8 Best (and Cheap) Mexican Restaurants in Isla Mujeres

Whether you’re taking a day trip to Isla Mujeres from Cancun or want to try out island life indefinitely, there comes a time when Isla’s white-sand beaches and crystal clear water no longer serve for distracting a hungry stomach. And if you’ve been dreading that moment, you’re not alone—Isla Mujeres is not only expensive for Mexico standards but just about any standard. I’m here to help you look past the golf carts and tourist shops so that you can discover the best restaurants on Isla Mujeres that won’t empty your wallet.

Ready to splurge on that extra taco?

Let’s begin!

Accessible Note: Look for this blue box for details on wheelchair accessibility at each of these restaurants in Isla Mujeres.

What do you know, Laura?

Although day-tripping to Isla Mujeres is the most common way to visit the island, I spent two weeks on Isla. Yes, it was a long time for such a small island, but it was a nice place to reset and get work done.

Since I was working with a tight budget, I was concerned about how much food would cost on Isla Mujeres. While living in Playa del Carmen, I had a budget of 200 pesos per day (about $10 USD). I wanted to know: could I still eat that cheaply on Isla?

With a little bit of digging, careful menu choices, and the support of bulk nut and granola purchases from a local grocery store, I was easily able to spend 200 pesos (often less!) per day on food in Isla Mujeres.

Among the many restaurants I ate at and dishes I tried, I had my go-to favorites like this 70 peso fish quesadilla from La Cueva de la Cherna:

Fish quesadilla with nopal, which was my favorite meal in Isla Mujeres.
A 70 peso fish quesadilla with nopal (cactus) topping from La Cueva de la Cherna.

But enough talk about me. You’re here to learn about the best restaurants on Isla Mujeres where you can eat cheap, delicious Mexican food. So without further ado, below are my top eight picks.

Psst! Are you interested in spending a night or more on Isla Mujeres? Check out my review on Selina Isla Mujeres where I talk about the good and bad of this resort-like hostel.

8 Budget-Friendly Restaurants on Isla Mujeres

Below are eight delicious, cheap Mexican restaurants in Isla Mujeres that I’ll be covering in this post:

  1. La Cueva de la Cherna
  2. Lonchería La Lomita
  3. Lonchería Tacos-Tumbras
  4. La Cazuela M&J
  5. Taquería Los Burritos
  6. Letty’s
  7. Q’Bravo!
  8. Lonchería San Martín

Now, let’s take a closer look at prices and what each one offers.

1. La Cueva de la Cherna

Address: Miguel Hidalgo 13, Centro – Supmza. 001, 77400 Isla Mujeres, Q.R.

Entrance to La Cueva de la Cherna, which is one of the best restaurants on Isla Mujeres.

Before I begin, let me make this disclaimer—La Cueva de la Cherna was my go-to restaurant while on Isla Mujeres.

It happened to be the first restaurant I ate at (out of pure luck I stumbled upon it) and, if it weren’t for me wanting to compile a post with other budget restaurant options in Isla Mujeres, I probably would have eaten there 90% of the time.

It’s truly that good!

When you arrive at La Cueva de la Cherna, the first thing that you’ll notice is the restaurant’s unique decor. It has brightly colored fish paintings, seemingly inspired by the bible, as there are also religious pieces inside the restaurant.

You can choose from one of a few tables outside beneath trees and Instagram-worthy signs with menu options, but they’ll give you a menu too (English translations included). Be prepared to spend some time going through the menu—it’s a thick one.

La Cueva de la Cherna offers breakfast and lunch. My favorite meal was their quesadillas since they make the quesadilla tortilla from scratch, but sometimes I’d break down and order something else off the menu, which was always delicious, such as this burrito:

A burrito with guacamole and nachos.

Although it’s common for Mexican restaurants to offer spicy salsas, La Cueva de la Cherna also provides nopal (cactus) toppings and their freshly made pico de gallo. Their green sauce is mild and their red sauce is spicy.

