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The Royal Cancun Resort Food and Wine Review: Tom’s Foodie Blog Goes on Vacation

The Royal Cancun Resort Food and Wine Review

Tom’s Foodie Blog Goes on Vacation to Cancun

This post is a special focus of the food provided by the all-inclusive resort “The Royal Cancun” in Cancun, Mexico. I stayed here during my recent vacation and decided to take my food blog on the road to the always beautiful and tasty Cancun, Mexico. I decided to blog from vacation because I was really enjoying the food at my resort, so I started taking pictures of each dish I ate, sometimes to the frowns of my wife. This blog post is purely about my gastronomical experience at the “The Royal Cancun”.  

Royal Cancun - View from the Pool

Royal Cancun – View from the Pool

The Royal Cancun Restaurants

Overall, The Royal Cancun provides high-end gourmet  food with fresh ingredients, high-end cooking methods and great tasting dishes. The resort is all-inclusive,  so I ate a lot.  The resort features four restaurants and several special food events that I will mention as well.

The main restaurants are” Maria-Marie”, a Mexican-French fusion restaurant that is the crown-jewel of their restaurant featuring the best dishes and most high-end ingredients.  “Asiana” is a combination Japanese Tepanayaki, Sushi and Pan-Asain restaurant. “Spice” is a buffet featuring a nice selection of cold, hot and made to order dishes. Then of course there is one of our favorites, room service.


Pelicanos is an outdoor & beachfront restaurants that features mostly fresh seafood dishes. Located adjacent to the pool and just above the beach. This is an open air restaurant shaped “in the round” affording views of the beach, pool and hotel. The food is mostly seafood, but has other dishes as well such as a nice selection of steaks and chicken. I always order seafood here. I have never been disappointed by the preparation and freshness.

Maria-Marie – A French Imsprited Mexican Restaurant

“Deer Chop” – Juicy and tender in a nice demi glaze. Cooked medium-rare per my order. Very tender and Very flavorful, the demi glaze sauce complimented the venison nicely.

"Deer Chop" - Juicy and tender in a nice demi glaze. Cooked medium-rare per my order. Very tender and Very flavorful, the demi glaze sauce complimented the venison nicely.

Carpacio Trio (Tuna, Red Nicoise, Beef). This was a fun dish. All the meats were fresh and had no fears about eating raw meat and seafood from this resort. It was garnished with a Habanero vinaigrette. Although it was not spicy, just flavorful. Red Snapper is very good in this part of mexico.


The Royal Cancun Restaurants: Maria-Marie - Monkfish Wrap around vegetables and topped with crispy fried spinach

Coconut Shrimp with Lobster Butter-Cream Sauce. Topped with crispy fried spinach. This was Daniele’s favorite dish, as the flavors of the lobster butter really enhanced the sweetness of the coconut shrimp. The shrimps were fried and just crispy on the tongue and a nice crispness.

Coconut Shrimp with Lobster Butter-Cream Sauce. Topped with crispy fried spinach. This was Daniele's favorite dish, as the flavors of the lobster butter really enhanced the sweetness of the coconut shrimp. The shrimps were fried and just crispy on the tongue and a nice crispness.



Cooking Class

The Royal Cooking Class

The Royal Cooking Class

Nicoise Salad

Nicoise Salad – Cut greens, tomato, hard-boiled eggs and seared tuna. Easy to make!

Learning to cook salmon at cooking class

Tom taking lessons from the chef and Alex on safe food handling techniques and marination of salmon.

Salmon with a tropical butter sauce

Salmon with a tropical butter sauce

Salmon Dish

Salmon Dish


Chocolate cups from ballons

Chocolate cups from ballons

popping the ballons

popping the ballons

Pastry Wrap

Pastry Wrap



Spice Buffet

The spice buffet is a high-end buffet in the resort that has options for everyone from vegetarians to carnivores. I am more of the later, so obviously I took pictures of the things I likes. We only frequented spice for breakfast or lunch, so I can’t speak to the dinner menu. But we usually rolled in at 11:00 after a late night and were greeted with whatever drinks we liked, we usually got Mimosas and coffee. The buffet is aligned in 4 main sections, Hot Dishes, Cold Dishes, Soups and Deserts.

