In honor of National Taco Day, we thought we’d taco ’bout one of our favorite (and one of the most unique) spots in Isla Mujeres.
While touring beautiful Isla Mujeres in our rented golf cart one morning, we made it a point to locate Mango Café since both our hotel staff and TripAdvisor recommended it so highly. All of our hotel staff’s previous recommendations were spot on, so we thought – why not?
From our accommodations in Playa Norte we armed ourselves with our trusty map (provided by our hotel staff), and we navigated our golf cart south. Once we found ourselves in the “Mid-Island/Colonias” region, Mango’s brightly colored exterior is easy to spot. Since Mango Café is located on a busy corner, it took us a few passes to find the right (legal) parking spot.
From the outside, its unmistakable that you have arrived at Mango Café. The oversize sign baring the restaurant’s name can’t be missed. When we stepped inside, the small interior of the Café was absolutely charming. The impressive and brightly colored Caribbean walls of Mango Café were covered with Americana and took our breath away. The Cafés interior is unlike anything we’ve experienced in Isla Mujeres thus far. The owners of Mango Café have really gone above and beyond with the décor, and it’s small interior space and close tables gave Mango Café a very homey feeling. The intimacy of Mango’s dining room was warm and very welcoming. This allowed us to get up close and personal with the other patrons and the unique décor such as a collection of license plates from across the States. If you find yourself feeling homesick during your visit to Isla Mujeres, Mango Café is where you can find some American nostalgia.
The staff was extremely polite, attentive, and very friendly. They certainly kept the cervesas flowing, which is of course the most important part of any meal in Mexico! The interior of the restaurant and the restrooms were both spotless. However, during our visit we were caught in the middle of a heavy rainstorm and in result, there was a serious fly problem throughout the restaurant that made it difficult for us to enjoy our food while being attacked.
The small menu is a combination of six unique and inventive Mexican and Caribbean dishes which certainly peaked our curiosity. We had our eye on the Fish Tacos (which looked deliciously crispy and flaky), but after much debate we decided to go with the West Indies Chicken Tacos with the Coconut Peanut sauce to share. The presentation was incredible, and the portions were plentiful! After filling up on cervezas, delicious Jalapeño Margaritas and the best Mango Margaritas on Isla Mujeres, we were so glad we decided to share our meal. It wasn’t hard to get a few good snaps of these tacos, however – the pictures do not do the chef’s craftsmanship justice. For a taco, they were like a painting – vibrant and full of color. Far different from any of the other tacos we’d been served during our time in Isla. If food can be a work of art, they were absolutely beautiful.
The décor of Café Mango is lovely, the staff is wonderful, and the vibe is one of a kind. However, when it came to our meal, that’s where Mango Café fell short. Don’t get us wrong, the food wasn’t bad or inedible in any way. For us, on that day, it just fell flat of flavor and lacked Mexican authenticity. Unfortunately, the “tropical salad” (carrots and cabbage) swallowed any remnants of the amazing coconut peanut sauce that we couldn’t wait to devour. The “tropical salad” felt out of place in what otherwise would have been fantastic tacos. In our opinion Mango’s cuisine was a more modernized take on Mexican cuisine than the traditional cuisine we were looking for. We give Mango Café points for being adventurous with its menu, and we certainly recognize the amount of time and craftsmanship that goes into creating one of their beautiful dishes. However, these tacos just had too much going on for our liking.
The menu prices at Mango Café were also much higher than the majority of places we’ve eaten lunch in Isla. We do not mind paying higher prices for better quality food and such large portions. However, Mango Café was a disappointment for us because we loved the venue and vibe so much that we wanted to love the cuisine too. At the least, Mango Café will always be a great spot for us to chill and grab a drink in Mid-Isla.
In our opinion, Mango’s is certainly worth the scenic golf cart ride south even if only to take in the décor and a few of the Café’s famous Mango Margaritas. Although they are a bit pricey, these Margaritas will not disappoint! At this time, we unfortunately cannot give a “thumbs up” to the West Indies Chicken Tacos in particular. However, we believe in second chances and we realize that not every meal can be perfect. After all, it may have been our fault for going with the West Indies Chicken Tacos when the Fish Tacos looked so delicious! We certainly plan to give Mango Café another shot on our upcoming trip to Isla Mujeres. Our last visit was for lunch, and we are looking forward to giving their dinner menu or breakfast offerings (that so many of our Isla friends rave about) a try. Whatever we decide, we will certainly keep all of you informed!
Have you visited Mango Café in Isla Mujeres? If so, we’d love to hear about your experience! Perhaps it will help us decide what to try next!