Puerto Morelos The Mexican Town that Surprised Me

Puerto Morelos: A Little-Known Gem of the Riviera Maya with Great Restaurants

I didn’t know much about the town when I came to Puerto Morelos. But this town was my biggest surprise from my time in Mexico. Below, I’ll introduce you to the best restaurants in Puerto Morelos for dinner and brunch, the best beach bar to make friends, and one of the best live music venues I found living in Quintana Roo.

Puerto Morelos, Mexico is a small fishing town located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. I had no idea what to expect, other than what I had heard from other YouTube creators like Tangerine Travels and My Trish Advisor (follow them both to learn lots of great things about Mexico!!!). But I found out Puerto Morelos might be the best beach town in Quintana Roo. And it has a reef for snorkeling just 300 meters offshore.

I had booked just one week here, but good restaurants, live music, and the strong WiFi in the area that made Puerto Morelos a great place for digital nomads led me to extend my stay for a full month. These are just some of the best Puerto Morelos restaurants and bars.

Restaurante Boquinete

Best Romantic Restaurant in Puerto Morelos

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Best Restaurant in Puerto Morelos: Boquinete
Fish Zarandeado at Boquinete, Puerto Morelos

We had several of the most romantic and best meals in Mexico here at Boquinete. The main dining room overlooks the beach, and there is a small section that extends out towards the water for a more private experience. They also have tables down on the sand and sometimes live music.

The menu has great seafood, with several types of ceviche, braised octopus, and fresh fish. One of my favorite items is the Pescado (fish) Zarandeado, which is a whole fish opened up, coated in chiles and spices, and then grilled over a wood fire. This style comes from the western city of Nayarit (it looks similar to the Yucatan Tikin-xic style).

Although Boquinete is my pick for the best restaurant in Puerto Morelos, I’ve listed a couple others below that have valid claims. Here’s another picture below of the exterior.

Best Puerto Morelos Restaurants: Boquinete
Boquinete, Puerto Morelos

Mangata

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Best Breakfast in Puerto Morelos: Mangata
Chilaquiles at Mangata, Puerto Morelos

As one of the best breakfast restaurants in Puerto Morelo, I came here to Mangata more mornings than anywhere else. They also have super fast WiFi that allowed me to work there, but also a great menu. Their Facebook page markets themselves as a health food restaurant, and they did sneak spinach into my chilaquiles, but I loved this place despite my aversion to “healthy food.” They have a huge smoothie selection as well. 

Lola y Moyo

Best Local's Breakfast Restaurant in Puerto Morelos

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Best Breakfast Puerto Morelos: Lola y Moyo
Lola y Moyo, Puerto Morelos

Lola y Moyo is truly “Grandma’s Kitchen.” It’s a Puerto Morelos restaurant popular among residents for breakfast, and each time I came here I met regulars. Anytime I see new dishes somewhere I need to try them, and the Tarascos (eggs over a corn tortilla with ham, beans, and green salsa) was my favorite breakfast dish in town but of course the huevos rancheros with a chunkier tomato salsa (pictured above) was a go-to as well.

Lauro's

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Puerto Morelos Best Bars: Lauro's
Lauro's, Puerto Morelos

Lauro’s is THE bar to come for live music in Puerto Morelos. The owner, Hector, is an amazing guitarist and plays occasionally by himself or with a guest singer. But most nights, other local bands will be playing. One night I was here a big group was in town for a birthday, and one woman who had won a Grammy Award in theater got up and sung several songs with him. While the music is the main draw, stay for the food. All dishes are served in a molcajete. when it comes to live music, this is easily the best bar in Puerto Morelos.

Diving Lodge Downtown

Best Beach Bar in Puerto Morelos

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Best Beach Bar Puerto Morelos: Diving Lodge Downtown
Diving Lodge Downtown, Puerto Morelos

I found the Diving Lodge Downtown to be the friendliest bar in Puerto Morelos. How can you explain how great a Dive bar right on the beach is? They have cocktails named after some of their best customers, and I aspire to become one of these great customers. It’s a decent walk from downtown, but you can spend the whole day here in their beach chairs.

El Campanario

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Best Restaurants in Puerto Morelos: El Campanario
El Campanario, Puerto Morelos

El Campanario could be the most loved restaurant in Puerto Morelos. It’s an Argentinean restaurant, with the best steak in town. Cuts of filet and a T-bone are priced under $20 USD. Plus, they have Argentinean favorites like empanadas and choripan (chorizo sandwich).

Local Coffee

Best Coffee Shop in Puerto Morelos

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Best Breakfast Puerto Morelos: Local Coffee
Coconut French Toast at Local Coffee, Puerto Morelos

Local Coffee, is… well, just as it seems…. a coffee shop. With a whole selection of lattes, tea, and smoothies, you can grab one to go or stay a while and have some good breakfast.

Having a good avocado toast seems to be a requirement here in Mexico. But the coconut French toast became one of my regular items as did the simple breakfast sandwich. This is where my girlfriend Jancie sat and worked from for many days.

The Burger Underground

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Best Puerto Morelos Restaurant's: Burger Underground
The Burger Underground, Puerto Morelos

I don’t typically seek out burgers here in Mexico. Afterall, it’s easy to find great burgers back home in the U.S. and I’d just rather try other things. So, if I’m including a burger joint, then you know it’s good (so far my only other burger recommendation is at Madera Food & art in Isla Mujeres which you can read about here).

The Burger Underground has some of the best burgers I found in all of Quintana Roo. They have several burger choices that are named after local customers, or of course you can build your own. The wings are pretty good too. 

Other Top Restaurants in Puerto Morelos

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The biggest reason I was so surprised is the sheer number of fantastic restaurants in Puerto Morelos. Larger cities like Playa del Carmen have overpriced tourist traps and can survive serving mediocre food to new tourists that arrive each week. But because Puerto Morelos has many permanent residents and foreigners that spend every winter here, the restaurants must be good to survive. They thrive on repeat business.

Punta Corcho: Another restaurant in Puerto Morelos that has a valid claim to be called one of the best. It has a large seafood menu and the best cocktails in town.

La Sirena: Locally inspired Mediterranean cuisine with a focus on Greek food. It is also the best place to watch NFL games (I watched the Super Bowl here). They have various activities on their rooftop as well as live music.

Tanino’s: Serves an array of items from land and sea, as well as several pasta dishes. They have a beautiful back courtyard, and this is my favorite place to stop for wine and listen to live music that doesn’t over power the space.

John Gray’s Kitchen: Listed as an “American Restaurant,” you’ll find specials that often include roasted duck breast, grilled pork loin, and a catch of the day. It’s one of the more expensive restaurants in Puerto Morelos.

Muelle Once: They have an outdoor deck overlooking the beach. It’s a great spot for dinner, but also a popular Puerto Morelos restaurant for brunch.

Cafe Amancia: A great restaurant for breakfast and coffee, although I usually got the mocha made with Mexican chocolate. WiFi here is the fastest I have found at any coffee shop in Mexico (170 Mbps), almost as fast as coworking spaces in Playa del Carmen and Cancun. I worked remotely from here many mornings.