How much culinary variety can you really find on a tiny island? Turns out… a lot. The flavorful restaurant scene of Isla Mujeres is a not-so-well-kept secret among Mexico travelers. Despite its small size, this Caribbean island serves up all kinds of cuisine to get your mouth watering, mostly at locally-owned bars and restaurants. The bulk of “Isla’s” eateries are set on the more bustling northern end of the island, especially on North Beach and at the central Avenida Hidalgo pedestrian street. Still, the south side of the island has its own charms; here you can find quiet little beaches on the southwestern coast, along with the majority of the local population (which means more businesses run by locals and sometimes cheaper prices). Keep reading to find out which restaurants will have you rushing to take a golf cart, bike, or taxi to southern Isla Mujeres on your next trip!
Location: Corner of Avenida Rueda Medina and Calle Cayo Ratón
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. (closed Mondays)
This small-scale food park provides a haven for local artists, featuring frequent live music and community events for art and the environment. For breakfast, indulge in a variety of omelet options or the sweet-and-savory waffle recipes along with smoothies from the juice bar; then for lunch and dinner, try their specialty baguettes and pizzas (like the Mexico-style elote pizza with corn, garlic mayo, lime, and chile powder).
Location: Calle Lizeta in La Gloria neighborhood
Hours: Breakfast 8:00 a.m. – noon, dinner 4:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m., open Monday through Friday
A cozy garden courtyard awaits you at the locally-famous Limón, set in the middle of a residential neighborhood in the south-central part of Isla Mujeres. The breakfast menu offers international favorites like paninis, pancakes, and eggs benedict, along with Mexico’s famous chilaquiles (in red or green salsa!). For dinner, expect to find Mexican international fusion cuisine with specialties like hibiscus tacos or surf & turf platters. Reservations are required for dinner and can be made via Limón’s Facebook page or by calling (998)130-1924. Thanks Limón for use of the photo!
Location: Perimetral Poniente (main road along southwestern coast)
Hours: 12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (or later if it’s still busy!)
One of Isla’s most visually captivating restaurants! Located on the quiet southwestern coast of Isla Mujeres, Mar-bella sits right on its own beach. This seafood restaurant has beachy contemporary style and an open-air atmosphere. Enjoy cocktails on the deck or on a beach lounger, or try the freshly-caught local seafood with dishes like oysters, seared tuna, ceviches, tostadas and grilled octopus. Lunch here can get pricey, but the fresh product, low-key beach, and impressive Caribbean Sea views make it a top choice for a day on the island.
Location: Perimetral Poniente (near Garrafon Park)
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Jamaican vibes can be found on Isla Mujeres at this casual outdoor bar and eatery. Live reggae bands create a relaxed atmosphere most afternoons, while the huge menu includes all kinds of “bar food” classics like burgers and tacos. The Joint also serves fantastic specialty margaritas and mojitos to help you cool off from the island heat.
Location: Avenida Rueda Medina
Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 p.m.
One of the most recognizable names on Isla Mujeres! Set on the west coast near the center of the island, Oscar’s is divided into a streetside dining section and a waterfront dining area by its marina. This grill opens at 9:00 a.m. for breakfast, then at 1:00 p.m. starts serving its popular pizzas; try the ingredient-heavy Oscar’s Special Pizza with green peppers, mushrooms, olives, tomato, pepperoni, spinach, ham, and Italian sausage, plus a mozzarella-stuffed crust. If you’re not in the mood for pizza, they also offer extensive options for seafood, tacos, burgers, and pasta.
Location: Carretera Sac Bajo
Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
If you’re seeking a quiet beach day without the crowds, head to the southwestern coast of the island for an afternoon at Zama. This contemporary-style beach club has an open-air restaurant set under a huge palapa, along with loungers and umbrellas by the water and a stunning two-level pool. Here you can try popular Caribbean and Yucatan seafood recipes like ceviche, shrimp tacos, and famous local dish tikin xic (an achiote-marinated fish recipe), and you’ll have all-day access to the beach loungers and pool when buying lunch.
Thanks to its blend of local neighborhoods and tranquil beaches, the southern half of Isla Mujeres provides plenty of character that can be seen in its bars, restaurants, and beach clubs. On your next visit to the island, make sure to venture out of the downtown area to discover the wonderful surroundings found throughout the rest of Isla.