Where to eat in Playa del Carmen: 19 best options for all budgets


Restaurants and street food in Playa del Carmen

There are many restaurants in Playa del Carmen, for all budgets.

I am going to share with you my list (I admit it’s quite subjective, as the choice is very difficult!) of the 19 best places to eat, classified by categories: breakfast, lunch-dinner, dessert, cheap eats, and where to drink (with or without alcohol).

I also recommend you to read my Definitive Guide to Playa del Carmen to discover all the best activities to do and places to visit.


1. Cueva del Chango

La Cueva del Chango is a restaurant with a nice garden, with a rustic and tropical ambiance. It is open all day, and is a good place to have a Mexican breakfast in Playa del Carmen.

I recommend the chilaquiles (148 pesos) -honestly one of the best I tasted in my 5 years in Mexico! -, the huevos rancheros (134 pesos) or the huevos motuleños (135 pesos) with fried plantain.

There is always a little wait, but it’s worth it.

Chilaquiles, Cueva del Chango, Playa del Carmen

2. Chez Celine

Chez Celine is a french bakery and cafe known by all the regulars of Playa del Carmen.

It is the ideal place when you want a coffee with pastries (the almond croissant is delicious), a quiche or a crêpe. There are also vegan and vegetarian options.

3. Choux Choux Cafe

Here you can still find French quality like Chez Celine, but with a more relaxed atmosphere with a tropical touch. ChouxChoux Cafe is one of my favorite places in Playa del Carmen to start the day.

The coffee and smoothies are very good, and the salmon eggs benedict (130 pesos) are excellent.

Open for breakfast and lunch until 4pm.

Choux Choux Playa del Carmen

4. Le P’tit Shoux

P’tit Shoux is the little brother of Choux Choux, and opened on a very non-touristy part of Quinta Avenida.

I went there after walking from Playa Esmeralda under the sun and it was a perfect refuge to rest in the shade, in a bohemian-hippie, colorful atmosphere.

I recommend the ham, cheese and poached egg crepe (100 pesos) and if you are a sweet tooth, I suggest the vanilla milkshake (65 pesos) which is huge and very good.

Open from 7am to 5.30pm

The P’tit Shoux, Playa del Carmen


Vanilla milkshake, P’tit Shoux, Playa del Carmen


5. La Tarraya

This restaurant on the beach offers a little bit of everything, personally I liked the fish filet (90 pesos).

It is very nice to eat with live music, feet in the sand and a view on the sea (it is possible to rent deckchairs for 250-300 pesos)

By the way, the prices at La Tarraya are very reasonable for Playa del Carmen, especially on the beach!

La Tarraya Playa del Carmen

6. Cheester

I stumbled across Cheester while waiting for my Airbnb host to come and open up…and what a nice surprise: the portions are huge so you can easily share with 2.

I ordered a delicious pasta (240 pesos) that I couldn’t finish and got doggy bad for a second meal. It’s worth it!

4 years later, I went back there and it was still the same: very good prices and big portions that could fit for 2 people (unless you are very hungry).

The only problem is that they don’t sell alcohol and I would have liked a small glass of wine.

Cheester, Playa del Carmen

7. El Calambrillo

El Calambrillo is charming little seafood restaurant with terrace and very good service located in a quiet part of Quinta Avenida: tostadas, tacos, quesadillas, etc (60-195 pesos) and 3×2 on cocktails.

I went back several times to have a great lunch without the chaos of the tourist area.

Calambrillo restaurant, Playa del Carmen
Tostada, Calambrillo Playa del Carmen
Seafood, Calambrillo, Playa del Carmen

8. Alux

Alux is the ideal restaurant if you are looking for a chic and romantic experience in Playa del Carmen.

It is located in a beautiful cave with a cenote, illuminated to create a unique, and somewhat mysterious atmosphere.

Open only for dinner, starting at 6 pm. Don’t forget to book in advance on OpenTable and also take the opportunity to look through their full menu.


9. Ah Cacao

The coffee here is good and you can find all types of chocolate.

You have to try their chocolate tamale (49 pesos) and there are very good cold drinks like the Mayan Chocolate (72 pesos).

It’s also my favorite place to work with my laptop because they have free wifi and air conditioning – there are several branches

The cold mayan chocolate, Ah Cacao, Playa del Carmen

10. Lali

Lali is small oasis with a tea room atmosphere (which is not very common in Playa del Carmen): infusions, special coffees (rose, lavender) and a delicious chocolate cake (big piece at 90 pesos).

