If you’re looking for the ultimate form of relaxation, all-inclusive is the way to go. And if you’re looking for an all-inclusive resort that checks all boxes and is actually worth the money, look no further because the Excellence Resorts are all you’ve ever dreamed of, and more!
One of the best parts about an all-inclusive vacation is the ability to hop in and out of a restaurant without having to worry about the bill or worry about how much you order or eat in one sitting. Here, you can embrace the gluttony for as long as you stay! But I’m sure you’re wondering, is the food any good?
In this post, I’ve documented the meals I enjoyed during my most recent vacation at Excellence Playa Mujeres, so you can get a “taste” of what the resort has to offer. Spoiler: The food here is a lot better than what’s offered at many other all-inclusive resorts!
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WHAT IS EXCELLENCE PLAYA MUJERES?
The Excellence Playa Mujeres is like a little slice of heaven on Earth. This adults-only, all-inclusive resort is situated just north of Cancun, Mexico and is loved for its kids-free environment (which, let’s face it, can really add to the relaxation factor). I’ve stayed at the Excellence properties twice before–my first stay was at Excellence Riviera Cancun and my second stay was at Excellence Playa Mujeres. Both stays were 12/10 experiences.
From the moment you arrive and are greeted (with a cold towel, a glass of champagne, and nothing but smiles from the staff) to the moment to check out of your suite (spacious, luxurious rooms with a well-stocked minibar) and wave goodbye, you will truly be living the life.
EXCELLENCE PLAYA MUJERES – AN OVERVIEW ON THE FOOD
There are 11 wonderful restaurants on the Excellence Playa Mujeres property with cuisines ranging from Italian, French, Spanish, Japanese and more. Many of them have ample seating with no wait, which is super convenient.
However, if you happen to head to dinner at prime time, you may have to wait approximately 10-30 minutes. The longest we waited was about 5 minutes at Barcelona, the Spanish tapas restaurant.
In case you have to wait, the restaurant will give you a flashing device that buzzes when your table is ready. While you wait, why not grab a drink at a nearby bar and enjoy the cool breeze and live music out in the common areas before dinner?
Speaking of bars, there are a total of 11 bars located throughout the property and a nice cold drink is never more than a few steps away. Some bars have food options available, such as self-service ice cream, brick oven pizzas, and even poke salad bowls.
With so many options to eat and drink on the property, do note that not all places are open at the same time. Every night, there is at least one restaurant closed for dinner. None of the restaurants require a reservation, however there are some tips to take note of (details below).
Now that you know where to find the food, let’s go over what options you have for the various meals you’ll be enjoying! Below are all 11 restaurants and other snack bars, ranked based on my personal preference.
EXCELLENCE PLAYA MUJERES – RESTAURANT REVIEWS & PHOTOS
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Toscana serves meals at all times of the day–during breakfast and lunch, you’ll find extensive buffets, allowing you to help yourself to a variety of international cuisine to satisfy whatever craving you might have.
At dinner, the restaurant features Italian food, bringing the tastes of Tuscany to the shores of the Caribbean. Pastas are hand-rolled and sauces are slow-simmered to create beloved Italian fare in an elegant setting. Toscana is the largest restaurant on the resort and there is rarely a wait for a table. You’re welcome to dine inside or outside in the patio.
Toscana has got to be my favorite restaurant here at Excellence Playa Mujeres. Not for the Italian lunch buffet or dinner, but for the daily breakfast buffet. What a treat it was to be able to wake up in paradise, stroll down to Toscana and scarf down a made-to-order omelette, alongside a wide array of freshly made juices and baked breads!
I came here almost every morning for some alone time before Papu awoke, even if just for a cup of coffee as I read a few chapters of my book. If you’re an early riser as well, I recommend you do the same! The beautiful dining room and relaxing atmosphere truly can’t be replicated.
2. Fiesta Mexicana Dinner Buffet
Special dinner event on Friday nights.
Once in a while, the Excellence holds special buffet dinners outdoors, which are usually paired with a show. In the past, I’ve enjoyed themed dinners such as Thanksgiving as well as Fiesta Mexicana on several occasions.
What is Fiesta Mexicana, you might ask? Well, every Friday night, the courtyard by the Stars Theatre transforms into a colorful Mexican fiesta! Starting early in the morning, staff are busy preparing for the Fiesta Mexicana event, offering a delicious dinner buffet of Mexican specialties and festive entertainment. Because of this, you’ll usually find three restaurants closed on Friday nights.
During this festive dinner event, you’ll find stations set up around the perimeter of the courtyard. The variety of food includes street tacos, tamales, local stews, a variety of salads, ceviches, and a wide array of desserts, all beautifully presented in colorful Mexican servingware. It’s a great opportunity for travelers to not only learn more about Mexican food but also about Mexican culture (the show that accompanies dinner showcases Mexican dance and culture).
