Hop in the golf cart or hail a taxi and head to the south end of Isla Mujeres. An unassuming, white stucco wall makes it easy to miss, but just turn around and try again. Enter and focus your gaze on the white sands and sweeping views ahead. You have discovered an Isla treasure with an oceanfront vista, as far as the eye can see… MAR-BELLA Fish Market—Raw Bar and Grill.
With its majestic first impression, this gem reveals itself in stages. The sand, the vignettes of wicker and wooden furniture that flow together, the woven rattan rugs under your feet, the bamboo swings; and then, the deep hues of the turquoise water all confirm your thoughts… I have found paradise!
Charming, impressive staff greet you and the standing and overhead fans support the ocean breezes efforts. You get a sense of being welcomed here, perhaps even expected. View the fresh catches iced down to your right, just past the lobster and clam tanks, then order from the delightful chalkboard menus. The knowledgeable staff will help you create the dish of your dreams from snapper, hogfish, grouper, snow or king crab and assorted clams… and of course lobster, in season. Or perhaps shrimp stuffed with cheese, then wrapped in bacon or a butterflied shrimp served with a fresh garlic chili sauce. Brandon stays busy in the kitchen icing down each fish for consistent quality and freshness. The choices of seafood that are not from these waters are flown into Cancun and rushed to the restaurant in an iced down panga (tiny fishing boat).
Today I selected the grilled hogfish (usually my choice) with sides of sliced cucumber and avocado. Carlos served it to me in a timely manner, while I sipped on a crisp chardonnay, taking in the rare simplicity of this stunning location.
After my late lunch, Miguel Balam (Balam being his Mayan name), brought me the traditional cio or finger bowl, that is usually needed! Pictured also are a few of the gracious and helpful staff: Miguel, Gilberto, Luis, Miguel Balam and Carlos. Come for cocktails, come for lunch/dinner, come for the impressive vistas… but DO COME!! - E