Q-Roo Paul’s Pick: Sal de Mar Restaurant in Cozumel


Several readers of the blog have requested that I write more reviews about restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions in Mexico.

I have already started doing that; however, I decided that the distinction of being named an official Q-Roo Paul’s Pick will still be reserved for those extra special places.

Although we eat out quite often (about six days a week), we don’t name many restaurants as official picks. In 2017, there were only two and the last one was almost six months ago. Today’s pick will be the first one for 2018.

So, without further ado, I’m happy to name the Sal de Mar Restaurant in Cozumel as an official Q-Roo Paul’s Pick (cue the band and release the balloons).

Sal de Mar

This restaurant has only been open for a little over a year and we first discovered it when a friend who lives part-time in Cozumel took us there for dinner.

When I first walked in, I was impressed by the meticulous effort that had gone into designing the interior of the restaurant. It was spacious (with multiple seating areas), inviting and had a contemporary look that you rarely see in other restaurants in the area.

We decided to start with a few shared appetizers that included some delicious Edam cheese croquettes. I could have eaten two plates of them.

Edam cheese croquettes

The appetizers were so good that we couldn’t wait to move on to the main course. There were so many dishes to choose from. Sal de Mar has an extensive menu that includes everything from seafood to brick oven pizzas.

We decided to order steaks, which we rarely ever do at a new restaurant because we are both very picky when it comes to the quality of the meat and the preparation.

From the moment I took the first bite of the filet, I was hooked. It was perfectly seasoned, cooked the way I like it and served with a four-cheese sauce that was amazing. The steak came with a baked potato and vegetables (also perfectly seasoned) and I enjoyed every bite.

That night, everyone at our table must have been suffering from beef withdrawals because this is what our dishes looked like:

Linda loved her meal as much as I did and we both vowed to return to the restaurant during our next visit to the island.

Our Return

Almost two months later, we returned briefly to the island to do some research for another blog article. Linda and I were excited to return to Sal de Mar and have a great meal before heading back to the mainland.

On this visit, we started chatting with one of the partners in the restaurant, Juan Carlos, and we learned a little bit about the history of the business and the building.

It turns out that the building was actually his grandfather’s house that he built in 1945. It was renovated over a year ago and was converted into a restaurant that is owned/operated by Juan Carlos, his brother, his parents and his high school friend who happens to be an excellent chef.

I mentioned to Juan Carlos that we enjoyed our first visit so much that felt compelled to return. I told him that I wanted to try something new this time and he suggested a sampling of various dishes prepared at the chef’s discretion. We agreed and the culinary adventure began.

We tried a wide variety of dishes ranging from beef carpaccio to lionfish. By the time the evening was over, we had sampled more than half a dozen dishes and we topped it all off with a fantastic Coco Alaska dessert.

Lion Fish Usuzukury, Ponzu sauce, longaniza de Valladolid, radish and jalapeños

The one thing that all of the dishes had in common is that they were all well-thought-out. The ingredients weren’t merely tossed together, they were carefully chosen and combined to make each bite something special.

I even ate something that I have never liked before, octopus. In the past, it was always been chewy and tasteless, but not this time. It was delicious and I ate the whole thing. I will probably order this the next time we go.

Grilled octopus on black rice with mussels and chipotle mayonnaise



Monday to Saturday from 1:00 pm to 11:00 pm

Sunday from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm

Menu and Reservations

You can find a complete menu on their site (with prices) and even book a reservation.


Let’s Wrap This Up

Whether we go to Cozumel for the day or we stay a week, this restaurant will definitely be one of the places that we visit. If you decide to try it for yourself, you might even run into us there.

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About the Author

Qroo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking to maximize their retirement income. They later started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) to share their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border.

15 Comments on "Q-Roo Paul’s Pick: Sal de Mar Restaurant in Cozumel"

  1. Richard 'El Jefe' Hileman | March 21, 2018 at 9:29 am |

    You sure aren’t wrong. It is wonderful!

  2. Elinore Craig | March 21, 2018 at 9:32 am |

    Those photos made me want to buy a plane ticket. Looks marvelous! I wish them luck.

  3. Roberta Strand | March 21, 2018 at 9:38 am |

    Boy is their customer based about to go through the roof. That place looks amazing!

  4. Janelle DeStasio | March 21, 2018 at 9:48 am |

    We will definitely add this to our list of places to eat when we come down in June. Thank you for the review, Yumm.

  5. Our family ate there a year ago and this became a definite favourite and must. We love the Merida inspired architecture. The food was outstanding!

  6. Oh my gosh, those pics look amazing and your review was great. I will have to try it the next time we go, as well. Thanks

  7. emilys72016 | March 21, 2018 at 11:18 am |

    Sounds wonderful and looks like a beautiful space. Wish you’d included a photo of the dessert, though!

  8. Ethel aka Fran | March 21, 2018 at 11:31 am |

    The meal looks great, but there is enough food on one plate for at least 3 meals for me! We rarely go out to eat because we like to cook. The only time we eat out is when we are traveling. Continue to enjoy the good life!!

  9. Heather Gordon | March 21, 2018 at 12:46 pm |

    I am headed to Playa Del Carmen next month and your last few posts have been extremely helpful!! I intend to be an expat in retirement as well and I love reading your blog. Only 11 more years to go. I too am a LEO and appreciate your perspective! Thank you. -Heather

  10. Don Neilson | March 21, 2018 at 1:21 pm |

    My compliments on your travel blog. Your goals and choices have been spot on. Well done, Paul!

    This restaurant choice looks eminently appealing – not only the design and the decor, but also the food. It is on my list for our next visit to the Rivera Maya. Thank you for presenting it.

    On our last visit, last Fall, my wife and I found a delightful restaurant in Playa del Carmen named La Cueva del Chango. We enjoyed it so much we ate there twice during our one week visit. The decor is delightfully rustic, with a strong emphasis on rustic, and very well done. The food is remembered, and some of the most enjoyable we have eaten. We will return.

    Best Wishes,
    Don Neilson
    San Diego, CA

  11. OMG I looked at the menu on their website and my mouth was watering! Can’t wait to try this place when I get there.

  12. Cherry Scott | March 21, 2018 at 6:43 pm |

    Great review. Love the family history and pics of the food. Looks amazing. Muchas gracias.

  13. I agree with you that your blog should not become a restaurant review except for very special places. That way we take your recommendations very seriously and appreciate the information. There are many places to look up reviews and your blog is a refreshing source of many other kinds of information. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  14. We ate there last night & it was beyond wonderful! Our new fave! Don’t miss it.

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