Captain’s Cove (Cancún, Quintana Roo)

For the last few years, our friends Geoff and Kristy had invited us to come down in the Spring and check out their villa at Royal Cancun Resort (aka “VCI”, Vacation Club International, one of the oldest resorts in Cancún ), and check out many of the sights and restaurants of the greater Cancún area. After two years of pandemic-related delays, we finally managed to get everything worked out to join them for a week. Royal Cancun Resort offers a pretty good deal on an all-inclusive package for your stay, with drinks and food at any of their resorts and restaurants included (sometimes with a few modest surcharges). They’ve got a pretty good arsenal of restaurants available, including several Mexican, Italian, steakhouse, and seafood options. For our first night on the town, we hopped a cab to the other end of the hotel zone, checking out Captain’s Cove, one of the seafood restaurants that was part of the all-inclusive options.

While there are a lot of new places popping up all over the hotel zone, and a lot of places geared at the younger crowd, Captain’s Cove is one of the old-school places, having been around since 1986, offering both a large interior dining room and a very expansive terrace overlooking the lagoon, with the occasional crocodile visitor. For our March visit, the weather was perfect for enjoying an after-sunset evening on the terrace, enjoying a handful of cocktails.

The menu at Captain’s Cove is primarily geared towards freshly-grilled seafood (those seeking raw bar items are better off heading north a bit to Fred’s, which I get to in a few reviews), with a handful of steakhouse and grilled entrees geared towards the non-seafood crowd. For appetizers, we did shrimp cocktail (common at most of the Cancún hotel zone restaurants, served up with some fresh guacamole), as well as carpaccio. Both were nicely exected: the shrimp was fresh and nicely cooked with a nicely bold and peppery cocktail sauce (although lacking the horseradish notes I love; Mexican cuisine doesn’t use much horseradish). The carpaccio was fresh, flavorful, and immaculately prepared, with a nice light pepper and oil dressing.

Those readers that have been with us for a while know that I’ve got a mild seafood allergy, and thus often avoid seafood, but if I’m in a place with meticulously fresh seafood (fresh seafood triggers substantially less of an allergic response), I’ll often splurge, and Captain’s Cove was a good spot for this: I got the seared tuna. A simple seared fillet of tuna served on a bed of sour tomato and gingery piccalli, this was a nice example of the sort of fish dish I enjoy: a perfect light sear on both sides of the tuna, a nice moist, still rare interior, and an accompanying sauce that highlights the nice tuna tastes without burying them. This was a very enjoyable tuna fillet.

Carol opted for the daily catch: snapper, served up almond-crusted with a nice beurre blanc sauce and seared asparagus. The crust added a nice crunch to the perfectly-grilled (and most importantly, not-overgrilled) snapper, and the buerre blanc added a nice rich note to it. Another great example of a simple dish executed nicely.

Many times when I come to steak and seafood places, the desserts are a bit of an afterthought, but we enjoyed the desserts at Captain’s Cove as well; I had a simple coconut ice cream, and like most of the coconut items I had in Cancún, they let the natural flavor of the coconut dominate without burying it in a lot of sugar: this was a surprisingly light and refreshing dessert. Carol, meanwhile, tried out the Tiramisu, which was well-prepared and enjoyable, although I find that I usually like a bit more of a liquor note than Captain’s Cove’s version provided.

But dessert also brought out one of the dessert traditions of Cancún, a coffee liqueur drink featuring fresh coffee, Xtabentún (a local anise liqueur reminiscent of sambuca), another liqueur (usually Kahlua, but it will vary a bit from place to place), and vanilla ice cream, with the Xtabentún and Kahlua flambéed. A good part of the experience is the show: a good waiter will usually poor the flaming liquid from one ladle to another over several feet before serving the final drink in a warm glass rimmed with melted sugar. Captain’s Cove was no exception: it was quite a good show, and one of the better Café Mayas in the resort zone (and we’d have many more over the next week).

So, while definitely a “resort restaurant”, Captain’s Cove provides some excellent seafood opportunities in a pleasant restaurant overlooking the lagoon, and was a great place to start our Cancún dining. And with this review, Offbeat Eats has now done reviews in 14 different countries… Anyone want to guess which country is next?

One Response

  1. Scully 07 Jun 2022 at 18:36 #

    South Africa?

Leave a Reply