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. Chez Céline

    $ | French

    Take one bite of Céline's chocolate croissants, and you'll think you've died and gone to Paris. Fresh-baked breads and pastries bring honor...Read More

  • 2. Eden Tulum

    $$$

    For the best food you'll find along the beach road (and one of only a few options open for dinner after 10 pm), make your...Read More

  • 3. El Muelle

    $$$

    "The Pier" resembles a Caribbean fish market with its wooden plank floors, whitewashed tables, and pilings strung with rope. A chalkboard features the catch of...Read More

  • 4. Hartwood

    $$$ | Eclectic

    New York chefs cooking New York food for New York prices—in a wood-fired jungle lot, open to the night sky—that's Hartwood. Big-city transplants...Read More

  • 5. Imprevist

    $$$

    The name means "unexpected," and—thanks to the international dishes created by executive chef Juan Diego Solombrino—this place is truly a surprise. At breakfast, you can...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7.

    $$$$ | Zona Hotelera

    The mystical jungle atmosphere of this sophisticated restaurant is only beaten by its exquisite blend of Mexican and Mayan traditional cuisines. Dine to the tune...Read More

  • 8. The Leaky Palapa

    $$$ | Seafood

    Nobody expected the kind of sophisticated flavors that the Leaky Palapa brought to town, but this little 11-table palapa restaurant done up...Read More

  • 9. Agave Azul

    $$$ | Japanese

    There’s more to Agave Azul than those sweeping lagoon and mangrove views. The glass-walled restaurant at the elegant Rosewood Mayakoba is hands...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Aldea Corazón

    $$$ | Mexican

    Playa's most dramatically-sited restaurant sits atop a small cenote in a vast jungly garden full of strangler vines and Mayan ruins—right in...Read More

  • 12. Alux Restaurant & Lounge

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Although this restaurant is a 10-minute drive from downtown, its location in an underground cavern makes it extremely popular. A candlelit rock...Read More

  • 13. Babe's Noodles & Bar

    $$

    Photos and paintings of old Hollywood pinup models share decor space with a large stone Buddha at this Swedish-owned restaurant that serves up a surprising,...Read More

  • 14. Café Olé International

    $$ | Seafood

    The laid-back hub of Puerto Aventuras is a terrace café with a varied menu, including coconut shrimp and chicken with a chimichurri sauce made...Read More

  • 15. Como Como

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    This small, intimate Mediterranean restaurant is where locals and travelers in-the-know go for perfectly al dente homemade pasta. Top orders...Read More

  • 16. El Camello Jr.

    $$ | Seafood

    By the time you get to this local favorite at the very end of Tulum's downtown strip, you'll think you've already left town. In fact, you've...Read More

  • 17. El Patio del 30

    $$$

    Very few places in Chetumal offer the kind of dining experience available at this cozy restaurant. Come for the pizza, stay for the cocktails and...Read More

  • 18. El Tábano

    $$$ | Mexican

    This jungle-side hangout run by Barcelona chef Laura Brea brings imaginative cuisine to a rustic garden. You could spend the day here at a country...Read More

  • 19. Fernando's 100% Agave

    $$

    Fernando's friendly, homey restaurant—which serves as a sort of visitors bureau—seems to change locations often but remains a Mahahual institution. The affordable menu features Mexican...Read More

  • 20. HC de Monterrey

    $ | Mexican

    Follow your nose to this Mexican grill house, where locals gather for some of the best-tasting steak in town. Far from romantic, the open-air...Read More

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