We’ve spent more than a year living in Playa del Carmen and eating everywhere, looking for the very best restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
We spend at least one month in Playa del Carmen every year. Winter sucks in Wisconsin, so we like to spend half of it in Mexico.
Our last trip was in February & March 2023, to keep this list deliciously up to date!
If you ask us, there isn’t such a thing as too much Mexican food. However, a few international selections also made our favorite Playa del Carmen restaurants list.
The food scene in Playa del Carmen is amazing, with something for everyone’s taste – Here’s where to get the best food!
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 of 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. The beautiful, giant spit of meat is the first thing you’ll see when you first walk in. If you are unsure if you’ll like it, just order one; after that, you’ll want more.
We also love the ques0 fundido with chorizo. Its melted gooey Oaxaca 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. It’s the perfect appetizer. Drinks are reasonably priced too. | TripAdvisor Reviews
There are 3 locations, all on 30th Ave just five 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, 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 the wee hours of 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 two people with coffee under $20/300 pesos
Explore Playa del Carmen with a local guide on this walking food tour that brings you to some of the best taco stops you would never find on your own.
Learn how to cook authentic Mexican dishes in a local’s home. Start at a local market to pick out fresh ingredients. Vegan & Vegetarian options.
This tour packs a ton into one day, and it includes tequila! Visit the famous Chichen Itza ruins, swim in a cenote, visit Valladolid, and more.
3. Tratttoria del Centro | Best Italian in Playa del Carmen
This is one of our new favorite restaurants in Playa del Carmen. If you are looking for one of the best Italian restaurants in Playa del Carmen, this is it.
Trattoria del Centro has pizza, pasta, risotto, steaks, seafood, and more. We often try their daily specials. Last time it was a filet cooked perfectly (the special was called something in Italian).
All the pizzas are amazing. Our top two are the Diavola and the Bomba pizza. The pizzas are made in a brick wood pizza oven. We suggest trying to get a table away from the pizza oven. It gets very hot at those tables.
All the plates of pasta are good, but our go-to is the spaghetti alla trapanese (pesto) or the tagliatelle bolognese. We always start with teh rosemary focaccia bread dipped in oil, so good!
Somehow we didn’t find this restaurant until 2020. On our last visit in 2023, we visited it four times in a month, so we knew it deserved a spot on our best restaurants in Playa del Carmen list.
- Address: Calle 26 between 5th Ave & 10th Ave
- Dinner for two with two glasses of wine $40-50 USD/1,000 pesos
Have ultimate freedom and visit all the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen with your own rental car! Don’t worry – It’s safe (we’ve rented 20+ times), the roads are good, and it’s easier than you think! We always rent from Discover Cars, it’s easy & they have the best prices.
Quick Note: Tipping in Mexico is customary. For our complete guide on who to tip and suggested amounts, click here.
4. Alux | Dinner in a Cave Dining Experience
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 three 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 $75USD/1,500 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. Hands down some of the best pizza in Playa del Carmen.
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 $20-25/400-500 pesos
Explore more Playa del Carmen Restaurants with a Rental Car
If you want to see what Playa offers, 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 $20-35 a day on Discovercars.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. Mu. Burgerhouse | Best Burger in Playa del Carmen
Sometimes you just want a burger and Mu. Burgerhouse delivers. If you enjoy fancy, fun burger combinations like we get back in the States for like $15-25, this is that kind of place. This isn’t a cheap burger restaurant. If you are looking for the best burger in Playa del Carmen, look no further.
Every burger we had is great. The meat quality, the bun, cooked to perfection, they just do it right. Every time we go, we try a different burger. A few of our favorites are the Una Dulce Fantasia and the La Lolita.
There are two Mu. locations in Playa del Carmen have great spaces if you dine in. You can make reservations online here, which we advise doing. The 40th Av location is larger, and tables are more spread out. We prefer this location, but you’ll most likely drive or take a taxi to this location. The 10th Ave location is in the heart of Playa del Carmen and is easy to walk to.
We have dined at both and have gotten delivery too. If you get delivery, make sure to ask for extra curry mayo, it is soooo good with the fries.
- 10th Ave and Calle 24 intersection
- 40th Ave between Calle 4 and Calle 6
- Dinner for two with two burgers and two drinks $35-50/1,000 pesos
7. 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. Opt for the espresso frappuccino if it’s a hot day in Mexico.
There have a few desserts too, but the homemade ice cream is the best. They have three locations 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
- Two coffees for $4-6/80-100 pesos
8. 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 its croissants & desserts. They make some amazing crepes, both sweet and savory.
Since having kids, I like to go inside the bakery where you can buy items to go. Several times a week, I will get a banquette, croissants, and some pastries for breakfast back in the condo.
We tend to go early in the morning for their breakfast. They have pretty good breakfast combos ranging from 98-189 pesos. If you aren’t that hungry, you can get the continental for $124 pesos ($6.50). After 1 pm, there is a salad & sandwich menu. | TripAdvisor Reviews
- Address: 5th Ave and Calle 34
- Breakfast for two people with coffee $10-15 /170-250 pesos
Related: Best Breakfast in Playa del Carmen
9. Cheesters | Best Kept Secret Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
Cheesters is one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen, still within walking distance to 5th Avenue, yet very few tourists know about it. Everything on the menu sounds amazing, but believe me when I say the portions are huge. The pasta dishes are 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 12:30 pm, but we suggest going early or planning 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 $25/500 pesos
10. 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 has a nice, thick, creamy texture and just a touch of spice. A bowl of guacamole is expensive 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.
- Address: Avenida CTM (46th) between 5th Avenida & 10th
- Lunch for 2 with smoothies: Under $20 USD/ 300 pesos
11. Nativo |Best Cheap 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 both agreed the food use to be better, but since 2019, the food is just meh. If you are traveling to Mexico on a budget, then it is a good option. We think they are best for breakfast. 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
12. 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 two 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, two-for-one 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
- Two people can get six beers for under $10/ 300 pesos with a meal of $30+ depending on daily specials
13. 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, 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
14. Club de la Cerveza | Best Beer Selection in Playa del Carmen
If you love trying local microbrews, head to Club de la Cerveza for good local Mexican beers and 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.