There are so many great bars and restaurants on Isla Mujeres, that I certainly can’t name them all. But here is a start.
If you’ve never been, Isla Mujeres is an island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. You can travel here by taking a 20-minute ferry ride from Cancun. It’s a popular tourist destination, and Playa Norte (North Beach) is known as one of the best beaches in Mexico.
The downtown area, known as El Centro, is on the north part of the island near Playa Norte. And if you’re wondering where to go or what to do, here are a few of the best bars and best restaurants in this area for great tostadas, tacos, cocktails and more. If you have time to explore the island more, I also recommend these other two posts that share more about great places to visit outside of downtown.
- Explore Isla Mujeres Mexico: Leave El Centro!
- Hidden Gems in Isla Mujeres, Mexico (Bars and Restaurants)
Best Restaurants in Isla Mujeres
Best Brunch & Cocktails
Lola Valentina has perhaps the best cocktail menu on the island, with several types of margaritas, mezcal-ritas, and various house cocktails. But prices here are also higher than most other places. Although I didn’t include in the video above, they also have great dinner options (chili relleno is one of my favorite dishes here) and their cochinita pibil eggs benedict is one of my top picks for best brunch on Isla Mujeres.
Best Mediterranean Restaurant
With all the Mexican and Italian restaurants on Isla Mujeres, you might want to mix up your dinner options. Olivia is a Mediterranean restaurant with beautiful back courtyard for outdoor dining. The Moroccan style fish and the chicken with olives are my two favorite dishes. I also suggest starting with the Moroccan Tapas (babaganush, tabule, Moroccan carrot salad, and matbuha). If you need a break from tacos, ceviche, or whatever else then come here. Olivia is one of the best restaurants on the island, and so you shouldn’t be disappointed.
Fish & Gin
Great Seafood and Cocktails
I think you can probably guess what Fish & Gin specializes in. Their gin cocktails include such things as the Gin & Thyme, Gin & Lychee, and Gin & Green (cucumber, basil, and kiwi). The seafood tostadas and lobster tacos are some of my favorite smaller food items. But really everything on the menu is good. And thanks to Adam for letting me video him while making my drink!
Fredy's Restaurant & Bar
Best Pork Chop
The sign at Fredy’s Restaurant & Bar says they have a world famous porkchop. I can’t attest to how famous it is, but it’s definitely worth getting. If you strike up a conversation with the owner Fredy, don’t be surprised if he pulls up a chair like he has known you for decades. There’s a good chance he’ll bust your chops a little bit too (sorry, I’m practicing my dad jokes!).
Tarzan Bar & Grill
Beach Bar to Watch the Sunset
Tarzan Bar & Grill is a small bar and beach club right on Playa Norte (North Beach). It’s not fancy, but I love grabbing a few beers here and watching the sunset. You can also see the sunset from the restaurants along Playa Centro, north of the ferry terminal. But I prefer here or Mayan beach Club, even though they are around the bend and face more north-west.
Best Breakfast in Isla Mujeres
Cafe Mogagua is a very popular cafe with a large breakfast menu that includes American fare and also some local Mexican dishes like chilaquiles and molletes.
Q’Bravo is easy to miss, as it’s a bit further south from the busiest section of Hidalgo Street. But it’s worth seeking out for one of the best breakfasts on Isla Mujeres. It’s smaller than most of the other places on the list, but will have a mix of locals, foreign residents, and tourists.
North Garden is just steps from Playa Norte, so it’s a great spot to hit up before spending the day at the beach. They also have the best prices for breakfast cocktails, with various flavors of mimosas, daquiris, and the best Bloody Mary on the island. The food menu is smaller and more Americanized than other places (omelets, Benedicts, hot cakes, and bagel sandwiches).
Owner Ruben Martinez was a beloved member of the community who was known for his big heart and willingness to always help children and adults in need. Sadly, he passed away after contracting Covid, but his restaurant lives on. Ruben’s is well known for their lobster eggs benedict and chimichangas. In a nod to all the American tourists and residents they also serve crispy beef tacos. It’s not fancy, but Ruben’s is easily one of the most loved restaurants on the island.
Other Great Breakfast Spots
Loncherias at the Mercado: In the rear of the market on Av Guerrero are three loncherias that serve an authentic Mexican breakfast and lunch. Prices are less expensive. Weekends will be busy, but come here at least once while on the island.
Rooster: Excellent spot right on Hidalgo. Even when I didn’t stay for breakfast, I stopped in here often to buy my girlfriend a fresh baked muffin, banana bread, or cinnamon roll.
Mango Cafe: This has two of the best breakfast dishes on the island (coconut French toast and the stuffed pepper). You can see more of my comments in my post about where to go when exploring the rest of the island here.
Best Bars for Live Music in Isla Mujeres
This is perhaps the most popular live music venue in Isla Mujeres. They will typically have an acoustic guitar or keyboard player on the roof before sunset, and then a full band downstairs at night.
Usually a solo singer playing keyboard or guitar most nights
Plenty of outside tables with rock music and salsa. Has a large area for dancing so it’s one of the liveliest spots at night
Great spot for happy hour and then live music later at night
Other Great Restaurants in Isla Mujeres
There are too many great restaurants on Isla Mujeres to name them all. Although the above are some of my favorites, I recommend you walk all around all of El Centro and explore. Don’t just stay on Hidalgo! You can find some of the best tacos at Los Tacos de Humo, a great dinner at Mahache, and churros at the street carts.
The island keeps growing in popularity, and so it changes often. To keep up, I highly recommend downloading the Map Chicks App before coming to Isla Mujeres. This app does a great job listing many bars and restaurants, their open hours, and even linking to menus when possible. Plus, it has other great information for tours, accommodations, and medical services.