Color us wrong. For many years, we avoided all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and other destinations because we thought the food would be horrible. We pictured long buffet lines crowded with row-after-row of mediocre options. Hotel Xcaret Mexico proved that we had an antiquated image of what an all-inclusive resort would offer. In reality, the culinary offerings at Hotel Xcaret Mexico take the cake. Quite literally. It is the best food at an all-inclusive resort we have ever experienced.
At this gorgeous resort playground in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico near Cancun, the restaurants dazzle. Gone are the sad bowls of soggy salads and platters of overcooked gray meats hidden by too much sauce. No fruit platters stocked with sliced honeydew melon, the great filler of every cheap fruit bowl around the world. At Xcaret, the culinary offerings are many steps above.
With my perceived barrier to commitment on visiting all-inclusive resorts now resolved, I am game to visit Xcaret again and again.
Xcaret Mexico Offers Best Food at an All-Inclusive Resort
They had me at check-in. Standing in the lobby upon arrival from the airport, we were greeted by a sweet woman offering us mini paletas – Mexican popsicles. Right away, the flavor choices raised my eyebrows: coco, mango lime or tamarind. I chose tamarind and was treated to a sweet and sour flavor combination that perfectly revived me from the tiresome journey.
Aaaaand we were off and running. As much fun as we had at this wonderful playground resort, our smiles were matched by its incredible culinary treasures. We kept discovering new dining options at Hotel Xcaret Mexico to love throughout the resort. All restaurants are fully included in the all-inclusive stay, with very rare upcharges for obvious reasons like adding lobster to a steak dinner or something.
Read on for some of our examples that prove Hotel Xcaret Mexico has the best food at an all-inclusive resort.
Culinary Offerings at Hotel Xcaret Mexico
There are so many amazing restaurant choices at Hotel Xcaret Mexico. It’s easy to see why we say it has the best food at an all-inclusive resort.
Dinner our first night at Hotel Xcaret Mexico was an absolute treat. We dined on a 8-course meal with wine pairings at the resort’s signature restaurant, Ha’. The theme is a contemporary Mexican kitchen, helmed by renowned Michelin-star Chef Carlos Gaytán.
Although the menu is the star at this standout restaurant, the design of this space is a worthy companion. Upon entering Ha’, guests are flanked by two horizontal walls of water in a perceived state of continuous overflow. Ahead, a giant cylinder of water circles in a hydro-whirlpool, also a visual masterpiece. Above, ceilings that must reach at least 20-feet high combine with floor to ceiling windows on two full sides of the building. This gives the whole space a feeling of open airiness. Impressive.
But the cuisine, oh the cuisine. Let’s be clear – this is elevated cuisine, not merely “food”. We were served an eight-course meal paired with different wines specifically chosen to complement the dishes. Each course was a masterclass in combining all the senses. The tastes were out of this world, and the presentation and styling of each plate was just as stunning. We started off with King Crab accented by green apple, celery gelée, yuzu, coriander and mint crystal. Another standout was the Onion Tartlette with comte cheese, balsamic spheres and roasted poblano. A favorite was the fois gras with pickled beetroot, red berries and chambord. It was an impeccable meal.
Vegan Breakfast at Bio
If breakfast in a tropical beachfront cave suits you, then you must try Bio. (Even if it doesn’t suit you, the experience is worth you suffering through.) I mean, how often do you have the chance to eat in a cave, overlooking the sands, jungle outcroppings and waterways of the Mayan coastline? Thought so. It’s worth the trek to the waterfront to marvel at this special place.
The menu at Bio is vegan, and we are not. However when you really dig into it, vegan cuisine is just naturally grown fresh ingredients without animal products. We gobbled down their baked goods, which were really quite delicious after a morning hike around the property. There is also an extensive selection of fresh juices and smoothies to choose from.
For our main breakfast course, we started with the acai bowl with fruit, nuts and honey which was subtle and delicious. This was quickly followed by hotcakes with nutella, coconut and tropical fruit. We highly recommend trying Bio during your stay. They also serve lunch and dinner.
Brunch to Top All Brunches at Las Cuevas
We’ve been to a lot of brunches in our days on this planet, and the Sunday Brunch at Las Cuevas tops them all. This meal alone is exactly the reason why Hotel Xcaret Mexico offers the best food at an all-inclusive resort anywhere. The restaurant is tucked into a warren of caves carved from the coastal rock formations, and it is deceivingly intimate while actually quite massive.
There were so many opulent choices of flavors and types of food, we were overwhelmed by the options. At one station, it was piles and piles of fresh shellfish like oysters, mussels, prawns and clams. At another station nearby, a gentleman was carving an enormous fresh tuna that was just caught that morning on the seas in front of the resort. He put on quite a show. Still another station was doing up crepes in a big way. I enjoyed the orangey-boozy Crepes Suzette while the kids opted for fresh strawberries and Nutella crepes.
But the traditional Mexican fare is where we spent the majority of our time and stomachs. The list of deliciousness is too long to write here, but trust us. They had everything. Crispy, soft, cheesy, grilled, soupy, crunchy, vegetables, meat. It was a fiesta in our mouths, and we just kept eating and eating! There was a huge table of cut fruits and another filled with desserts of every kind, and our stomachs were too darn full to try them.
Plan on spending hours here, and go with an empty stomach.