Lali, Playa del Carmen
11. Marquesitas

The marquesita was invented in the state of Yucatan and has become so popular that it can be found in the neighbouring states including Quintana Roo where Playa del Carmen is located.

It is a kind of thin and crispy pancake, rolled like a taco, which can be found in the street or in the plazas, mainly at night.

The classic would be a sweet and salty flavor with cheese (ex: nutella and cheese) but there is something for everyone: jam, condensed milk, cajeta (caramel), etc.

For me, this is the classic vacation dessert!

  • I recommend the one located on the corner of Calle 6 Norte & 10 Avenida Norte, right next to the Oxxo
Marquesitas, Playa del Carmen

Cheap eats

12. Tacos

Tacos are the emblem of Mexican street food and are the best option for cheap eats in Playa del Carmen!

My favorites are the tacos al pastor from Tacos El Ñero (20 pesos a taco) and the carnitas tacos from Carnitas Teresita (30 pesos a taco). El Fogón is also a great option with lots of variety and generous portions.

El Fogón Playa del Carmen

13. Elotes

Elotes are another important Mexican street food. It is corn on a stick, roasted or boiled, with mayonnaise, salt, chili powder, lime juice and cotija cheese.

There is also the “esquites” version, in which the kernels are boiled and served in a cup.

At night you can find them on Benito Juarez Avenue, there is also a very good one at 28 de Julio Park – around 40 pesos.

Elote, Playa del Carmen
Elotes, Playa del Carmen

14. Los Machacados

Los Machacados is a restaurant offers Yucatecan dishes at an affordable price. Salbutes, empanadas, panuchos for 18 pesos, a very good sopa de lima for around 60 pesos or a good machacado for 40 pesos – I love their coconut machacado!

15. Antojitos Sandra

Antojitos Sandra is a good and cheap place to eat in Playa del Carmen, with generous portions of tamales and empanadas.

16. Asadero El Pollo

Asadero el Pollo is the perfect place to eat delicious grilled chicken at local price. 

I went there because it was always full (locals, no tourists) when I passed by and, yes, it was delicious and at an excellent price. Only 90 pesos for a half chicken and 140 pesos for the whole chicken, with tortillas, rice, sauce and onions.

A pretty sweet deal for Playa del Carmen!

Pollo El Asadero Playa del Carmen
El Asadero chicken, Playa del Carmen

Where to drink (with or without alcohol)

17. Cocolandia

Cocolandia is located a stone’s throw from Calambrillo. It is the ideal place to go after a walk in the sun or the beach, because they sell very cold and delicious coconuts (79 pesos), as well as all kinds of smoothies and juices.

They have a nice terrace and good service.

Cocolandia, Playa del Carmen

18. Karen’s

I’m not a big fan of Quinta Avenida because of its high prices and its ultra-touristy side, where people talk to me directly in $usd instead of pesos, which is the national currency!

But when I saw the 2 for 1 promotion on cocktails at Karen’s, a very colorful restaurant a few steps from the ADO bus station, I couldn’t resist the exceptional price.

So we ordered 2 margaritas, and I was convinced that they were going to dilute them with water considering the price, but not at all!

They were very good and yes, I can confirm that they had enough alcohol because I definitely felt tipsy 😄

Margarita, Playa del Carmen

19. The Lost Tiki

When I was a child in Montreal, my parents often took me to a tiki restaurant where I admired the incredible decoration and dreamed of faraway places while the adults sipped a cocktail in a pineapple or coconut.

Today, I am still fascinated by the tiki culture with its kitsch and colorful personality. So I was very happy to see that The Lost Tiki was just a block away from my hotel!

The cocktails are very good and not too sweet, presented of course in tiki mugs as we like them, and there are also several good options to eat (small dishes).

The bathroom is full of old school tiki pictures.

The only thing I didn’t like was that the music wasn’t tiki (or exotic) so it didn’t help you get in the mood.

  • There is another tiki bar in Playa del Carmen called The Freaky Tiki that I didn’t have time to visit
Tiki Bar in Playa del Carmen
The Lost Tiki, Playa del Carmen

If you have any other suggestions for a good restaurant in Playa del Carmen, please share them with me 😋.

And remember that prices can change at any time – the prices shared in this article are what I paid at the time of my visit.

Where to eat in Playa del Carmen: the tourist map

Playa del Carmen Food Tour

Take a 3-hour gastronomic tour with a guide who will show you the best local restaurants in Playa del Carmen, from tacos to mole and chocolate.

