A wasted evening in Paradise
Do not know where to begin. This review is the collective thoughts from 5 well travelled adults that have been coming to Cancun for between 20 and 30 years. All of us reside in Cancun for part of the year, anywhere between 3-6 months/year, point being that we are very familiar with the local restaurant scene. The short version is that, without a doubt, Palapa Belga was the worst dinner outing we have ever had in Cancun. There are so many other choices of similar restaurants, the list is unending: Le Escargot, Les Cepage, Le Basilic, Du Mexique, Peters, La Dolce Vita, Gustino, Casa Rolandi, Cenacolo Mare, St. Tropez and on and on. And to end up here, well an error and a horror. Wine list, only looked at red wines, was very limited. To top it, I chose an Argentinean red blend that was on the edge of being oxidized. Should have sent it back and didn’t but that was my fault. We ordered three different appetizers to share: the classic escargot bourguignon, beef tartare and a green salad with apple and goat cheese. Of these items, the salad was the least disappointing even though it lacked one of the main ingredients, the goat cheese. The tartare was pretty blasé. And the escargot best feature was that it came hot, but lacking the usual plumpness and garlicky finish.Entrees were pork tenderloin and two of us ordered one of the house specialties: duck breast. The duck breast I was served was no magret de canard. It was very small, more like a quail breast, way overcooked, with a fair amount of untrimmed fat, and drowned in some sort of cherry sauce that had more sweetness than tartness to it.Service was agonizingly slow, sloppy, and inattentive. So by this time we were ready to hit the road and went without the customary coffee or dessert. All in all, a very forgettable meal. The amazing thing is that even though it was midweek, the restaurant was full. We wondered if Palapa Belga has become part of an all inclusive meal plan at the Grand Royal Lagoon, inside where this restaurant is located. The food certainly did not merit the size of the crowd. And I will not mention the overall bill. In these days of a extremely favorable peso/dollar exchange rate, a meal like we had should not run over $50/person, which it did.While the location is pleasant, there are beaucoup lagoon side settings equally attractive if not better: Thai and Elephanta, La Habichuela, etc., come to mind. Best we can say about our experience is that no one was ill the following morning unlike what has happened to a fair number of other reviewers. Adios Palapa Belga. Never again.