Many guests ask us for recommendations of good restaurants. And honestly, given the sheer number of great eateries Playa del Carmen has to offer, narrowing it down to the 10 best restaurants wasn’t an easy task. But here you have it, a guide to the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen. If you’re planning on spending your vacation here, you’re going to want to bookmark this one.
Restaurants & Bars
In the parts of the world where it’s still chilly outside, winter blues tends to hit the hardest. Time to do something for yourself and plan a spring break trip! Because really, why should college kids have all the fun?
The epicenter of spring break is Cancun, and lately, also Playa del Carmen gets its fair share of college students, eager to make this trip the best of their lives. Or the most inebriated. But don’t worry, there is something for everyone in Playa del Carmen, and if beer pong tournaments and wet t-shirt contests are not your thing, we have some great alternatives for you.
Guests at Playa Palms Beach Hotel are right downtown Playa del Carmen, with everything nearby. But despite being within walking distance of restaurants, bars, and clubs, inside the hotel it’s pleasantly quiet, with a peaceful atmosphere. Enjoy lazy evenings in the hammock on your balcony, overlooking the Caribbean Sea as far as the island of Cozumel.
During the day, there are many activities you can do, while avoiding drunk spring breakers. If you want to visit Mayan ruins without the masses Chichen Itza or Tulum attracts, try Ek Balam. This surprisingly well preserved archaeological Mayan site close to Valladolid is unlike any other, mostly because of its intricate artistic details. It has several temples, two palaces and one large pyramid, El Torre, which is one of the largest Mayan structures on the Peninsula.
Another unforgettable day trip is Isla Contoy, an absolutely breathtaking island of pristine beauty with an abundant wildlife. Daily, only a few visitors are allowed access on this secluded island north of Isla Mujeres, which makes it a very exclusive experience.
For a relaxing day at the beach, away from wild beach parties, head to X’cacel. Imagine only hearing the waves rolling in and the breeze blowing gently through the palm trees, while you are surrounded by pure nature. If you head to the south end of the beach, you can follow a trail that leads you to a natural pool in the middle of the jungle.
The best way to round up the day is with a delicious Mexican dinner. To avoid the crowded tourist draws, and try real Mexican food, go to Restaurant Axiote. The award-winning chef Xavier Perez Stone serves 100% Mexican food, using local ingredients. It’s a couple of steps away from the 5th Avenue, on the 34th Street, which is why many tourists miss this little gem.
The main reason why so many people love to spend their well-deserved vacation in Playa del Carmen is its gorgeous beaches. And what better way is there to enjoy life, than with an ice cold drink or a tasty meal right at the beach, while digging your toes into the white sand and watching the Caribbean Sea? Here’s our round up of the best beachfront bars and restaurants in town.
1 Inti Beach
The former holistic yoga place recently transformed to a beach club and restaurant. We love it because it stands out from other beach clubs. Instead of party vibes, you find a truly chill ambiance, they have free Wi-Fi and their food is not only good and healthy, but also well presented. This is also a nice place to get a good massage.
Where: Between 4th and 6th Street
The rather small and intimate Mediterranean-inspired restaurant is one of the high-end options at the beach. Their seafood and meat from the grill are delicious and combined with the view over the ocean this makes for an excellent dinner experience.
Where: 8th Street
3 Canibal Royal
What we love most about this beach club and restaurant are its open floors of the two-story building, with an unbeatable view. Together with the 50’s Tropicana style décor, and delicious seafood, this makes it to one of the hippest places in Playa del Carmen. Don’t miss out on their drinks!
Where: Calle Flamingo (at the Avenue CTM with the beach, then turn left when you hit the beach)
4 Indigo Beach
We recommend the restaurant just next to Playa Palms Beach Hotel, especially for its breakfast buffet. It’s not only complete and delicious but what beats having breakfast at the beach, overlooking the Caribbean Sea? They also offer special romantic dinner deals, which you should definitely look into if you’re looking for a sweet treat for taking that special someone.
Where: 14th Street
5 Señor Frogs
Spring break is coming up, and there’s probably no better place to live up to it than Señor Frogs. Expect American-style food, their famous yard drinks and a party atmosphere at one of the most beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen.
Where: By the Cozumel ferry pier at Avenue Juarez
6 Wah Wah Beach Bar
Not a fan of electronic music? Then come to Wah-Wah Beach Bar for a laid-back atmosphere and good live rock music in the evenings. It’s also a good place to meet new people since it’s one of the local expat’s favorite spots.
Where: 2nd Street
7 La Tarraya
This was one of the first restaurants to ever open in Playa del Carmen, in 1968 to be exact, and there is a reason why they are still around. Expect good seafood to very reasonable prices, directly at the beach and surrounded by palm trees.
Where: 2nd Street
Everybody who is currently staying in Playa del Carmen can’t ignore the fact that the town’s biggest event is happening: the famous BPM Festival. Electronic beats follow you wherever you go, beach clubs, bars, even some restaurants turn into instant clubs. This is great, as long as you love electronic music. If you don’t, here’s where you can avoid the crowd and the beats.