You will explore the markets to discover seasonal products and taste fresh fruit juices.

You will finish your exploration at a famous ice cream shop, they prepare different flavors using exotic fruits.

You can book the food tour in Playa del Carmen here:

best tacos playa del carmen
Playa del Carmen’s best tacos, to be discovered during the gastronomic tour!

Essential Dining Tips for Your Playa del Carmen Adventure

  • Tipping Etiquette: In Mexico, tipping at restaurants is not just appreciated; it’s expected. The standard tip is around 10%, but if you’re particularly impressed with the service, bumping that up to 15% is a generous way to show your appreciation
  • Watch Out for Service Charges🚨: It’s a tricky practice, but not uncommon across the Riviera Maya, for restaurants in Playa del Carmen to slip a service charge into your bill — despite it not being entirely legal. Always give your bill a thorough check, particularly in areas buzzing with tourists, to ensure you’re not tipping more than you intended.
  • Cash is Your Best Bet: While many restaurants in Playa del Carmen are happy to take your credit card, the smaller restaurants and street food stalls, often operate on a cash-only basis. Carrying enough Mexican Pesos with you is a smart move to ensure you can enjoy these local gems without any hassle.
  • Plan Ahead for Dining: To secure a spot at popular dining places (like los Aluxes) during the busy season, it’s smart to make reservations well in advance. It’s the best way to ensure you don’t miss out on a great meal.
  • Dive Into Street Food: Unforgettable culinary adventures in Playa del Carmen often start at the street food stands (tacos, elotes, etc). For the best experience, follow the locals’ lead and head to the stalls with a queue — these popular spots are your ticket to savoring the most authentic local favorites, all while ensuring the places you choose are clean and well-maintained.

Where to sleep in Playa del Carmen?

  • Che Playa Hostel & Bar Adults Only: great hostel to meet other travelers and party, with a rooftop terrace that has a bar and a small pool, with several offered activities. Clean, with good wifi and a great welcome. From only 13 $usd for the dormitory or 37 $usd for a private room!
  • Hotel Lunata: a charming hotel with hacienda style decoration, which is hidden on Quinta Avenida, very close to the beach. Quiet, with a garden, rooms with balcony, and has very friendly service. From only 82 $usd per night!
  • Porto Playa Condo Beach Club: here you will find a spacious apartment ideal for a family, with fully equipped kitchen, living room and terrace. The hotel has a large swimming pool, a gym and a restaurant, starting at 172 $usd per night!
  • The Reef Playacar Resort & Spa: located on the beautiful beach of Playacar, just a few minutes from Fifth Avenue. Ideal for a romantic stay, with a beautiful tropical garden, two pools, a gym and a spa. 200 $usd with the “all inclusive” formula.
  • Hotel Xcaret Mexico All Parks All Fun Inclusive: it is definitely the best hotel in Playa del Carmen! Ideal for couples and families with children as this luxury hotel offers an exceptional package including meals and access to its parks (Xcaret, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xel-Ha and Xenote). Starting at 860 $usd per night, all inclusive.
My tip
Check out my guide to find the perfect hotel or resort for your stay. Here’s the link: Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen? 

How to get to Playa del Carmen by plane?

You first have to fly to Cancún because there is no airport in Playa del Carmen.

It is a large airport that receives many flights from Europe and North America, with the major known companies (Air Transat, Air Canada, Iberia, Aeromexico, Interjet, KLM, etc.). It will be very easy to find tickets at the date that suits you.

To find a cheap flight to Cancun as well as the best domestic flights in Mexico, I recommend using our flight comparison tool in partnership with Skyscanner. It is guaranteed to get you the best price!

Rent a car in Playa del Carmen

Renting a car is for sure the best way to explore Mexico and make the most of your stay!

While it’s not super useful to visit the city, having a car is a must to discover the rest of the country.

To rent a car, personally, I always use Booking.com Cars, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental cars prices between all the agencies: for sure the easiest way to find the best rate!
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Booking Cars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

Simply click on the green button to find your rental car at the best price:

Book your trip now and save money!

You’re traveling in Mexico? These articles will help you!

Discover all my articles about Mexico: All my articles to help you plan your trip to Mexico are listed there.

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I have created this blog to give you all my best tips to plan your next trip to Mexico, regardless of your budget. I share detailed itineraries, advice about places to visit as well as recommendations for transportation, hotels and restaurants. I hope I will also help you to discover amazing off the beaten path destinations in Mexico!

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