Ever since moving to Playa del Carmen, I’ve had so much fun exploring the local food scene and neighborhood hotspots. Believe it or not, Playa actually has an amazing mix of both Mexican and international cuisine. Below are some of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen that I’ve discovered so far. Even better, most are located off of 5th Avenue. I’ll keep this post updated as I continue to discover more favorites.
Elemento is a breakfast and lunch restaurant located in the heart of Playa del Carmen in a residential neighborhood known as Colonia Hollywood. Nestled alongside an interior design showroom, the atmosphere is especially unique. Elemento serves gourmet daily lunch specials which include your choice of starter and entree. The menu consists of healthier, elevated Mexican options and I have to say the food quality and presentation is among the best I have seen in Playa del Carmen. Its my favorite spot for a relaxed weekday lunch.
Plank is an upscale restaurant in Playa del Carmen that is open for dinner and brunch. With a variety of steak, seafood, and pasta dishes, it’s a great option for an upscale dinner during your vacation. The open air atmosphere with lowly lit string lights make for a great ambiance. And, if you’re looking for a fancier place for drinks, Plank also has a great bar serving unique craft cocktails. It can be busy so reservations are recommended.
If you’re looking for the best tacos in Playa del Carmen, head to El Ñero. Although Playa 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 tacos al pastor. El Ñero is a late night spot that opens daily at 5:00pm. It is cash only and is a popular spot among the locals.
La Famiglia is an authentic Italian restaurant that serves my favorite pizza in Playa del Carmen. It is owned by an Italian family and they offer a variety of pizza options, as well as homemade pastas and Italian dishes. The atmosphere is a little more upscale and has a very cute upstairs seating area. However, I generally like to take the pizza to go and enjoy it at the beach!
The Tiny Tiki Hut
The Tiny Tiki Hut is a newer restaurant and tiki bar that offers a fusion of Mexican and Asian cuisine. It’s very popular among the expat community but the staff is extremely friendly and they host several fun themed nights throughout the week. My favorite menu items are the Ahi Tuna Stack and the Catonese Pork Belly Tacos. They also offer a full menu of fun tiki-inspired cocktails.
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. They are definitely made for sharing and even then you will have a week’s worth of leftovers. Note they are closed on Tuesdays.
Que Huevos is the cutest breakfast spot towards the end of 5th Avenue. I stumbled upon it while riding my bike one morning and have been obsessed with it ever since. It’s a small cafe with outdoor seating and they offer a full breakfast menu with American and Mexican dishes, as well as fresh juices, smoothies, and coffee. I love their iced coffee and Horchata espresso drinks!
I hope you have a chance to try some of the places that I consider to be the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen. Have you discovered any hidden gems in Playa del Carmen? I’d love some more recommendations! Feel free to comment below.