Recently I traveled to the Grand Sunset Princess Resort in Riviera Maya, Mexico for a couples trip with Andrew and two of our good friends. It was an ah-maaaazz-ing trip! I am usually a cruise girl so this was my first all inclusive resort experience.
I have always been skeptical of all inclusive food, as I've heard it's not very good and that it's all very "weird." I wasn't worried about "weird" as I like trying new foods, but I wasn't sure how the quality would be.
I ended up very impressed with our food experience! We had dinner every night in one of the on-site restaurants. Our options were Italian, Grill, Seafood, Mexican, Asian Fusion, Gourmet International, Swiss and Spanish. Some of the restaurants were extra money (boo, I did all inclusive not semi inclusive, right?!), so we went to the included ones! We were there for 5 nights and went to 4 restaurants (we had to watch the Cavs win the CHAMPIONSHIP one night so we skipped the sit down dinner!! 🙂 )
For breakfast and lunch we hit the buffets. I didn't take any pics of the buffet because my plate looked like a hot mess of frantic buffet grabbings and (to be honest) the buffet food wasn't all that impressive. It was decent, but I wanted to focus this post on the restaurants instead!
So we arrived at the resort around 10:30 am and started our trip with the breakfast of Champions (ironic since Cleveland became Champions while we were there!). I started with one of their cocktails called the Riviera Maya and a plate of nachos from the 24 hour sports bar. It was a perfect "Welcome to Mexico" meal!
One of our friends traveling with us was SO excited about legit Mexican guacamole so I couldn't wait to try it! The nachos were delicious, but the guac definitely made the dish. (Look at me, I'm a regular guac lover now!) 🙂In fact, the next time we ordered nachos we ordered extra, extra guac. We also may or may not have ordered by asking for "ALL of the nachos." They were good...
LA VAQUEIRI RESTAURANT (Grill)
Our first dinner was the steakhouse. So naturally, I ordered a steak. Andrew ordered the T-Bone which was delicious, and HUGE.....And I got the filet, which was even more delicious! And BTW, the lighting was horrendous for food photography. So much red. so much. But it's okay because the steak was phenomenal.
Not pictured?? The side dishes. They were no bueno. I got mac and cheese but it had NO flavor?! I was so sad. But it's probably just because I'm American so I'm used to Kraft Spongebob mac and cheese...
And then of course we had to try dessert. It was a chocolate layered cake with a raspberry sauce and it was divine. Somehow I loved the giant chocolate stick the most, though! My verdict? Pretty good! I recommend the steak, but I never found any sides that I would order again. I like steak but if I went to this resort again I would probably pay extra to try to seafood restaurant instead!
LA HACIENDA (Mexican)
¡Hola! Welcome to my FAVORITE meal of the trip!!!
On night two we tried the Mexican restaurant. I mean, we're in Mexico so it has to be good, right?? My only concern was that, again...as Americans...we're so used to the cheap, Americanized form of Mexican food that I thought I would be disappointed. I wasn't. At all. It was outstanding!
We started with a basket of chips and a trio of puréed refried beans, pico de gallo, and yep...more GUAC!! The beans freaked me out but the rest of it was delicious.
Our food came out in beautifully covered plates and were revealed all at once. So fun!
I ordered flank steak fajitas with cheese. I'm not normally a fajita lover but o.m.g I am now! They didn't bring us tortillas until we were almost done with our meal but we didn't even notice because it was all so good we gobbled it up with forks!
Best. Fajita. Ever. Somehow the steak was even better than the steak I had at La Vaqueri?? (Probably because of the cheese...oh and the amazing peppers and onions...)And then?? More cake!! This one was beautifully prepared but we only liked the top layer. I don't know how to explain the bottom layer...it was like...a mix of no bake cookies and dried out cake batter...I don't know. Not my favorite. But I didn't care because I was on such a high from my delicious flank steak!
The verdict....I would come here every single day for the rest of my life. I wish I had another night that I could have gone back here again!
Ermahgerd. Italian food. I was so excited. Bread and oil. Red wine. Caprese salad. Pasta. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.
