico! The cochinita pibil here is to die for, and it is something you simply must try if you’ve never had it before. Being within walking distance of the cruise terminal makes this place a popular restaurant for cruise guests, too!
25. Paprika Mexican & Caribbean Kitchen
$$ | Mexican & Caribbean
Paprika Mexican & Caribbean Kitchen is a fan-favorite restaurant recognized for its delicious Mexican food served at very affordable prices. Guests tend to love the coconut ice cream, and many people find themselves stopping in for dinner and coming back the next day for breakfast, or the other way around!
If you want a delicious, affordable spot not too far from the cruise port, Paprika Mexican & Caribbean Kitchen is a great spot to check out.
The Best Tacos in Cozumel
While most Mexican restaurants serve tacos, that doesn’t necessarily make them taco joints. A true taco joint is much more of an open kitchen concept, with everything prepared right in front of you. Some places in Cozumel specialize in whipping up some delicious tacos, and we’ve listed the best ones here.
26. Mister Taco
$ | Mexican
Mister Taco is known for serving up some of the best tacos in Cozumel, and you will be stunned by their great prices. The tacos here are authentic, and they are in a great location within walking distance of the main square. Be sure to check their hours in advance, as they tend to be a dinner-only place.
27. Taqueria El Camarón Dorado
$ | Mexican
El Camaron Dorado, or the Golden Shrimp in Spanish, is a little taco joint a mile outside of the main town of Cozumel that serves up delicious seafood tacos. Most people who eat here wind up raving about the tacos, saying that El Camaron Dorado serves the best tacos on the whole island. While that is surely up for debate, there is no denying that they are outstanding!
28. Taqueria El Poblano
$ | Mexican
Located just up the road from El Camaron Dorado is Taqueria El Poblano, which is another one of the island’s best taco restaurants. This place is more famous for its tacos al pastor, which are tacos made with specially marinated pork and often served with pineapple. This recipe comes from the state of Puebla, which is what gives this restaurant its name.
$ | Mexican
Guisados serves the best tacos in the town of Cozumel, in my opinion. This little restaurant has a long menu, but I highly recommend trying its mole tacos. Mole is a Mexican food made of different seeds, nuts, and spices, and Guisados mole tacos are both unique and delicious.
The Best Dessert Place in Cozumel
30. Kike’s Artisanal Ice Cream
$$$ | Seafood & Mediterranean
If you have a sweet tooth, Kike’s Artisanal Ice Cream is a place you absolutely need to check out. This spot is famous for its homemade ice cream, and it just hits differently on a hot day in the Caribbean. While many of the restaurants on this list serve great desserts, there is no better standalone dessert spot in Cozumel than Kike’s Artisanal Ice Cream.
Thank you for reading our post about the best restaurants in Cozumel! Hopefully this post didn’t make your mouth start watering too much. Honestly, the food in Cozumel is outstanding, and you can’t go wrong with any of the places on this list. If you have any questions, be sure to drop a comment below.