Restaurants of Cozumel
Aside from the great meals at the Villa Dzul-Ha, there are many excellent restaurants in Cozumel. You might want to cancel some evening meals and eat out a few times. The feature of the island is broiled seafood, from fillet of grouper (with garlic butter !!!) to lobster tails. Of course, Mexican food abounds, but don't look for Tex-Mex. This is Mayan country, and the food in Mexico varies regionally, much the same way as in the United States. The restaurants in Cozumel do serve three items that are clearly Tex-Mex: Fajitas, Nachos, and (would you believe it ??) Margaritas !!!
Our favorite restaurants are Pepe's Grill, La Veranda, Casa Mission, La Choza, La Cabana del Pescador, and El Guacamayo. Refer to the local tourist guide books for locations, or your taxi driver will know how to take you.
The elegant, experienced waiters in PEPE'S GRILL serve seafood, Mexican food, and excellent prime rib, along with appetizers, salad bar, and flaming desserts. They serve an excellent Mexican Platter that is very reasonably priced. The beef fillets are large, but tough. The best bet for beef is prime rib, which is very tender and large enough to split an order between two normal appetites. Finish off with a flaming dessert, but if you are not strong on desserts, we recommend a Spanish coffee that is prepared with a variety of liquors and artistically flamed in Cozumel tradition.
LA VERANDA is an excellent place to enjoy "Caribbean Cuisine" as compared to the regular dishes prepared in Cozumel. A talented chef (who will most likely visit your table during the meal if the restaurant is not too crowded) deliciously and artistically prepares the variety of selections. Ernesto, the owner and operator, has been a personal friend of ours for many years, and we congratulate him on his effort to bring a new degree of excellence to Cozumel. Be prepared for a pleasant and special dining experience on "the back porch" or "in the garden". Go to http://www.islacozumel.net/food/la_veranda/ to view the menu and learn more about the restaurant (look for your "prize".)
LA MISSION on Avenida 30 is a mid-priced restaurant with friendly waiters, full range menu, and a promise by the owner (Beto) that if you don't like the food, you don't have to pay. Try the grouper filet with garlic butter. If Beto is in the restaurant, please tell him that we recommended his restaurant.
CASA MISSION is located on Ave. Juarez at Ave. 55. This is Beto's other restaurant called "Casa Mision," because it is built on the property with his house. This is an upscale restaurant with excellent food and service. The gardens surrounding the restaurant are beautiful, providing a romantic ambiance.
LA CHOZA is also a mid-priced restaurant with a menu featuring the style of cooking found in central Mexico as well as Mayan cuisine. Ask for the chile relleno stuffed with shrimp. They also make a delicious stew called pizole, but only on Sunday, and it is usually sold out before dinner. Chocoholics will be ecstatic with the "Frozen chocolate pie" that is made with an incredibly rich chocolate ice cream.
Although you can get grilled lobster at many restaurants on the island, our favorite is LA CABANA DEL PESCADOR (fisherman's shack). The lobster is boiled (not grilled and not overcooked). Here you select your lobster tail by size and pay by the weight. A man-size choice is usually 350 grams (about twelve ounces) which is about $25.00. For a more varied menu (excellent steaks, chicken dishes, and seafood), try the brother's place next door, EL GUACAMAYO. A quote from the owner: "If the steak is not tender, I will not serve it." The decor for both restaurants is very pleasant and romantic, something like a thatched roof hut you would find on a south seas island, with geese in the front yard. These restaurants are located together on the north end of the island, across the road from the hotel "Cabanas del Carribe."
There is much more to the island than eating. It is just that restaurant selection is important enough to deserve special attention. Unfortunately we cannot vouch for all the restaurants on the island. There are many more that are very good, but we only recommend those at which we have dined often enough to feel secure about the quality of the food.
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