Eating la Vida Global – a Pik Nik in Cancun

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Cancun may be best known for its All-Inclusive Resorts which fill their guests' bellies with standard westernised versions of food from around the globe. Sure they will probably have "Mexican" food at one, if not all, of the restaurants on offer. But did you know that real Mexican food bears little resemblance to meals served up in the USA, Australia, UK and so on?

Cancun may be best known for its All-Inclusive Resorts which fill their guests’ bellies with standard westernised versions of food from around the globe.

Sure they will probably have “Mexican” food at one, if not all, of the restaurants on offer. But did you know that real Mexican food bears little resemblance to meals served up in the USA, Australia, UK and so on?

Do not despair, for if you can convince yourself to get away from your All-Inclusive (What, but I paid good money to get here for the “free” food!) it is possible to find a few hidden gems offering great food at prices well below the usual tourist trap levels.

One such place is Pik Nik, an ordinary little place in a quiet sidestreet, with tables, chairs and umbrellas spilling out on to the sidewalk. I was specifically looking for it but walked past three times before I finally noticed the name. I’m very happy to have found it in the end.

High ratings on Tripadvisor can be a good or bad thing so I was a little apprehensive as we were seated. The menus were handed around, nothing fancy, just slightly worn, laminated cardboard, and drinks were offered.

We decided on our all time favourite Pina Coladas for the grownups, the “usual”, but backed them up with an offer too good to refuse… a 99 peso one litre Margarita. Now who wouldn’t want a giant frozen Margarita on a steamy Cancun day?

piknik 4

We ordered a range of meals to get a good sampling of what is on offer at Pik Nik. A variety of salsas, a selection of small tacos, and more. The servings were generous without rising to the mammoth proportions one expects north of the border.

And the service, as I have become used to in Mexico, very friendly but a little laid back at times. But who cares if they take a few extra minutes to get to you, you are on vacation in Mexico, do you really have somewhere you have to get to in a hurry?

We even had a lovely gentleman stop by our table and serenade my girls, the cynical may say he was praying on tourists, but I think is was a nice addition to our meal and a tip of a few pesos meant everyone went home happy.

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In the unlikely event that I ever go back to Cancun (but that’s another story) then I would definitely be heading back to Pik Nik for another meal, and hopefully another huge Margarita!

Very good food, very good prices for a tourist town restaurant, and down to earth Mexican service. Pik Nik was a winner in our books. You will find Pik Nik on Calle Tulipanes just off Avenida Tulum.

Do you have any other restaurant recommendations in Cancun?

12 COMMENTS

  1. This margarita is HUGE!! Good choice! 😀

    I don’t like the idea of all-inclusive. It’s easy to organise but I would be worried to miss on great opportunities to try something different and interact with locals. Ok, I could end up in a tourist trap but that’s also part of the experience and the fun!

    • I’m a bit like that too Eloise. I have stayed in some Mexican AI Resorts, but while my wife and daughter are happy using the facilities for a couple of days, I get bored and have to explore the local towns. Then again, sometimes you just need a day or two to recharge your batteries.

    • I found an even better place to eat with the locals in Cancun, Carly. El parque de las Palapas. Just a block from this restaurant but where the local families get together of an evening. Very entertaining and really cheap, really good street food.

  2. I loved Cancun and I’ve been there several times in the past, but lately the Mexicans don’t treat as as nicely as they used to. They just want our dollars.

    • I can imagine they also get treated pretty badly by some of the tourists. I’ve been in customer service for a long time and there is only so long you can take the “customer is always right” mantra before you get jaded. I find the people in the less touristy areas are much friendlier and happy.

  3. It’s always worth exploring off the beaten track for more local places to eat, looks like you found a gem there, and not just because of the enormous margarita! Now that’s my kinda tipple!

    • I actually spent a few days in a hotel in the Centro, about a block from this restaurant. And then headed off to do the standard AI resort thing after that. The margarita was a highlight!

  4. We passed through Cancun once, but all we saw was the airport and the road to the tourist port: we’re not fans of all inclusive resorts and decided to avoid it altogether. From what I saw (and what you say) sounds like we made the right decision! But it’s nice to know about Pik Nik: Yucatan is so beautiful, I’d love to go back and a margarita stop sounds great to me!

    • I love Mexico Marta, but Cancun just felt like a Mexico themed American theme park to me. I agree that the Yucatan in general is amazing.

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