Heading to Playa del Carmen and I'm looking for the best restaurants to try while I'm visiting. Open to all types of food! What are your top places to eat?
I live down in Playa, and the town has so many options, many of which may come and go due to the competitive nature of having hundreds and hundreds of restaurants in such a small area, as well as some trying to keep afloat during low seasons.
Some staples you will hear about in every forum, from locals and visitors alike are:
El Fogon — This is probably the most mentioned place for tacos al pastor (pork tacos from the fire, cooked on a rotating spit). They have many locations around town, the most popular being at Constituyentes and 30th Ave.
It's good, consistent, very affordable.
Don Sirloin — This is a chain like El Fogon, and probably their main competitor. It's not as rugged or "local feeling" as El Fogon, but I think they are just as consistent, if not more so in the flavour and prep of their meat. I sometimes find El Fogon's pastor to be a bit dry, where it's always perfectly cooked at Don Sirloin. Both are good, but also chains.
Street Carts — These are just "find 'em when you see 'em", and can be just as good or better than the two staples above. Don't be afraid to dive into some street meat.
Ceviche / Seafood Tacos
Los Aguachiles — It's a little pricier than other joints in town that I find have the same quality food, but this is the spot for ceviche, aguachiles and beer battered shrimp or fish tacos in town.
Leche de Tigre — This is one of my new favourites. It's been around less than a year in a new street side mini "food mall" on 10th ave and 10th street. Great ceviche choices including the traditional octopus, shrimp and white fish... and also a coconut salmon ceviche which is rare around town.
Restaurante El Muelle De Playa del Carmen — This is better for a sit down or seafood dinner. They also have great ceviche, and for the quality of the restaurant the price is very reasonable.
Los Hijos de la Tostada — I've only been here once, but I will go back again and again after our first experience. It's a tiny spot a little further off the tourist strip, but the food quality was excellent and it gets you off the main strip for a quick lunch.
Oh lala— They are always #1 on Trip Advisor, and for a reason. They are booked all winter long, making it difficult to get reservations, even if they have open tables. They only take (I forget the actual number) something like 11-15 guests per night so that they can provide the highest quality service and best attention to your food, by not being overwhelmed.
This isn't a traditional Mexican style place at all, but more general fine "world" cuisine.
IMPREVIST Resto & Wine — Another good spot that sticks near the top of Trip Advisor. For the quality of dishes you get the pricing is great, and they're a good alternative if Oh La La is booked up. You can usually get a table at Imprevist, especially in the slow season.
A good tip about Imprevist is they also do a brunch (time changes depending on season, so call to find out). It is a great deal with delicious choices. Probably around $150pesos for a high-quality brunch.
Craft Beer and Tapas
Club de la Cerveza - World Beer Club — In Playa there should only be one place to go for craft beer and tapas. Miguel has over 90 different styles of beer and a great little tapas and snack menu to accompany them. The service is very relaxed and friendly. As soon as you arrive and sit, you'll feel comfortable and like you're a regular.
Disclaimer on this one: while they do have the largest selection of beers and are for sure the best beer bar on the whole coast, Miguel is a close friend of mine... but, we became friends because I kept going to his bar, so my opinions were formed beforehand.
There are some pretty okay places along the beach for food, but I find the prices outweigh the quality just because they're on the beach. You're mostly better off to find the little gems off of 5th (Hijos, Fogon, Aguachiles, etc.) to eat, then go back to the beach for cocktails or to relax with the view.
I could go on for a lot longer, but it's lunch time and writing all this is making me starving...
Mentioned in this answer:
My favorite place is El Cantil De Los Tiburones (which i'm pretty sure is misplaced in the map, it is on 125th avenue instead of Juarez). Please bear in Mind I'm Mexican and from Veracruz so I love the seafood from this place. Traditional, delicious and authentic.
Are you looking for a special kind of food? Any cuisine preference? let me know!