Most people escape to Holbox Island (Isla Holbox) for the stunning views and laidback lifestyle (there are no cars allowed on the island!). However, Holbox restaurants alone are worth making a visit to the island!
As you would expect for an island, the menus on Isla Holbox are seafood heavy. Among the places to eat in Holbox you can find everything from simple family run beachside shacks selling the freshest seafood or you can opt for a multi-course tasting menu from one of the country’s premier chefs.
Read on to discover not only our favorite Holbox restaurants found during our recent visit but also a recommendation for where to stay in Holbox- the stunning CasaSandra. But more about the hotel later.
Before your trip: check out my packing list for Mexico and read this post about whether or not you need travel insurance for Mexico.
5 Best Holbox Restaurants
Calle Igualdad (Inside CasaSandra) // +52 998 120 7061
Ser Esencia is restaurant located inside the best hotel on the island- Casa Sandra. Ser Esencia is the creation of famed chef Roberto Solis, creator of the new Yucatecan cuisine. This is hands down the best restaurant on the island. Even if you’re (sadly) not staying at Casa Sandra definitely make plans to visit Ser Esencia for dinner at least one of the evenings of your visit.
We opted for the five course tasting menu on two different nights of our stay. Somehow, the staff created completely different dishes each night. Out of a total of 10 dishes, they did not repeat a single dish! I was so impressed.
Some of our favorite dishes included a white fish cooked in coffee butter served with young banana, lime and habanero oil.
Or there was the castacan, roasted pineapple, caramelized onion, creamed avocado and lime taco.
But, hands down our favorite dish was the truffle lobster pasta with marscapone cheese sauce. Yes, it’s as heavy as it sounds and yes, it’s every bit as delicious as it sounds. I would book another stay at Casa Sandra just to have this dish again.
The service here was as impressive as the food and if for some reason you only have time for one dinner on the island, this should be it!
Pro-tip: Be sure to book reservations in advance and weather permitting, I would request an outdoor table.
Calle Esmedregal // +52 984 120 8354
Las Panchas is a great local spot for all your favorite seafood dishes. Start with an order of their guacamole and follow it up with fried fish tacos, whole fried fish with garlic, or my favorite- octopus.
The ceviche is also a fan favorite with most people opting for the mixto, or mixed version.
Las Panchas also serves a breakfast that includes enchiladas and empanadas as well as some traditional Mayan dishes such as panuchos and salbutes.
Of course, you wouldn’t be on vacation if you didn’t order an ice cold beer to go along with your meal!
Pro-tip: Las Panchas is closed every Monday and they usually finish for the day around 7 p.m.
Calle Porfirio Díaz S/N Entre Palomino y Carito Isla // +52 984 241 5953
A huge debate on Holbox is who is making the best version of the islands signature dish- the lobster pizza. After quizzing the staff of SerEsencia after our tasting menu (we figured they knew good food!) we took their suggestion to visit Roots.
Roots prominently features a wood fired oven where you can have all the traditional pizzas you would expect to find as well as local specialities such as cochinita pibil, mole poblano and seafood pizzas featuring shrimp and octopus.
But on this day, we knew what we wanted before we arrived: the famed lobster pizza.
A bit pricey by local standards at 600 pesos ($32 USD) I did really enjoy the pizza however I think my favorite lobster remains served in the tail with only a bit of butter!
This is definitely a must try when you visit Holbox-. Trying a lobster pizza has become an essential part of visiting Holbox Island!
Calle Palomino // +52 984 875 2026
Milpa’s menu is an an authentic modern take on traditional Mexican favorites. On the menu you can find dishes such as shrimp aguachile, served in an infused sphere. Or look for the duck in pipian, served with a chaya tamal and almond stuffed quail eggs.
Much emphasis is placed on the stunning presentation of the dishes that are brought to the table. Many of the plates look as much like art as they do dinner.
The chef, Adrian Barajas, who hails from Mexico City, describes himself as a “mad scientist” in the kitchen. His goal is to breathe new life into his grandmothers cookbook of classic Mexican dishes.
Pro-tip: Be sure to book a table in advance as seating is limited.
Arte Sano is a great option for those looking for places to eat in Holbox that feature a vegan/vegetarian menu. Start by choosing from their impressive selection of juices and flavored waters. Next up, choose from options including jamaica (hibiscus flower) tacos, chilaquiles or a lentil burger.
Also, be sure to check out their signature salad full of fresh fruits and veggies or stop in for breakfast to try their vegan hot cakes with fruit.
This is another Holbox Island restaurant with seriously impressive service. Many diners choose to return not only for the delicious menu but also because of the consistently friendly service.
Av Pedro Joaquín Coldwell // +52 984 215 9671
Hot Corner Bar has become somewhat of an institution on Holbox.
Almost every night you can find travelers and locals alike (we ran into staff from our hotel there) spilling out onto the street, making it an almost outdoor party. Most nights you can find a live band playing.
It’s crowded and sweaty but the music is loud and the drinks are cheap and they keep them coming quick. It’s pretty much exactly what you’re looking for from an island bar on your Mexican vacation.
I saw that Hot Corner Bar has a menu also but we didn’t try it, as we usually stopped in here for drinks after dinner.
Frente al Muelle Tiburón Ballena // +52 984 240 6838
Located directly on the beach, Salma Bar is relatively quiet during the day. Some visitors find their way here for sundowner drinks but Salma really comes alive at night.
You can often find guest DJ’s working the crowd while they sip on designer cocktails or ice cold beers. In fact, the drinks are so designer they consider themselves a “organic mixology and restaurant laboratory”. They’re rumored to make a killer espresso cocktail, if you’re into those. I stuck to the mezcal cocktails.
Salma also has a food menu that I hope to try during my next visit as some of the menu items looked incredibly appetizing.
Where to Stay on Holbox Island
I’m fortunate in this career to often find myself in sponsored hotel stays. Casa Sandra manages to stand out among the many other hotel stays I’ve done recently.
The property- designed by an artist, which is apparent in the touches found throughout the property. Sandra, the owner, handpicked different pieces from artisans from all over the world for use in her island getaway. Think: antiques, bohemian crystals, linens brought from India, sheets with a thousand thread-count… now you’re starting to get the idea.
The restaurant- hands down the best on the island, as I mentioned above in my longer review. You absolutely should treat yourself to the tasting menu with drink pairings and sit back and let the staff treat you to a meal you won’t soon forget.
The private beach- Casa Sandra owns their own stretch of private beach, located directly in front of the hotel. Here you can find sun beds and loungers, hammocks, a private bar and a waitstaff on hand to bring you anything you would like.
The staff- so helpful, friendly and polite. They managed to be ever present without ever being intrusive. Someone was always nearby waiting with cool towels when you left the beach or a bag with sunscreen when you were headed off for a day tour.
The spa- although the spa itself was small the masseuse was incredibly talented, delivering one of the best Swedish massages I’ve ever had. I always ask for very strong massages and rarely is a spa able to deliver but this masseuse had perfect pressure.
Definitely consider Casa Sandra when planning your time on Holbox, my friends and I are already talking about making a return visit ourselves. You won’t regret it.
Which of these Holbox restaurants do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Disclaimer: I was a guest of Casa Sandra during my stay on Holbox Island. Some of my meals and accommodation were gifted to my. However, all opinions remain my own- as usual.