So you are in MEXICO, and there you are eating Asian and Caribbean and Italian and French food!!? Not Mexican food, but exotic foods from all over the world. What’s up with that? You’re in Mexico. Oh sure, there are traditional Mexican restaurants – good ones too, and we’re not complaining at all, but it gets tiresome eating the same food (Mexican) all the time. Aren’t we spoiled!.
The truth is, Isla Mujeres is now more of an adventure in international foods, than the quaint little Mexican island it used to be years ago. But what a cool food adventure it is.
Our favourite place was definitely the Asia Caribe Restaurant, because the food was so delicious, we just found ourselves returning there over and over again.
It is also situated nicely on the walking street where all the action is at night.
Asia Caribe had amazing meals, and great service too. The owner came to our table every night to ask if we were happy with everything, and if she could get us anything else. She was always very genuine and always kindly thanked us for coming.
From the Cashew Chicken to the Massaman Coconut Thai Curry, to the Sushi and Sashimi…
…to the Pecan-Crusted Grouper with Tamarind Sauce, all were superb, but of course…
…the Chocolate Kahlua Mouse was even more amazing… sweet nectar of the Gods… died and gone to Heaven…
Asia Caribbe had the best Mojitos on the island too!
Right around the corner from our hotel, our favourite breakfast spot was tiny Bo Bo’s. It’s the place to get big cheap bacon and egg breakfasts or Eggs Benedict, as well as super light Fish and Chips and excellent Caesar Salad, or big fat juicy Burgers.
The food was good and the prices low at BoBo’s, but what really made it special was the bartender. Just watching her make cocktails was entertainment enough in itself. She was fast and efficient, with an artistic flair and a brilliant smile. She chatted warmly with everyone, and likely deserves twice the pay, because she makes the place so welcoming. Without her, I doubt there would be so many customers at BoBo’s. Cool beats, cool treats, and cool mixologist.
And BoBo’s was the inspiration of Canadian Brian Kerr, a AAA Five Diamond Maître’D / Sommelier. He should be giving shares to his bartender… she is the heart and soul of this tiny bar.
By the way, avoid the cart hamburgers in the street. Even though they smell good, and have tempting toppers like fried bologna, it was one of the worst hamburgers I have ever had. We didn’t try the bacon-wrapped hotdog though.
At the Bistro Francais restaurant, the staff are wonderful, warm and attentive, however the food is quite pricey, and it’s good food, but not great food.
It does have very good and attentive waiters.
The Bistro Francais has something very unique though – a resident parrot sitting on the back of a chair.
The customers would come in and stick their faces right in the parrot’s face, then wonder why they got a good peck! People are funny. Look at this girl.
One of the boys we knew, also on vacation, tried hard to just get the parrot to hop on his finger, but he was bitten half a dozen times before giving up. That bird just did not like him.
“JUST DON”T MESS WITH ME! Either I like ya or I don’t!”
Note that Breakfast Crepes Surprise at the Bistro Francais is all bananas on everything! There must be 3 whole bananas sliced on top of the pancakes, crepes and french toast. The crepes were rubbery and the french toast did not seem to have any egg in it because it was very dry. Not recommended.
The flan was delicious everywhere! Don’t miss it. It was so good that we both dove in before even thinking of taking a photo.
Roosters is a breakfast/lunch place. There are two locations: the busy walking street breakfast place with it’s flirty waiter, and the smaller (and better for coffee/lunch), Roosters Bistro towards the East Beach, and opposite the Market. Both are worth checking out.
The main street Roosters is larger and busier, with a great breakfast menu.
I simply could not resist taking pictures of this charming and precocious little girl sitting across from us at Roosters.
The smaller Roosters Bistro has high quality sandwiches, health foods, pasta, desserts and coffee on a quiet street.
For breakfast or lunch with entertainment, check out the 4 small booth-style Mexican restaurants hidden behind the Mercado, and enjoy breakfast outside listening to Mexican serenades live on stage at the back.
Across from the 4 little restaurants above, there is another great little find off the beaten path: Ruben’s Restaurant. It has good food, mainly Italian, and low prices. Just charming.
And dynamite hot chocolate too!
We could hardly believe how low the bill was! 250 pesos total. That’s $18 CAD for two people!