Buffet  Hot Station

Buffet Hot Station

The hot dishes section included two make to order sections. In the morning there is an omelete bar, but which turns into a made to order hamburger bar with grilled to order toppings. To the right is the meat carving station, the day we went featured a giant carnal cut of T-Bone. It was cook rare, but the chef actually cooks it to order on the spot in front of you. I got mine medium-rare and it was delicious! The same station also features ,made to order grilled shrimp with your choice of vegetable mix-ins and cooked in  wine and butter mixture. Down the hot line is about 8-10 hot dishes including fish, beef, chicken, potatoes, vegetables and shellfish..and some yummy fried mystery balls. The Cold dishes featured salads, fruits, cured meats, cold cuts, smoked fish, seafood salads and colossal chilled shrimp and cocktail sauce. The soups were usually regional mexican soups from albodigas to a sweet corn chowder with cilantro. The deserts were bite sized and always fantastic.

Buffet Hamburger Bar

Buffet Hamburger Bar

Hot Traditional Yucatan Buffet items

Hot Traditional Yucatan Buffet items

Cold Dishes

Cold Dishes


Room Service Meals

The room service is generally very good, especially the breakfast items. The room service staff will bring the food into your room and set it up on the table in your room, complete with a flower and a smile. If you prefer privacy there is a “Magic Box” that the room service attendant can pass the food to your room through a cubby hole in the wall with a door inside the room and a door outside the room. The Magic Box is perfect if your room is messy or dining naked.  The dishes at room service are smaller than the overloaded North American style, but this is good because it affords you the ability to order more than one dish or even order some sides. 

The dishes on the room service menu can be confusing as to what you are actually going to get with names like Abelina eggs, blind pot and Caballo Eggs. The dishes always have a description, but it is not until you actually receive the dish is when you go…..”Ohhhhh thats what that is” in a pleasantly surprised way. I had a couple of favorite dishes including the smoked salmon omelette with cream cheese, caballo eggs (eggs to order with a piece of flank steak and the “blind pot” which is eggs with Machaca, herbs and cream cheese (really good). Of source every day with ordered breakfast with a big plate of bread…just in case we didn’t get enough calories. The only word of caution I would give a guest at this resort is to add 15 minutes to their time quote for a delivery time, especially when the weather is bad.

A Discussion on Wine and Spirits

The Royal Cancun offers unlimited alcohol with the all-inclusive stay, which includes some nice top-shelf liquor like Johnny Walker Black Label, Absolute and Frangelico. Their staff is well-trained in the art of mixing drinks and even creating custom drinks on demand. For all the resorts strengths in the food and alcohol department, one of the few failings of the resort is their poor selection and quality of inclusive house wine.  

There was about 6 types of house wine available at the resort, most of these were Tempranillos and Sauvignon Blanc. Of these 6 wines, they were all from Chili, Argentina and Spain. These regions generally produce some high quality wines, although what was available with all-inclusive package was not representative of these wine regions. My wife an I are large consumers of wine and at this point we know a good quality wine from a poor ones. With the exception of two wines, the resports house wines were of lower quality.

If I were to go to my local wine shop or even a super-market,  I would describe their wines as $5-10 bottles in the imported section. Their wines are nothing I would take to a dinner party and nothing I would serve to someone I was trying to impress. They did have a large wine list in some of the restaurants, but these wines were subject to extra charges and not worth it in an all-inclusive resort.  If consuming high-quality wine is critical to you, I would recommend budgeting for it. Their wine selection is their only and major drawback to their otherwise exceptional food, service, and other bar products. If you are the General Manager of the resort and reading this last paragraph, you should know this is one of the top complaints I heard from affluent Americans, Europeans and even a couple Japanese couples we met  If you are a consumer reading this post, I would tell you that this is only a very small blemish in their otherwise spotless service and offerings. 


My Final Thoughts

Our stay at The Royal Cancun was extremely pleasant with great food and exceptional service at all levels. Their tag line is “Expect the Exceptional” and after a week of eating their food and experiencing their customer service I truly do believe it. Thanks to the staff for a great stay. Please also see my complete review of the The Royal Cancun resort on my travel blog. TandDsbucketlist.wordpress.com (this post will be up in a couple of days).  

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About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. So when can we go back???

