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.
One of the first things that come to mind when you think of Mexico is the Mariachi music. With its beautifully dressed musicians playing this oh so very Mexican music. Mariachi is indeed such a fundamental element of the Mexican culture that in 2011 UNESCO inscribed it on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This traditional Mexican music style is a result of indigenous music mixed with European and African influences. Its Mexican origins lie in Western Mexico, probably in the state of Jalisco. Originally Mariachis played only string instruments, and the trumpet, today an established component, was added until later. Still, the most remarkable instrument remained the guitarrón, a large, deep-bodied acoustic bass that’s solely played by Mariachis.
Initially Mariachis were associated with the rural lower class, since mostly ranch workers played this kind of music. In the early 1900 however, they began to gain acceptance in the upper class. Around the same time Mariachis started dressing in the particular black or white charro suits they are famous for today: a short jacket and high tight pants, both often with silver decorations, and a wide-brimmed sombrero. Women sometimes use a long skirt instead, with the same decorations.
In almost every city in Mexico you see them playing in restaurants and bars, serenading a señorita on her birthday, or waiting in a plaza for someone to hire them. They are the heart and soul of any real Mexican celebration. As anywhere in Mexico, also in Playa del Carmen Mariachis are often hired for weddings.
If you want to make your Mexico vacation real Mexican, you definitely can’t miss a Mariachi concert. We checked out the best places to listen to Mariachi music in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya:
If you want to taste, listen and experience Mexico in the Riviera Maya, this is the place to go. Board one of the traditional trajineras, some kind of gondolas. You will be served Mexican dishes and Tequila while you listen to Mariachis play. At latest after the second Tequila you feel like dancing along.
2 5th Avenue
As you stroll along the 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen at night, you’ll sure stumble over some fancy dressed Mariachis playing outside a restaurant or on the street.
3 La Parilla
One of the most typical Mexican restaurants in Playa del Carmen, from the food they serve, to the decoration to the music. Every evening at 8 pm they have Mariachis play. On Constituyentes between Avenues 5 and 1.
4 Mi Pueblo
Taste authentic Mexican delicacies prepared in the open style kitchen while you sing along with the Mariachis. On the 5th Avenue with Street 8.
Are you planning your destination wedding and feel like Mariachis are a must? Contact us, we at Playa Palms Beach Hotel are happy to make your dream come true.
All you need to know about Mexico’s most famous dish and where to get the best tacos in Playa del Carmen.
Mexico’s cuisine is not only delicious, but also very diverse. Every region has its own specialties, flavors and textures and food plays an essential role in Mexico. Of all the possible dishes you could eat in Mexico, probably the most famous is the taco.
Tacos itself come in an incredible variety of filling and preparation. Any possible kinds of meat (think further than just flank steak, think brain or tongue) combined with different spices, chili peppers and salsas.
Facts you should know about tacos:
- Authentic Mexican tacos never come in a hard shell. Never. Ever. They are wrapped in a palm-sized soft corn tortilla. If they’re made with wheat tortillas they’re considered burritos.
- You eat them by hand. The less messy it gets, the more Mexican you are.
- Squeeze lemon on your taco.
- Put salsa on your taco. Friendly advice: make sure to ask which one is the real spicy one.
- The taquero might ask you if you want your taco con todo (with everything), meaning if you want it with coriander and onion.
As in any Mexican city, there are hundreds of taquerías in Playa del Carmen. These are Playa Palms’ 6 favorite taco places:
1 El Fogón
The tourist favorite spot to try Mexico’s most popular taco: the taco al pastor. You’ve surely seen the huge chunks of vibrant red colored pork meat on a vertical spit, suspended in front of a flame that reminds of shawarma or kebap. That’s the meat you use for the tacos al pastor. It actually derives from the original shawarma, brought to Mexico by Lebanese migrants in the early 1900s. It’s marinated with different spices and chile peppers, and the tacos typically come with a piece of pineapple, coriander and onion. (Constituyentes, between Avenues 25 and 30 / Avenue 30 between Streets 6 and 8)
2 Taquería El Ñero
The local’s favorite. With their chef being from Mexico City, they serve tacos which are difficult to find elsewhere in Playa del Carmen, among them tacos de suadero and tacos de tripas. Suadero is a very tender cut that comes from underneath the cow’s skin. Tripas are the cow’s intestine. Maybe non-Mexican palates need to get used to it first, but according to most Mexicans it’s the most delicious taco of them all. Once you dared to try them , how about some tacos de sesos (brain)? (Ave. Juarez, between Streets 40 and 45)
3 El Buen Taco
Try the grilled beef taco arrachera. They have several condiments and extra fillings you can add to your taco, like potatoes, nopales (cactus, you should definitely try it!) or cucumber. The green salsa is to be handled VERY carefully, it’s hotter than the hinges of hell. (Constituyentes, between Avenues 35 and 40)
4 El Borrego Loco
They serve incredibly delicious barbacoa style tacos, meaning lamb tacos, which are usually eaten for breakfast. The meat is slow cooked so it’s very tender. In case you’re not a heavy eater early in the morning, you can eat them for lunch too, they’re open until 3 pm. Oh, and apparently they’re an excellent hangover cure. (Highway road, just north of Ave. Constituyentes)
5 Lajam Tacos Arabes
Again, you can taste the Middle Eastern influence on Mexican food. The Arab-style tacos are also based on spit-grilled pork meat, but induced with oregano, thyme and onion. Traditionally they’re served in pita bread, but nowadays you can order them with a tortilla. (32 Street between Avenues 5 and 10)
6 El Oasis
The place to go for seafood in general, but one of their most popular dishes are fish and shrimp tacos. Originally from Baja California, these delicious tacos found their way to the Riviera Maya. (12th Street, between Avenues 5 and 10)
Spoilt for choice? If you’re staying at Playa Palms Beach Hotel just ask anyone of our staff – we all love tacos!
5 de Mayo is coming up and we take this opportunity to talk to you about (real) Mexican food and where to get the best in Playa del Carmen. If your idea of Mexican food is Taco Bell, you should definitely order one of the following dishes on your next vacation in Mexico!