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15 Must Try Playa Del Carmen Restaurants | Where to Eat in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

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Looking for where to eat in Playa del Carmen? I’ve teamed up with a bunch of my foodie obsessed fellow travel bloggers to bring you this list of our favorite Playa del Carmen restaurants! 

On this list, you’ll find everything from locals in the know taco spots and vegan options to fine dining and everything in between! There’s surely something on this list that will please everyone in your group. 

Before your trip: check out my packing list for Mexico and read this post about whether or not you need travel insurance for Mexico.

15 Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

The Traveler’s Table 

Transportation to the dinner is included with your booking // 01 984 169 0424

The Traveler’s Table is a unique concept – an adults-only dinner party. It’s definitely not your typical restaurant! The concept was developed by travelers as a way to meet fellow travelers. The five-course dinner party takes place in a gorgeous restaurant set on a secluded beach. 

As you arrive, you’re greeted with a glass of champagne and passed appetizers as you get to know your fellow dinner guests and watch the sunset.

Next up is a fun ice breaker challenge before dinner- I won’t give away details of it but it wasn’t your typical, cheesy icebreaker. We all had a lot of fun and it was a great way to get to know the other travelers in your group. 

Once seated for dinner each course is explained as it’s being presented alongside accompanying wines, with all wines being produced in Mexico. The dishes served highlight traditional Mayan recipes fused with elements of cultures that have influenced local dishes.

Each course was delicious, but our group agreed that our favorites were the stone soup (sounds crazy, I know but trust me) and the slow roasted pork with pineapple dish. And the dessert, of course, makes The Traveler’s Table one of the best Playa del Carmen Restaurants. 

We finished the night off with a mezcal and tequila tasting course before saying goodbye to our new friends. This night was for sure one of the highlights of our time spent in Playa del Carmen. 

There are a limited amount of seats available so be sure to make your reservations in advance by visiting their website

La Bamba Jarocha

Avenida 30 Norte Calle 34 Nte. // 01 984 803 0965

Suggested by: Sarah of Live Dream Discover

La Bamba Jarocha is mainly a locals favorite with few tourists to be seen inside. The main reason for this is that it’s located on Avenida 30, several blocks away from the well-beaten tourist path of 5th Ave.

This simple restaurant, with bamboo beaded curtains as walls, serves up delicious, fresh seafood created in a traditional Mexican way. You will not find anything fusion or western on the menu. What you will find is tried and true family recipes for ceviche, seafood cocktails, shrimp tostadas, and fish cooked in a variety of ways.

One dish that we order every single time we go is the cazuela de camarones. However, the English translation of shrimp soup or shrimp casserole does not do it justice. The meal arrives at the table steaming and bubbling in a clay bowl, piping hot from the oven. Dip in your spoon and you’ll scoop up huge chunks of shrimp and gooey cheese swimming in a bisque-like broth and topped with avocados.

You may think that a bowl of hot soup is an outrageous idea in the Playa del Carmen heat, but trust us when we tell you it is more than worth the sweat beading on your forehead. Just order an ice cold beer to cool you down and you’ll be in Heaven.

Keel

The Carmen Hotel, Calle 8 Nte 876 // 01 984 803 2409

Suggested by: Ashley of Blissy Life

My partner and I were excited to enjoy sunset cocktails and dinner at Keel Restaurant, overlooking the beautiful Playa Del Carmen beach. Keel is well known for its incredible sushi and unique cocktails. Also, the view is not half bad either!
 
As you relish the fantastic people watching from the restaurants’ trendy deck area, time slows down. Whether it’s a date night or you’re catching up with a friend, you know you’re in for a treat at Keel Restaurant. 
 
We were impressed with the flavors and beautiful presentation of the tuna and octopus sashimi — it was some of the tenderest I’ve eaten and something I would most certainly order again. Also, we were pleased to see that the rolls were not drowning in sauce — as this is something we see a lot in the US — and were full of flavor and well balanced. We paired this with a flavorful berry infused gin cocktail that nicely cleanses your palate between dishes and is very refreshing on a warm day. 
Prices are on par with the other restaurants in this part of Playa del Carmen, making this a fantastic spot for a special dinner or celebration! Enjoy!
 

La Florestra

Calle 14 Nte. // 01 984 269 9102

Suggested by: Ayngelina of Bacon is Magic

While many tourists don’t get off Avenida Quinta to get their seafood fix, locals know that the best spot for shrimp tacos just five blocks away.  It’s a quick taxi or short walk up to the other side of the highway to find this truly local joint in Playa del Carmen. 

It’s been around for over 20 years and is well known for seafood, especially its Baja-style fried shrimp tacos. This is not the trendy place to eat, there are no neon Instagram signs that say “Let’s taco ‘bout it” or craft beer options. The decor is casual and relaxed with red plastic, Coca-Cola branding and refreshingly cold beer for micheladas.

As it’s a few blocks away from tourists, it caters to locals by offering great quality local prices, with tacos and tostadas for 25 pesos each, a fraction of what you’ll find on the main drag. Expect service in Spanish but servers who are more than happy to help as much as they can in English as well. You can expect everything to be fresh and friendly 364 days of the year – as they only close one day, Christmas. 

