20 Best Restaurants in Bacalar, Mexico

No one visits Bacalar for its culinary scene; they visit the spectacular Lagoon of Seven Colors! But you’re going to get hungry while there hence I put together this guide to the best restaurants in Bacalar from romantic dinner spots to brunch cafes and cheap eats.

I was pleasantly surprised by the Bacalar food scene and it generally represents this Quintana Roo town: not too saturated by tourism or expensive, but with enough international influences (should you want them) and great tourist infrastructure. You can eat authentic Mexican food or tuck into Western faves like pizza and burgers.

Read next: things to do in Bacalar, Mexico

There’s not a lot in the way of street food, but there are some affordable taco joints and marquesitas… More on these divisive delicacies (chocolate and cheese, together?) to come! A friend tells me a few years ago there was no vegan food in Balacar, but I can confirm there is now.

In this guide, I’m going to tell you about where to eat in Bacalar for all budgets and taste buds…

Best restaurants in Bacalar

After a hard day exploring (by which I mean relaxing in the spectacular waters of the lagoon), I discovered there are great places to eat in Bacalar. Since there’s not much by the way of nightlife in this small Mexican town, enjoying a great dinner is the main form of entertainment, and I ain’t mad about it.

Visiting more places in Quintana Roo? See my guide to what to do in Isla Holbox and the best Isla Holbox restaurants

Tierra Ixim

Tierra Ixim best restaurants in Bacalar mexico
Santa hoja quesadilla at one of the best Bacalar restaurants

A friend sang the praises of Tierra Ixim and told me it was the best meal of her Mexico trip… Intrigued, I headed over there one dinnertime to see what the fuss was about.

After eating, I can confirm the fuss over this Bacalar restaurant is warranted! But the food itself isn’t fussy; quite the opposite. Simple yet delicious dishes are made from native corn with homemade tortillas. Everything is beautifully presented.

Classic Mexican dishes like pozole, tacos, and tlyuadas are on the menu served in a beautiful garden setting with candles and hanging lanterns in the evenings. I loved the quesadilla hoja santa wrapped in an edible leaf with cheese and chili.

Passionfruit mousse
Passionfruit mousse

I think the fanciest-looking dish was this dessert I demolished. It’s passionfruit mousse topped with fresh mango. The perfect sweet (but not sickly) treat after a delicious dinner. It’s not exactly a cheap eat but small dishes start from 50 pesos so it’s also not overly expensive.

Opening times: 4-10pm, closed Sundays.

Mi Burrito Bacalar

For some crazy reason, I decided to walk from Cenote Azul back to Bacalar which took almost an hour. If anyone deserved a burrito, it was me!

Mi Burrito Bacalar is a static food truck in a quiet courtyard that becomes vibey in the evenings. They have a short and sweet menu of a few delicious burritos wrapped in leaves (rather than unsustainable foil) to keep them warm.

I went with the Jarocho burrito with grilled shrimp, but you can go meaty with the beef Chilango, opt for the Huasteco grilled chicken option, or choose between the two veggie ones. Each option can also be turned into a burrito bowl.

Mi Burrito truck

All the burritos come with rice, beans, onions, peppers, corn, lettuce, sour cream, and cheese, costing between 145 and 185 pesos. The waiter also gave me a presentation on the salsas… That’s the dedication to salsas I like!

Opening times: 12-9pm, closed Wednesdays.

Nixtamel (fine dining restaurant in Bacalar)

For fine dining in Bacalar, you should have Nixtamel at the top of your list. Set in a jungle garden setting with an open kitchen where you can see the chefs freshly preparing your food, this trendy restaurant would be at home in the heart of Tulum.

Beautifully presented seafood makes up most of the menu with unusual, elevated touches. Try the tuna with pineapple and holy leaf, the chocolate salmon with goat’s cheese portobello, or for a treat, the grilled lobster tail with garlic butter. For starters, try passionfruit ceviche and maki (sushi rolls).

Everything is well-presented and visually striking.

Opening times: 3pm-10.30pm.

Mr Taco (cheap food in Bacalar)

This is one of the best restaurants in Bacalar for cheap and cheerful local food. Mr Taco is the place where all the backpackers in town hang out because the food is affordable but still tasty. Pull up a stool and join them!

