Playa del Carmen is one of the hottest travel destinations in Mexico right now. And when you see all of the wonderful things going on in the city – hosting world-class live music acts, producing award-winning tequila, and more — then it is easy to understand why.
If you are looking for a fun and great place to spend your vacation, then look no further than Playa del Carmen! Playa del Carmen does have a lot of options when it comes to dining out, but with so many delicious restaurants to choose from – it can be hard to narrow down your choices.
Here are my top picks for the best Playa Del Carmen restaurants.
Visiting other foodie meccas in Mexico? Check out these guides:
- 6 Must-Try Dishes When You Visit Baja California Sur, Mexico
- 15 Best Merida Breakfasts
- 10 Must-Try Restaurants in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
- A Walking Food Tour of Cancun with Eat Mexico
- 11 Must Try Bars & Restaurants in Cancun
- 15 Best Restaurants in Tulum
- Top Things to Do In Mexico City, Mexico
- Best Guadalajara Restaurants
- 9 Amazing Things To Do In Cozumel
- 12 Best Cabo San Lucas Restaurants
- 12 Must-Try La Paz Restaurants & Bars
While in Playa Del Carmen don’t miss out on activities that will help immerse yourself with the city (hurry while they’re hot!):
- Chichén Itzá: Hubiku Cenote & Valladolid Tour
- Cancun & Riviera Maya: Xcaret Plus with Buffet & Transport
- Cancun/Playa del Carmen: Tickets to Rio Secreto and Lunch
- Cancun or Playa del Carmen: Turtles & Cenote Snorkeling Tour
- Xcaret Park: Basic Full-Day Ticket with Night Show
- Cancun & Riviera Maya: Xplor Park All-inclusive & Transport
- 17 Best Restaurants in Playa Del Carmen
- How to get to Playa del Carmen, Mexico from the airport?
17 Best Restaurants in Playa Del Carmen
Avenida 30 Norte Calle 34 Nte. // 01 984 803 0965
Playa del Carmen is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. It’s a place where visitors flock in droves looking for beaches, nightlife, the ocean, and the Mayan ruins of Tulum. And not to mention the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
But this small Puerto Morelos village – if you can call it a town – has an eatery that few tourists visit. It’s not located on 5th Avenue or near the beach; no, it’s actually several blocks away from the Playa del Carmen center.
This little Playa Del Carmen restaurant is named La Bamba Jarocha, and with its bamboo bead walled interior – it’s exactly as you would imagine a casual Mexican seafood restaurant to be.
One dish that I 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. There are many other traditional Mexican food items on the menu, so be sure to try La Bamba Jarocha when looking for an authentic Mexican restaurant in Playa del Carmen.
Calle 14 Nte. // 01 984 269 9102
At first glance, La Floresta looks like a humble seafood joint. However, once you try the famous shrimp and fish tacos, you will never wish to eat anywhere else. It is the kind of place where the locals go and feel right at home.
La Floresta, also known as “El Pescadito” (The Little Fish), is one of those hidden gems that you hope others don’t find out about because you do not want it to become trendy.
The menu has a number of seafood options like tacos, ceviches, tostadas, soups, and more. Tofu lovers will love the big, fat coctel de camaron. That’s fried shrimp with tomato juice, avocado, and cucumber in a shot glass. It kind of looks like a little scum buster alarm on the ocean floor going after all the microorganisms that make for bad seafood.
It’s one of those Playa Del Carmen popular restaurants 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 tasty food and drink.
5ta. Av, Calle 2 Nte y, Centro // +52 984 247 6532
There are a number of fantastically delicious seafood Playa del Carmen restaurants, but one of the best places is by far Las Hijas de la Tostada. They specialize in a fantastic array of fresh seafood, making it a leading popular choice for seafood in Playa del Carmen. Pescado, calamari, shrimp — you name it, and you’ve got it here. They’ve also got some super yummy tacos as well.
