La Vida Buena, Akumal
Wiggle your toes in the sand while taking a bite of Tic Kin Xic, the catch of the day, at this outdoor beach restaurant, or savor grilled seafood while ensconced in one of two private lookout towers with views of Half Moon Bay. The friendly waiters have even been known to keep patrons company while they’re waiting. Non-seafood-lovers should try the Mayan chicken, marinated in achiote and baked in banana leaves. At the sand-floored bar, plus-size swings function as seats; try the La Buena Vida, a silky blend of Baileys, Kahlúa, rum, coconut cream, and Grand Marnier.
Insider Tip: If you opt for a mirador, or lookout tower, order your bottle of wine at the bar and ask the waiter to uncork it for you to take up to the table. Otherwise, you might wait longer than you’d like for waiters to scale the ladder with refills.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.