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. Basic Foodie Artisan Bakery & Café

    $ | Fracc. La Toscana

    Basic Foodie is that cool bakery we all wish we had in our neighborhood, as its artisan bakery has no equal in town, and the...Read More

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Ibiza Sunset

    $$ | International

    It may be far from Ibiza, but this trendy beachfront spot hits the mark with food like garlic fish and vegetables wrapped in foil, pineapple...Read More

  • 13. Jaguara Cocina Mexicana

    $$$

    This lagoon shore restaurant serves gourmet Mexican dishes and exotic cocktails to enjoy with the best view in town and live music most days. Go...Read More

  • 14. Ki-Janal

    $$ | Mexican

    You can't get any closer to the ruins than this two-story restaurant. Adding color to the palapa setting are Mexican blankets draped over wooden...Read More

  • 15. La Buena Vida

    $$ | Mexican

    With driftwood tables overlooking Half Moon Bay, swings at the lively bar, and salsa music keeping things moving, this might be the perfect...Read More

  • 16. La Cueva del Chango

    $ | Mexican

    This Playa institution, in a funky jungle garden with fountains, palmettos, and a rambling koi pond, is a favorite breakfast spot. The well...Read More

  • 17. La Cueva del Pescador

    $$ | Seafood

    Dig your toes in the sand floor and enjoy the catch of the day at La Cueva del Pescador. A crowd of easy-going expats hunkers down for the afternoon...Read More

  • 18. La Perla Pixan Cuisine

    $$$ | Fracc. La Toscana

    If you want to try authentic Mexican and pre-Hispanic cuisine, La Perla Pixan is the place for you with its wide variety of traditional specialties...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Los Aguachiles

    $$ | Mexican

    This upscale taquerìa is an anchor of Playa's alternative culinary scene, reimagining tacos sautéed in olive oil and topped with cucumber or...Read More

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