It’s the kind of place where you can go with friends and end up hanging out all afternoon drinking beer and grazing on tostadas, ceviche, and shrimp cocktails and then realize you didn’t pay much at all for all that food and drink. 

La Cueva del Chango

Calle 38/5th Ave. // 984 147 02 71

Suggested by: Carole of Berkeley and Beyond 

I was so excited when I first heard about La Cueva del Chango in Playa del Carmen.  It is located back from the beach, so most people who go there are seeking it out.  The restaurant is famous for breakfast and for its variety of chilaquiles.  Anyone who adores chilaquiles – as I do – is going to be thrilled to learn that they offer eight different types. 

My favorite is the one with pasilla chili salsa.  (Usually, you are lucky to find a place that prepares just one of the two most well-known styles of chilaquiles – with a red or a green sauce.)  Here, you can order them plain, or with an egg and/or shredded chicken on top.  Items on the menu are inexpensive; chilaquiles run $5-$6 USD. 

This informal open-air restaurant features a jungle garden atmosphere, which really puts you in the mood for a fragrant fresh squeezed juice–think pineapple, papaya, guava and more.  The menu also offers empanadas, crepes, molletes (sort of like melted cheese sandwiches), not to mention cappuccinos.  Lunch and dinner are also served when you might want to sample their all-Mexican wine list.

The Pitted Date

Avenida CTM Mz 174 Lote 1,2 y 3 Local 6 // 01 984 803 3917

The Pitted Date is a popular vegan restaurant and bakery with an impressive menu featuring options for both breakfast and lunch. Many of their menu items are gluten-free as well. 

For breakfast, The Pitted Date is where to eat in Playa del Carmen where you can find options ranging from sweet to savory including bagel sandwiches, chilaquiles, waffles and crepes, omelets, acai bowls, and even banana sushi! 

The lunch menu is smaller but still impressive with choices such as paninis, soups and salads and occasionally they will even do vegan burgers as a special. 

There is also a small retail area that contains vegan products for you to shop as well. 

Los Aquachiles

Multiple Locations

Suggested by: Amber of Food And Drink Destinations

If you are looking for a break from tacos el pastor in Playa del Carmen, head over to Los Aguachiles and enjoy some of the best local seafood in the city. They are known for their ceviche style dish called “aguachiles,” which is a mix of marinated, raw fish, chili peppers, and crisp cucumbers. Los Aguachiles serves up a wide range of delicious seafood dishes from fish tacos to spicy deep-fried shrimp, it’s a must visit.
 
Although not quite small plates, it is possible to order several dishes and share. In addition to delicious food, Los Aguachiles serves up some of the best cocktails in Playa. Their signature cocktail is a cucumber and mezcal mix, served in a spicy salt-rimmed glass. The perfect drink to beat the heat in Playa.
 
Los Aguachiles has two restaurants in Playa del Carmen, as well as locations in Cancun and a restaurant in Tulum. While the two locations in Playa offer the same exact menus, the atmosphere for each couldn’t be more different. The Los Aguachiles closest to the beach is frequented by more tourists. The second Los Aguachiles location is several blocks away from the beach in a more residential area, attracting more locals.
 
Compared to other restaurants in Playa, the food at Los Aguachiles is a little bit more expensive but the quality of the food, and in particular the fish and seafood is worth the additional cost.

Alux 

Av Benito Juárez Mz 217 Lt2 // 01 984 206 1401

Suggested by: Rina of L.A. Family Travel

High-end restaurant, Alux is set deep below ground in caves sprawling beneath Playa del Carmen. There are tables perched in connected caverns, decorated by dripping stalactites and dangerous looking stalagmites. The pocked rock walls glow with projected lights, giving the dining areas, separated by the natural formations crafted by nature, an underwater, otherworldly feel.


Don’t miss the Salmon a la Orange, grilled and served in a citrus sauce with sides of purees of pumpkin and chickpeas and generous portions of seasonal vegetables. Or, if you’re more of a meat-eater, check out the Smoked Mayab Deer in a “papadzul” sauce with savory spices, surrounded by a trimmed vegetable salad and corn puree.

You can also come and enjoy post-dinner creative drinks prepared by expert mixologists and served with contemporary tapas drawn from the local flavor.

After dessert, walk around a rocky path that allows visitors to tour the various areas created by the system of caverns and look for the bats that still make some small areas their home!

La Barracuda Seafood

Calle Uno, 28 de Julio // 01 938 107 1300

Enthusiastically recommended to us by our taxi driver, La Barracuda is another locals favorite restaurant in Playa del Carmen. The menu isn’t large but the portions are and the ceviche is known to be some of the freshest in town. 

Yucatan Food, Yucatan Cuisine, Mayan dishes, Mayan Food, Yucatan Foods

The menu also lists seafood tacos or plates of seafood prepared as you like – fried, grilled, in a garlic sauce or a diablo- spicy. Also, look for the whole fried fish- a popular favorite dish with many restaurants in Playa del Carmen. 

As it’s mostly aimed at locals the prices are more reasonable here than you’ll find at many places on Fifth Avenue which is popular with tourists. 

