When you think of Playa Del Carmen, I’m sure you’re painting a picture of the iconic white sand beaches, turquoise waters, and luxurious beachfront resorts. There’s also endless water sports, exploring jungles and eco-parks, swimming in iconic cenotes, shopping on one of the most iconic streets in all of Mexico, and much more.
So, when you need to take a break from all that adventuring, where should you grab a meal to refuel?
This post will reveal some of our favorite places to eat in Playa Del Carmen so you can get your feast on and enjoy the most delicious Mexican food this region has to offer!
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WHERE TO EAT BREAKFAST IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
LA CUEVA DEL CHANGO
La Cueva Del Chango is easily one of our favorite places to eat in Playa Del Carmen. Not only do they serve up quality regional dishes using super fresh ingredients, but getting to dine in their quaint jungle setting is also a real treat!
All their juices are made with fresh fruit and you really can’t go wrong with any of the breakfast dishes. We love their guava/orange juice as well as their special juice consisting of papaya, orange, and passion fruit. In terms of breakfast foods, we recommend the chilaquiles with green salsa.
From the lunch menu, we recommend ordering the dobladas (with shrimp and refried beans) or the mole enchiladas. This spot seriously has one of the most delicious tasting tortillas in all of Playa Del Carmen!
And because I’m a pastry lover, I love the fact that the waiters pass by the tables and offer carrot loaf cake or banana bread! Do note that if you say yes, this does cost extra.
If you look up to the trees while waiting for your food, you might even catch a glimpse of Alfredo, the resident monkey climbing around!
WHERE TO EAT LUNCH/DINNER IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
LA PERLA PIXAN AND MEZCAL STORE
According to multiple sources, La Perla Pixan & Mezcal Store is one of the only places off the tourist strip that serves up authentic Mexican food and mezcal with a great atmosphere. Naturally, we had to try it for ourselves!
This place did not disappoint–it was an unforgettable meal, to say the least! We ordered the mixed seafood plate as well as the melted cheese with grasshoppers. These were both amazing and super flavorful.
They also have really creative mezcal drinks. We were lucky enough to make happy hour, which meant buy-one-get-one-free on the cocktails! We both ordered the Dona Lupe and it was such a treat–they were served in enclosed paper bags and came out smoking!
If you’re looking for other recommendations, another must-try is also the tlayuda–not a lot of restaurants make these so try it while you can. Feeling adventurous? Order any of the dishes featuring grasshoppers! They’re not at scary as they look (they really just taste like salty crispies).
LAS HIJAS DE LA TOSTADA
If you are trying to eat all of the seafood under the sun during your time in Playa Del Carmen, you cannot miss the casual outdoor eatery, Las Hijas De La Tostada.
Las Hijas De La Tostada is a jack of all trades type of restaurant, despite specializing in seafood. They offer ceviche, hot tostadas, and raw tostadas, but also tacos, grilled meats (steaks and burgers), and vegetarian options too.
If you’re a seafood lover, definitely don’t miss any of the raw tostadas. We really enjoyed their special tostada, the Copan, made with raw mahi-mahi and tuna, cooked octopus, guacamole, cucumber, caramelized onion, and fried leek.
They are also known for their Mezcal Octopus Tacos, so don’t miss those either!
Undeniably the most well-known taqueria in Playa del Carmen, El Fogon needs no introduction. The location on Avenida Constituyentes is the place to go to get authentic and unforgettable Mexican food!
There really is no better place to get tacos that are this affordable and this flavor-packed! Make sure you get at least 4-6 because you’ll eat these little babies up in the blink of an eye. We love the al pastor and the horchata is also a must-try.
If you don’t know what to get, you really can’t go wrong with the al pastor tacos. The star of the show here is definitely the al pastor.
Be sure to get here early because there will be a dinner rush line to even get a seat at a table. Yes, it’s that yummy.
For all things seafood (which we can never get enough of), pay a visit to the local favorite restaurant, El Pirata.
So where do you start? Well for one, you should definitely get a plate of fried fish. You can choose your choice of fish and have it fried whole right in front of you. Don’t know what to pick? Just opt for the catch of the day.
If fried fish is not your thing, they also serve shrimp cocktails, aguachiles, and ceviches that are to die for. Another super popular dish is the fish filet plate with garlic butter. Do bring cash in case they are still cash only!
Foodie pro tip: This food joint is Anthony Bourdain approved!
If you’re looking for a full-on gastronomic experience (meaning you care about it all–the food, the presentation, the service, the drinks, and the atmosphere), you need to dine at Porfirio’s. You’re going to get handcrafted cocktails, great food, and even better service!
Aside from the food, you’re truly going to be entertained during your meal. There could very well be mariachis performing throughout the restaurant, as well as street entertainment just outside on the sidewalk (Mayan dancers, singers, breakdancers, you name it).
While it’s not the most affordable restaurant by any means, you are going to have a spectacular meal and an unforgettable time here.
Don’t feel like a meal? That’s totally okay. Lots of people stop in for drinks only. Regardless of which you choose, do try to make reservations ahead of time because this spot is popular.
WHERE TO EAT DESSERTS IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
If you’re looking for another type of post-dinner snack to soothe your sweet cravings, look no further than Aldo’s Gelato! Sure it’s gelato, but the best part is that they feature some super authentic Mexican flavors like mandarina, guayaba (guava), mango, maracuya (passion fruit), and tropical rose. If you’re looking to elevate your gelato experience, get one of the waffles or bubble cone creations!
On a hot day, Aldo’s Gelato really hits the spot. Their prices are reasonable, and portions are big. It’s a must-try in Playa Del Carmen!
There are several Aldo’s along 5th Avenue so you are never too far away from gelato.
A marquesita is a type of dessert native to the Yucatán Peninsula. As you walk around Playa Del Carmen, you’re sure to see a bunch of these marquesita carts.
These delightful treats are like a rolled-up crepe. The main difference is that the shell is crispy and wafer-like in consistency. Fill it with anything you like such as Nutella, condensed milk, strawberries, banana, Kinder Bueno, Oreo cookies, kiwi, queso de bola (Edam cheese), and more!
We always get ones that skew on the sweeter side, with Nutella, strawberries, and banana. However, a popular choice is one with Nutella and queso de bola, which is shaved right into the crepe. This results in the perfect mix of sweet, salty, and crunchy!
And that concludes our list of where to eat in Playa Del Carmen! We hope that this post has inspired you to try something new! If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share, please don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments below.