Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide
…a few tips on where and where not…
Eating at a good restaurant is usually a great experience.
So why is choosing the restaurant always so stressful?
You could go off TripAdvisor.
But is it really that helpful to read something like, “We looooove the truffles and it was soooooooo cheap,” or “My wife threw up at 4am and there were pieces of tuna all over the bathroom…”
And why does everyone have to start a TripAdvisor restaurant review by boasting about how they are food experts?
You could just walk around Playa Del Carmen and choose the busiest.
But the power of the crowd can also backfire.
Especially at the overpriced spots on 5th Avenue.
Or you could do what half the couples in Playa Del Carmen do.
Walk around and find tiny faults in every restaurant then end up eating at Burger King.
Seriously, I’ve seen them: “Oooh, they don’t have fried cuttlefish on the menu,” “Aaah, the waiter has a funny accent,” or “It doesn’t look as good as that other one which looked better than the first one which was…where was it?”
I’m going to offer you an alternative Playa Del Carmen restaurant guide.
I’ll just tell you about 15 or so great restaurants in Playa Del Carmen that I know everyone enjoys.
Just take your pick.
Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide – Mexican Food
This is Mexico, so let’s get personal with some authentic food.
If you’re looking for fajitas, tacos, and spicy fried food, then look no further than the street stalls.
But that’s just the Mexican food that you see in Mexican restaurants around the world.
Everyone knows that’s not the most authentic.
For a top-notch, wide-ranging menu, try Carboncitos on Calle 4, somewhere between 5th and 10th Ave.
Loads of meat, great barbecue smells, and cheap: you can’t go wrong with El Fogan on Calle 6th and 30th Ave.
A fancier option is Luna Mayan.
Kind of an elegant take on traditional Mexican food.
Probably my favorite though is Los Aguachiles.
Big portions, great service, and some bizarre-sounding combos that blow me away.
Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide – Mayan Food
When it comes to Mayan food there are only two places you need to go.
In my opinion, the absolute best restaurant in Playa Del Carmen is Ajua Maya.
This is the must-do dining experience of the city.
The other is Oh Lala.
This is the number one on TripAdvisor, so there tends to be a line around the block at times.
But it only seats about five people and a dog.
Honestly, this is a tiny tiny restaurant.
So reservations are essential.
Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide – Seafood
I remember going to restaurants in the States and my girlfriends complaining about the freshness of the fish.
I was like “We’re 1000 miles from the ocean on a cattle ranch – why did you order fish?”
But Playa Del Carmen is on the coast.
Yes, so close to the crystal blue water that you can dine with your feet in the white sand.
Go to Calle 38 and 5th Avenue.
So it looks a little uncultured and tacky.
But they know how to barbeque something that’s straight from the fishermen’s net.
For ultimate indulgence in a fishy paradise, then take a taxi to Playa Maroma and Pavo Real by the Sea.
It’s expensive, but in addition to the food, there are the great views.
Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide – Eating And Getting Drunk
The problem I found with restaurants is that you get so excited with eating, that by the time you’ve finished, the night is over.
You can’t go partying with 5-lbs of carbs in your stomach.
I don’t like the choice between dining out and getting drunk.
Instead of either/or, I like both/and. In essence, it’s all about the combos.
Manne’s Biergarten is crazy cheap.
Drink beer, eat fried sausages with mustard, drink more beer, then order some more sausages.
Kartabar is one of 5th Ave’s most popular bars.
Get a group of people, get a table, and sit there for hours eating barbecued food and drinking too many cocktails.
Wicky’s is bang on the beach and plays some really funky tunes.
So you can decide between an after-dinner coffee or an after-dinner boogie.
Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide – Italian
What is it about Italian food?
Everyone goes on vacation and gets obsessed with eating pizza.
It doesn’t seem to matter where you are in the world, just call your restaurant “Taste of Italy,” and watch them flock like sheep.
There are some really shit Italian restaurants in Playa Del Carmen.
I’m talking about pizzas that come straight from the 3-for-2 freezer aisle in your local grocery store.
Fortunately, they are few and far between. Much more the exception than the rule.
If you want very good AND cheap pizza then head to Mama Mia Pizzeria.
My favorite Italian restaurant is Como Como on 10th Ave between Calle 12 and 14.
Unlike many Italian restaurants, it has a menu that isn’t just a copy of what they sell at Pizza Hut.
I’m talking real authentic cuisine here.
Read my Playa Del Carmen Italian Restaurant guide for more choices.
Playa Del Carmen Restaurant Guide – Other Great Choices
So the above are the winners in my Playa Del Carmen restaurant guide.
The ones that you visit once and then go back to the next day – or every day of your trip.
But there are plenty of runner-up places.
So here is Rufus Playa Del Carmen Guide to the best of the rest(aurants).
- Have tasty and filling snacks at Tacamaron on Calle 10. Especially the fish tacos.
- Eat sushi by the beach at Asiana on 1st Ave.
- Dangle your feet into the cooling sand, gaze at the ocean, and order something off the barbeque at Fusion Bar and Restaurant.
- In Nativo there are monkeys and hawks decorating the walls. It’s up on 30th Ave., which means cheap prices and local food. Order a liter-sized fruit drink to stock up on the vitamins after a heavy night out.
- Sur Steakhouse is pricey. But it offers great steak.
- There are hundreds of restaurants around 5th Avenue. Many are overpriced and not that great. One I would go for is El Mestizo de la 5a. It’s pretty new so they really make an effort about everything.
I hope there are enough choices here to get you started in Playa Del Carmen.
If you meet any other locals then ask for their recommendations as well.
There are hundreds of great restaurants in Playa Del Carmen.
Lots of love,
It’s your turn. Do you have any suggestions that you can add to this guide? Please leave them in the comments section below!