Travel: Royalton Riviera Cancun Food and Drink

A couple days ago, I told you all about the Royalton Riviera Cancun – well, everything, that is, except the food. Which if we’re honest, is the most important part….AMIRIGHT?

I love food, and while I’m not picky, I certainly appreciate when a resort does food especially well. Yes, I can find something anywhere, but choices are nice to have – and the number (and type) of restaurants definitely factors in when we’re choosing where to stay. Royalton Riviera Cancun has 9 restaurants, plus room service.

I scoped out the menus online as much as I could before we left, and quickly realized there was no possible way I’d be able to eat everything I wanted to in the 5 nights we were there. That said, I did my best, and we hit all but two, so I’m considering that a win.

One thing I want to mention right off the bat – if you read TripAdvisor reviews, you’ll notice that some people share our opinions of each restaurant, and some go the opposite direction. So take these with a grain of salt, and if you’re going to Royalton, try whatever restaurants sound good to you, ok?

Hunter Steakhouse was our least favorite, so I’ll just go ahead and get that one out of the way. No pictures here, because the food was unremarkable. They did have a giant plastic bull outside the restaurant though, so that was cute. Apparently not for sitting on, which is ridiculous – why would you have a life-sized bull if you don’t want people to sit on it? Anyway, we waited for about half an hour to get in here – the only one we had to wait for, and it may have been because we were quite late in getting ready for dinner. We were excited because the menu looked incredible. But as soon as we got inside, our hearts fell…the atmosphere was terrible. It’s a bit like sitting in a tin can with 2500 of your closest friends. It was so loud that we couldn’t carry on a conversation. Our service was meh, and our steaks – ribeye for Jimmie, fillet for me – were overcooked and flavorless. We dined and dashed, and won’t waste a night on it next time we go. The French Onion soup was good, though.

Zen….oh man, Zen. We ate here the second night (it’s Asian food), and I’m STILL dreaming about that meal. I knew from TripAdvisor that I could order a sushi sampler that isn’t on the menu, so that’s what we did.

Sushi Sampler at Zen, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Sushi Sampler at Zen, Royalton Riviera Cancun

We also split the Butaniku Spring Rolls and Jimmie had Miso Soup. For the entrée, he had the Hibachi Grilled Salmon; I had Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai. We also got the Bussels Sprouts and Lobster Mashed Potatoes, which were both fine but definitely took a back seat to everything else. Zen was BY FAR our favorite – so much so that we debated about going back a second night, but opted for a new restaurant instead. (I wish we’d gone with Zen.)

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai at Zen, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Chicken and Shrimp Pad Thai at Zen, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Dorado is the Hideaway restaurant, and serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We didn’t make it in for breakfast because the buffet was so good (more on that in a moment), but we tried both lunch and dinner. For lunch, we ordered from our swim-up – a very cool perk that we didn’t know we could do until our neighbors told us about it. We split cerviche, Jimmie had fish and chips, and I had a fish sandwich. Everything was good, though it wasn’t out-of-this world good. That said, the convenience was definitely worth considering ordering lunch again!

Top to Bottom: Fish Sandwich, Cerviche, Fish and Chips, Dorado (Lunch), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Top to Bottom: Fish Sandwich, Cerviche, Fish and Chips, Dorado (Lunch), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Dinner at Dorado was Ah-mazing. The restaurant has a great view of the ocean, and they had the windows open so we got a nice breeze. Dorado was also the only restaurant that had the “house special” appetizer – it was an oyster. I had the Conch Fritters, the Raw Crab Legs (which were surprising but not really my thing), and the Sea Bass; Jimmie had Fried Calamari and the Ribeye – which was about 10,000 times better than the steak at Hunter. But the best part, for sure, was the dessert cart. Yes, cart. Our waiter brought it over, then laid out all the choices for us to choose from. Thankfully they were all small, so I didn’t feel the slightest bit guilty about choosing three. We had the chocolate covered strawberries (DIVINE), the crème brulee, and some mousse thing that was just ok.

Oyster, Sea Bass, and Dessert at Dorado (Dinner), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Oyster, Sea Bass, and Dessert at Dorado (Dinner), Royalton Riviera Cancun

If you’re not Hideaway, you still have plenty of good options, but if you are…don’t miss Dorado.

Oh, speaking of Hideaway, they do a Chocolate Party one night. It’s basically just an assortment of chocolate concoctions. I’m not generally a fan of the chocolate desserts in Mexico (Royalton is no exception), but they had some truffles at the party that were surprisingly good. I’ll be honest, I expected this to be a bigger thing than it was – I enjoyed it, but don’t let it be your deciding factor about whether or not to book Hideaway.

Chocolate Party, Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun

Chocolate Party, Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun

Opa was really high on my list to try, but tequila happened and so this one sorta fell off the wayside. It’s Mediterranean. I stumbled in for an appetizer, and only had the hummus. It was yummy, but I don’t think I can really give you much on the restaurant. We also didn’t make Armadillo or Agave, the Tex-Mex and Mexican, respectively. We wanted to do Agave, just ran out of time, so next trip for sure.

