There are over 1,200 restaurants in Cancun. In addition to the many restaurants you'll find situated within Cancun's hotel zone, the shopping and tourist areas offer an abundance of restaurants, cafés, and bars. Here, you'll find popular restaurant chains, such as Outback Steak House (011-52-998-883-0832). Popular fast-food dining options, like McDonald's, are also plentiful, plus you'll find a selection of independently opened and operated restaurants.
As a general rule, the restaurants found in the hotel zone offer more Americanized menus, featuring a blander array of entrees. They also prepare their foods using purified water. The local restaurants in the downtown area, on the other hand, are more apt to offer traditional local cuisine and Mexican dishes.
Throughout Mexico, including Cancun, tourists sometimes fall prey to traveler's diarrhea, which can be caught by eating contaminated fruit and vegetables or by drinking contaminated water. As a general rule, unless you're eating at a hotel or resort (or in a well-known chain restaurant), avoid eating uncooked foods, enjoying drinks with ice, or drinking unpasteurized milk products.
It's a good strategy to drink only bottled water (or tap water that has been boiled for at least ten minutes). If someone in your family becomes mildly ill as a result of the water or local food, Pepto-Bismol usually works well. Drinking purified water is the best strategy to avoid this illness.