Yum!

A dish with spicy salsas, nopales, and pico de gallo.
Toppings included with whatever meal you purchase at La Cueva de la Cherna.

To “top” it all off, La Cueva de la Cherna is just one block from Playa Norte (Isla Mujeres’ iconic North Beach). Their staff is also super friendly.

Somehow, La Cueva de la Cherna seems to have stayed off the tourist radar, and I was always able to grab one of a few outdoor seats. For all my raving about them, you should know that they had no idea I was writing this article and I received no compensation for mentioning them (or any other restaurant) on this list.

Accessible Note: There are a couple of outdoor tables at La Cueva de la Cherna that are wheelchair accessible.

2. Lonchería La Lomita

Address: Av Juárez, Aeropuerto, Isla Mujeres, Q.R.

The inside of Lonchería La Lomita, which is a budget restaurant on Isla Mujeres.

If that hummingbird above doesn’t entice you to visit La Lomita, I don’t know what will. This colorful little restaurant is complete with an elaborate Virgin Mary statue and adornments at the entrance to the building.

Admittedly, La Lomita isn’t the cheapest restaurant in Isla Mujeres, but it’s still very reasonable for the island’s standards and deserves a spot on this list. Whereas you can get a meal for under $5 USD at most of the restaurants on this list, at La Lomita you’ll be spending upwards of $15 USD for a meal if you choose a dish with seafood (non-seafood options are available at a lower price—chicken dishes run around the $5 USD mark).

La Lomita has an extensive menu with plenty of seafood and traditional Mexican food options. From coconut shrimp to enchiladas with mole, even the pickiest eaters will be able to find something to eat. They’ll give you two salsas and limes to season your food with.

Spicy salsas and lime.

In addition to choosing meals from the menu, you can also opt to order less expensive meals off their lunch special. The lunch special is posted on a whiteboard outside, so don’t feel obligated to order anything off the menu they hand you. For 120 pesos, I ordered this amazing stuffed vegetarian chile with all the sides included:

A stuffed chile pepper from La Lomita restaurant in Isla Mujeres.

One thing to note is that the lunch specials don’t come with a drink. However, I highly recommend ordering a drink from La Lomita—they’ll pour your homemade juice or whatever you order into a chilled, hand-painted ceramic glass. That, coupled with the beautiful presentation of their dishes, makes you feel like you’re eating in a fine dining environment (minus the fun, flashy decor, of course!).

People who like getting away from the tourist crowds will appreciate that La Lomita is away from Playa Norte, down a street leading towards the center of the island. And here’s a fun fact—La Lomita means “the little knoll” in English. It may come as no surprise then that La Lomita is located on top of a knoll.

Accessible Note: There’s about a 5-inch ledge to get onto the sidewalk to La Lomita and then a 2-inch ledge to enter the actual restaurant. All the tables inside are wheelchair accessible.

3. Lonchería Tacos-Tumbras

Address: Centro – Supmza. 001, Isla Mujeres

A cheap open-air restaurant market in Isla Mujeres.

There are a few excellent, cheap restaurants on Isla Mujeres that are all in the same open-air area, as shown in the photo above. All offer great prices, with some of the cheapest food on the island. While their menus are similar, I had my favorites, which starts with Lonchería Tacos-Tumbras.

Tacos-Tumbras has a huge menu. As their name suggests, they offer tacos. However, if you order any plate of regular food, they’ll give you a huge stack of tortillas to accompany it so you can make your own version of tacos.

Having trouble picturing how it works? Check out this fish plate I ordered, and you can see how easy it is to build tacos using the ingredients.

Fish dish from Lonchería Tacos-Tumbras in Isla Mujeres.

All the food at Lonchería Tacos-Tumbras is freshly made—they even filleted my fish on the spot before grilling it!

Oh, and if you’re wondering about price, that plate in the photo was a mere 80 pesos (around $4 USD).