Almost every single taco I ate during my trip to Playa del Carmen had some sort of seafood fillings from shrimp to octopus and scallops. Las Hijas de la Tostada is a pretty casual spot that is only a few minutes outside of Playa del Carmen in the small town of Soberania.
It’s definitely walking distance from downtown if you’re up for a stroll.
They have two locations on the bustling 5th Avenue for you to choose from. The one on Calle 2 has seating above the street, so you can enjoy some great people watching. Their other location on Calle 38 has a nice outdoor seating area.
Whichever one you go with, your appetite is going to be satisfied!
Calle 12 Norte, Entre Av. 15 y 20, Centro // +52 98 48 73 3315
Zitla is a fun local favorite and one of the most relaxing Playa Del Carmen restaurants that you should stop at if you’re in the city. While not well known to foreigners, it’s been around since 2004 and has a solid reputation with locals. They have great food and drinks and a really chill vibe, which makes it a nice place to relax or even take a break from your vacation for an hour or two (you know, to catch up on your internet stuff).
There’s also lots of graffiti art on the walls. Zitla means “beach” in Mayan, but it’s in this part of Playa Del Carmen where you won’t find the postcard-perfect white sand beach, but black volcanic sand.
They have a huge menu with lots of great food that comes at an amazing price. You won’t find many full bars on 5th Avenue, but Zitla has one, and the cocktails are some of the best that you can try in Playa del Carmen.
I think this makes them a definite must-stop for tourists and locals alike! You’ll get a real taste of the Mexican experience and have your taste buds satisfied at this great Playa del Carmen restaurant.
Calle 38/5th Ave. // 984 147 02 71
I had to pay a visit to one of the most popular Playa Del Carmen restaurants to see if they really were as good as the internet was saying. But, It’s not a short walk and the road down to La Cueva del Chango can be dangerous to drive, so I would highly recommend using Uber or some other form of transportation.
This restaurant is nestled in the jungle, so you will have to first drive through the town and head back towards the beach. It’s not like a lot of restaurants over there that are in an open area. It’s tucked away and secluded.
I can say that they have the best chilaquiles de mole around, which I enjoyed so much. They were heavenly! At La Cueva del Chango, you can enjoy a very traditional breakfast or a very creative one, such as strawberry pancakes. They also have health-conscious options, so you don’t have to give up the food you love if you are on a diet.
The menu also offers empanadas, crepes, molletes (sort of like melted cheese sandwiches), not to mention cappuccinos. Lunch and dinner are also served; then, you might want to sample their all-Mexican wine list. For traditional Mexican fare, especially at breakfast, this is one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
5a avenida con esquina, Calle 12 Nte // +52 98 41 10 7798
When you think of Playa del Carmen restaurants, Porfirio’s will probably be one of the best restaurants in Playa Del Carmen, featuring a great variety of food and drinks, as well as amazing views of 5th Avenue.
While 10th Avenue and 5th Avenue share the same name, they couldn’t be more different: 5th Avenue is all about bars, clubs, and drinking; 10th Avenue is all about seafood.
If you’re a fan of surf and turf, then you’re going to love this place. Appetizers include tuna carnitas and crunchy chicharron, while mains range from lobster tamales to green enchiladas with chicken.
Whatever you choose, you’ll surely satisfy your appetite! This is a great choice for date night or fine dining in Playa del Carmen.
Avenida CTM Mz 174 Lote 1,2 y 3 Local 6 // 01 984 803 3917
If you’re wondering where to eat in Playa del Carmen for breakfast or lunch, the local restaurant The Pitted Date is your place. It definitely has the best breakfast and brunch options in town. It’s also a great spot to stop by if you are looking for vegan Playa del Carmen restaurants.
Authentic vegan Playa Del Carmen restaurants are often difficult to find, especially in the atmosphere The Pitted Date offers.
