Playa del Carmen is a lively beach town located just an hour south of Cancun. I was beyond thrilled when Cody told me we were spending 7 blessed days there for our honeymoon. “You’re in charge of one thing,” he told me. Awesome. After eating out for 7 consecutive days, we put together a list of our absolute favorite Playa del Carmen restaurants and hope you’ll enjoy this list too! Most of these restaurants are located either on or near Playa’s main drag, 5th avenue. Cheers!
8. La Parilla de Manolo
A great spot for Mexican food if you want the trifecta of a fun atmosphere, tasty food, and top notch service all in one. Cody and I agree that the fajitas (I ordered the mixed fajitas) were some of the best we’ve had in our lives. Fantastic guacamole (is there such a thing as bad guac in Mexico??), friendly and prompt service, and a fun vibe with the live mariachi band. Although we loved this restaurant, it was more on the pricey side and, despite what our cab driver said, probably not 100% authentic Mexican food. Great crowd pleaser, howevs, for a meal with family or friends in a convenient location. Super clean bathroom too —> always a plus.
La Parilla de Manolo
$$ Mexican, Latin
984 147 1213
We figured that even though Playa is no Tokyo, we were by the beach and our fish would likely be fresh (really exciting for mountain town people), making for a great sushi experience. The reviews for this restaurant were good so we decided to give it a stab. This is not the *best* sushi I’ve had in my life but it was great and if we visited Playa again we would totally go back! Our server, Samuel was exceptionally friendly and knowledgable. He not only made our dining experience great, but also recommended several local things to do during our trip. This restaurant was clean and beautiful in a great location just off of 5th avenue. Tip: a lot of their rolls have cream cheese in them but they were happy to omit that from any roll we ordered.
$$$ Japanese, Sushi Bars, Asian Fusion
We fell in love with this quaint little spot among other Playa del Carmen restaurants because it was delicious, quick, and the owner treated us as if we were long-time friends. This Italian joint I’m sure has some great dinner options, but for breakfast we enjoyed scrambled eggs with fresh vegetables, and deliccccious fresh focaccia with bresaola, rocket, and parm. Very reasonably priced. We’d go back in a heartbeat. Tip: they take cash only ($$$$).
$$$ Cocktail Bars, Italian
984 115 6230
5. Negroamaro Italian Bar & Restaurant
Being the pizza snob that I am, it’s hard for me to find something that I’ll tell my beloved friends or family to spend their money on. In fact we even tried another pizza place earlier in our trip (not gonna mention names) that had higher reviews that we thought was just “meh”. Negroamaro was delicious and filling and satisfied all our carb and mozzarella cravings. Although the owner was very nice and friendly, our server was a little absent minded and it took us a solid 20 minutes for us to get the bill, have him run our card, and return it to us. Worth it? Yes. You can only have tacos for so many meals. Check out this place when you’re choosing among other Playa del Carmen restaurants and thank me later.
Negroamaro Italian Bar & Restaurant
$$$ Mexican, Mediterranean, Welsh
(984) 147 7050
4. El Gallinero du Chocolat
We were absolutely smitten by this adorableineveryway chocolate shop from the moment we walked in. Partially because they blast the place with AC (praise the heavens) and partially because of the picture perfect ambiance they create for every customer that enters. The owner (^^^) was thoughtfully taste testing different shakes in the corner with precision and referred to his kitchen in the back as his “laboratory”. Two adorable young girls dressed in pink explained to us their dessert menu and chocolate display. We came here two times during our stay at Playa Del Carmen and would have come more had we discovered this spot earlier in our trip. Some of the things we loved: the salted caramel ice cream, chocolate ice cream, chocolate covered salted caramels, and nutella crepes.
El Gallinero Du Chocolat
$$ Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options
984 120 3250
3. Gluay Maai Thai
Is it possible to find Thai this good in Mexico?! We read some great reviews and heard rumors that the chef is Thai himself (true), so after walking past we decided it was worth a shot. The dishes were flavorful, fresh, and true to form, an absolute must for your list of Playa del Carmen restaurants. We enjoyed their sampler appetizer including chicken satay (pictured above), pad thai, and yellow coconut curry.
Gluay Maai Thai (Mae Thai)
$$ Thai, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options
984 803 4625
2. La Cueva del Chango
Recommended by the owner of the condo we were staying at, yet another spot that we wished we had found on day one during our stay. This is one of our favorite Playa del Carmen restaurants because it is absolutely gorgeous, situated beneath gigantic trees with bar and patio seating. We loved their fresh fruit juices and selection of home made sweet breads. My pick: CHILAQUILES with eggs and salsa verde. If you haven’t had this Mexican dish before you need to try it. It isn’t the prettiest, but the flavor is unbeatable and will trump a plate of huevos rancheros anyday. Cody’s pick: fruit salad with yogurt and granola (highly recommend) and whole wheat french toast served with butter and home made plum marmalade. We inhaled these dishes and you will too. Tip: these guys also only take cash (what the heck). Worth it.
La Cueva del Chango
$$ Seafood, Mexican, Contemporary
984 147 0271
1. El Fogon
Wonderful, glorious, El Fogon. Recommended by a cab driver this was 110% the best place we ate in Playa del Carmen. If there is one place you eat during your stay in Playa, THIS IS IT!!! The price is incredibly reasonable, the service is top notch (we fell in love with our server, Conchi), and the food is straight out of Mexican heaven. Authentic to the T and fresh as all get out. We went there a good 3 or 4 times and ordered guac, steak quesadillas, and tacos el pastor. Every. Flipping. Time. Tacos el pastor = spit roasted pork marinated in pineapples and chiles, served on the best corn tortillas you will have in your life. They have two locations in Playa are are packed from open to close. It’s warm and crowded but completely worth it for the best food you’ll among other Playa del Carmen restaurants!
$ Mexican, Latin, Central American
984 803 0885
Greatest week in Playa Del Carmen with my partner in crime. Thankful for the laughs, tan lines, and the adventures we’ve yet to experience down the road. ILYTTMAB.
Do you have a favorite place to eat in Playa Del Carmen? Tried a spot that we missed on our list? Leave a comment! Thanks for stopping by.