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The stunning town of Playa del Carmen is located along the Riviera Maya coastal resort strip in Mexico. This magnificent vacation destination is known for its gorgeous beaches and blending of turquoise ocean hues. Playa del Carmen offers you a more chilled vibe to the famous city of Cancun. Equally, the nightlife and restaurants in Playa del Carmen are fantastic. The locals proudly showcase their rich festive cultural traditions, which carry through into their scrumptious food.
The best restaurants in Playa del Carmen offer a variety of local, international, and fusion cuisine. Not surprisingly, seafood is prevalent in this region. I guarantee you will be spoilt for choice whatever food you are craving!
Of course, with several options available, you may be wondering where to start?! Well, grab your travel notebook as we help you narrow it down on where to eat in Playa del Carmen. Let’s get the palate party started!
The Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
1. Po Thai Restaurant – Best Thai Food
- Location: Downtown (Centro). Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Average main dish price is about $13 USD
- Come here for: The very best of Thai Cuisine!
When you are craving exceptional Thai Cuisine, Po Thai Restaurant in Playa del Carmen is the spot to go! Their slogan is “Original Thai Cuisine”, and I assure you, it is precisely that. All the eccentric flavors you expect from each dish are bursting at the seams.
Walk into a tastefully decorated space with authentic bamboo and traditional adornment touches. There is a delightful patio to sit on and enjoy your meal while watching the people pass you.
Now for their menu. This took me a while to decide, as the variety is excellent.
After much deliberation, Dan and I started with the Mix Appetizer comprising shrimp croquettes, mixed satay, and spring and summer rolls. My favorite was the spring rolls, a delicate crunch packed with garden-fresh julienne vegetables. Too delicious!
The mains were out of this world! I tucked into the Pad Med Mamoang with shrimp, and Dan got the heat going with a Gaeng Kiew Whan Beef Green Curry. The intense spices were leveled out with back tastes of freshly squeezed lime.
Our Coconut Thai Flan and Khoa Niew Ma Muang desserts completed our meal in a sweet and tropical way! Our server was fabulous. You can expect a decent wait for your meal, however, you won’t be sorry! Undoubtedly, this is one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen. Plus, it’s super affordable too!
2. Ferron’s Jerk Chicken – Best Chicken/Fast Food
- Location: Two locations, the most popular is just north of Centro. Google Map location here.
- Price point: Average main dish for one person – $10 USD
- Come here for: Authentic Jamaican Chicken
Jerk Chicken is a signature Jamaican dish. Its distinct sweet and sour spicey flavor will tantalize your taste buds and send you to Jamaican cuisine heaven! The décor in this Restaurant in Playa del Carmen is humble and homely. In the same way, the owners have stuck to the authentic and simple ingredients that make their offerings mouth-watering.
Dan and I couldn’t wait to try this iconic chicken meal at Ferron’s Jerk Chicken! We ordered the Jerk Chicken Meal for 2. The chicken is served hot alongside two steamy bread rolls and scrumptious sauces. In addition, you can choose two side dishes. The flavor is outstanding! The distinct taste of garlic and a blend of herbs and spices make this chicken so divine.
The menu includes marinated pork ribs, deep-fried chicken, and a morish Jamaican Curry. If I could sum this menu up in a word, it would be “Soul Food”.
The gratitude wall is my favorite part of this fantastic Restaurant in Playa del Carmen. I took a moment to look at all the locals and travelers who frequented Ferron’s Jerk Chicken. A wall filled with smiles and meal satisfaction.
In a word, Go! You are in for a chicken meal bursting with flavor you will never forget. Keep an eye out for our picture on the wall!
3. Harry’s Prime Steakhouse & Raw Bar – Best Steakhouse
- Location: Centro, near Coco Bongo. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: $50+ USD for a steak
- Come here for: Steak!
If you’re in the mood for a delicious steak, look no further than Harry’s Prime Steakhouse & Raw Bar. This upscale restaurant is located on 5th Avenue and offers a variety of steak cuts, as well as seafood, pasta, and vegetarian dishes.