For lunch, The Pitted Date has an expanding menu of salads, soups, kid-friendly options, and sandwiches. One of the most popular dishes is their baked fries with a cashew cheese sauce. This sauce can be found on a variety of items on their menu.
They also serve a selection of Mexican dishes, including tacos, burritos, and nachos for lunch, and have a juice bar offering fresh juices made to order.
For a healthy breakfast or brunch, with plenty of kid-friendly and vegan options, try this Playa del Carmen restaurant.
MZA 122 LTE 3 10 Avenida Norte // +52 98 41 48 0424
There are lots of reviews out there on the best tacos in Playa, but few have had the same level of review volume as Don Sirloin. This restaurant consistently makes lists of the city’s best tacos, and the raving reviews say it’s for a good reason. If you want to see exactly what all the hype is about, you should definitely visit this Playa del Carmen restaurant!
Tacos Don Sirloin is one of the most popular street food Playa del Carmen restaurants. The main reason why they’re so popular is that they have tacos for just $1. This is a steal considering each taco tastes great, with a nice juicy filling. You can choose to get tacos with sirloin steak, al pastor tacos, or chicken tacos.
Calle 38 Norte Entre 5ta y la playa // +52 984 120 2616
La Perla Pixan is definitely one of the coolest places I’ve eaten in Playa del Carmen. It’s just off 5th Avenue but feels worlds apart from some of the kitschy places you’ll find there. It’s not only a restaurant but also a mezcal store if you want to take home some of Mexico’s famous liquor.
What I loved about the restaurant instead was that it had that local feel. They have reasonable prices so that you could eat here even if you are on a budget.
With a palapa roof, a vast menu that’s both traditional and innovative, and an impressive selection of mezcal, this is the perfect place for a nice dinner out in Playa del Carmen.
Whatever you order, be sure to save some room for dessert! They have delicious churros here, as well as cheesecake with mezcal.
Lt 2, 30 Avenida Nte. Mz 26 // +52 984 593 1414
If you’re planning a trip to Playa, then I would highly recommend making reservations for at least one breakfast at Nativo. It’s so affordable, and there is no other place in Playa with such amazing juices and smoothies.
They offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s a relaxed atmosphere with an open-air feeling that makes it feel like you’re right at home. You’ll love coming here, and we think that any time of the day is a good time to grab a seat and get some food.
Calle Quinta Avenida // 01 984 803 3480
Chez Céline is a favorite place of mine for a few reasons. First and foremost, it’s just plain delicious. Their dinner is made with high-quality ingredients, and all of their pastries are homemade! Chez Céline has multiple locations, but we prefer the one on Quinta Avenida in Playa Del Carmen.
Not only is the ambiance exactly what you would expect from a French bakery, but they serve both sweet and savory crepes. That means no matter what kind of day you’re having you will have an option to pick something up.
Their specials of the night (starting at four 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! If you enjoy great baked goods, you’ll like this Playa bakery.
Calle 26, entre avenida 10 y avenida 5 // +52 98 41 47 2294
Imagine a typical Italian trattoria and how it would look like. You probably have an image of a small cozy restaurant with candles and romantic music in the background, right?
Trattoria del Centro‘s atmosphere is just as you’ve imagined—a cozy restaurant with a traditional Italian touch of real wood for decor and very soft lighting.
So if you are visiting Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and you crave some pizza or authentic Italian food, Trattoria del Centro is the place for you.
They maybe have the best pizza around that tastes amazing, and they have a variety of toppings to choose from. I love the Bianco pizza with prosciutto, ricotta, and a few slices of tomato.
It makes the soft dough a bit chewy and delicious. Two thumbs up! For a taste of Italy in Mexico, make sure to try this Playa del Carmen Italian restaurant.
Diagonal Aeropuerto MZ 29 LT 4 // 044 984 157 3525
If you’re in Playa Del Carmen for a few days, you can take advantage of the lunch and dinner tasting menus offered. The vegetarian tasting is one of our favorites at Lara & Luca, yet also featuring more interesting offerings, like the Mahi Mahi with plantain cake and papaya salsa.