Choose from tacos, quesadillas, and burritos with ingredients such as rajas (green chilis in cream sauce), mushrooms, roast pork, beef steak, chicharron, cactus & chickpea, and shrimp. I loved the chili relleno burrito, a large green chili pepper lightly fried and stuffed with cheese. Don’t expect anything gourmet but do expect big cheesy portions.

Tacos cost 22 pesos, quesadilla cost 25 pesos, and burritos 115 pesos. It’s not as cheap as Mexico City street food, or any other big city for that matter, but it’s certainly not bad for a touristy town like Bacalar.

Although they’re busiest during the evenings, they also do hearty breakfasts.

Opening times: 8am-11pm.

Maya Cabana Jardin

Seafood tacos Bacalar restaurants
Shrimp tacos with cheese

Maya Cabana Jardin is another great restaurant in Bacalar’s central square serving tasty Mexican food. It’s a bit more upmarket than Mr Taco although still nothing especially fancy. But the tacos, gringas, and burritos are delicious!

Wash your food down with happy hour cocktails (buy one, get one free between 5 and 7pm) or soft drinks. I had a jamaica (hibiscus) agua fresca that was refreshing but very sweet.

Weirdly, I asked for the Capitan tacos (beef, shrimp, cheese, and avocado) without the beef and got recommended to order the shrimp tacos and add cheese… Which actually cost more! So that was my only complaint.

Opening times: 2-11pm.

La CabaƱita Grill & Cantina

Located near the central square, this Bacalar restaurant seems to do everything well from unusual, creative brunch dishes (try the pastor avocado toast!) to fish dishes, steaks, moreish appetizers, and tasty desserts like chocolate brownies.

La CabaƱita is a great place for groups because there’s such a wide variety for all taste buds and dietary requirements.

Opening times: 8am-11pm, opens late (2pm) on Tuesdays.

Mango y Chile (best vegan restaurant in Bacalar)

Falafel burger at Mango y Chile
Falafel burger

Mango y Chile is easily the best place to eat in Bacalar for veggies and vegans, and anyone else who appreciates a good view! Set up on a hill beside the Fuerte de San Felipe fortress, it looks out over the striking Lagoon of 7 Colors.

They do a bunch of great veggie burgers including falafel, the ahumada (smoked soy patty and gouda), crispy tofu, and the Maya with regional flavors and pumpkin seed. They’re all 200 pesos including fries. The same ingredients are also available in tacos or salads, plus there are ‘hot dogs’ with a choice of chipotle mayo, hummus, guac, or salsa macha.

It’s not healthy vegan food but it’s damn delicious! There are also coffees, teas, frappes, matcha, milkshakes, and smoothies.

Opening times: 9am-9.30pm, closed Tuesdays.

Los de Atlixco

Los de Atlixco is one of the best restaurants in Bacalar for groups – or anyone who can’t make their mind up – because there’s a solid mix of Mexican and Western dishes. Tacos, burritos, gringas, alambre, and queso fundidos are on the menu, and they have a proper trompo for making tacos al pastor so you know it’s legit!

But if you’re not feeling so adventurous, they do fantastic burgers with a wide range of toppings. There’s an al pastor burger, a Mexican one topped with a cheese-stuffed jalapeno, a seafood burger, and a veggie one… Plus many more!

Opening times: 8am-10.30pm.

Navieros

Navieros seafood restaurant in bacalar mexico
Coconut shrimp

Navieros is a fantastic choice where seafood is concerned. It’s frequented by a mix of tourists and locals but its location (just out of town) stops it from feeling like a tourist trap.

I loved the camarones al coco (coconut shrimp) served with a side of vegetables, rice, coleslaw, and mango dipping sauce for 215 pesos.

Other fried shrimp flavorings include garlic, al diablo (spice fans only!), barbeque, tamarind, and butter. The same glazes can be applied to octopus and fried fish, or you can order from the ceviche and seafood cocktail menu.

Whatever you order, make sure to douse it in their delicious salsas made from different Mexican chilis with varying spice levels.

Opening times: 9am-8pm, Thurs-Mon; 9.30am-6.30pm Tues & Weds.

Kai Pez

Another quality seafood restaurant in Bacalar that isn’t fancy or pretentious is Kai Pez, located on the lagoon just a few steps down from the central square. In a beautiful yet casual garden setting with lagoon views, it’s a great place to eat seafood tacos, tostadas, ceviches, soups, and large plates like octopus and fresh fish.

Nothing on the menu costs more than 300 pesos with small plates starting from 70 pesos.