As a word of caution, when eating at any of the open-air food stands in this area, avoid ordering the chaya drink. In its uncooked state, which is how they serve the chaya drink at these restaurants, chaya contains hydrocyanic glucoside. Chaya’s spinach-like leaves need to be boiled for at least 5 minutes in order to remove this toxic acid.

Accessible Note: Lonchería Tacos-Tumbras is fully wheelchair accessible thanks to the sidewalk being flush with the restaurant and accessible tables.

4. La Cazuela M&J

Address: Av. Guerrero & Abasolo, 77400 Isla Mujeres

Outside view of La Cazuela M&J.

If you’ve already visited other parts of Mexico, you may have had the opportunity to try the delicious cazuela dish. Cazuela is an egg-based meal baked in a deep dish clay plate with ingredients of your choosing topped off with cheese.

In fact, one of the ingredients you can get is chaya. If the rebel in you has you wanting to try this vitamin C-packed leafy green, eat your heart out with a cazuela con chaya; they cook it well beforehand, so it’s safe to eat. Below is the cazuela con chaya that I ordered:

A chaya cazuela.

Just looking at it has me wanting to head back to La Cazuela M&J!

If chaya sounds a little too adventurous for your taste, they’ve got plenty of other options to choose from. Tomato, herb, ham, beans, fried banana, onion, mushroom, and shrimp are among the many ingredients they mix and match to make this Mexican delicacy.

Although you can’t tell, there’s a red sauce beneath all that egg and cheese, along with a thick layer of chaya. But if you like things spicy, you can pour some spicy sauce on top that they’ll give you. They’ll also offer you the option of tortillas or toast (included) to sop up all the deliciousness.

The price of these cazuelas ranges from 120 – 140 pesos. So, it’s not the cheapest food you can get on Isla Mujeres, but it definitely won’t break the bank.

If you’re on a tighter budget or simply want something other than a cazuela, they have a limited amount of other foods for under 100 pesos including pancakes and a fruit plate.

Accessible Note: There’s a 3″ ledge and narrow gate to enter La Cazuela M&J, so it’s not ideal for wheelchair accessibility.

5. Taquería Los Burritos

Address: Av Guerrero 14, Centro, 77400 Isla Mujeres

You can’t say that you’ve spent time in Mexico unless you’ve stuffed yourself full of burritos and tacos. Taquería Los Burritos will take care of this for you and at dirt cheap prices for Isla Mujeres restaurant standards.

This bright yellow gem on a corner near Playa Norte opens in the late afternoon and becomes a hopping place in the evenings.

The outside of Taquería Los Burritos in Isla Mujeres.
The “15” price on the sign is in pesos, not dollars. A 15 peso pastor taco costs less than $1 USD!

Although “burrito” is in their name, they advertise themselves as having “the best tacos on the island.” Of course, I gave them a try and can honestly say that I can’t argue their claim.

Vegetable tacos from Taquería Los Burritos.
Vegetable tacos from Taquería Los Burritos.

In true Mexico taco fashion, you can choose from corn or flour tortillas, with four tortillas costing a handful of pesos more. The cheapest taco, El Pastor, starts at 15 pesos (under $1 USD), with most other varieties starting at 20 pesos. You’ll pay by the taco, so you can mix and match flavors and corn/flour tortillas as you please.

Of course, Taquería Los Burritos offers burritos, too. Arrive with a hungry stomach if you plan to eat them—they live up to their “mega” burrito name. Their burritos range from 100 – 135 pesos.

If tacos and burritos don’t strike your fancy, a stuffed potato, hamburger, or guacamole might do the trick. You’ll have all these and more to choose from on Taquería Los Burritos’ menu, and the prices are among the best of the restaurants in Isla Mujeres.

Accessible Note: There are a couple of roadside tables at Taquería Los Burritos that are wheelchair accessible. However, this is not an ideal Isla Mujeres restaurant for wheelchair users.