We love Mexican street food, so our favorites were the taco station (we could eat al pastor tacos for days), the elote station, as well as the freshly made churros that were being pumped out all night. The Fiesta Mexicana is definitely a culinary experience not to be missed!
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3. The Lobster House
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The Lobster House is an alfresco dining restaurant that celebrates seafood and shellfish to the fullest. And if you’re wondering if you can get lobster here, the answer is yes!
Feel free to order as many lobster dishes as you’d like, no one is counting! You can order a grilled or steamed lobster, cooked in one of five different sauces to choose from. Then, follow it up with a dessert or two.
This is where we ordered the most appetizers to try (because seafood is a must in my book!). The grilled octopus, ceviche, mussels in white wine were delicious, as were our lobster entrees.
Pro Tip: If you’re eating here at night, bring some bug spray with you just in case (especially after recent rains).
4. Aroma (Coffee Shop)
Aroma is the way you should start every morning and/or end every night. With small-batch roasted beans, freshly baked pastries, and artisanal espresso drinks, Aroma brings the neighborhood coffee vibes right to you in Cancun.
Unlimited pastries and dessert bites? Uh, YES PLEASE. We loved the ability to just walk up to the assortment of desserts/pastries and just grab and go! We really enjoyed the midday coffee drinks as well as the fruit tarts here. We recommend trying something different each and every time you stop in. The variety there is insane!
Pro Tip: If you’d rather enjoy dessert back at your suite, you are able to request your food and drink order to go–you do not have to eat it at the cafe.
5. Chez Isabelle
Open for dinner only.
If you want more of an elegant, upscale dining experience, head to Chez Isabelle! This restaurant features classic French fare and an extensive wine room. It really does feel like they’ve brought Paris to Excellence Playa Mujeres in there!
Chez Isabelle is the place to try finer foods like lobster, duck breast, foie gras, scallops, and filet mignon. Your meal will likely be accompanied by live music, which makes dinner that much more romantic.
Open for dinner only.
Basmati is an Indian restaurant featuring savory dishes and fresh modern twists to popular classics. Supposedly, what sets Basmati apart from other Indian restaurants in Cancun resorts are the world-class chefs specifically trained in the art of Indian cuisine. Whether you crave creamy curries, fluffy, flavorful naan, or heat-infused classic favorites, Basmati sets the stage for an exotic taste of the extraordinary.
I must say, Basmati was pretty good. We ordered the chicken tikka masala and the vindalo lamb, and both were very enjoyable! There was also a pretty wide assortment of options on the menu, which I was pleasantly surprised about.
7. The Grill
Open for lunch and dinner.
The Grill, aptly named, features grilled meats and seafood for lunch and dinner. You can expect sizzling steaks, juicy burgers, and fresh salad options to satisfy every craving. The best part about this restaurant is that it’s completely outdoors, so you can enjoy the ocean breeze and sandy views while sipping on your Mai Tai or mint mojito!
This was the first restaurant we ate at after checking in on our first afternoon there. I ordered tagliatelle with calamari and Papu ordered a fried fish sandwich with fries. We shared a plate of perfectly fried onion rings. All were delicious, but the fried fish sandwich really shined here!
All in all, this is a great spot for a casual lunch, especially if you like more American-style food. The outdoor dining also added to the appeal of this restaurant–who doesn’t want to dine outside when the weather is postcard-perfect?
Open for dinner only.
The Barcelona restaurant is all about showcasing the best that Spain has to offer. The plates here are perfect for sharing alongside a good glass of wine and great company. During our meal here, we indulged in seafood paellas, grilled meats, fresh fish, and a few other tapas.
9. Sol Bar
Feeling hungry, but look too much like a wet beach bum to make it into the restaurants? Pizza to the rescue! Another beachside option for lunch is Sol Bar where brick oven pizza is available.
The pizzas are made to order and cook up within minutes in the brick oven. They’re then packed up into small pizza boxes, allowing you to carry them out to enjoy by the pool, on the beach, or back in your room.
We enjoyed our little mini pizzas by the pool and it was one of the best pizza/pool experiences we’d ever had!
10. Room Service
Available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Room service is available 24/7 and breakfast is the busiest meal that’s ordered via room service. We didn’t get to try the room service breakfast, but I could imagine what a treat that would be, getting to curl up in bed while scarfing down pancakes and fruits!
We had the chance to order late-night room service, though. Late-night options were more limited (think chicken tenders and pepperoni pizza kind of stuff). Papu ordered a plate of ribs, which was actually very tender and delicious. He also ordered a slice of tiramisu which I missed out on due to over-the-top fullness in my stomach. The food was certainly good, but if we could offer one tip: if you’re looking for more food options for room service, make sure to order before 11:30pm!
Pro Tip: If you do not want to wait 45 minutes for breakfast or wish to have breakfast ready at a specific time in the morning, I recommend you call in your breakfast order the night before and state what time you’d like it delivered.
11. Flavor Market
Open for dinner only.
