Mahahual, on the southern end of Quintana Roo in what is known as the Costa Maya region, has seen steady growth in interest in tourism over the last few years. With regular visits by cruise ships, businesses are flocking to the once sleepy fishing village. Yet Mahahual retains its rustic, coastal Caribbean charm. What you may not know is that Mahahual is a magnet for Italian restaurants. In fact, one could throw a rock any direction and hit a restaurant cranking out superb Italian dishes, both right on the beach and further into the small town. We’ll take a look at a few of the best Italian restaurants in Mahahual, so pull up a chair and bring your appetite.
Mahahual’s Malecon is a pedestrian walkway in Mahahual with many nice restaurants and shops on the west and pristine beachfront on the east. Here you can stroll at your own pace, and shop to your heart’s content, and it’s also here on the Malecon where you’ll find an extensive choice of restaurants, bars, and beach clubs. One such place is Ibiza Sunset, where executive chef Jackie is creating amazing, original entrees and appetizers from scratch using nothing but fresh, quality ingredients. And Jackie’s Italian culinary skills are off the chart. Take a chair at a candle-lit table beneath the coconut palms, order her Seafood Pasta, sit back with a cold cocktail, and enjoy one of the finest views in the world. Ibiza Sunset’s Seafood Pasta is a very large portion of fettuccini (or any pasta of your choosing) mixed with fish, shrimp, and crab in a delicious tomato-based sauce with two large triangles of aromatic, buttered garlic bread. Like most of Jackie’s entrees, this portion is the perfect size for splitting with a partner. You’ll also want to try Ibiza Sunset’s Fettuccini Alfredo. Wash it down with any of a variety of wines, ice-cold beer or a fresh cocktail. Definitely, try Jackie’s Mojito, but be careful, as you’ll likely want more than just one. Ibiza Sunset is open daily on the central Malecon.
For classic Italian cuisine, you need a classical Italian owner, chef, and staff. Maramao’s owner, Luca Agati, is from Florence, Italy, and along with co-owner Angelo, takes the food he serves quite seriously. Maramao is the perfect evening spot for dinner, with wicker basket lighting creating a soft glow throughout the dining room, where you’re bathed in the aroma of fresh pasta and seafood. The sounds of the surf from the Caribbean just beyond your table and laughter from happy guests, combined with smooth jazz make for the perfect backdrop. Meanwhile, you’ll find Luca hard at work overseeing the dining room, kitchen and front of the house, and the pride he takes in his creation definitely shows up in each dish. Definitely try the King Crab Pasta, with your choice of penne or spaghetti pasta and sizeable portions of fresh King Crab in a white wine and garlic sauce. Or choose from any of Maramao’s “Nine Wishes” on the menu – Pasta Pomodoro, Carbonara, Bolognese, Vegetarian, Marinara, Shrimp with Zucchini and Lobster, or Pasta Alfredo with Shrimp. Each sizable portion is served with an equally sizable plate of freshly-baked bread, still warm from the oven, and perfect for sauce-dipping. You’ll also find a satisfying selection of gluten-free choices. You’ll want to leave room for dessert, as Maramao’s Tiramisu is a must. Maramao’s is open daily and easy to find on the central Malecon.
In telling you about the best Italian restaurants in Mahahual, we can’t skip Pizza Metro. Just one block west of the central Malecon, you will find the most unassuming place for true Italian style pizza. Two tables and a chalkboard with the day’s specials are all that adorn the simple storefront, but inside is the most charming lady you will ever meet, and wow, does she know how to make pizza. Their pizzas are not just food, but masterpieces. Pizza Metro’s delivery drivers stay busy, and for good reason. The pizza here is utterly amazing, preserving true artisan authenticity. The hands working in the kitchen bring to life a fluffy, light dough that results in a flaky, crispy crust, topped with quality ingredients of your choosing. It’s uncertain just what they put in the tomato-based sauce, but it must have addictive properties. A simple, medium pepperoni pizza comes to your table on a massive rectangular wooden serving platter. Portions are large enough to make a take-out container necessary for leftovers. Pizza Metro is located on Calle Huachinango and is easy to reach from the Malecon. Simply exit the Malecon by walking west on Calle Sierra and turn left at the next street. Pizza Metro is about a half-block down on the left. Open 3-11:30 pm, closed Wednesday.
A true Caribbean paradise with a huge variety of dining choices to suit any appetite, Mahahual and the Costa Maya is well worth the 2.5-hour journey south from Tulum. Renting a car is recommended, although Mahahual is also accessible by bus. Home to many boutique hotels right on the beach, Mahahual is the perfect place to spend your vacation trying out the many local flavors.
Check out places you will love in Mahahual.