Xin-Gao for Asian Flair
Covering an interesting territory of Asian fusion with a Mexican influence, Xin-Gao presented one of our favorite meals. Upon arrival, once again we were wowed by the design of this incredible space. Spartan but luxurious, the restaurant offers a variety of seating options in warm wood tones. For the more traditional-minded, low seats and tables with benches or cushions proved an authentic experience. Around the perimeter, live grilling stations offer guests the entertainment of a chefs preparing wok-fried dishes with aplomb. If you like fiery volcanoes and knife tricks, this option is for you. We went for a traditional table setting.
On the main menu, a delicious variety of options are presented. We decided to try a bit of many things, including skewers of chicken and beef that were melt-in-your-mouth tender. The kids wanted to try the ramen, which was presented so artfully that I wanted to take a photo. Before I could, it was already half devoured. (It did taste mighty good, so I kind of understand.)
All the maki, nigiri and sashimi were beyond excellent, with top-grade fresh seafood of the highest quality. Flavors were interesting, unique and so delectable we finished our plates and ordered more. However, do save room for a couple of standouts: Salmon Tiradito and Wonton Tostada. The Tostada is a combo of lobster, shrimp and kanikama salad – a matchstick mixture of seafood, vegetables, mango and a cream sauce. To. Die. For. And the Tiradito is a fun take on the Mexican favorite, with soy and lime dressing, serrano chile and cilantro.
Cantina Los Faroles for Fancy Mexican Cuisine
This is not your basic tacos and burritos kind of place. Cantina Los Faroles features upscale Oaxacan cuisine by celebrity chef Alejandro Ruiz, and it is buzzy, energetic and full of surprises. As we sat down at our table, an excellent live band serenaded the restaurant with traditional Mexican ballads. Above our heads, the elaborate light fixtures looked like a ceiling of hanging luminarias. All of a sudden, a musical recording signaled the lights to dance with colors and patterns that had everyone staring upwards for the entire 5 minute duration. Then the lights went back to their warm glow, and the lively conversations continued.
For our meals, we could not resist the woman seated near us handmaking corn tortillas. We sampled several appetizers along with our refreshing Mezcal cocktails, including quesadillas with Oaxacan cheese and spicy meat. Also must-haves are the chicken or squash blossom empanadas, which I still am craving now back at home. In addition, the shrimp and scallop aguachile is spectacular and the suckling pig tostada is crazy good.
All of this was filling, but we forged ahead to order some main dishes worthy of sharing. The grilled octopus with huitlacoche rice was out of this world, and the turkey in black mole sauce should be winning this restaurant awards. There is a kids menu here, but don’t expect mac and cheese or chicken nuggets.
Mercado de la Merced When You Can’t Decide
Mercado de la Merced was our go-to stop for breakfast most mornings, and it is another reason why Hotel Xcaret Mexico has the best food at an all-inclusive resort. Let’s call this a Giant Assisted Buffet, because the level of service at the food stations is truly exceptional. There is something for everybody at Mercado de la Merced , none of it looking or tasting mass-produced. In fact, it was the opposite as the kitchen staff helped us assemble our plates with various tasty morsels.
In one spot, a very popular woman was making quesadillas as fast as her hands would move. Rolling, pressing and grilling the corn tortillas herself, she would ask the next person in line what ingredients they wanted inside. Spoonfuls of yummy things were scooped into the tortilla, and she folded it in half to cook a bit more. I went back to see her three times.
But wait, there’s more – plenty more! Omelette stations and every kind of egg dish you could ever imagine. Red or green chilaquiles with an assortment of meats, veggies and toppings. Fresh tropical fruit and juice for days. Crepes, pancakes and waffles stations with all the goodies. An entire station devoted to pastries, Mexican breads, desserts and other sweets. Honestly it is hard to list it all here, but I can only imagine what Mercado de la Merced does for lunch and dinner. The selections must be limitless!
Drinks and Cocktails Abound
At each of the places we visited at Xcaret, the list of non-alcoholic and liquor options was outstanding. This is not the kind of resort where the booze is cheap and of poor quality. They do not upcharge you for call drinks. At every restaurant and bar, the options are lengthy and the bartenders happy to oblige. From mimosas and bloody marys in the morning to nightcaps at the end of a happy evening – all perfectly delicious. (If you have not yet tried a Carajillo after-dinner cocktail, do it soon. This is a perfect combination of Licor 43 and espresso over ice.)
We discovered another new cocktail at Xcaret we love, and have now ordered in various places throughout Mexico and the US. It’s called a Tamarind Margarita or Margarita Tamarindo. The sweet and tangy “fruit” is earthy and caramel-y, adding a wonderful flavor profile to our favorite drink. Tamarind is a tropical tree fruit that grows inside pods, and when the ripe fruit is extracted and combined with sugar. Try it!
Did We Convince You That Hotel Xcaret Mexico Offers the Best Food at an All-Inclusive Resort?
After all this talk about the delicious culinary options at Hotel Xcaret Mexico, you might be thinking of planning a visit. To find out more about staying at Xcaret and experiencing the food and other attributes of the resort, check out their website to book reservations at Hotel Xcaret Mexico here.
More on our visit soon – check back for our upcoming stories about the resort and our adventures there.
For details about another amazing Xcaret resort, check out my stay at Xcaret La Casa de la Playa!