Top 8 Playa Del Carmen Restaurants

Contributors:
Brooke Eliason

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- 8th Street between 15th and 20th Ave

7. SushiClub

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. SushiClub- 26th Street between 5th and 10th Ave

 6. Afrodisiako

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 ($$$$). Afrodisiako- 26th Street between 5th and 10th ave

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- 5th Ave between 34th and 38th Street

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- 5th Ave and 38th Street

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- 5th Ave and 38th Street

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- 38th Street between 5th Ave and the Sea

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! El Fogon- 6th street and 30th Ave

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.

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    1. Hi Susie! SO SO happy to hear that you enjoyed El Fogon. My husband and I still dream of the food we ate there. Next time we go to Playa it will be hard not to eat there for every meal! You are so welcome. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  1. We’re heading to Playa Del Carmen Monday and so happy to run across your website. I’m looking forward to checking out a few of your top picks. Thank you!!

  2. I heard there is a travel warning issued by the state department just yesterday. We are leaving for Playa Del Carmen in a couple of days. Is it relatively safe to walk to these restaurants, or should we take a taxi given the environment now?

    1. Hi Margaret! I can’t speak to the current safety of Playa but when we were there we walked around this area a lot (I was always with my husband) during the day and also at night. I’d almost guarantee that it will be safe during the day and if you feel uncomfortable at night there are a lot of taxis around.

  3. In our six trips to playa we have experienced and agree with you, on all your choices-just one more you’ve missed out on- case del Agua. It’s a beautiful romantic place with fab service and a great menu. Not cheap but not greatly expensive and the interior is lush. Please try it out if you return. We go each time we can and have never been dissa pointed. The cocktails are gorgeous and the wine list is perfect
    Thanks for your input.

    1. Hi there! Thank you so so much for the comment- it’s nice to hear that you liked these locations also. We cannot wait to try Case Del Agua on our next trip! It sounds like a great spot. Thanks again for reading. 🙂

  4. Hi Brooke! Ah I love this post, I’ll have to check out the rest of your blog too! I’m getting married in Playa del Carmen next spring at a resort, and I just started looking at restaurants for our rehearsal dinner. I am normally super casual but of course I want it a bit nicer since it’s for our wedding. Do you think either la parilla de manolo or la cueva del chango would be a good option? We’ll have about 20 people. Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Sarah! Thank you so much for your comment and congrats on your upcoming wedding! Hmmmmm I personally liked the food at La Cueva Del Chango a little bit better, but La Parilla seemed to be a bit more efficiently managed and would likely be a better fit to accommodate a large group. It also has a great atmosphere with the live music and such- could be really fun with a wedding group!

  5. Had dinner at El Fogon tonight thanks to your recommendation and it was AMAZING! Best guacamole we have ever had plus the amazing pork tacos. Actually everything was fantastic including the atmosphere. Muchas gracias 🙂