Opening times: midday-7pm. When seafood restaurants close early, you know everything is the fresh catch of the day! Visit for a relaxed lunch.

La Playita

La Playita poke bowl
Tuna poke bowl

Wondering where to eat in Bacalar with lagoon views? La Playita is a trendy spot (with fairly high prices) for an upmarket dinner OR a beach club day without an entry fee. A jetty runs from the front of the restaurant out onto the lagoon so be sure to bring swimwear so you can go for a dip.

My hostel just a few doors down, Yak House, had a waterfront terrace and jetty, too, but it would be the perfect spot if you’re staying somewhere without lagoon access. You only need pay for what you consume.

Dishes for lunch and dinner include poke bowls (I had the tuna one which was very tasty but also healthy), fresh octopus, fish tacos, ceviche fish burgers, and other snacky things like empanadas. It’s not specifically a seafood restaurant but fish does make up most of the menu.

I paid 315 pesos for a poke bowl and sparkling water. With many of the dishes costing more, it’s some of the more expensive food in Bacalar but worth it with fantastic views and ambiance!

Opening times: midday-11pm.

Waah Cocina

For a different dining experience in Bacalar, try the lovely Waah Cocina: a farm-to-table restaurant focusing on fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

Try the cochinita pibil in blue corn tacos, the chilaquiles for breakfast, and the papaya tart with yogurt and edible flowers for dessert.

Better yet, the restaurant is set inside Makaaba Eco-Boutique Hotel with a swimming pool, hammocks, and hanging beds where you can relax while enjoying your food. Hotel guests get a free breakfast so I think it would be a great place to stay if you haven’t booked your accommodation already.

Opening times: 8am-10.30pm.

Best restaurants in Bacalar for brunch and lunch

Here’s where to eat in Bacalar for a casual morning brunch or an early afternoon meal…

El Manati

El Manati where to eat Bacalar
Coconut oatmeal bowl

El Manati is an adorable place for brunch set inside an intriguing venue. In the front is a sustainable and vintage store with lots of gorgeous albeit pricey items to peruse. There’s an indoor dining area as well as a peaceful garden with lots of colorful murals. There’s even one cute outdoor hut that you can rent as a private space for groups.

Food-wise, they have lots of nice brunch and breakfast dishes with lots of healthy and veggie choices. All-day faves include chilaquiles (with classic and mole sauces) and the Maya omelet with pumpkin, edam cheese, avocado, and beans.

There are also hot cakes and healthy dishes like the tropicoco bowl I went for with oatmeal, shredded coconut, nuts, coconut water, banana, cranberry, and raisins. Prices are reasonable starting from 79 pesos and there’s a decent range of hot and cold drinks to wash it all down with.

For a colorful, arty space with delicious healthy food, El Manati is a winner!

Opening times: 8am-3pm.

Enamora

Enamora sandwich
Jackfruit sandwich

Of the many restaurants in Bacalar I visited, Enamora was one of my favorites. Like El Manati, it’s a colorful space with gorgeous wall murals and an inventive menu with some creative dishes and plenty of choice regardless of your eating preferences.

They have a great range of luxe sandwiches such as pulled pork, smoked salmon, and brie with guava chutney. I went with a smoky jackfruit and roasted veggie sandwich which was delicious.

There are also salads, brunch dishes, desserts, and plenty of drinks including homebrewed kombucha. Vegans will be happy with delicacies on the menu like vegan ice cream and jackfruit chilaquiles.

Cute cafe in Bacalar

Opening times: 7.30am-6pm making it a good spot for everything from breakfast to a late lunch.

Picaflor

Picaflor
I loved the murals in this Bacalar cafe

Picaflor is another of the best restaurants in Bacalar for brunch fans. It’s towards the edge of the town but well worth the short walk (luckily, nothing in Bacalar is too far apart). I went here with a new friend from my hostel after a sunrise paddleboarding session and it was the perfect reward after our very early start.

For breakfast, there are around 10 egg dishes including omelets with creative fillings like shrimp, as well as chilaquiles served with meat, egg or veggies, and tasty sandwiches. On the lunch menu are hamburgers (including veggie ones), crepes, waffles, salads, tostadas, and tacos.

So, whether you want Mexican food or Western classics, there are plenty of options including healthy and more indulgent ones.

Chilaquiles food in Bacalar mexico
Chilaquiles

Everything was beautifully presented; I loved the pink cabbage, green cilantro leaves, and scattered seeds atop the red salsa and sunny yellow fried egg on my chilaquiles.

