Playa del Carmen, Mexico is a food lovers paradise with an almost overwhelming selection of restaurants on and around 5th Ave. After spending a couple of months eating our way around town we have created a list of what we think are the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen. We cover not only the favorite tourist spots of popular 5th Ave but also the local favorites off the well beaten path.
Of course we can’t possibly eat at all the restaurants in Playa del Carmen (although we did try) and since we only write about places we have experienced personally we may have missed a few of your favorites. If so we’d love to hear what they are so we can try them for ourselves!
Best Seafood Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
La Bamba Jarocha on Ave 30 near Calle 34
This seafood restaurant is far from 5th Ave and is very popular with locals so you know it’s going to be good. You really must try the Cazuela Camerones con Queso (a heavenly shrimp and cheese casserole)
Best Authentic Mexican Food in Playa del Carmen
El Fogon at Constituyentes Ave between 25th Ave and 30th Ave (there are also 2 other locations)
El Fogon has been a consistent favorite for many years with good reason. The food is well priced, fresh and delicious and the staff are friendly and efficient. We highly recommend the Al Pastor tacos and the chorizo Alhora Los Alambres but honestly anything you order is guaranteed delicious!
Ah Cacao is a chain with many locations
Specializing in all things chocolate but also a great place for coffee and people watching.
Best Seafood Tostadas in Playa del Carmen
Los Hijas is on 5th Ave between 38th and 40th St
Best Burger in Playa del Carmen
3XL Comida Grande at Calle 8 Norte between Ave 25 & 30
They only have burgers here which may explain why they do them so well. First you choose your protein (beef, chicken, pork or veggie), then you choose your cooked toppings (various cheeses, mushrooms, onions etc) then finally you go to the toppings bar and load up on whatever fresh toppings and sauces you like.
Best Meal You Cook Yourself
Co.Cos Culinary School & Catering at Av La Gloria, Residencial El Cielo
This is one of the best experiences and meals we had in Playa del Carmen. The cooking classes vary but ours was a full evening of fun, learning, cooking and eating a delicious 3 course meal. Taking a cooking class is a great way to try and learn about local food.
Best Tacos in Playa del Carmen
Los Aguachiles Restaurant at Constituyentes Ave and also on 34th St
Best Street Shrimp Tacos in Playa del Carmen
Pez Kito on 38 Norte and 30th just down from the little outdoor Mexican housewares market
For just 23 pesos you get the freshest, made to order shrimp tacos around.
Best Deep Dish Pizza in Playa del Carmen
Don Chendo at Ave 30 between Calle 24 & 26
Best Fish Tacos
Chiltepin Marisquillos at 34th St & 20th Ave
This is a casual, outdoor restaurant with great food and service and our first choice for fish tacos. Also try their giant shrimp Michelada which is a weird but tasty drink mix of beer, clamato, spices and a shrimp skewer.
Best Taco Salad in Playa del Carmen
Wah Wahs Beach Club is on the beach at the end of Calle 2 Norte
This popular restaurant caters to tourists so the food is more Western Mexican therefore it’s one of the few places you will find a Taco Salad in a delicious crispy tortilla shell. See also Best Activities in Playa del Carmen for other info on Wah Wahs.
Best Ceviche in Playa del Carmen
El Pirata on 40th St between 5th & 10th Ave
This seafood only restaurant is very popular with locals and is almost always busy so you may have to wait for a table. This is a very casual place serving simple, fresh and tasty seafood at reasonable prices…hence the local crowd.
Best Restaurant With a View of Playa del Carmen
Catch is located at the Thompson Hotel Rooftop Calle 12 and 5th Ave
With 360 degree views, a terrace bar and a gourmet outdoor dining room it makes for a perfect place to spend the evening and enjoy the view.
Best Place for Mexican Breakfast in Playa del Carmen
La Ceiba de la 30 at 274 Ave 30 Norte
Best Steak in Playa del Carmen
500 Gramos is in Plaza San Pedro just off 5th Ave between Calle 34 & 38
Josie and Maury are a husband and wife team that take immense pride in serving the best steaks in Playa del Carmen paired with perfectly roasted vegetables and rosemary potatoes. Josie is a chef from Italy so she knows her food and will often leave the kitchen to personally check that their customers steak is cooked to their liking.
Chez Celine is on 5th Ave near Calle 34
This popular French bistro has tasty sandwiches and a huge assortment of savory and sweet crepes and sinfully good pastries.
Best Rotisserie Chicken
La Brocherie at Ave 15 between Calle 4th & 6th
This charming little restaurant is owned by Parisienne Fabian and his lovely Mexican wife and they serve the most delicious roast chicken with rice and tortillas. Also once a week they make a special beef bourguignon but you have to reserve ahead for this meal.
Best Health Food Store & Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
Bio Natural at Ave 10 between Constituyentes and Calle 16
Here you will find tasty and fresh organic food, juices, wine and beer as well as nutritional supplements.
Best Italian Style Pizza
La Famiglia is at Ave 10 and Colonia Central
Best Italian Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
Trattoria de Centro on Calle 26 between Ave 5 and 10
There are dozens of Italian restaurants in Playa and many of them are very good. We like Trattoria de Centro because it’s not on busy 5th Ave, has good service and great food. Highly recommend the mussels as a starter.
Best Vegetarian Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
Clorofila Vegan Restaurant at Calle 20 and Av 30 Norte 222
We are not Vegan but as we have many friends who are we had to seek out a good option for them and Clorofila seems to be the Vegan fave.
Looking for accommodations in Playa del Carmen?
For hotels of hostels we always got to Hotels Combined first. This search engine will show you all of the booking sites and their rates so you can get the absolute best price.
If you are wanting more of an apartment or a room in someone’s home then Airbnb is the place to go.
Looking for Activities in Playa del Carmen?
We will soon have an article published called “Best Things to do in Playa del Carmen” but until then we highly recommend the many eco activity parks run by Experiencias Xcaret. They are all different themes so there is something for everyone from family fun to adventure to culture and nature. Our favorites are Xel-Ha for snorkeling, Xcaret for culture and nature and Xplor for adventure.
Disclaimer: If you purchase any Xcaret tickets online with our links above we will receive a small commission and will be very grateful to you and you will save 15%. Win Win!
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Born in England, Sarah developed her wanderlust at a young age as she traveled around Europe with her parents. As a young adult she spent every penny she could on experiences as opposed to possessions. Eventually she found a way to earn a living doing what she loved: traveling, writing and capturing images of the wondrous world we live in. When not on the go Sarah enjoys time in her “sometimes home” of Vancouver.