The Riviera Maya Restaurants

Restaurants here vary from quirky beachside affairs with outdoor tables and palapas to more elaborate and sophisticated establishments. Dress is casual at most places, so leave your tie and jacket at home. Smaller eateries may not accept credit cards, especially in remote beach villages. Bigger ones and those in hotels normally accept plastic. Many restaurants add propinas (tips) to the bill; look for a charge for "servicio." If tips aren’t included, a 15% gratuity is standard. It's best to order fresh local fish—grouper, dorado, red snapper, and sea bass—rather than shellfish like shrimp, lobster, and oysters, since the latter are often flown in frozen from the Gulf. Playa del Carmen has the largest selection of restaurants.

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  • 1. La Sirena

    $$$ | International

    Overlooking the town square, La Sirena serves an eclectic mix of dishes ranging from mini-sliders and grilled grouper to hearty plates of BBQ...Read More

  • 2. Al Chimichurri

    $$ | South American

    The smoky aromas of a South American parillada waft down the street from this Uruguayan barbecue joint. Heaping portions of short ribs, flank...Read More

  • 3. John Gray's Kitchen

    $$$ | International

    Next to the jungle, this restaurant draws a regular crowd of Cancún and Playa residents. Using only the freshest ingredients—from local fruits...Read More

  • 4. La Playita

    $ | Mexican

    Two blocks north of the town square, this "restaurant" is actually made up of plastic tables and chairs shaded by mini palapas and tarps. What...Read More

  • 5. Le Café D'Amancia

    $ | Bakery

    This colorful hangout on the corner of the main plaza is the best place in town to watch the world go by (or take advantage of free Wi-Fi) while...Read More

  • 6. Pangea

    $$ | Eclectic

    Abutting the plaza at the beach, Pangea has it all: breakfast, lunch, and dinner served on an umbrella-shaded terrace overlooking the sea, plus...Read More

  • 7. Pelicanos

    $$$ | Seafood

    Enjoy fresh seafood on the shaded patio of this family-owned restaurant in the heart of town. Try fish prepared al ajo (in a garlicky butter...Read More

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