The steaks at Harry’s are some of the best in Mexico, and they’re cooked to perfection. Whether you like your steak rare, medium, or well-done, you’re sure to enjoy every bite.
In addition to the great food, Harry’s also has an extensive wine list and a beautiful outdoor patio. It’s the perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a night out with friends.
It’s one of the more expensive restaurants in Playa del Carmen, but if you ask anybody who’s eaten there, it’s worth every penny! Be sure to make a reservation ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
4. Trattoria Del Centro – Best Pasta
- Location: Centro, just off 10 Ave towards the beach. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Average main dish is about $13 USD
- Come here for: Pizza Napoletana and a seafood pasta selection
Trattoria Del Centro is a cozy, family Italian restaurant in Playa del Carmen. The setting oozes vacation vibes. The tables and chairs are on soft white gravel, and the string lights add that finishing ambiance touch.
Dan can never refuse an excellent pizza. For this reason, Pizza Napoletana comes highly recommended. The secret to this famous pizza lies in the dough and its preparation. Simone, the pizzaiolo, has mastered this art. The crust is thinner in the center and thicker around the outside. Filled with a generous amount of mozzarella, Napoletana sauce, and fresh basil. It is morish!
I savored every mouthful of my Squid Ink Linguine with mixed seafood. The pasta was al dente and the seafood expertly prepared. The flavors are outstanding!
There is a superb selection of craft beer and wine. Naturally, I sampled one or two craft beers – my favorite beverage alongside any delicious meal. They also have a selection of wines to choose from.
So, when you fancy some authentic Italian cuisine and don’t know where to eat in Playa del Carmen. Trattoria Del Centro is a top-notch choice!
5. The Traveler’s Table – Best Dining Experience
- Location: About a 20-minute drive outside of Playa del Carmen. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: $100 USD +
- Come here for: A unique Master Chef Mexican cuisine experience
Take your palate on an epic journey of food and history at The Traveler’s Table. You will experience fine communal dining with the beach sand under your feet.
Master Chef Spain runner-up, Eva Millan, invites your taste buds to explore every corner of Mexico with a 5-course meal like no other. In addition, this culinary adventure is interactive and informative.
Chef Millan introduces your palate to flavors dating back to the Mayan empire all the way to our present day. The food presentation is a work of art. There are few words to describe how unique and delicious each course is. The combination of ingredients, spices, and flavor complement one another like a perfectly tuned Mariachi band. Furthermore, every dish is expertly paired with the perfect wine.
We enjoyed an evening blended with gastronomy, storytelling, and hands-on preparation. The atmosphere is incredible, and the table setting is exquisite. My favorite part of this meal experience was the opportunity to eat alongside fellow travelers. All of us explore the world one decadent mouthful at a time.
When making a reservation at The Travelers Table, you can expect an outstanding evening filled with fun and excellent food. Decidedly, one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen. And besides being just a restaurant, it’s a complete experience and one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen!
6. Amorcito Corazón – Best Sushi
- Location: 10 Ave in Centro Playa del Carmen. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: About $7 USD per sushi roll
- Come here for: An excellent Sushi Fusion food experience
In all my travels, I have yet to stumble upon a restaurant that offers fusion food like Amorcito Corazon. Their unique approach to infusing traditional Japanese sushi with intense Mexican flavor is something to behold.
The décor in this restaurant in Playa del Carmen has a modern, classic Japanese look. The outside patio is ideal for enjoying the vibe while indulging in some sublime sushi. Dan and I love sushi on a hot day. We began our fusion meal with “The Chingones”. I tried the Catrina Roll, and Dan opted for the Rivera Maya. The fish and vegetables were so fresh. Each piece melts in your mouth.
Next, we moved on to Our Famous Spheres. The Sphere of the House was my choice – it was too delicious! Dan fancied a bit of a bite, so his Sphere Mexa Style choice was ideal. I highly recommend these breaded spheres. They are unique in both concept and flavor. Too yummy for words!
