7 Best Tulum Restaurants

Tulum is a hotspot for hippie travelers and celebrities alike. For those of us who like the laid-back chill out scene with a natural vibe, Tulum is probably at the top of the list in the Mayan Riviera.

When it comes to restaurants, there are many fantastic choices as you stroll the beach or head into town to find out what’s on the menu. Character and style are everywhere you look. In the variety of different eateries, each has its own unique flair in design, décor and dishes.


A Unique And Special Place

If you want a meal where you can relax and with a stunning view as you sip a glass of wine with your favorite person or just have an amazing dining experience, try Mezzanine Thai Restaurant. How does sitting on a cliff-top terrace gazing out over the Caribbean Sea sound? All this while enjoying an authentic Thai meal created by Chef Dim Geefay. (That will have meaning for you if you’re a Thai food enthusiast.)

If you go north up the jungle side of the Boca Paila beach road 1.5 kilometers, you will hit Mezzanine. The menu is typical Thai cuisine fused with some of the flavors of Mexico with local ingredients like chaya, jicama, as well as chilies and fruits. Enjoy the beauty and try the popular Pad Thai or get a whole fish cooked Thai crispy-style.


Atmosphere, Views, Food and Fun

Not every restaurant can be perched on the top of a cliff! Mateo’s isn’t even directly on the beach, but don’t let that stop you. It has a fantastic bar as well as great lunch and dinner menu–try the fish tacos. Mateo’s, like so many restaurants in Tulum, offers much more than food when you dine with them. There’s fantastic service as well as a stellar elevated sunset deck where you can watch the sun drop below the mangrove. They frequently have live local bands play and there’s lots of friendly conversation to be had.

As you travel down the main Boca Paila beach road (heading south this time), Mateo’s is at KM 5.2 on the opposite side of the road from the beach.


Beach and Good Food

Ziggy’s is just a great place to eat seafood, drink, relax and even spend the day if you want. Attached to the restaurant is their own beach club. You can dine under the large palapa with an ocean view or make your way to some scattered tables outside or find a lounge chair if you so desire.

One nice thing about Ziggy’s is they open at 7am. You can get breakfast (the breakfast burritos are pretty good), lunch, or dinner. They also host theme nights which is pretty special to Ziggy’s; sometimes a BBQ and bonfire on the beach, or cocktails by the bonfire. There’s lots of fun to be had at Ziggy’s anytime! (KM 7 on the Boca Paila road)


Pizza and Atmosphere

This has to be included in the list, since pizza is on almost everyone’s list of favorite foods! Where do you get the best pizza in town? It’s definitely a matter of opinion and taste, but the vast majority of people love Manglar.

Manglar isn’t on the beach but is right in town. It’s located just a block off the highway on Calle Asuncion (manzana 38 lote 2). At Manglar, you’ll find delicious and very affordable food and they do deliver. If you choose to dine in, you’ll enjoy the beautiful garden-like setting along with a fantastic fire pit you’ll absolutely love.


The Top Tulum Restaurant

Extremely popular and regarded by many as the top restaurant in Tulum is Hartwood. To visit, you’ll have to make a reservation for this fantastic restaurant. Reservations are taken after 3pm if you go in person. For a group of 8 or more, you can make a reservation online.

Hartwood offers a wood-fire style menu; all the cooking is done over an open fire in their own wood burning oven and grill. In harmony with that, they have almost no footprint on the environment. Their lighting and music and even blender is powered by solar power! Another interesting thing about Hartwood is that their menu continually changes day to day as they adjust to what the sea and land make available. You can always enjoy the catch of the day or some delicious cut of beef or steak.

This is definitely a must-do during your stay in Tulum! It is located at KM 7.6 on the jungle side of the Boca Paila road.


Fantastic Italian Fare

This place is just perfect! It is a fantastic blend of everything: décor, style and spectacular scenery (being right on the water). Oh, and their food is delicious! The menu isn’t super extensive but it doesn’t matter because everything is good. It has a real authentic Italian taste; definitely the best pasta in Tulum. We recommend getting to Posada Margherita early though, because it fills up quickly.

Posada Margherita is located at KM 4.5 on the beautiful Tulum beach, south of the fork.

TIP: They only accept cash so plan accordingly for your visit. You’ll want to go back, trust us!


