Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide
If you’re looking for a food adventure in Playa del Carmen, a sunny ocean paradise on the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican Caribbean, head to the vibrant restaurant scene in Centro and the North End. You’ll find mouthwatering food everywhere you go in the city, and here are the best restaurants to try.
Where to Eat – Best Areas
Centro – Center
Centro is an area with walkable shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. La Quinta 5th Ave has vendors, tour shops, performers, and tequila tasting rooms. From Ave. Constituyentes to Calle 1, Centro is the place to go for fun and great food.
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If you walk north from Centro and cross Ave. Constituyentes, you’ll enter the North End which is a residential area with Airbnb and condo options. Despite being quieter, the North End is still in close proximity to Centro, and offers easy walking access to it. Large vacation groups often prefer this area, as it’s gaining popularity.
If you’re seeking a more relaxed atmosphere, Playacar is an ideal residential development located south of Centro. It offers beautiful beaches, a handful of hotels and restaurants, as well as a calm ambience. Playa del Carmen’s “suburbs” are defined by golf courses, parks, and shopping centers.
1. El Fogón- $, Mexican, Latin
El Fogón, located in the North End, is one of the most highly rated restaurants in Playa del Carmen for a reason – they have the best tacos. This very popular restaurant serves delicious tacos, fajitas, and refreshing fruit juices. Be sure not to miss their tacos al pastor, which are shaved right off the vertical meat spit called the trompa, as well as their flank steak tacos and other tasty Mexican favorites.
2. Cocina Doña Paula – $, Mexican, Fast food
For a home-style meal, visit Cocina Doña Paula located in Centro. They specialize in traditional slow-cooked dishes which are served by their four talented ladies. Don’t forget to taste their authentic Sopa Aguada. Cocina Doña Paula is famous for their generous and filling meals, made with love.
3. Los Machacados – $ Mexican
Los Machacados is an affordable restaurant that serves Yucatecan dishes. You can enjoy Salbutes, empanadas, and panuchos for only 18 pesos. They also offer a tasty sopa de lima for around 60 pesos and a delicious machacado, including coconut machacado, for 40 pesos.
4. La Brocherie – $, French, European Deli
Visit La Brocherie in Centro for their renowned and delicious Mexican rotisserie chicken. Their combos include a range of side options along with rice and tortillas. One of the chefs at the restaurant is from Paris, which means you may be able to taste some French specialties as well. You can try their chicken cordon bleu with blue cheese sauce if you’re looking for a French classic.
5. El Hongo- $, Mexican Vegetarian Friendly
El Hongo is a great restaurant in Playa del Carmen that serves delicious classic Mexican food and has live music. It’s a bit off-the-beaten-path in Ejidal, but definitely worth the trip. You should try their fresh blended/frozen lemonade with mint and the fresh ceviche. And don’t forget to indulge in their ridiculous pancakes!
6. El Nativo – $, Mexican, Vegan Options
El Nativo restaurant in the North End serves a wide variety of breakfast options to fulfill your cravings, including lighter fare such as fruit smoothies and fresh fruit plates, as well as heartier American and Mexican style dishes such as homemade classics. Make sure to try their refreshing fruit juices and classic chilaquiles which are prepared right in front of you.
1. Los Aguachiles – $$ – $$$, Mexican, Caribbean
Los Aguachiles, located in the North End, is a great place to enjoy high-end Mexican cuisine and seafood. The restaurant has an open-air setting and serves classic dishes such as grilled octopus, seafood tacos, and tostadas that are both delicious and flavorful. Make sure to try their freshly-prepared and delicious shrimp aguachiles, ceviche, and fish tacos while you are here.
2. Restaurante Patanegra – $$ – $$$ Spanish, Mediterennean, Vegetarian Friendly
For a distinctive dining experience featuring Spanish cuisine, try Patanegra in the North This restaurant serves delicious tapas and other Spanish favorites such as paella and croquetas. On Saturdays, you can even enjoy a live flamenco show along with your meal!
3. La Cueva del Chango – $$ – $$$, Mexican, Contemporary
La Cueva del Chango is known for its breakfast and beautiful patio, although they also serve lunch and dinner. The restaurant has a jungle-like ambiance in the North End, which is amazing. Try the delicious regional breakfast platters like huevos rancheros and chilaquiles, or refreshing options like fruit salads and tuna toast.
4. El Pirata – $$ – $$$, Mexican, Caribbean
If you’re looking for seafood, head over to El Pirata, a popular spot in the North End. They offer a laid-back and genuine atmosphere where you can select your fish and watch it being fried entirely. You should also try their scrumptious shrimp dishes and ceviches. El Pirata is known for their great camarones (shrimp) dishes.
Read Next: You can also read our top pick for best restaurants in the resort city of Cancun, best restaurants in the town Tulum and best restaurants in CDMX.
