sirloin tacos topped off with cilantro, onions and sides of hot sauces on the side and a large margarita drink at El Fogon, one of the best restaurants in Playa Del Carmen

8 Best Restaurants in Playa Del Carmen for 2024

There are so many great restaurants in Playa Del Carmen to consider when looking for to dine at.

The popular Mexican beach town along the Riviera Maya offers a wide variety of both local and international flavours.

Besides the exceptional local Mexican cuisine in town, visitors can expect international cuisine such as Thai, Italian, Brazilian and much more!

But at the end of the day, the best food in Playa Del Carmen is the local Mexican food and that can’t be debated, you’re in Mexico after all. Because of it’s location, Playa Del Carmen is very famous for it’s seafood, you’ll find many seafood restaurants in town.

I’ve spent as long as much as one to two months every time I’ve visited Playa Del Carmen throughout the years, and I’m quite the foodie.

After many visits, I’ve gotten quite familiar with the food scene in Playa Del Carmen well. Also, several friends of mine are locals in Playa!

At the bottom I’ve included the best Playa Del Carmen restaurants by food category, such as Mexican and seafood, as well as breakfast spots in town!

El Fogon

several Mexican dishes such as tacos, gringas, tortas and more being served at El Fogon restaurants in Playa del carmen

It doesn’t get better than El Fogon in Playa Del Carmen. El Fogon is a popular authentic Mexican restaurant serving up the best tacos, fajitas, tortas, gringas, nachos, and much more.

The menu here is quite extensive, and it all tastes great. I’ve been here so many times over the years and it still taste the same!

Through the years, El Fogon has become a staple in the city. Everyone knows it, and locals love it, tourist adore it and it’s rated high on Google Maps, for a good reason.

What you should absolutely order are the Al Pastor and Sirlion tacos. They’ve also got several different cuts of beef. I’d recommend you try them all and try toe Gringas as well.

Also, try the tortas sandwich with Oaxaca cheese with steak. It’s a sandwich with grilled meat, guacamole, tomato, and Oaxaca cheese, then, you can top it off with some pico de Gallo or hot sauce.

Make sure to order a Margherita here; they’re huge!

I’ve eaten at over 20 different taquerias in Playa Del Carmen, and I keep coming back to El Fogon because of how good it is.

Don’t be surprised if you have to wait in line for a few mins. There’s four El Fogon locations in Play adel Carmen, and three of them are in the main Centre of town.

Original El Fogon

Second Location


table full of various mexican meat dishes including duck and lamb

Primo is a modern Mexican restaurant serving up several delicious dishes, from grilled fire-flamed octopus, BBQ brisket, braised duck, suckling pig, and more. For drinks, make sure to order the smokey mezcal cocktail.

Primo sources everything closely and organically, so the menu is limited and is an in-season menu. But regardless of what is on the menu or isn’t, the quality at PRIMO is excellent. After going once, I’ve gone back several times.

The restaurant is open-air, so you’re dining outside when there. Many seats directly view the open-air kitchen, and you can sit and watch the chefs cook.

The food, and the kitchen concept, PRIMO is definitely one of the best restaurants in Playa Del Carmen, I’d recommend you try it out!

Some nights, a local singer is performing along the street at the restaurant, which makes for a romantic touch! You may want to book a reservation here, it gets busy most nights.


Make Reservation Here

Trattoria del Centro

several Italian seafood pastas on a table at Trattoria del centro in playa del carmen, one of the best playa del carmen italian restaurants

Trattoria del Centro is the best Italian restaurant in Playa Del Carmen. I’ve visited many Italian restaurants in town, and there are quite a few, but Trattoria del Centro is above all.

Like any Italian restaurant, you’ve got a large selection of pasta, wood-fired oven pizza, risotto, and much more.

My personal favourite was their seafood pasta, which had me returning a few times. What also had me returning was their pizza. I’m picky with my pizza. For reference, I’ve eaten at the top 10 pizza spots in NYC twice each.

Also, the decor in the restaurant is charming, the floor is full of pebble stones, and the white theme decor for the place gives Italy Summer vacation vibes!

To get a fix for your Italian cravings, come to Trattoria del Centro. It’s right off 5th Avenue, so it’s centrally located.

If you’re looking for a quick slice of delicious pizza, I highly recommend La Famigilia, the pizza is great, and they sell it by the slice also! Perfect quick lunch after the beach!

You can make a reservation here, but if you avoid coming on weekends, you can usually get a table immediately or after a few minutes.


Rockas Jamaican Kitchen

the famous rasta pasta dish at Rockas Jamaican Kitchen in Playa Del Carmen
Rasta Pasta – Creidt: Ashley C via Yelp

I bet you didn’t think you’d find excellent Jamaican food in Playa Del Carmen, honestly, neither did I.

But Rockas Jamaican Kitchen is not only one of the best restaurants in Playa Del Carmen, but it has some of the most excellent Jamaican food I’ve had anywhere!