Flavor Market is the second tapas restaurant at Excellence Playa Mujeres. Flavor Market features cured meats, artisanal cheeses, and savory tapas.
If you love charcuterie plates accompanied by wine, this is the spot you must try. Get the Galician style octopus and the patatas bravas. Both absolutely delightful! We wanted to try the beef brisket in red wine, but weren’t able to due to fullness. (Do try it for us and let us know how it tastes!)
Open for dinner only.
Featuring Cancun’s most beloved Mexican dishes, Agave restaurant invites diners to dine alongside the sounds of the live mariachi band. This indoor-outdoor restaurant actually ranks among the best Mexican restaurants in Cancun.
NOTE: Though we didn’t actually get to try this one, I’ve heard great things from friends who have also stayed at the Excellence!
13. Las Olas
Open for lunch only.
Las Olas is the beachside snack bar on the property, where wood-fired pizzas, savory snacks, and grilled house favorites are served throughout the day. In between soaking up the sun and cooling off in the waves, you can recharge with a delicious midday meal at this casual restaurant, where you can actually get wait service from your beach chair!
Everyday, something different is offered at Las Olas. There will usually be some kind of themed lunch and the best way to find out what’s being served the next day is through the Excellence Times newsletter, which you’ll get during the nightly turn-down service the night before.
We didn’t get to eat at Las Olas on our last trip, but plan on trying it during our next beach day on the property!
Open for breakfast and dinner, exclusively for guests of the Excellence Club.
This restaurant was created exclusively for guests of the Excellence Club, and as we weren’t members of The Excellence Club, we didn’t get the opportunity to try it. The lobster and steak is supposed to be excellent here though! I’m sure if we had gotten the chance to try it, this restaurant would have skyrocketed to the top of the list (the menu looked incredible, and we were bummed when we found out it wasn’t open to regular guests).
Magna features an international menu of locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients with sophisticated French influences.
Open for dinner only.
Spice is a restaurant that features a variety of Asian flavors. From hand-rolled sushi to ramen, Chinese street fare to Teppanyaki, Spice certainly tries to encapsulate Asian cuisine.
Spice is where we had a “second dinner” on our last night, shortly after eating at Flavor Market. We were running out of time and opportunities to eat since our check-out was the next morning, so we mentally made room in our stomachs and went for it.
Maybe it’s because we’re Asian (meaning we know good Asian food), but Spice did not deliver. The sushi rolls were basic and contained a lot of rice on the outside, and our whole meal here was mediocre at best. If you’re looking for a restaurant to skip, Spice is a good option.
EXCELLENCE PLAYA MUJERES RESTAURANTS REVIEW: FINAL THOUGHTS
While scouring the web for potential all-inclusive resorts to stay at, the number one thing I considered during my research was the number of restaurants each resort had. The Excellence Resorts, clocking in at a whopping 11, came out on top when it came to number of restaurants on the property. But not only do they have a lot of restaurants to choose from, but the quality of the restaurants was certainly above average.
Now I’m not going to sit here and say the food tastes 100% culturally authentic, nor am I going to claim that it tastes like Michelin star-rated quality, but it’s certainly better than what you can get at some of the more affordable resorts. Much better! (My mom is a very picky eater and even she found the food at Excellence Resorts to be very delightful.)
Overall, we really enjoyed the dining experiences at Excellence Playa Mujeres. There were a few restaurants that we’d most definitely eat at again (Toscana, we’re referring to you) and others that we’ll likely skip the next time around (Spice).
One thing that I’d like to carve out time for next time is room service for breakfast! We’ll have to sacrifice one of our morning trips to Toscana in exchange for room service, but I hear really great things about the room service breakfast so it may be worth it.
EXCELLENCE RIVIERA CANCUN OR EXCELLENCE PLAYA MUJERES?
If you’re debating between whether to stay at Excellence Riviera Cancun or Excellence Playa Mujeres, the choice will be hard. Both will give you amazing and unforgettable experiences, but I personally enjoyed Excellence Riviera Cancun more.
A few reasons why:
- The rooms were a tad bit more affordable at Excellence Riviera Cancun
- The hydrotherapy spa area was newer and more up-to-date at Excellence Riviera Cancun
- During the day, there was an ice cream stand that appeared at Excellence Riviera Cancun (this was not at Excellence Playa Mujeres during our last trip, but EPM did have a gin and tonic stand one evening that ERC did not have).
Aside from those factors, everything else between the two properties is nearly identical, from the hospitality, food, and overall atmosphere! The restaurants are practically the same at both of these properties, so I wouldn’t let that determine which property you choose.
Regardless of your choice, you’ve already made the right one by considering an Excellence Resort!
I absolutely love staying at resorts within the Excellence Group, simply because our first two experiences were so out-of-this-world amazing! You really can’t go wrong (and honestly they are not paying me to say that, I really do love this resort group!).
If you’ve been to the Excellence Playa Mujeres or the Excellence Riviera Cancun, what are some of your favorite restaurants?