Grazie is the Italian, and since they’re open for both lunch and dinner, we were able to squeeze it in for lunch one day. It’s your typical Italian fare. Jimmie had Calamari here too, I had Caprese Salad – which was disappointing because the tomatoes weren’t very good. For an entrée, Jimmie ordered an enormous four-cheese pizza that probably had a year’s worth of cheese on it. So so good. I didn’t want something heavy, so I had Pomodoro Pasta with chicken. It was good, nothing special, but just fine. Next trip I’d like to try Grazie for dinner.

Four Cheese Pizza, Pomodoro Pasta with Chicken, and Caprese Salad at Grazie (Lunch), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Four Cheese Pizza, Pomodoro Pasta with Chicken, and Caprese Salad at Grazie (Lunch), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Caribbean Grill was also open for both lunch and dinner, and we did both. Lunch was better than dinner. Dinner was bland and slightly overcooked. For dinner we had lobster and shrimp tacos, fried coconut shrimp, rock lobster tails, and Caribbean salmon. The salmon was the best, hands down.

Salmon, Rock Lobster Tail, Coconut Shrimp, and Caribbean Tacos at Caribbean Grill (Dinner), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Salmon, Rock Lobster Tail, Coconut Shrimp, and Lobster and Shrimp Tacos at Caribbean Grill (Dinner), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Lunch was better – we had more cerviche, guacamole, a cute little salad, chicken fajitas, and shrimp alfredo. I suspect the Dorado lunch menu and Caribbean Grill lunch menu are pretty much the same, so just keep that in mind – we didn’t realize it until afterwards. In terms of future trips, think we’d probably pass on Caribbean in favor of another new one.

Guacamole, Chicken Quesadillas, Cerviche, and Puerto Morales Salad at Caribbean Grill (Lunch), Royalton Riviera Cancun

Guacamole, Chicken Quesadillas, Cerviche, and Puerto Morales Salad at Caribbean Grill (Lunch), Royalton Riviera Cancun

For those of you who party all night, the Score Sports Bar is open until 6am. We only went in to watch the Superbowl, but I was hungry again, so we had wings and poutine. French fries with gravy and cheese? Sign me up. The bowl was huge and every single bite was superb. We didn’t last long most nights, otherwise I’d have eaten there more!

Buffalo Wings and Poutine at Score Sports Bar, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Buffalo Wings and Poutine at Score Sports Bar, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Gourmet Marche is the buffet. It’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and it’s HUGE. Seriously, search YouTube for the videos. We had breakfast here every day, and every day had something different.

Breakfast, Gourmet Marche Breakfast Buffet, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Breakfast, Gourmet Marche Breakfast Buffet, Royalton Riviera Cancun

We ate lunch here on the day we arrived, and maybe one other time. We didn’t eat dinner at the buffet, though we did stop in once for dessert. Choices at both lunch and dinner were everything you could possibly want, and I especially liked the authentic Mexican dishes. These tacos were life.

Assorted tacos, Gourmet Marche Lunch Buffet, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Assorted tacos, Gourmet Marche Lunch Buffet, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Lastly, I have to mention the room service, because we took advantage a couple nights. (There’s also a snack bar in the kids pool that serves a similar menu – we did lunch there one beach day.) The room service menu isn’t huge, and it’s basically bar food, but it was plenty. The night before we left, I ordered extra food so we’d have lunch for the airport (we took plastic containers so we wouldn’t have to buy food). We had chicken fingers, burgers, and then I had a hot dog the size of my arm. Like I said, nothing special, but yummy.

Cheeseburgers, Chicken Fingers, and Hot Dog from Room Service, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Cheeseburgers, Chicken Fingers, and Hot Dog from Room Service, Royalton Riviera Cancun

One thing’s for sure, if you go hungry at Royalton Riviera Cancun, you’re not doing it right.

And how about the drinks? Because we all know, we care about our drinks. That’s one reason we weren’t super in love with Catalonia – the drinks were bad. I’m happy to report that I had one bad drink at Royalton, and that was because I ordered it, not because it was made badly.

We drank a lot of mojitos, mimosas, margaritas, beers, house wines, Icebergs, and Mango Tangos – easily my favorite. We also had plenty of Grey Goose shots, tequila shots (oy), and fun shot concoctions like the Bumble Bee, Mini Beer, and others I don’t know the name of. The bartenders make mixed drinks with mid-range spirits, and if you ask for a shot, they bring you decent stuff instead of bottom shelf.

Mimosa, mojito, electric lemonade, margarita, blue margarita, and Mango Tango, Royalton Riviera Cancun

Mimosa, mojito, electric lemonade, margarita, blue margarita, and Mango Tango, Royalton Riviera Cancun

BumbleBee shot, Royalton Riviera Cancun

BumbleBee shot, Royalton Riviera Cancun

So there you have it – all the food and drink info you could ever possibly want to know about Royalton Riviera Cancun. Anyone planning a trip now?