Alongside the chilled vibe, the expertly prepared Margheritas cooled us down in a flash. In addition, we were spoilt with excellent service and live music. My favorite part of this restaurant is the concept. Each menu item is carefully constructed, infusing the ideal Japanese and Mexican ingredients. For a palate-pleasing and different flavor experience, add Amorcito Corazon to your travel bucket list!
7. Taquería Los Compas – Best Tacos
- Location: North of Playa del Carmen, outside of town. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: About $2 USD per taco
- Come here for: Authentic Mexican tacos
There is nothing like authentic street food. This street-side restaurant in Playa del Carmen may have a small menu, but its offerings are big in flavor. Upon our arrival to Taqueria Los Compas. , there were just plates and plates of tacos going out. Clearly, we needed to order some too!
Of course, many taco restaurants in Playa del Carmen offer flavorsome Mexican cuisine. Even so, the finishing touches in these tacos are a fiesta of flavor excellence. The tortilla quality and the salsas are outstanding. There are a variety of fillings to choose from, including chorizo and the famous split-grilled pork, or Al Pastor. You can expect a distinct spicy taste with every bite.
The portions are incredibly generous, and the price is fabulous. You can expect top-notch service alongside a fun and chilled vibe. This is definitely the place to catch up with the locals, eat delicious tacos, and wind down with a drink or two.
So, where to eat in Playa del Carmen when craving authentic tacos? Look no further!
8. BIO-Natural – Best Vegetarian Food
- Location: 10 Ave in Centro Playa del Carmen. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Average main is about $10 USD
- Come here for: Organic conscious vegan and vegetarian cuisine
Get your healthy groove on and visit this conscious cuisine restaurant in Playa del Carmen. My body was craving a natural and nutritional boost. Dan suggested we go to BIO-Natural for breakfast as it was recommended by our hotel.
The décor is green and fresh, just like their organic ingredients and mindful menu. The breakfast menu is fabulous! We were each given a complimentary freshly squeezed juice shot and a brownie as we were seated.
I had a bit of a sweet craving, so I opted for the New Vegan Hotcake Sensation. The combination of sweet fruit and compote, vegan yogurt, and infused vegan cream satisfied my craving! Wow, sensational in both presentation and taste.
Dan opted for the Roquefort Eggs Benedict and kept to the vegetarian option. His eggs were cooked just right. The sides of rustic potatoes and crispy salad made his breakfast extra delicious. The complementary ingredients of garden-fresh vegetables, brie cheese, and Roquefort sauce blended perfectly with each bite. We finished off our meal with an aromatic-infused vegan coffee.
The service is exceptional. The owners and staff have a deep passion for conscious and healthy cuisine. Vegan and vegetarian food has never been this tasty. Undoubtedly, one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen for sure.
9. Cassa Ceviche – Best Fresh Seafood
- Location: North and inland of Centro. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Average ceviche dish is about $11 USD
- Come here for: Ceviche!!!
Where to eat in Playa del Carmen and spoil yourself with Mexican meets Peruvian cuisine just became easy! Cassa Ceviche offers you a taste experience bringing two cultures together onto one plate. Dan and I had to check out this intriguing restaurant in Playa del Carmen, especially since we loved the food when we were in Peru – particularly the ceviche!
The menu has an incredible selection of fresh seafood. We started our meal with Octopus Causa and Classic Tiradito. Superb choices! The sides of avocado mouse and sweet potato chips were divine. Dan’s Classic Tiradito had a popping habanero pepper bite. He loved it.
Now for their famous ceviche dish options. For those unfamiliar with ceviche, this is a traditional Peruvian dish prepared with marinated raw fish or seafood. If you love sushi, you will love this even more.
The Nikkei Ceviche is an ideal option as it has a “sushi” feel. Sublime and flavorsome! I ordered the Seafood Ceviche, and Dan kept it real with the Classic Ceviche. The spicy marinade with distinct lime backsplash flavors is outstanding.