For meat lovers, the steak tasting menu is a great choice, as it features an assortment of different types of meat such as Spicy Pork Tenderloin or Sirloin Steak.
All tasting menus come with soup or salad and a dessert and are priced at 45 USD per person.
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 its impressive plates but also for its exceptional service. Make sure to visit for a great dining experience in Playa del Carmen.
Avenida 10, C. 14 Nte esquina // +52 984 873 2571
If you are looking for popular places to eat in Playa Del Carmen, Primo is one of several fine dining restaurant options. The staff is friendly and helpful, and the menu will leave you with the difficult task of choosing what sounds the best on their offerings.
A friend of mine suggested that I try the tasting menu from this great chef… From appetizers to desserts, everything I tried there was absolutely delicious. With a varied menu, this is a fine restaurant choice for Playa del Carmen.
Calle 34 Nte #128, Gonzalo Guerrero // +52 98 48 03 1727
Axiote is a nice restaurant to dine in Playa del Carmen. The decor and all of the surroundings make you feel at home. Their delicious food is well prepared and presented. They also have several great styles of tequila.
Axiote offers a tasty and vast variety of menu items. Their tacos are made with fresh homemade tortillas, which make them perfect for eating outside with your hands, or if you prefer, you can order them on a plate. The tacos are large and made with the highest quality ingredients.
These fresh ingredients include wild shrimp, octopus, beef, chicken, and pork that are served in an open-air restaurant next to the Caribbean Sea. Great atmosphere, great food. Try Axiote when looking for a Playa del Carmen restaurant.
Calle 4 Nte 150, Centro // +52 98 41 41 6507
Romeo Trattoria Pizzeria is a restaurant with great food and atmosphere. The pizzas are among the best in Playa Del Carmen. It’s one of the best Italian restaurants in Playa del Carmen, and also offers great vegetarian and vegan pizzas.
With a lot of space inside and outside, the restaurant is not as close to the beach as other restaurants, but with really nice tables on the balcony and really close to 5th Avenue, it’s a great dining environment.
This restaurant was opened in January of 2015 by an Italian family that owns several restaurants in Italy and now also can be found in Mexico.
Av 38 Mz 200 Lt 03 Entre 1 era y // +52 98 46 88 8207
Trujillos Cantina de Selva is a very cozy place located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, offering excellent authentic Mexican food with great service. The people who work there are very friendly and know how to serve their customers very well. I would recommend Trujillos because it is a traditional Mexican food restaurant, where you will be sure that your food is as good as it should be.
The chef invites you to taste the culinary delights of Mexican food. It also has an outdoor terrace that can receive up to 80 people.
The restaurant is in a very nice location, and they have different kinds of Mexican food to offer to all their customers; for example, soups, vegetables, beach food, and seafood. You can find different specialties of Yucatan cuisine as well. There are also international dishes too.
If you decide to eat or drink there, you won’t regret it. Eating there is an experience, not just a lunch, dinner, or breakfast. You will enjoy every bite and the flavors of every food they offer you when choosing this Playa del Carmen restaurant.
If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, be sure to check out this jam-packed guide on the Must-Try Restaurants in Tulum as well!
There are so many amazing Playa Del Carmen restaurants that provide tasty Mexican food, and you might have a hard time choosing. Eat at all of them. Go on several tacos crawls during your stay to discover the best tortillas with carne asada and carnitas in the city.
Travelers to Playa del Carmen will not be deprived of eating delicious meals that’ll make their mouths sing with joy.
How to get to Playa del Carmen, Mexico from the airport?
The best way is the luxury way! Kidding but if you’re wanting to go with a luxury service, reserved just for you and your company of up to 6 people in brand new luxury SUVs, it’s definitely worth it.
Otherwise, you can take a private transfer if you’re a group – or book directly down below:
Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.