Wondering where to eat in Playa del Carmen Mexico? I’ve got you covered!
As as Playa del Carmen resident and local travel blogger, I’ve had so much fun discovering the local food scene, neighborhood hotspots, and hidden gems. Believe it or not, Playa del Carmen actually has an amazing mix of both Mexican and international cuisine.
In this post, I’m sharing the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen whether you’re looking for a casual meal or fine dining establishment. Even better, most are located off of the touristy 5th Avenue for a more authentic Playa del Carmen dining experience.
Best Mexican Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Here’s my list of Playa del Carmen restaurants for authentic Mexican food:
1. La Perla Pixan
Featuring a creative variety of Mexican and regional specialties, La Perla Pixan is an upscale Mexican restaurant located on the trendy 38th Street.
On the menu, you’ll find a ton of traditional Mexican dishes as well as upscale tacos like cochinita pibil duck tacos, rib eye tacos, steak tacos, and chicken tacos. These dishes won’t be cheap but are definitely higher quality and expertly prepared.
La Perla Pixan is also the place to go for high quality craft cocktails, mezcal, and tequilas as opposed to the overpriced and watered drinks that you’ll find at many of the restaurants on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen.
Plus they usually have live music and colorful native dance performances vibrantly showcasing the Mexican culture, which totally enhances the dining experience.
Axiote is another upscale Mexican restaurant with a gourmet menu and a focus on Mexican gastronomy and locally sourced natural ingredients.
The menu offers traditional Mexican dishes as well as more innovative plates with atypical ingredients such as ant eggs, beef tongue, rabbit, and duck.
With a warm and inviting atmosphere and sophisticated menu, Axiote definitely offers an elevated culinary experience and some of the best food in Playa del Carmen. It’s the perfect place for an upscale authentic Mexican experience.
3. Pik Nik
Pik Nik is a colorful and more casual Playa del Carmen Mexican restaurant located on 10th Avenue and 24th Street.
It’s a small restaurant with outdoor covered seating and the menu offers traditional Mexican dishes like chiles en nogada, moles, tacos, and fajitas.
If you’re looking for simpler Mexican dishes, Pik Nik is one of the best Mexican restaurants in Playa del Carmen. They are also open early and have some tasty breakfast specials.
Trujillos Cantina de Selva is a stylish outdoor restaurant located on 38th Street. While walking by, you’ll no doubt be attracted by the restaurant’s cute string lights and lush forest-like ambiance.
The menu is a little more upscale and offers a mix of Mexican and international cuisine with fusion items like al pastor flatbread.
Be sure to check out their cocktail menu to pair a creative craft cocktail with your meal.
5. El Ñero
If you’re looking for the best tacos in Playa del Carmen, head to El Ñero. Although Playa del Carmen is not really known for its taco scene, El Ñero serves the most authentic tacos similar to those you might find in Mexico City.
They have a variety of taco options all for under $20 pesos ($1 USD) each but my favorite are the al pastor tacos.
El Ñero is a late night spot that opens daily at 5:00PM. It is cash only, super casual, and one of the most popular places among locals.
6. The Lost Tiki
The Lost Tiki is a newer restaurant and tiki bar that offers a fusion of Mexican and Asian cuisine.
With great service and reasonable prices, it’s very popular among the expat community and they host several fun themed nights and happy hour throughout the week.
My favorite food items are the Ahi Tuna Stack and the Cantonese Pork Belly Tacos. They also offer a full menu of fun tiki-inspired cocktails.
Best Fine Dining Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
For a more upscale dining experience, head to one of these fine dining restaurants in Playa del Carmen:
Plank is a fine dining restaurant that has consistently been rated as one of the top restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
With a variety of steak, seafood, and pasta dishes, it’s a great option for a nice dinner during your stay. The open air atmosphere with lowly lit string lights make for a great ambiance.
And, if you’re looking for a nicer place for drinks, Plank also has a great bar serving unique craft cocktails. It can be busy so reservations are recommended.
Travelista Tip: Plank is also open for Sunday brunch!
8. Oh LaLa
Oh Lala is a relaxed upscale restaurant serving international food that has consistently been a top rated restaurant in Playa del Carmen.
It’s a very small restaurant with an intimate setting of only 9 tables but the dishes are of exceptional quality and beautifully plated.
The menu offers meat, seafood, and vegetarian dishes paired with hors d’oeuvres and fine wines.
With its multiple course offerings, Oh LaLa Playa del Carmen is a great restaurant for celebrating a special occasion. Make sure to save room for one of their amazing desserts!
9. Sonora Grill Prime
Sonora Grill Prime is a large and modern upscale restaurant located on an upper level overlooking 5th Avenue–this is one Playa del Carmen 5th Avenue restaurant that is actually worth a visit!
The menu offers many steak and seafood dishes, as well as a good offering of appetizers and Mexican specialities.
And a few of the menu items are prepared table side which makes for a fun and interactive experience.
Best Italian Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
These are the best Italian restaurants in Playa del Carmen:
10. La Famiglia
La Famiglia is a family-owned authentic Italian restaurant that offers a variety of pizzas, homemade pastas, and Italian dishes. The atmosphere is a little more upscale and it has a very cute upstairs seating area.
With a warm and homey atmosphere, La Famiglia might be the best Italian restaurant in Playa del Carmen and a great place to dine with family and friends. I celebrated my birthday here and had such a good experience!
