Cancun Mexican Restaurant: South of the (Canadian) border

Despite the plethora of food selections that Colby provides students, every once in awhile I find myself craving something that I simply cannot find on campus: a single pot sticker, French onion soup in a sourdough bread bowl from Panera, literally anything off the Noodles and Company menu.

Recently, I have desired nothing but guacamole-drenched Mexican food, and decided to quench this thirst by trying out Waterville’s Cancun Mexican Restaurant.

As a native of St. Louis, Missouri, I grew up feeling about as close to the southern border as I was to Madagascar. Where I come from, the word “Hola” is pronounced with an “h,” and the most revered Mexican restaurant in town is “Nacho Mama’s.” In other words, I am not claiming to be a source of knowledge on authentic Mexican cuisine; instead, I consider myself a connoisseur of whatever food American society has produced and dubbed “Mexican.” I have spent months of my life living off nothing but bean and cheese burrito from Chevy’s, and could die a happy woman if the rest of my meals consisted only of Chipotle’s coveted guacamole. This is why I was so incredibly excited to finally get to eat some beloved Mexican food in Colby’s very own Waterville, and it definitely did not disappoint.

Located downtown on Silver Street, Cancun Mexican Restaurant’s rock-based exterior resembles Spanish architecture common in Mexico, and its extended brown awning makes it impossible to miss. Colby students who frequent the shops in and around the centrally located Concourse parking lot have most likely seen this restaurant which, during the warmer seasons, offers outdoor seating inhabited by happy customers.

The ambiance of Cancun Mexican Restaurant tries to create a “south-of-the-border” atmosphere eatery. The walls are painted with yellow stucco, and even the ceiling is lined with beer streamers that put you under the impression of being warm and out in the natural environment; even though the temperature, in reality, may amount to a whopping four degrees. Soft mariachi music plays as you approach the main podium, where you will be assigned a table. Since I was accompanied only by two friends, we were placed in a booth. However, there were numerous long tables available that could accommodate up to twenty people, if you wanted to make a bigger event.

Although rumored to be busier during the later hours of the evening, the restaurant had a lot of free tables when I arrived around 5:00 p.m. and my party was seated immediately. Within seconds, a waiter offered our table a large tray of chips and salsa that we immediately devoured. I am not sure if it was the quality of the salsa, or the fact that I had not had any in quite a long time that caused it to taste so good, but in either case, the appetizers offered were delicious. I would recommend the eatery based on this simple appetizer alone.

When it came to ordering, the wait staff was very efficient yet considerate of my indecisive nature. The waiter took our orders quickly, knowing that we were hungry and ready for more food. I had a bit of trouble deciding between the $7.00 chicken soup or the more modestly priced $4.00 guacamole salad. In the end, I opted for the soup, while the rest of my party chose the chicken fajitas. The restaurant’s menu is broad; it serves burritos, tacos, nachos, and other popular Mexican fare at reasonable prices.

Our food came out within ten minutes of ordering, and in much bigger portions than I was expecting. No one sitting at my table was able to finish their meal, but that was not for lack of trying. The soup was phenomenal, and even though I was even farther from the Mexican border in Maine that I was living in Missouri, I tasted a certain subtle creaminess that I never in my life experienced in St. Louis.  Both my friends and I agreed that this was one of the best Mexican restaurants we had ever been to and, faulting the limited space in our refrigerator, would bring back our left overs in a heartbeat if we had the capacity to. Overall, Cancun Mexican Restaurant on Silver Street in downtown Waterville is a fun place to go for great service, ambiance, and food, and should not be missed.

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