Our taxi driver also told us that the shrimp used at La Barracuda is fresh from the sea, whereas many local restaurants depend on farm-raised shrimp. 

La Cazota Grill

Quinta Avenida MZA 5 LTE 2 // 01 984 873 2955

Suggested by: Paula of The Travelling Expat

When in Playa Del Carmen you are totally spoilt for choice, there are many restaurants scattered along the street filled to the brim, so when we decided on a whim to step into La Cazota Grill Restaurant, we were pleasantly surprised at how delicious the food was.
 
This restaurant was fun from the get-go, we decided on a table outside to be amongst the vibrant fluster of people who were walking up and down the promenade. We chose the right spot to be amongst the action.  We asked the waiter for his recommendations, and he was super helpful. If you are anything like us, the more authentic, the better, throw at us anything and everything that doesn’t have a western flair to it. 
 
Everything he recommended was delicious, with dishes like Molcajete de Camaron, fresh ceviche and of course I can’t go anywhere without trying the fish tacos (my favorite).
where to eat in Playa del Carmen
 
We walked out there pleased with everything, from the large goblets filled with a margarita to the guitarist in the corner, I highly recommend this restaurant. I am the type of person who never likes to eat at a restaurant twice, but this restaurant would keep me coming back for more.
 

Gluay Maii Thai

Calle 38 Nte., Gonzalo Guerrero // 01 984 803 4625

Suggested by: Christine of Ireland Travel Guides

If you want something different to eat in Playa Del Carmen, then head to Gluay Maii Thai for authentic Thai food. Their main chef is from Thailand so rest assured that all food is authentic and fresh as it can get.
 
Their Pad Thai, green curry, and Sam Roth are a must for the main course. These Thai dishes can take you back to Bangkok (if you’ve been) as Gluay Maii Thai really captured the authentic taste of these dishes. And if you still have enough space in your tummy, you should also try their deep-fried ice cream. They also offer vegan and vegetarian options for those with a strict diet.
 
Gluay Maii Thai is tucked away at the end of 5th Avenue in Calle 38th so it’s quieter than any restaurants in the center of Playa Del Carmen. There is also an outside seating surrounded by a little garden which makes it conducive for a relaxing dinner with friends or family.
 
As for the cost, the restaurant is quite affordable. Their main courses are ranging from 90-190 pesos or $5-$10 USD and one can enjoy a nice dinner or lunch for less than $12 USD.
 

El Fogon

Suggested by: Alex of Swedish Nomad

If you want to try some Tacos al Pastor, and want to experience a traditional taqueria house that isn’t too touristy, then El Fogon in PDC is the best choice. They have become famous for their al Pastor, although they have plenty of other types of tacos and other dishes as well. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbfaARoBd0D/

It’s a simple restaurant that is located on 30 Avenida Norte, a couple of streets up from Fifth Avenue. If you want to visit during the weekend, I suggest coming a little earlier as it tends to get packed later in the evening. 

They have an English menu, but most of the workers don’t speak English, so it will add to the experience if you at least know some basic Spanish. They love foreigners who want to try the local food, and I’ve come here several times when I was living in Playa del Carmen. 

It’s nicely decorated yet simple with colorful plastic tables. El Fogon is quite cozy as well, and there are both upper level where you can sit, or down by the street level.

A party of 4 people can easily eat loads of tacos for $30 USD. The tacos cost around $1 USD each, and the best is to order a few different variations. But make sure to try their al Pastor!

Nativo

Lt 2, 30 Avenida Nte. Mz 26 // 01 984 873 0758

Nativo is famous in Playa del Carmen for their smoothies but they also have an impressive food menu as well. Their smoothie menu has tons of healthy and delicious combinations for you to choose from or you can customize one to your liking. 

Also, be sure to check out their food menu with options ranging from fruit cocktails to hotcakes, several egg dishes,  salads, chilaquiles and even seafood plates featuring fish and shrimp.  

Chez Céline

Calle Quinta Avenida // 01 984 803 3480

Chez Céline is an authentic, typical French bakery featuring all homemade products using on the highest quality ingredients. Of course, you can expect to find croissants, baguettes, and pastries. However, you will also find both sweet and savory crepes, an impressive omelet menu, sandwiches made on their homemade bread, quiches, salads, and vegan and vegetarian options. 

Their specials of the night (starting at 4 pm) include charcuterie platters, savory filled puff pastries, and dips and spreads that would pair perfectly with a glass of wine from their wine menu! 

Lara&Luca

Diagonal Aeropuerto MZ 29 LT 4 // 044 984 157 3525

Lara & Luca offers a full menu serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. You can start your day with choices such as waffles, Eggs Benedict, croissants or the ever popular avocado toast, this one featuring a poached egg on top of it. 

Lara & Luca is also known as one of the best places in Playa del Carmen for coffee. 

For lunch and dinner, you can expect to find pasta dishes including a pumpkin ravioli, deep fried shrimp rolls, skewers of chicken satay and even salmon carpaccio. The stylish eatery is known not only for their impressive plates but also for their exceptional service. 


Which of these restaurants in Playa del Carmen do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below! 

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