Chef Jose Luis Chavez, listed in NYC Michelin Guide, is waiting to treat you to his culinary brilliance. It should come as no surprise that this is one of the top-rated restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
10. MVNGATA Beach Club & Rooftop – Best View!
- Location: North of Playa del Carmen. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Average Main $19
- Come here for: Authentic Mexican Cuisine with a view!
The MVAGATA Hotel houses the Beach Club and Rooftop restaurants. Treat yourself to a fantastic meal packed with local ingredients and flavor. While you do, be mesmerized by the spectacular ocean view!
Dan and I visited for the day and decided to grab some lunch. It was a scorcher of a day, so the Cold Dishes looked very appealing. I decided on the Tuna tostada. The tuna was fresh, and the vegetables crisp. The tostada was not too oily, given it is deep-fried. Very flavorsome! In keeping with his need for chili, Dan ordered the Beef Carpaccio with chili mayo. The bite he was craving did not disappoint.
For dessert, I tried the Mango Cake. Deliciously fruity and decadent. Dan opted for the Lemon Tart with mezcal. The sweetness of the mezcal set off the zesty lemon tart flavor. Too divine.
The refreshing cocktail menu had to be visited on this hot day. I sipped a Pina Colada, and Dan thoroughly enjoyed his Margarita Golden. Both mixed to cooling perfection! The service was prompt and friendly. You can expect some fabulous live entertainment too.
The location is truly magnificent. Chef Omar Martinez has prepared an exquisite menu with all the spice and tang that authentic Mexican cuisine offers. You must visit this restaurant for a spectacular experience!
Hot Tip: Visit this Beach Club for sunset cocktails with an ocean view!
11. 500 Gramos Grill – Best Italian Grill
- Location: Just north of Centro. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Around $15 USD for a main dish
- Come here for: Steak and Italian cuisine
The seafood you find in several restaurants in Playa del Carmen is incredible. Even so, an excellent streak in-between the local cuisine will satisfy anyone’s palate missing their meat. 500 Gramos Grill is a fabulous restaurant to consider.
This Italian grill house has a wonderfully upbeat, fun and family vibe. Furthermore, you can expect all your Italian favorites on their menu. I fancied the succulent fillet steak. Dan decided to have the ribeye.
Both our steaks were expertly prepared as per our requests. Each bit was soft and tender. The sides of roasted potatoes and fresh garden vegetables were fresh and delicious – a mouth-watering experience!
They have an excellent selection of fine wine to compliment your meal the Mediterranean way. In addition, there are a variety of ice-cold beers to choose from. We ended our meal with a decadent Tiramisu and Chocolate Mousse indulgence.
The quality of our meal was outstanding. Just what our meat craving needed! The owners and staff go the extra mile to make your evening memorable. A super spot to visit for a scrumptious meal, wonderful conversation, and exceptional service!
12. Mu. Burgerhouse Av.40 – Best Burgers
- Location: 4 Ave, inland of Centro. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: About $9 USD for a burger.
- Come here for: Gourmet burgers and an excellent craft beer collection
Mu. Burgerhouse Av.40 is located in the heart of the Riviera Maya. The setting is hip and cozy, paired with fast and friendly service. Dan and I love an excellent burger. It’s not just about the actual patty. Instead, with the right combination of trimmings, an ordinary burger becomes an epic burger!
This burger Restaurant in Playa del Carmen definitely meets the epic burger standards. I ordered the Una Hamburguesa Llamada Deseo. A delicious combination of machengo, portobello al chimichurri, truffle mayo, and thick-cut bacon. Can you taste it? It is super-duper delicious!
Dan opted for the Aguacatona. The crunchy pork belly paired with chimichurri, panel cheese, and avocado made for a scrumptious burger-eating experience. Naturally, every burger comes with a side of fries. You have the option of having potato or sweet potato fries. We both had the sweet potato option. Very flavorsome, lightly crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside.