Whatever time of the year, taking a day trip or a tour to one of the many Mayan ruins is always a good option. Exchange the ubiquitous electronic beats with Mayan dance performances and culture. If you’re looking for ruins off the beaten path, we recommend Ek-Balam, a good 2 hours drive from Playa del Carmen. Its pyramid, El Torre, is one of the largest Mayan structures on the Peninsula. For more off the beaten path trips read here.
Enjoy beautiful beaches, restaurants, bars and souvenir shopping, but without all the BPM craze. Cozumel is just a short ferry ride away from Playa del Carmen, so it’s an easy day trip. Here are the activities we most recommend on the island.
You can’t visit the Riviera Maya without having plunged into at least one cenote. These natural sinkholes, sacred to the Mayas, are magical places. Cool down in their fresh water and explore a whole new underground world! These are the top 5 cenotes around Playa del Carmen.
4 Punta Soliman
This peaceful, paradisiac beach just about 15 minutes north of Tulum, is one of the Riviera Maya’s best kept secrets. Come here to relax, avoid the masses and simply unwind your mind on the large, crescent shaped bay. Just in front of the beach entrance you find Oscar & Lalo’s restaurant, famous for its seafood. Especially their ceviche and the grilled octopus will seduce your palate.
5 Plaza Punto 115
If you still want to go out for a beer, but away from the techno kids, try Plaza Punto 115. The relatively new plaza attracts mainly a local crowd. You find restaurants like Don Sirloin where you can get some delicious tacos or the Italian restaurant La Piola. There are also several bars, for example Las Helodias, where you can try very Mexican beer. At any time of the year this plaza is a nice alternative to the always busy 12th Street.
Whatever you are looking for, just ask our concierge or our staff at the front desk of Playa Palms Beach Hotel for suggestions. We are always happy to help! By the way, on January 15, the BPM festival comes to an end and Playa del Carmen returns to normality. For the moment at least.
2017 is on the horizon, and whether you’re planning on welcoming it quietly or with a bang, here’s where you’ll spend a marvelous New Year’s Eve in Playa del Carmen.
For a special Mexican experience and a delicious New Year’s Eve Dinner we recommend:
Since you’re in Mexico, you might want to have a Mexican dinner to welcome 2017. There’s no better place for that than Axiote. Renowned Mexican Chef Xavier Perez Stone invites you to try traditional Mexican food with an artistic flair, accompanied by their wide selection of Mezcal and other delicious drinks. Let your palate be indulged!
What: 5 course menu with traditional Mexican dishes and one glass of champagne
How much: $300 MXN
Where: Axiote, Street 34 between Avenues 5 and 10
Frida Kahlo Restaurant
This artsy open air restaurant challenges your idea of traditional Mexican cuisine, by giving it a very modern touch and an exciting way of presenting the food. Look for the giant Frida face overlooking the 5th Avenue! Frida Kahlo’s New Year’s Eve Dinner will be accompanied by live music and DJ.
What: 4 course menu with a bottle of champagne
How much: $2500 MXN
Where: Frida Kahlo Restaurant, 5th Avenue with 8th Street
Reservations: (+52) 984 105 3216
This is more than just a dinner show. Are you ready for a gastronomic adventure? A magical evening awaits you, filled with delicious dishes, music, madness and sensuality.
What: 4 course dinner, open bar, Rauxa show
How much: $199 USD ($280 USD for VIP entrance)
Where: Catalonia Royal Tulum
For those who want to welcome 2017 with a bang:
NYE Yacht Party
Is there a more memorable and fancy way to receive 2017 than on a yacht? We don’t think so. Hop aboard a 72’ yacht for an unforgettable night on the Caribbean Sea! Your ticket includes unlimited open bar and free wifi, so you can send selfies to your landlubber friends.
What: Hors d’oeuvres, canapés, unlimited open bar, champagne at midnight, free wifi
How much: $149 USD
Where: Puerto Aventuras Marina (Transportation to and from Playa del Carmen included, Pick up 8 pm at Plaza las Perlas)
Mamita’s NYE Party
We all know that the best parties in town are at Mamita’s Beach Club. The same goes for their New Year’s Party. Celebrate 2017 with some of the best EDM DJ’s in the world!
How much: $500 MXN
Where: Mamita’s Beach Club, 28th Street and Beach
You can’t talk party in Playa del Carmen without mentioning Coco Bongo. Even though it’s basically the same show as any other night (just more crowded) people love it. Maybe because they get the fine booze out on this day and give shirts for free. Expect lots and lots of people, balloons and confetti and, as always, an amazing party!
How much: $145 US
Where: Coco Bongo, 12th Street with Avenue 10
Wherever you wish to celebrate, our staff at Playa Palms Beach Hotel is happy to help you with any reservations.
We wish you many blessings for the year to come and a Happy New Year!