Cozumel's Best Food on the Go

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Cozumel's Best Food on the Go



New home-owners and part-year island residents Greg and Mary Rita Geneviva caught in a greedy moment at our favorite BBQ chicken take out spot. "The food is what we like best about this place," Mary Rita tells us. "After you eat this mesquite cooked chicken, you'll never go back to The Colonel again," seconds Greg.
Whether you're grabbing Mexican-style fast food to eat on the run or whipping up a quick snack in your rental villa or condo, you'll find a treasure trove of fresh, high-quality ingredients here for making quick, luscious pick-up meals.

In this section you'll find tips for where to purchase prepared foods to go as well as some information on the island's groceries and produce markets.

Best Take Out Food for Picnics or Quiet Meals in Your 'Home Away from Home'

Barbecued Chicken

A delicious and economical choice for lunch or dinner, these luscious, mesquite-roasted birds can be purchased in whole or half portions between around 11 Am and 3:30-ish at a number of joints along Avenida 30. (Avenida 30 is one of the 3 wide, busy streets of San Miguel that run parallel to the water the other two being the waterfront drag, Melgar and Avenida 65 whose north end runs into the airport.)

One entire BBQ'd chicken generally runs about 60 pesos and comes with a small stack of fresh corn tortillas (and usually also chopped, raw cabbage and a side of hot sauce.)

Our favorite place is hard to miss. You can see the big, open-pit BBQ with the chickens turning on the spits from half a block away. Corner of Calle 4 and Avenida 30.  
There are other good places, too. This is just our favorite so far. Spanish only is spoken at both these places so bone up on the phrase "Un pollo entero, por favor." (Ewn POY oh ehn TEAR oh) for a whole chicken and "Un medio pollo" for, you guessed it--1/2 chick. Prices are posted.
Sandwiches (Tortas)

If you just gotta have the burger and fries, there's a Macdonalds down on the waterfront that has a balcony with one of the best views on the island. There's also Burger Kings now in the Punta Langosta and Cinepolis shopping malls (behind the Chedraui grocery store.) But I'd like to think that most people reading this have had enough of THAT kind of fast food.

For bigger, better, tastier sandwiches, try take-out from Paco's Serious Munchies place on Salas, two blocks in from the waterfront almost right across the street from the well-known restaurant La Choza. Paco, a really sweet American guy who is famous on the island as the fabulous drummer from the old days when Joe's Lobster House was THE place to go for great music, serves up your choice of stir fries and sandwiches with the tortas going from greazy 'n good using lots of Mexican sausage to veggie delights. Huge sandwiches -- enough for two people with moderate appetites for about $5 US. He also delivers! Which is quite nice, we must say.

Another good place for tortas to go is The Super Hit. On the corner of Avenida 30 and Calle 1 is the branch we go to but it's a tiny chain so we believe there are two others. Big, lusicious and, well, can we say it, greazy 'n good, sandwiches are the thing here. Try the Pork Pibil with all the fixin's. You can eat in or take out ("para llevar"-PAH-rah Yey VAR). No English spoken but you can order from the board where prices also are listed.

If you're in the mood to do it youself , stop by the deli counter and bakery area in the back left hand corner of the giant Chedraui grocery store. Large selection of ham and turkey breast sliced to order.


Tons of sliced cheese. Grab a few tomatoes, some lettuce and the delicious Hellman's Mayo they sell here that tastes better than in the states because it has added lime, and you've got it made in the shade for a tasty lunch.

But no chips for you, uh uh. The brands they have down here are so tasty that if you're a chips fan you may gain 5 pounds before you can stop yourself.

TIP: Only buy the cheese that's currently being cut up -- not the stuff in packages. Just point to the pile of cheese the girl is cutting and say: Medio kilo, por favor. (MAY-dee-oh KEY-low, pour-fah-BORE.) Which will get you about 1 lb. YOu can also just hold your fingers up to show how thick a stack you want. Turkey ham is a biggie down here (Jamon de Pavo) and it tends to be lean and good. And they usually have pierna de pavo (pee-AIR-no day PAH-vo) turkey breast.

Bakeries (Panaderias)

There are bakeries all over Cozumel offering freshly baked french rolls (bollios), sweet breads (pan dulces) and plenty of pastry treats with whimsical names like orejas (ears), cuernos (horns) and conchas (shell). We love the thin, crunchy heart-shaped and honey-coated orejas. And we'lll have to admit a special addiction to the boletos de queso (cheese balls). We'll warn you up front--it's hard to eat just one.

The way it works in all the bakeries--pick up a big round metal tray and a set of tongs when you walk in the door. Tong up your choices from the trays of goodies you'll see laid out on shelves around the room. Then take them to the counter for bagging and payment.

For a mixture of Mexican and continental pastries, give the Zermatt Bakery on the corner of Calle 5 and Avenida 5 a try if you're in the neighborhood. His chocolate brioches are to die for.


Wonderful desserts, freshly baked bread and home made pizza by the slice in the afternoon. Reasonable prices -- especially considering he's right downtown within one block of the waterfront and a block north of the downtown, pedesterian-only plaza.

Tip: Remember that Mexican breads are not made with preservatives so be sure and eat them within 2 days at the most


Our other favorite bakery is the oldest on the island. Worth the trip back to Avenida 30 in the middle of the block between Calle 5 and Calle 7 just to try the best flan in Cozumel. The St. Martin pananderia sometimes also has really REALLY luscious home-made tamales still in the banana leaves in which they were steamed.
Picture Coming Soon
Stop in between 4 and 6 PM if you want to check on this. They'll be in a couple of flat baskets in the middle of the small store.

Yucatecan Hot Dish Take Out at Bargain Prices

Take out section at the back of the Francis D'Assis on 30 and Juarez. Their mole is excellent as are their fajitas. Renting a villa and don't feel like going out or cooking?

Pick up a carton or two of rice and a couple of main courses and you'll be set to feed 4 in luxury for under $10 US. Just reheat in the microwave! For best selection, pick up your food between 9:30 and 1 PM.

Ice Cream Parlors (Nevarias, Heladerias & Paleterias)

Another great place to stop in if you're walking around town and want a snack-an helado shop. Here you can get milk or water-based ice cream on a stick or in a cone and in flavors as common as chocolate or as exotic as pistachio, corn (elote), coconut or walnut. (You'll see choices and prices on a board behind the counter.)


One of our favorite hand-painted signs--on the wall of a paleteria (ice cream and juice-drink store) on Calle 11.
These ice creams tend to be delicious and refreshing-all made with bottled water, of course-and a definite don't miss. One of our favorite places for helados is on the corner of Juarez and Avenida 20. You can also get wonderful acqua frescas here in an assortment of fruit flavors. (Carey's favorite iced fruit drink isabsolute necessity to stop in here at least once per day for a 6 pesos acqua fresca de sandia (sahn DEE ah)--icy watermelon juice mixed with sugar and water. Exquisitely refreshing.)

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