Regrettably, we had no room for dessert after our “tower” size gourmet burgers. However, we enjoyed a chilled and refreshing craft beer. The ambiance and music make this restaurant in Playa del Carmen is a great vacation hang-out!
Note: They have a second location in Cancun, arguably one of the best restaurants in Cancun as well!
13. MI Kfé Sabor Venezolano – Best Venezuelan Food
- Location: Centro. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Around $6 USD for a main dish
- Come here for: Venezuelan cuisine and Arepas
South American cuisine takes meat and flavor to new levels. MI kfe Sabor Venezolano brings their delicious cuisine to the streets of Playa del Carmen. Certainly, a go-to dish for many is Arepas. These cornmeal cakes are stuffed with morish fillings bursting with Venezuelan goodness!
This humble restaurant in Playa del Carmen has a welcoming and friendly atmosphere. The menu has an assortment of Venezuelan cuisine to choose from. However, we decided to stick with the Arepas.
Dan ordered the beef, and I opted for the chicken. The arepas were expertly prepared and packed to the brim with fresh and delicious ingredients. An absolute street food delight!
I noticed there was an extensive vegetarian selection. Furthermore, the quality of the offerings is fantastically matched with their fabulous service. If you haven’t yet visited Venezuela, after tasting this exceptional food, you may just have to add it to your list.
Clearly, this spot is one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen waiting to take your palate on a tantalizing adventure!
14. Oh Lala! – Best Mediterranean Cuisine
- Location: North Centro. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Average main dish is $25 USD, but can be much more for large steaks
- Come here for: Mediterranean fine dining
When a restaurant is named “Oh Lala!“, who would not want to go?! This extremely personal and intimate restaurant in Playa del Carmen is home to the culinary passions of George and Mikaela. Their aim is to bring their food journey wisdom to your plate.
All their food is expertly prepared and exquisitely plated. Dan and I had our seafood groove on, so the Grilled Tuna Steak in Balsamic Glaze was my choice. Dan went for the Butter Soy Tuna Steak. Our tuna was pure perfection. Lightly seared with just the right amount of sauce and bursting with flavor freshness.
We did not order the Octopus. However, we saw it being delivered to a neighboring table. The entire Octopus gracefully wrapped around a fresh rosemary stick and stood upright. A work of culinary art! Next time we will definitely order it for ourselves.
For dessert, we shared The Lemon Crumble with Lemon Sorbet. The zesty tartness is the perfect way to complete this memorable dining experience. This spot is excellent for romantic nights or intimate family dinners. Certainly, a unique and personal culinary experience I will do again!
15. Porfirio’s Restaurante – Contemporary Mexican Food
- Location: Centro near Coco Bongo. Google Maps location here.
- Price point: Around $20 USD for a main dish
- Come here for: Mexican Contemporary Urban Cuisine
Porfirio’s Restaurante allows you to experience flavors from all over Mexico with an haute cuisine appeal. The décor is warm and inviting, alongside helpful staff and prompt service. The dishes are all so enticing that it was not an easy task to make a decision.
Our server brought us some crispy tortillas with scrumptious sauces to nibble on while deciding. I ordered the Green Enchiladas with chicken. The chicken was so tender, and the Mexican flavors were just right. Dan opted for the Beef Fillet with Green Mole. The mole was superb, and the fillet melted in your mouth with each bite. Truly sumptuous!
The decadent dessert selection has some spectacular options. I tucked into the Guava Cheesecake while Dan could not resist the Coconut Cake. Sweet indulgences have never tasted this good! In addition, the presentation of each dish is stunning.
Our server was delightful, going above and beyond to make us feel like traveling rock stars. Definitely, one of the Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
There you have it! Your travel notebook is packed with ideas on where to eat in Playa del Carmen! The diversity of cuisine will take your senses and palates on a taste sensation journey from start to finish.
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We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
I hope that this blog has helped you decide where to eat in Playa del Carmen. The above 15 restaurants are the best of the best, and they are sure to satisfy your tastebuds!
If you found this blog helpful, be sure to check out some of our other blogs about Mexico, including some related reads below: