No matter if you are a tourist traveling to Playa del Carmen or local these really are the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen. The food scene in Playa del Carmen is amazing, with something for everyone’s taste.
We spent 5 months living in Playa del Carmen and did our fair share of exploring the restaurants in Playa del Carmen. We have also been back every year for a month each winter, including 2021.
If you ask us there isn’t such a thing as too much Mexican food. However, a few international selections also made our list of our favorite restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
Please remember tipping in Mexico is customary, for our complete guide on who to tip and suggested amounts click here.
10 Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
1. El Fogon | Best Tacos in Playa del Carmen
Hands down our top pick for the best restaurant in Playa del Carmen is El Fogon. This is our first stop when back in Playa del Carmen. We use to live within walking distance to all 3 locations and visited frequently. The menu is only in Spanish and you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.
You haven’t had REAL tacos until you have their Al Pastor taco, that is the meat you’ll see spinning when you first walk in. If you are unsure if you’ll like it just order one taco for 17 pesos ($0.90) and after that, you’ll be wanting more.
We also love the ques0 fundido with chorizo, it’s melted gooey cheese with chorizo on top served with flour tortillas it’s heaven for any cheese lover. El Fogon also has one of the cheapest guacamoles in Playa del Carmen, for only 43 pesos it’s the perfect appetizer. Drinks are reasonably priced too. | TripAdvisor Reviews
There are 3 locations all on 30th Ave just 5 blocks off of 5th Ave (main tourist walking street). You can easily walk to any of the locations from 5th Ave, we suggest visiting the Constituyentes and 30th Ave location as it opens the earliest and is the easiest to find.
- Address: 30th Avenida & Avenida Constituyentes, 30th Avenida & Calle 32, 30th Avenida & Calle 6 Bis
- Lunch/Dinner for 2, you can easily stuff your face silly with tacos and a few beers for under $20/300 pesos.
On our last trip, we stayed in Xpu Ha which is a 25-minute drive each way and we drove into Playa del Carmen just to eat at El Fogon. It’s that good!
2. La Cueva de Chango | Best Mexican Breakfast in Playa del Carmen
If you end up partying in Playa del Carmen till wee hours in the morning head to La Cueva de Chango for some chilaquiles or huevos rancheros. They have the best chilaquiles in Playa del Carmen with several different chili versions. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: Calle 38th and 5th Ave
- Breakfast for 2 people with coffee under $20/300 pesos
3. Ah Cacao Chocolate Cafe | Best Coffee in Playa del Carmen
There are a bunch of coffee shops in Playa del Carmen, but for the best coffee head to Ah Cacao. If it’s a hot day in Mexico opt for the espresso frappuccino. There have a few desserts too but the homemade ice cream is the best. They have three locations both on 5th avenue so you’re bound to walk past one. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: 5th Ave and Calle 30, 5th Ave and Calle 38, 5th Ave and Constituyentes
- 2 coffees for $4-6/80-100 pesos
4. Alux | Best Atmosphere
If you’re looking for a unique restaurant in Playa del Carmen head down (literally down) to Alux. This restaurant is inside a cave that is more than 10,000 years old! The cave is really big, it can seat more than 250 people and there are even private “vaults” that you can rent for an inmate dinner or private party.
Reservations are needed, you can make them on TripAdvisor here. We made our reservations 3 days in advance and had several time slots to choose from. The menu has many Mayan specialties, we really enjoyed the Mexico Lindo Chilli.
If you don’t want to come for dinner it’s worth a trip to Alux just to have a drink at the bar. It’s located off the main tourist area but only a 10 minute ride off of 5th Avenue, a taxi can easily bring you here for under 40 pesos. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: Avenue Benito Juárez between Calle diagonal 65 sur & Calle diagonal 65 sur 70
- Dinner for 2 with a drink each will be at least $60USD/1,200 pesos.
If you’ve rented a car there is plenty of street parking nearby, make sure to read our Mexico car rental guide. There are also taxis right outside of the restaurants when you finish your meal.
5. Don Chendo | Best Pizza in Playa del Carmen
Located also on Avenue 30 is another one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen, and they serve up authentic deep-dish Chicago pizza. The pizza is just like when we have it in Chicago, nice and thick crust with a bunch of cheese and toppings.
Everything is fresh and homemade. They have several specialty pizzas but we love the Chendo. If pizza isn’t your thing they have all the classic Italian pasta dishes. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: Avenida 30 between Calle 24 & 26
- Dinner for 2 with a pizza, garlic bread, and a few beers for under $20-25/300-400 pesos
Explore more Playa del Carmen Restaurants with a Rental Car
If you want to see everything Playa has to offer you should consider renting a car. With your own wheels, you can check out the amazing restaurants in Playa del Carmen. All the restaurants on our list have ample parking nearby. Even if you only rent a car for a day or two it’s worth it.
Rental cars in Playa del Carmen typically cost us $1-15 a day on Rentalcars.com but the only way to get these rates is to book online here in advance. If you show up to one of the car rental agencies in Playa del Carmen you’ll pay $50+ a day. Click here to check rates online.
*When looking for the best price and biggest selection of hotels check prices on Booking.com, we’ve found they are the best option and have a great cancelation policy.*
6. Chez Celine | Best Croissants & Dessert in Playa del Carmen
You won’t miss Chez Celine when walking down 5th Avenue, it always has a full patio. It’s most popular for their croissants & desserts. They make some amazing crepes both sweet and savory.
We tend to go early in the morning for their breakfast, they have pretty good breakfast combos ranging from 42-112 pesos. If you aren’t the hungry you can get a croissant and espresso for 42 pesos ($1.50). After 1 pm there is a salad & sandwich menu. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: 5th Ave and Calle 34
- Breakfast for 2 people with coffee $10-15 /170-250 pesos
7. Cheesters | Best Kept Secret Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
Cheesters is one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen that is still within walking distance to 5th Avenue, but yet very few tourists know about it. Everything on the menu sounds amazing but believe when I say the portions are huge, the pasta dishes are literally served in a skillet.
I suggest splitting a main unless you want leftovers for the next day. Our go-to was the Pad Thai, we’ve lived in Thailand several times and still need our Asian fix every so often. Their menu is large serving: salad, pasta, seafood, Mexican specialties, smoothies, desserts, and more.
The menu is only in Spanish and located on a chalkboard, which is kind of annoying so I suggest looking at the menu online here first. They don’t serve any alcohol and open at 2 pm but we suggest going early or plan on waiting for a little for a table. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: Avenida 40 between Calle 4 and Calle 4 Bis
- Dinner for two splitting a main with smoothies $20/300 pesos
8. Nativo |Best Smoothies in Playa del Carmen
If you’re looking for a healthy breakfast head to Nativo for a liter smoothie. The smoothie menu is huge (English menus are available) and made with fresh fruit and served in 1/2 liter or liter size. I typically asked for my smoothie without sugar.
Besides smoothies Nativo has a full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. We think they are best for breakfast, I like their chilaquiles and Adam liked their fish tacos. A liter smoothie is only 35-38 pesos depending if you get it with milk or not, which is just over $2 USD | TripAdvisor Reviews
There are two Nativo locations but the easiest location to reach is the 30th Ave one just a block off of Constituyentes.
- Address: 30th Avenida & Calle 20, Av Benito Juárez & 50th Avenida
- Lunch for 2 with a few beers each under $20 USD/ 300 Pesos
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9. El Sangha Rito | Best Guacamole in Playa del Carmen
The perfect start for every meal in Mexico should start with a giant plate of guacamole. We can’t even tell you how many restaurants in Playa del Carmen we’ve had guacamole at, but the one that keeps us coming back just for the guac is El Sangha Rito.
Their guacamole is a nice and thick, creamy texture, and just a touch of spice. A bowl of guacamole is 63 pesos so on the pricey side for a local restaurant but it’s worth it. They have a full menu as well, we suggest coming for lunch and getting the dorados with chicken.
Sorry, no picture of the guacamole I always finish it before remembering to take a photo. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: Avenida CTM (46th) between 5th Avenida & 10th
- Lunch for 2 with smoothies: Under $20 USD/ 300 pesos
10. Oh lala! | Best Restaurant in Playa del Carmen according to TripAdvisor
According to TripAdvisor, Oh lala! is the #1 restaurant in Playa del Carmen. Is it good, yes but if you only are having a few meals out in Playa del Carmen you really should have some authentic Mexican food.
The food at Oh lala! is good and it’s a great place for a special occasion dinner. The presentation is amazing, you won’t want to eat your food it’s so pretty. It’s a really small intimate restaurant, reservations are a must and can be made online here. I highly suggest the tuna steak with balsamic glaze and the Oh lala! passion fruit cocktail. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: Calle 14 bis between Ave 10 and 15
- Dinner for 2 with 2 glasses of wine $50+ /1000 pesos+
11. McCarthy’s Irish Pub | Best Happy Hour & Food Promotions in Playa del Carmen
Yes, I am telling you to go to an Irish Pub in Mexico BUT they have a really good happy hour deal on Mexican beers. Their happy hour is every day from 2 pm-9 pm where you can get 2 beers for 50 pesos.
Our favorite Mexican beer is Bohemia dark and it’s hard to find, very few restaurants in Playa del Carmen have it. The Irish pub also has really good food deals as well, 2 for 1 burger night, wing night, etc. McCarthy’s Irish Pub is located right on 5th avenue and has a great patio for people watching or inside seats with air conditioning. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: 5th Ave and Calle 22
- 2 people can get 6 beers for under $10/ 300 pesos with meal $30+ depending on daily specials
12. Bip Bip | Best Cheap Margaritas in Playa del Carmen
Located right on 5th avenue and just a few minutes’ walk from the beach is our go-to place for margaritas in Playa del Carmen. Every time we’ve visited during happy hour and their margaritas are 2 for 1 making them only 35 pesos each ($2). Not only are they cheap but they are pretty darn good. There is no other restaurant on 5th ave or this close to the beach with margaritas for this price.
This is our go-to place after a day diving in The Pit Cenote. It’s a great place to hide in the shade and people watch while you cool down with a margarita. We typically opt to have drinks only here and head up Constituyentes to El Fogon for food. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: 5th Ave & Avenida Constituyentes
- Drinks: $2-3 during happy hour
13. Club de la Cerveza | Best Beer Selection in Playa del Carmen
If you love trying local microbrews head to Club de la Cerveza for not only really good local Mexican beers but beers from around the world. Make sure to check out what’s on tap as this list changes.
Prices are super reasonable ranging from 35 pesos and up. This was our go-to bar before heading out to explore the nightlife in Playa del Carmen on Calle 12. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Prices really vary based on the beer
- Address: 5th Ave between Calle 34 & 38
Food Tours In Playa del Carmen
If you’re like us and love to try as much local food as possible then maybe consider joining a food tour in Playa del Carmen. There are some great restaurants you’d never find on your own and it’s always good to have a local guide to explain the dish in English.
You’ll for sure be stuffed on this cheap food tour. We’d suggest booking this online, as we’ve never seen advertisements to book a food tour through local companies.
Recommended Playa del Carmen Hotels
All the above restaurants except Aluxe are within walking distance of hotels in Centro Playa del Carmen. If you’re staying in one of the all-inclusive hotels in Playacar you’ll want to take a taxi to the center, you could walk but it might be far with the heat.
We suggest staying between Calle 14 and Calle 46 CTM and 1st ave and 30th ave. Our go-to hotel is Elements Playa del Carmen an amazing condo right on the beach. Other recommended hotels in the center of Playa del Carmen:
- Under $200 | Elements Condo | Beachfront Condo, Avenida Flamingo & Calle 4 Check Rates
- Under $100 | Illusions Boutique Hotel Adults Only | 5th Ave & Calle 8 Check Rates
Places in Mexico to Visit Before or After Playa del Carmen
If you’ve got more time to explore Mexico there are some epic places in Mexico nearby you should check out. If you can’t on this trip consider them on your next trip. Make sure to check out some of our other Mexico articles to fuel your wanderlust.