  2. I am a travel advisor in Memphis, TN. Our clients LOVE The Royal in Cancun and they rave about the food! The other Real sister properties are good too, including the The Royal Playa del Carmen!

    • Thanks for the reply, their food really is amazing and we have a hard time going anywhere else do to this fact. I have been there 3 times and during my past visit they have really improved the resort for the better. Wine selection is still a sore point, but I think they get it and will improve. Feel free to contact me if you ever want to chat about the resort.

      Best Regards,

      • Thanks, Tom… I will take up on the chatting about the resort some time in the future as they make changes. In fact, I just booked 6 couples going in October. People who go to The Royal in Cancun or Playa del Carmen seem to be repeat visitors to those resorts. It is that good!

  3. I have booked my honey moon at this resort for July (2012). I read in a number of places they have good gluten free options (I have Celiac Disease). Did you hear about any of their gluten free or allergen friendly options?

    • Hi Angela, Yes they do offer a gluten free menu. I have family members and friends with various degrees of Gluten Intolerance and Celiac disease, so I understand the concern. Be Sure to tell multiple people about your dietary restrictions including at the checkin, food and beverage Manager, waiters. Their staff is very professional and extremely talented. With that said, still use the good common sense that you have no doubt developed with the condition.

      • Thanks for your reply, Tom. Your blog post has increased my excitement for my stay at this resort. Despite my dietary restrictions, I’m very enthusiastic about food and am delighted to know I’ll be eating well and safely. I’ll be sure to take your advice and reiterate my concerns to everyone that will be handling my food. Thanks!

  4. Tom I followed your report on The Royal In Cancun and found it to be very accurate. We have vacationed their the last two years going again this March.I do hope the wine selection improves as well as I am a wine maker and have a very good palate for good wines and that is one area that does need to improve a lot.We love this resport and recommend it to many.Keep up your blogs as they are very good.

    • Hi Wayne, thanks for leaving a comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the blog post on The Royal. I have been there three times myself and have always been blown away by their service and food. Although like you said, the wines are to be desired. What winery are you a wine maker for?

  5. The food there looks absolutely amazing. I know the next time I’m vacationing in Cancun I will consider the Royal Cancun.

  6. Hi Tom,

    Thanks for your interesting and informative post. We’ll be staying at The Royal in October as part of our honeymoon.

    Food and wine are two passions of my ours (I found your blog whilst researching wine at The Royal) so it’s great to hear good things about what’s on offer there. I wonder if you know whether the wine selection has improved since you wrote this?

    We’ll be spending 10 days in SF & Sonoma immediately before visiting Cancun so are planning on bringing some Californian vino with us…though ideally we’d like to save this until we’re back in the UK!

    Hope you’re able to comment and thanks again for the blog.


    • Hi Marc!
      Thank you for leaving a blog comment on my review of the Royal! My impression is that the wine program has improved. The “inclusive” wine mostly comes from Mexico’s trade parters in Spain, Chile and Argentina, so that is the types of wines they serve. We had some really good bottles and some pretty bad ones as well. Good thing about being all inclusive is that if you dont like the wine while you are hanging out in your room or the sun deck, you can dump it and get another.

      The times where you Cali bottle strategy would be effective is in the dining rooms, specifically in Maria Marie. Although to be honest, my advice if you realllly like wine is to just budget yourself and extra $200 for several bottles of wine for your dinners. In the whole scheme of your vacation, it is not that much extra and then you don’t have to sacrafice your Cali Wine.

      Since you are going to No. Cali, be sure to spend at least two days in Napa if possible. Read my articles below for Napa Valley tips. Napa is only about 1.5 hours from S.F. and an easy drive.


      • Thanks once again!
        We’re definitely planning to drive over to Napa Valley for at least a day from Sonoma, so your posts should come in useful.

        I guess we’ll see what the included wine is like at The Royal but budgeting for a bit extra sounds like a good plan. Good Cali wine tends to be quite expensive in the UK and so not a regular thing for us. Saving it for home is preferable.

        We’ve never been to an AI resort before so the concept of ‘not liking something = order something else’ is quite strange, but something I could definitely get behind…there’s not much I don’t like!

        Really looking forward to the whole trip. I’ll report back and let you know how we found the food and wine if you’d find that useful.


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