1. Alux – $$$$, Mexican, Seafood, International
Alux offers a distinctive and memorable dining experience located in Centro. The restaurant’s dining area is situated in a stunning underground cave or cenote, and serves a fusion of Mayan, Mexican, and high-end international cuisine. Consider ordering the delicious octopus as an appetizer or the venison and lobster tails as entrees.
2. The Traveler’s Table – $$$$, Mexican, Vegan Options
Traveler’s Table is not just a regular restaurant. It’s an interactive culinary learning adventure that includes a 5-course meal. The experience takes place under a thatch roof, around a few seaside long tables. You can find it at the Punta Venado Beach Club. During your meal, you will learn about the cultural influences that shaped Mexican food, including Spanish, African, and Middle Eastern influences. It’s a dining experience that you cannot miss!
3. Oh, La La! – $$$$, Seafood, International, Mediterranean
If you want to experience high-quality European cuisine in a modern and cozy environment, Oh La La! in Centro is the perfect place for you. The restaurant serves refined dishes made with the best ingredients and bursting with delicious flavors. Don’t miss the chance to try their grilled octopus, melt-in-your-mouth scallops, or duck tacos, each presented like a work of art.
4. The Grill at 1-26 – $$$$, Steakhouse, Seafood
The restaurant at Grand Hyatt in Centro offers seasonal menus that feature fresh organic produce, meat, and seafood. Expect high-quality dishes prepared by skilled chefs and served by excellent wait staff. The attractive and fun atmosphere will enhance your dining experience. Whether you order a perfectly grilled steak or a deliciously seasoned salmon, you’ll leave feeling satisfied.
1. Chez Celine
Chez Celine in Playa del Carmen is a well-known French bakery and cafe that is popular among regular visitors. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy coffee and pastries, including their incredibly tasty almond croissants, as well as quiches and crepes. They also offer options for vegans and vegetarians.
2. Cueva del Chango
La Cueva del Chango is a restaurant in Playa del Carmen that offers a rustic and tropical ambiance set in a beautiful garden. They are open all day and serve amazing Mexican breakfast dishes such as chilaquiles (148 pesos), huevos rancheros (134 pesos), and huevos motuleños (135 pesos) with fried plantain. Despite the wait, the food is definitely worth it and I highly recommend trying it out.
3. Le P’tit Shoux
P’tit Shoux is a café located on a less touristy section of Quinta Avenida and is the younger sibling of Choux Choux. After a sunny walk from Playa Esmeralda, I found refuge at this café which had a colorful bohemian-hippie vibe. I suggest trying their ham, cheese, and poached egg crepe (priced at 100 pesos) or their huge and delicious vanilla milkshake (priced at 65 pesos) if you have a sweet tooth. The café is open from 7:00am to 5:30pm.
4. Choux Choux Cafe
If you’re looking for a French-quality food experience in Playa del Carmen but in a more laid-back atmosphere with a tropical ambience, you should definitely try ChouxChoux Cafe. It’s one of my favorite places to kick-start my day. They serve great coffee, smoothies, and their salmon eggs benedict (priced at 130 pesos) is absolutely delicious. They’re open until 4 pm for breakfast and lunch.
Choux Choux Playa del Carmen
Lali is a unique oasis in Playa del Carmen where you can enjoy a cozy tea room atmosphere. They offer a variety of infusions, special coffees like rose and lavender, and a must-try delicious chocolate cake. Keep in mind that the cake comes in a big piece and costs 90 pesos.
2. Ah Cacao
This place serves great coffee and offers a variety of chocolate options. I recommend trying their chocolate tamale (49 pesos) and their Mayan Chocolate cold drink (72 pesos). It’s also a great spot to work on your laptop as they provide free wifi and air conditioning. They have multiple locations.
Where to fo for a drink
1. The Lost Tiki
When I was a kid in Montreal, my parents would frequently take me to a tiki-themed restaurant. I was amazed by the decorations and would imagine myself traveling to distant lands while the grown-ups enjoyed their drinks served in pineapples or coconuts.
I am still fascinated by the colorful and kitschy tiki culture. Luckily, The Lost Tiki is located only a block away from my hotel, and I was excited to visit. Their cocktails are not too sweet and are served in tiki mugs, just as I like them. They also offer several tasty small dish options. The bathroom is decorated with old school tiki pictures.
Cocolandia is situated very close to Calambrillo and is a great spot to go to after a day in the sun or at the beach. They offer very refreshing and tasty coconuts for 79 pesos, along with a variety of smoothies and juices. With good service and a pleasant terrace, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Due to its expensive prices and strong tourist appeal where people use US dollars instead of pesos, I’m not a big fan of Quinta Avenida. However, Karen’s, a vibrant restaurant located near the ADO bus station, caught my eye with their 2 for 1 cocktail promotion. Despite the low price, I was pleasantly surprised that our two margaritas were not watered down.t