This has to be included because you’re in Mexico! You need to get a hold of some “tacos al pastor” and this is the spot to go. It’s not on the sea but in town. You can stroll in and seat yourself and enjoy this great little taco spot. It has a fantastic toppings bar for you to load up your 10-peso taco (that’s less than a dollar)!

There are several good taco places you can hit in town, but this is the best option. It’s very easy to find as it’s right off of Avenue Tulum and the side street of Acuario.

TIP: They are only open for dinner, so if you are wanting tacos for lunch you’ll have to venture elsewhere.

The list of excellent places to eat is a long one, but these are a few great suggestions to get you started. As you get more acquainted with Tulum, you’ll discover what your style is and what kind of places you enjoy most. Some travelers like to get away from where the majority of the tourists are and get more of an authentic Mexican feel. Or perhaps you want to be seaside for every meal! Whatever makes your vacation great for you personally, Tulum will be able to provide it.

Best Restaurants in Cancun

Many travelers are probably content to dine within the cozy confines of their resort restaurants. Although if you aren’t staying at an all-inclusive, you probably have a lot more interest in visiting a variety of restaurants in the area! In today’s technological age, websites like TripAdvisor, Yelp and many others make it a lot easier to decide where to dine. It’s always nice to have a little inside/local scoop though!

Cancun’s restaurant scene is really spread over two different locales–the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera), and the downtown core.

Cancun’s Hotel Zone is home to many of the international dining establishments most of us are familiar with. This area of Cancun definitely caters to the tourists who are looking for familiar fare.

In the cityscape of Cancun–population approximately 1 million–is where you’ll find some amazing homemade Mexican dishes and fresh seafood. If you’re really looking to get a true taste of Mexico, this is where you want to be!


Club Grill at the Ritz-Carlton

As mentioned, the Hotel Zone, is where you will find more American-style restaurants (and generally higher prices). By no means does that refer to below-average food though! Here you will find restaurants like Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, Hooters, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Outback Steakhouse, among others.

There are definitely many restaurants along this 30-kilometer peninsula that are unique not only for their cuisine but also for their ambiance and beauty! Many of these restaurants face the Nichupte lagoon (on the west side of the strip), where you can enjoy a spectacular sunset while having a delicious meal.

Foodies, take note! Cancun is privileged to have several AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurants, including the Club Grill and Fantino. (Both of these are located in the Ritz-Carlton. Reservations are recommended!)

A few other suggestions you may want to experience for yourself are La Habichuela (located in the city) and La Habichuela Sunset(in the Hotel Zone, lagoon side). There is only one beach restaurant in this part of Cancun, called Casitas (at the Ritz-Carlton). Enjoy excellent seafood, as well as steak and salads, in a sumptuous, romantic setting. Harry’s Prime Steakhouse & Raw Barfeatures ice-cold shellfish and sashimi and boasts Kobe beef and USDA Prime Choice Beef. Their 1700-degree broiler and wood-burning grill give you delightful, tasty options!



Cancun is a big city, home to a lot of people and a lot of food! As you would expect in any metropolitan area, there are tons of franchise restaurants and well-loved names you’ll recognize. Think Chili’s, California Pizza Kitchen, Applebee’s, Waffle House, Sirloin Stockade, etc.

But let’s be honest, if you’ve traveled this far, you probably want to taste and experience something different from what you would get back home!

Peter’s is an intimate and charming eatery run by the eponymous Dutch ex-pat. The menu is a blend of French cuisine with native Mexican style and ingredients. Try the pork ribs with tamarind sauce or the bouillabaisse with freshly-caught Caribbean fish. It’s a small place so definitely make reservations so you’re not disappointed!

La Dolce Vita serves amazing Italian food in a cozy, candlelit atmosphere. The service is fantastic, but be patient and give yourself lots of time to enjoy your meal.


El Fogón

For those of you that are even more adventurous, here are a few well-known establishments to try while you’re in Mexico!

Pollo Feliz is a franchise restaurant specializing in roast chicken tacos. El Fogón serves up marinated pork tacos, called “pastor”, that are to die for. Waiters carve off chunks of meat from a gigantic spit, or “trompo”, garnishing each taco with a few slices of fresh pineapple for a flavor fiesta! The prices are incredibly cheap and the quality is deliciously good.

