Authentic Eats in the Caribbean and Mexico
The world’s most popular tropical playground is also home to some of its best cuisine. See our travel consultants’ top picks for local bites in the Caribbean and Mexico.
From picturesque beaches to nearly-perfect weather to an abundance of all-inclusive resorts, visitors to the Caribbean and Mexico rarely want for nothing. As if they couldn’t get any better, our favorite paradises are also home to some of the world’s best cuisine. We asked our travel consultants where to savor the best tropical bites, and they were quick to recommend venturing outside your resort to these local eateries for a true taste of the Caribbean and Mexico.
Jamaica – Scotchies
The island of All Right’s claim to worldwide culinary fame can be accredited to that spicy, sweet, and smoky jerk chicken. If you want to take a big bite of this dish on your Jamaican getaway, stop at Scotchies in Montego Bay en route to your resort. This popular roadside shack thought, why stop at chicken? They put the jerk on everything from pork to veggies to seafood and serve it with tasty sides like roasted yams or rice and peas. Be sure to order a few pieces of Festival Bread, delicious fried dough perfect for soaking up all that extra jerk sauce.
Dominican Republic – Neptuno’s
We always suggest a visit to the Dominican Republic’s capital Santo Domingo for its beautiful architecture and rich history. When all that culture and exploring puts you in the mood for some DR delights, head just outside the city to Neptuno’s in Boca Chica. This hidden gem offers a sophisticated dining experience with a view, thanks to the Caribbean Sea surrounding you on almost every side. If the atmosphere isn’t enough to tempt you, the fresh seafood will surely do it. Savor signature dishes such as spicy tuna tartar, thermador lobster in a béchamel sauce, and crab stuffed shrimp with a green coconut curry.
Riviera Maya – Alux Restaurant
It’s a rare treat when a restaurant’s atmosphere is as captivating as the food, but that’s exactly what you can expect from an evening at Riviera Maya’s Alux Restaurant. For this meal, you’ll follow your hostess deep inside an ancient cave to dine among glistening stalagmites and, possibly, the legendary Mayan elves known as Aluxes. With perfectly lit tables and dining rooms (caverns?), there’s no need to worry about eating in the dark. You’ll be able to see your sopa de lima (lime soup), red pipian rib eye, and king crab claws no problem. Wash it down with a perfectly paired wine suggested from the in-cave sommelier, kept in ideal conditions thanks to the cave’s own wine cellar.
Aruba – Passions on the Beach
The Netherland Antilles’ most popular island has long been considered the Caribbean’s culinary capital with its abundance of restaurants boasting international menus. The island’s offerings are so diverse, finding authentic Dutch-Aruban fare can be a bit of a treasure hunt. That’s why we’re going to point you in the direction of Passions on the Beach. Sit back and watch the sunset with your toes in the sand on Eagle Beach and prepare yourself for the feast you’re about to enjoy. Island-European fusions include Grouper Filet In A Crispy Coconut Jacket and Black Angus Strip Loin “Au Poivre”.
Cancun – La Parilla
Make your visit to Mexico complete by trying its staple dish – tacos. Whether you prefer your spice-infused fillings wrapped in a warm tortilla or a crunchy shell, follow the locals to La Parrilla, a Cancun favorite that prides itself in creating an authentic experience from table to tongue. Since 1975, this restaurant has been using traditional recipes perfected through generations, and its vibrant atmosphere is full of colorful art, live mariachi music, and iconic archways and fountains reminiscent of the country’s old haciendas to give diners a true taste of Mexicana. While all the dishes at La Parrilla are delightful, locals and tourists alike rave about their amazing tacos, and many suggest ordering the “Mariachis,” a sampling of five different tacos perfect for finding your favorite.
When planning your next getaway to paradise, be sure to ask your consultant where to find the best local bites. These Caribbean and Mexico favorites are sure to get you started.