6. Letty’s

Address: Centro – Supmza. 001, Isla Mujeres

Letty’s is the second of three budget restaurants on Isla Mujeres in the open-air dining area included on this list. Their motto is that they offer 100% homemade food (or “Make home,” as they say on their menu).

Does Letty’s live up to its name? From my experience, it mostly does.

With prices starting at as little as 50 pesos (about $2.50 USD) for breakfast, it’s a great place for ordering a handful of different meals to try out traditional Mexican cuisine without harming your wallet.

Shrimp tacos from Letty's restaurant on Isla Mujeres.
Shrimp tacos from Letty’s.

You can choose anything from burritos, tacos, and nachos to milkshakes, hamburgers, and ceviche.

Speaking of ceviche, it’s an excellent place to load up on this normally expensive dish—for a mere 90 pesos you can try out fish ceviche. If you’re wanting to splurge a bit, you can get shrimp ceviche for 130 pesos.

Accessible Note: Letty’s is fully wheelchair accessible thanks to the sidewalk being flush with the restaurant and accessible tables.

7. Q’Bravo!

Address: Calle Bravo 21, Centro – Supmza. 001, Isla Mujeres

Located on Bravo Street, Q’Bravo! is a delightful local Mexican restaurant away from the tourist crowds on Playa Norte but still within reasonable walking distance from there (around 15 minutes).

Entrance to Q'Bravo! Isla Mujeres.

Specializing in breakfast and lunch, you can get everything from traditional chilaquiles to french toast. They offer delicious quesadillas starting at 30 pesos and burritos starting at 70 pesos.

If you’ve already stuffed yourself full of traditional Mexican food and are craving a sandwich, Q’Bravo! can whip you up any number of delicious baguette sandwiches ranging from vegetarian to bacon, chicken, cheese, and ham.

One thing to note is that Q’Bravo! has more limited hours than other Isla Mujeres restaurants on this list—they’re open from 8:30 am – 3:00 pm and are closed on Sundays.

Accessible Note: There’s a single, almost 1-foot step to enter Q’Bravo! and the sidewalk around it is also narrow, so it’s not ideal for wheelchair users.

8. Lonchería San Martín

Address: Av Guerrero, Centro – Supmza. 001, 77400 Isla Mujeres

People dining at Lonchería San Martín in Isla Mujeres.

To round off this post on the best restaurants in Isla Mujeres, I’m including yet another restaurant from the open-air dining hall—Lonchería San Martín.

Lonchería San Martín has been around since 1989, so you know you can expect delicious meals. I ordered their fish tacos which came adorned with pickled onions. Three amounted to a tiny 60 peso bill. That’s right—I got everything you see in the photo below for less than $3 USD!

Shrimp tacos from Lonchería San Martín.

If you’re willing to spend a little extra, Lonchería San Martín is an excellent place to try out some of Isla’s shrimp. You can order it in just about any variety—fried shrimp, garlic shrimp, coconut shrimp, shrimp empanadas, and shrimp fajitas, to name a few.

Knowing there are a lot of tourists in the area, you can also order hamburgers and club sandwiches.

The only reason I placed Lonchería San Martín at the bottom of this list is because although it’s a cheap restaurant in Isla Mujeres, their spicy salsas are mediocre compared to some of the other places I covered here.

Accessible Note: Lonchería San Martín is fully wheelchair accessible thanks to the sidewalk being flush with the restaurant and accessible tables.

Hungry Yet?

I don’t know about you, but this post has me ready to make a beeline to these amazing budget restaurants on Isla Mujeres. That said, this isn’t a complete list—I focused on restaurants solely within walking distance from Playa Norte. If you have other cheap Mexican restaurant recommendations on Isla Mujeres, leave a comment. I’d love to try them out the next time I’m in Isla!

Don’t forget! If you’re interested in staying at a resort-like hostel, check out my review on Selina Isla Mujeres.