Rockas has all of the Jamaican classics, jerk chicken, Jamaican patties, seafood pasta, coconut shrimp, and so much more.

My favourite dish here is the Rasta Pasta Special, a rich chicken and cajun shrimp flavoured pasta. Also, make sure you try the papaya juice here!

The couple who owns the restaurant are from Toronto, Canada, which explains the Canadian flag on the front.

It’s a dinner restaurant, opening at 5:00 PM. If you’d like to check it out, you MUST make a reservation, or they’re quite busy and it’s easy to see why. The food here is excellent!


Call in to Book a Reservation

Alux Restaurant Bar and Lounge

Interior view of the famous ALUX restaurant in Playa Del Carmen restaurant cave
Credit: Alux Restaurant Bar and Lounge

ALUX is a famous modern Mexican restaurant located inside a cave, yes you read that right.

Located inside a cenote cave in Playa Del Carmen, this modern Mexican restaurant is famous for it’s unique setting, though additionally the food is delicious here too.

ALUX is most well known for its lobster risotto, beef fillet, and salmon, amongst many other modern Mexican cuisines. The food presentation here is above and beyond, but and is tasty.

The restaurant is quite big and takes up the entire cave. There is a restaurant section, a bar/lounge area, and even a cenote in there!

For those looking for a romantic restaurant in Playa Del Carmen for a special occasion, Alux is sure to impress!

It’s a fine dining restaurant, so this isn’t a place you would come to for a casual dinner night! They’ve got a minimum of 1,600 Mexican Peso Spend Per Person last I was there. That’s about $90 US.



Book a Reservation Here

La Cueva del Chango

classic Mexican breakfast being served with several hot sauces on the side at La Cueva Del Chango restaurant in Playa Del Carmen

La Cueva del Chango has been around for many years, and its considered a legendary restaurant in Playa Del Carmen because it’s stood the test of time.

Basically it’s a Mexican brunch spot serving up all classic Mexican breakfast/brunch dishes. Huevos motulenos, enchiladas, Huevos divorciados and my personal favourite Chilaquiles (made several different ways).

One of the times I visited, I was waiting in line, and I spoke with a local woman who explained to me how Playa Del Carmen was barely built 20 years ago, but La Cueva del Chango was there back then.

La Cueva del Chango is one of the highest-rated Playa Del Carmen restaurants, and the best brunch restaurant in Playa, no debate here.

Similar to El Fogon, La Cueva del Chango has many high rankings, and it’s justified. The food is excellent here. The atmosphere is great as well, the restaurant is surrounded by trees, giving a jungle-like atmosphere

I don’t believe they take reservations. You must show up, put your name on a list, and wait. It’s worth the wait!


No Reservation, Show up and Get on the List

El Oasis Seafood

several seafood dishes being served in a Mexican Seafood restaurant in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

The best seafood restaurant in Playa Del Carmen is El Oasis Seafood. They’ve got two locations, one by the highway, another in the centre of town.

I’ve gone to both, and the original is larger with a more impressive extensive menu. If you’re really craving seafood, it’s worth the going to the original location.

They start you off with this orange drink in a shot glass, which seems to be a type of seafood broth that’s standard in seafood restaurants in Mexico. It’s delicious, I ordered two more after the first one.

Seafood is abundant here, it’s what they do, from crab tacos to fresh fried fish, Mexican ceviche (you must order the Mexican ceviche here), popcorn shrimp served in a coconut with mashed potatoes, calamari, and so much more.

There are many seafood restaurants in Playa Del Carmen because of it’s location, seafood is a popular amongst the type cuisine here.

I’ve shared a few other seafood restaurants in town I’ve enjoyed as well below but El Oasis Seafood takes first place!

El Oasis Seafood (Original Location)

El Oasis Seafood (Centro Location)

PO THAI Restaurante

thai food being severed on several plates at Po Thai Restaurants in Playa Del Carmen

Remember when I said earlier in this article that there was a lot of tasty international cuisine? PO THAI is a perfect example of just that!

I’ve been to Thailand several times and can honestly say PO THAI serves up some of the best Thai food I’ve had anywhere really and it’s authentic.

They’ve got all the classics here, Tom Yum soup, Pad Thai, soft-shelled crab, Masaman curry, and many more classic Thai dishes. I tried several dishes at Po Thai, everything tastes great!

Sometimes when you’re on vacation or staying in a place for a few weeks, you want to change cuisine types. PO THAI is a great place to do that!

You can make a reservation here, but most times, if you show up, you should be able to find a table.



Best Restaurants in Playa Del Carmen By Category

Taco Restaurants

When it comes to famous Mexican Food, it’s hard to argue that tacos aren’t the most well-known. Well lucky for you, Playa Del Carmen is full of excellent taquerias to try!

Here are the best taco restaurants in Playa Del Carmen and why you should try each one of them!