There were so many amazing options on this menu that I ended up splitting appetizers and entrees with Andrew. He got beef carpaccio and I got caprese salad.
I had tried carpaccio for the first time earlier this year in Niagara Falls and loved it so I was excited to give it another whirl. I wasn't feeling this one as much, but Andrew said it was the best he had ever had!The caprese salad was pretty good...as all caprese salads are...but I only ate a few bites because I was saving valuable stomach real estate for our entrees...
Please bask in the glory that is the best lasagna I have ever had in my LIFE!! It was soooo cheesy and flavorful. I can't even begin to tell you how good this is! I would fly back to Mexico just to eat this again.
Andrew got an equally mind blowing dish. He ordered a steak with gorgonzola sauce. I have no idea how they made that sauce but if I ever win the lottery I will pay them off to find out. I want to put it on everything. Incredible!
MISO RESTAURANT (Asian Fusion)
I loved this restaurant before I even left for Mexico. I knew it would be amazing because I am obsessed with hibachi food. This was by far our favorite dinner experience. It was fun, interactive, and sooo good. The ladies got to try to flip and crack an egg in mid air, and we all got to try the always difficult task of catching a piece of broccoli in our mouths!
To make the experience even better our chef was so much fun! He had us cheering and making sound effects all night. I always love the hibachi experience but it was even better in Mexico! (Other than the feeling of massive flames on my severely sunburned skin! 🙁 )
So before we dig into the food, have you guys watched the video I posted on Instagram and Facebook of this guy's skills?! He's like the Chuck Norris of hibachi, I swear!
And he made us hearts out of eggs and rice!! See the arrow going through the rice?! Ahh take me back!So if you haven't been to a hibachi restaurant before, they begin by preparing fried rice and vegetables soaked in butter, garlic and teriyaki sauce. Then they cook up whatever meat you order. In this restaurant he made them all and we got to choose what we wanted. We had chicken (which he called iguana), beef (which he called spider monkey), fish and shrimp. I've always been a shrimp fan but it was all amazing.
I mean seriously. Look at all that food. We were sad that it was our last night and we couldn't take it home! (By the way it paired perfectly with their Sea Breeze cocktail 😛 ) And then.....MORE CAKE!! With another one of my favorite chocolate sticks. This was my favorite cake because it was chocolate on chocolate on chocolate. It was a mousse with chocolate cake and icing. So good.
So every night (okay only 3 of our 5 nights...for some reason...?) room service would leave us a plate of goodies. The first night it was plate of fresh fruit. There's something about fruit in the Caribbean that just tastes better!
The second night was a variety plate of desserts. This one was a winner for me, solely because of the raspberry chocolate treats!Our last night we got a plate of cheese and crackers. Ummm....helloooo?? That's my most FAVORITE snack in the world so I loved this one! I actually ate this whole plate myself. Sorry I'm not sorry.
Ahhh...the drinks! They're free, so of course they're amazing! I love fruity, juicy drinks so these were right up my alley. They have a HUGE list of cocktails, a few types of cervezas, champagne, multiple types of liquors, and a house red/white wine option.
They were all good, but since I'm not a beer drinker I was on self-induced sugar overload! I definitely recommend bringing some pepto and pepcid with you for this trip if you plan on drinking a lot of cocktails! 🙂
I also wish their wine selection had been better. There's a wine menu you can order from but you have to pay for the bottle. I wasn't a fan of the white wine because it was a dry white so I was really wishing there was some moscato included!
I also found it kind of hard to get a drink, especially at the pool swim up bars. If you go to a resort that allows it, I would recommend bringing a thermos (such as a Yeti Tumbler) to keep your drinks cold. If you only use the provided cups you don't get very large drinks and they melt very quickly. If you had a tumbler they would fill it up for you at the bar and it would last much longer and result in less trips to the bar!
Overall, you won't go thirsty here! 🙂 Or hungry for that matter! Be sure to check back for more travel food reviews like these 6 Must-Eat Myrtle Beach Restaurants or this Couple’s Getaway Guide to Niagara as I work (eat) my way around the world! 🙂