My only complaint is they only do salsa roja (red) chilaquiles and I prefer verde (green)!

The homemade kombucha for 35 pesos is the cheapest I’ve ever seen it! They also do a huge range of specialty coffees, herbal teas, smoothies, agua del dias, juices, sodas, and beers.

Opening times: 8am-4pm daily. Don’t miss the atmospheric garden dining area in the back!

Ixchel

Named after the Mayan goddess of love and fertility, Ixchel is a brunch restaurant with outside seating below colorful papel picado flags. Tasty dishes with Mayan names are served on bright blue chinaware.

Brekkie options include avo toast, chilaquiles (including chilaquile tortas, a favorite of mine), molletes, egg dishes, hotcakes, burritos, and sandwiches. Most of the menu is veggie (although you can add meat wherever you want).

Prices are decent and portions are generous. What more could you want?

Opening times: 8am-2pm, closed Mondays.

Yerbabuena Smoothie Bar

Yerbabuena Smoothie Bar best bacalar restaurants

For the best smoothie bowls in Bacalar, don’t sleep on Yerbabuena! These colorful, healthy bowls are seriously decadent, topped with luxurious fruits from strawberries to starfruit. Choose from delicious ingredients like almond milk, honey, vanilla, toasted coconut, and cacao.

Most bowls cost around 120 pesos, which isn’t cheap but certainly standard for touristic cafes in Mexico, especially considering the high-quality ingredients used.

If you don’t fancy a smoothie bowl, they also do tasty build-your-own poke bowls from 140 pesos with a base of rice, noodles, or quinoa topped with veggies of your choice and proteins such as falafel, chickpeas, and beet hummus. Choose from five sauces and crunchy toppings. For healthy food in Bacalar, look no further!

Yerbabuena breakfast bacalar

Although smoothie bowls and poke bowls are the specialty, there are also sandwiches, egg dishes, salads and desserts, all made with luxe, nourishing ingredients.

Opening times: 8am-4pm, 7 days a week.

Sweet food in Bacalar

If you’re still feeling slightly hungry after dinner at one of the best Bacalar restaurants (or you simply have space in your ‘dessert stomach’ – we all know this is a real thing!), there are a few places I can vouch for. Some, like ice cream and gelato, aren’t unique to the region, however there’s one Yucatan dish you need to know…

Marquesitas

Marquesitas
Chocolate and cheese!

Marquesitas are one of my favorite Mexican desserts but you can’t find them everywhere: they’re native to the Yucatan Peninsular and rarely found in other parts of Mexico. Rumour has it they came to life when an ice cream vendor needed to boost his income during the winter months so created a non-icy dessert that people would want to eat in cold weather.

Marquesitas are similar to crepes, made in an iron press and rolled up into a cylinder shape. But the fun bit is all the fillings! There are sweet options like chocolate, peanut butter, jam, cajeta (caramel sauce), strawberries, and banana, as well as the classic combo of chocolate with queso de bola (Edam cheese).

It’s not surprising that European foods have influenced Mexican cuisine given the history, but I’ve yet to hear a convincing theory as to why Dutch cheese specifically became popular. It may be down to Dutch trade routes through the Caribbean where they had several colonies.

You won’t find marquesitas in any Bacalar restaurants but instead, the main square where there are several stands serving these delicious desserts for 30 pesos. Will you brave the unusual combo of chocolate and cheese? I’ve eaten it many times and still can’t make up my mind…

Ice cream beside the main square

Ice cream what to eat Bacalar mexico
Matcha ice cream

Inside a small shop called Minisuper Chan Lau close to Mr Taco on the main square, you’ll find the best ice cream in Bacalar. I went for matcha but there are tons of flavors to choose from.

Paletas (Mexican popsicles)

Paleta popsicle
Strawberry kiwi paleta

Rather than traditional ice cream a few doors down, why not try an icy treat with Mexican roots? Paleteria y Heladeria la Guadalupana is famous for its paletas, or what you may know as a popsicle!

What I love about these frozen treats is that they typically contain real chunks of fruit inside. I went for a strawberry and kiwi one which tasted amazing and looked pretty ‘grammable, too.

There are SO many types from red fruits, pitahaya, tamarind, mango with chili, and lemon with chia. There are also milk-based ones with quirky flavors like Oreo and lemon pie. Everything is cheap!

Thanks for reading!

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