  • El Fogon – (it was first on my list, it’s a must-visit)
  • Birria de la 30 – (they got Birria consume, and birria tacos; google it, if you’re not familiar)
  • Don Sirloin – (they specialize in several beef cuts but also have al pastor tacos too)
  • Taquerias El Nero – (popular amongst locals, famous for dollar tacos & different meat cuts)
  • Los Tarascos – (famous for their al-pastor mini tacos)
two very large spits of meat rotating making al pastor style meat for al pastor tacos
Tacos Meat Spits at EL Fogon

Seafood Restaurants

You’re visiting the Quintana Roo region of Mexico. Seafood is a prominent food type in this region, it’s incorporated into several dishes in Playa del Carmen and the seafood here is fresh as can be! Here are a list of the best seafood restaurants in Playa Del Carmen!

  • El Oasis Seafood
  • Chiltepin Marisquillos
  • La Floresta
  • La Fisheria de Aquiles Chavez
  • Los Aguachiles
  • Mariscos y Clamatos El Doctorcito
grilled octopus with salad and several seafood skewers at Chiltepin Marisquillos
Chiltepin Marisquillos

Breakfast Restaurants

A list of restaurant recommendations isn’t complete without at least a few breakfast spots!

Here are a few breakfast restaurants in Playa Del Carmen to try! By the way, make sure you eat local Mexican breakfasts dishes when visiting!

  • La Cueva del Chango – (included on the list)
  • Los Bisquets Obregon (a popular local diner that’s cheap)
  • Cafe Andrade Restaurante (bakery and Mexican breakfast place)
  • 100% Natural Playa Del Carmen (breakfast/brunch spot, vegan/vegetarian menu too)
breakfast dish with several trees in the background at 100% natural breakfast restaurant in Playa Del Carmen
100% Natural Restaurant


Those craving a good coffee or maybe some dessert too. Here is a list of cafes to check out in Playa Del Carmen!

  • Cafe Antoinette Ferry
  • Marley Coffee
  • Magnolias Coffee


Who doesn’t love ice cream? Here’s a list of the top ice cream spots to try around town!

  • Amorino
  • Haagen-Dazs
  • Aldo’s Gelato

Cost of Eating Out in Playa Del Carmen

At the end of the day, this is a subjective question because it depends on whose opinion you’re asking for because if you compare Playa Del Carmen to several popular European cities destinations, Playa is very cheap to eat out in.

But if you compare Playa Del Carmen to the average place in Mexico for eating out, it’s expensive, because it’s a famous tourist beach town.

However, dining out in Playa Del Carmen isn’t expensive. Dinner at a fairly nice restaurant for two people, the average price is 37 US or 670 Mexican Pesos. Keep in mind, local restaurants serving Mexican food are always cheaper compared to International cuisine.

Lastly, you must factor in the currency you’re coming with to exchange. That makes all the difference, of course. Those coming from the US, Canada, and most places in Europe will find Playa Del Carmen quite affordable!

a busy street in Playa Del Carmen named 5th avenue, most popular street in the city
Tourists walking on 5th Avenue, Playa Del Carmen

Cheap food can be found easily around Playa Del Carmen. You can find street tacos or if you avoid the main 5th Avenue Road, there are plenty of local restaurants which offer fairly cheaper prices.

Look for where the locals are dining and stay away from restaurants on 5th Avenue if you want to eat more affordably.

If you look at Google Maps, you will notice the 50 Avenida Sur highway. Anything South of this highway is considered the town centre of Playa Del Carmen. Walk towards this highway, and you will slowly notice several great-tasting local restaurants that are much cheaper to dine at!

mariachi band performing for a crowd on 5th Avenue street in Playa del carmen
Mariachi Band on 5th Avenue Street, Playa Del Carmen

Dining Tips & Advice

Finally, I’d like to share a few dining tips/advice with you all, especially for those who’ve never visited Mexico before!

Credit Cards: Most, if not all restaurants in Playa Del Carmen accept Visa/Mastercard, but not all!

Cash: Some Playa Del Carmen restaurants only accept cash, even some fine dining establishments. You should always have some Mexican Pesos on you, just in case.

Another option to pay is using a WISE card. It’s basically a international visa debit card and you can use the app to pay in the local currency or withdraw Mexican Pesos from an ATM.

Tipping at Playa Del Carmen Restaurants

Tipping is a part of the culture in Mexico, similar to the rest of North America. The standard tip rate at Playa Del Carmen restaurants tends to be 10 to 20%. Of course, at the end of the day, tip as you feel how the service and food was!

When tipping with your credit/debit card in Playa Del Carmen, watch out for one of the common scams in Playa, here’s how it goes: You ask staff to pay with your card, the waiter without your knowledge adds their own tip (sometimes it’s quite high) and hands you the machine to pay.

They’re hoping you don’t notice and simply pay the bill and leave. Later you will notice a higher charge on your card for the generous tipping amount they gave themselves.

Make sure you pay attention to the machines prompts and double check your bill. Unfortunately, this has happened to me twice in Playa del Carmen.

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