Travelista Tip: Order your La Famiglia pizza to go and enjoy it at the beach!
11. Trattoria del Centro
Tucked away just off of 5th Avenue and 26th Street, Trattoria del Centro is an intimate open air Italian restaurant serving some mouthwatering brick oven pizzas.
The romantic atmosphere is super cute and cozy and makes you feel like you are part of the family. And besides pizza, the menu offers a variety of delicious food such as homemade pasta and Italian dishes.
And when you’re done dining, you can stroll down 5th Avenue and try a marquesita for dessert, a popular street food in Playa del Carmen.
12. Don Chendo
Don Chendo is an Italian local restaurant known for its Chicago deep-dish style pizza.
I lived in Chicago for almost 5 years before moving to Playa del Carmen and while it’s not exactly the same, the deep dish pizza comes pretty close!
It’s not a fancy restaurant, but rather a hole-in-the-wall type of place and it’s definitely more popular among locals who consider it to be the best pizza in Playa del Carmen.
The pizzas are extremely filling so you will want to come hungry and will likely leave with leftovers!
Cheester (actually pronounced Chester) is an Italian restaurant which is located downtown further away from 5th Avenue.
They serve GIANT pasta dishes in large cast iron bowls with an entire wall full of menu options.
These pasta bowls are definitely made for sharing and even then you will have a week’s worth of leftovers. Note Cheester restaurant Playa del Carmen is closed on Tuesdays.
Best Seafood Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen’s oceanfront location makes it a prime destination for fresh seafood. These are the best seafood restaurants in Playa del Carmen:
14. Los Aguachiles
Los Aguachiles is one of the best seafood restaurants in Playa del Carmen offering a casual open-air environment. The menu offers a wide variety of fresh fish and shrimp tacos, tostadas, ceviches, and other seafood dishes.
I have a slight obsession with ahi tuna and the Tostada Atun Maravillosa is hands down one of my favorite menu items in the city. It’s perfectly seasoned and has the most amazing flavor!
15. El Doctorcito
My favorite item on the menu is the tostadas mixtas (a mix of shrimp and octopus). The menu is similar to Aguachiles but the open air atmosphere is MUCH more hip.
There’s always a live DJ playing house music and the line is out the door. Watch out for the spicy menu options–they will leave your mouth burning!
16. El Pirata
El Pirata is very casual seafood restaurant that is popular among the Playa del Carmen locals.
I used to live just a few blocks from the restaurant and it was always packed with a line out the door.
The menu at El Pirata offers fresh seafood dishes, prepared fish, ceviches, and seafood and shrimp cocktail.
Best Breakfast Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Start your day at one of these best Playa del Carmen restaurants for breakfast:
17. Que Huevos
Que Huevos is the cutest spot towards the end of Fifth Avenue that serves some of the best breakfast Playa del Carmen has to offer.
It’s a small cafe with outdoor seating and they offer a full breakfast menu with American and Mexican dishes, as well as fresh fruit juices, smoothies, and coffee.
I personally love their avocado toast paired with an Horchata espresso drink!
18. La Cueva del Chango
The restaurant offers a cave like interior as well as outdoor seating on the back jungle terrace, which makes the atmosphere especially unique.
My absolute favorite dish at La Cueva del Chango is the green chilaquiles–they are some of the best chilaquiles in town!
19. Chez Céline
Chez Celine is a French bistro and breakfast restaurant located right on 5th Avenue. You’ll want to get there early as there is normally a line out the door!
They offer a breakfast menu as well as a full bakery serving freshly prepared pastries, croissants, and desserts.
The breakfast dishes are tasty and the gourmet desserts are almost too pretty to eat!
20. Peace & Bowl
Peace & Bowl is a colorful smoothie and juice bar located in Playa del Carmen’s Mercado 30 restaurant complex. It’s my favorite place for a quick smoothie, açaí bowl, or healthy meal.
All the fresh ingredients are super colorful and the menu is packed with loads of healthy options for breakfast or lunch.
Best American Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
If you’re craving some comfort food, head to one of these Playa del Carmen American restaurants:
21. Mu Burgerhouse
It can be hard to find good burgers in Mexico, but in my opinion Mu Burgerhouse has the best burgers in Playa del Carmen.
With outdoor courtyard seating and string lights, the restaurant has a very cute ambiance especially at night.
The burger menu is unique with toppings like fried eggs, bacon, burrata, chimichurri, and a variety of cheeses. And they offer a choice of tasty sides including my personal favorite camote (sweet potato fries).
Be sure to check out the drink menu as Mu Burger is also known for their craft cocktails.
22. The Grill at 1 26
You don’t have to be a hotel guest to dine at the restaurant–simply tell the security that you are headed to the restaurant.
The menu offers high end American as well as international dishes with a variety of good food including small plate appetizers, main courses, and desserts.
Conclusion: Playa del Carmen’s Best Restaurants
I hope you enjoyed my best restaurants Playa del Carmen guide!
While the Playa del Carmen restaurants scene might not be as renowned as Guadalajara or Mexico City, it still offers a great selection of restaurants and a variety of cuisines, many of which can be enjoyed al fresco.
I hope you have a chance to try some of these amazing restaurants that I consider to be the best places to eat in Playa del Carmen.
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