Walking back home to the hotel one night, I looked up to see this. So quintessentially Mexican chic. It was as artistically beautiful as the exotic foods we had been eating…
There are lots of good fresh fish restaurants in isla Mujeres but one of the best is Muelle#7 on the West Beach. The grouper there was lightly battered, fresh and delicious. Even a non-fish lover like me liked it. Lobster is expensive everywhere on the island, but a secret bargain is to order Muelle #7’s Lobster Salad. It was a rainy windy evening so I asked for it as a Hot Lobster Salad, and it was chock-full of about 15 two-inch chunks of real lobster. Delicious and only 145 pesos or $10CAD compared to $30 for a lobster tail.
The best desserts ever are at the Italian Gelato place, Gelateria Montebianca. It has the best coffee and gelato on the island, but even better is the Tiramasu! One bite and you exclaim outloud as the rich smooth flavours explode and then melt in your mouth. The hint of almond liqueur surprises you again as you dig deeper. While the serving is generous, it still feels just too small as you lick and scrape the bottom of the dish. A delightful indulgence.
The piece de resistance, if you have the extra $, and can book a week or two in advance, is Lo Lo Lorena’s.
We had heard about it how fantastic it was, and because it is not in Isla Mujeres town center, we drove in the golf cart to mid-island to find it. Driving back and forth in the area, we still could not find it. We asked for directions and were sent back the way we came; then after driving half a mile, we asked again and were sent back the opposite direction. We still could not find it. Each time we asked someone if they knew where it was, they would send us back where we came from. Frustrated, we almost gave up.
The last stop was near a gas station, and the gentleman said it was just back the way we came. We told him that we had been told that half a dozen times already. He laughed, and pointed, “It’s half a block back, the blue building with the arched window.” Sure enough, there it was, with the tiniest unreadable sign in the world! (Can you see it – just to the right of the door, hand-written and the only restaurant sign?)
The door was locked but we knocked just in case, and a lady in a wheelchair came to the door. It was Lolo. She explained that she had just one sitting each evening with a set menu, and was booked up for the next week, but to email her in case there was a cancellation. She said that the sign was small because she is already too busy, booked weeks in advance.
Lolo told us that she had fallen through a broken window in an attempt to get into the locked house. She had had five surgeries on her legs and arms, and was told she would not be able to use one hand ever again. She is recovering, and can use her hand, but what’s quite unbelievable, is that she is still serving the 6-course custom French home-made meals cooking from her wheelchair. She has 2-3 helpers.
When you walk into Lolo’s you walk into her house, through the foyer, loaded with tables laden with scrumptious dessert, and past the kitchen and storage areas to the backyard.
The backyard is quite delightfully decorated with soft little lights, while the cats climb above you on the tree branches and the stars twinkle in the sky.
Quite pleased with his table design, the waiter was charming, sweet and efficient, and the fellow guests fun-loving.
Here are the Six Courses at Lo Lo Lorena’s. Cost: $60CAD Time: 3 Hours
First course: Octopus Salad – good.
Second course: Homemade Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Cream – very good.
Third course: Thai Salad with tiny little crunchy things that nobody could identify – very good.
Fourth course: Large Shrimp sitting on a Potato Cloud with an orange-coloured Sauce – excellent.
Fifth course: Gnoche in a Cheese Sauce – to die for. Absolutely scrumptious. I don’t even like pasta dishes, and I could have eaten five plates of that Gnocci; that’s just how incredible it was.
Sixth course: Six Tiny Desserts:
- Strawberry Marshmallow – homemade, of course – yummy.
- Mini Chocolate Cake – dry
- Chocolate Pot De Creme – excellent
- Shortbread – good
- Green Dessert – no idea what was in it, but good
- Strawberry Salad with Mint, Brown Sugar, Lime and Ginger – unbelievably delicious
Overall, Lolo’s is worth the price. Just to meet Lolo, experience the ambiance, and even if only one or two dishes are amazing, like the Gnocci, it is a special and unique dining experience.
Although Asia Caribe was still our number one favourite restaurant in Isla Mujeres, Lo Lo Lorena’s was a fantastic way to end our trip to Isla Mujeres!