Try some local specialty dishes like “chili rellenos” (stuffed chili peppers), and Mayan cuisine at La Destilería. For great seafood, we recommend Los de Pescado and Pescado con Limón.


It’s always good to know a little Spanish if you plan to eat away from the beaten track! Bring a phrasebook along with you or download a language app on your smartphone so you won’t be confused by the menu. Staff at most restaurants do know some English, though, and are very eager to help you enjoy your dining experience!

Fruits and vegetables are always rinsed and disinfected before being prepared. This is standard practice in any tourist zone in the area, since the economy depends largely on tourism. Spicy chili peppers are found in many dishes, so be careful if your stomach is a little sensitive! Papaya seeds, horchata water, lime juice and tortillas are some local remedies that cut the heat!

Unlike restaurants in the US or Canada, a glass of water isn’t usually complementary with your meal, as restaurants here serve bottled water instead. The ice in your drink is also made from purified water.

Service can be slow in Mexico, especially outside Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Mexican culture values non-hurried meals with no pressure. So when you’re ready, you’ll have to ask for your bill (“la cuenta, por favor”), as it probably won’t be brought to until then!

Lunch is the biggest and heaviest meal for locals, and dinner/supper is usually served late (after 8pm). Typical American breakfasts with eggs, hash browns, hot cakes, etc., are hard to find at hole-in-the-wall restaurants, but plentiful on the strip.

A federal tax of 16% is incorporated into menu prices (called IVA). You probably won’t even notice it. A service charge for large parties (8 or more), may be added to your bill at some establishments, but if not, a standard tip for good service varies between 10 and 15%. Servers really appreciate your tips, whether in American or Mexican currency.

Transportation is not difficult in Cancun; although you’ll need time to get around, as it is a big city. Taxis and buses frequent the hotel zone at all hours and have standard rates. If you’re heading into the city from the hotel strip, it’s best to agree on a price with your cabbie before you get in. Or have your hotel concierge call you a taxi.

Some of the best vacation memories are created during meal times! Dig in and enjoy the feast of flavors that Mexico offers to you, no matter what your taste or budget may be!

Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen

The restaurant scene in Playa is always vibrant and dynamic. Each month, it seems, new restaurants pop up, with inspired menus and a fresh take on food. There are several well-established and well-loved eateries in this young city too. It’s an absolutely spectacular scene for foodies!

When you choose to stay right in Playa, half of the fun each day is meandering 5th Avenue in search of the perfect restaurant! There are literally hundreds to choose from. No matter what your taste or preference is, you will probably find it. From steakhouses, sushi, and authentic Italian pasta, to fresh seafood, Mayan and Mexican cuisine, and vegan/vegetarian options…the list is virtually endless!

Most restaurants are open-air, even beachfront. Playa also has a lot of fantastic rooftop bars and restaurants. (No building is higher than 4 storeys total, so you can catch ocean views even from a few blocks back.) It’s so refreshing to enjoy the evening breezes off the ocean while you sip a delicious drink and indulge in a tasty meal. The people-watching is also excellent from up here.

Even picky or non-adventurous diners will be happy–there are familiar franchise restaurants and lots of “comfort food” options to choose from when you don’t feel like tacos!

Beachfront Restaurants


If you’ve spent the day at the beach and don’t want to go far to eat, try one of these spots. Or perhaps you just want to get the most ocean time possible during your vacation! The views never get old. Day or night, these places serve up delicious food in a fun atmosphere.

Every weekend you can treat yourself to a full buffet brunch and Texas-style BBQ at WAH WAH’S [between calle 2 and 4]. The huge palapa restaurant sits right on the sand–no shoes required! There’s also an upstairs deck where you can enjoy the unparalleled views of the sea. There are beach games, live music, and a huge dance floor inside, so the fun doesn’t stop even when it rains!

Just north of that is a little seafood restaurant that’s been around forever…it’s called LA TARRAYA. Run by a local family, this restaurant is decorated in a nautical theme and serves up the most amazingly fresh seafood daily! The margaritas are huge, the beer is cold, and the best part is you can keep your toes in the sand while you eat and drink. (Note: This place closes around 8:30pm daily.)

The mood at ZENZI is always hip and chill. There are low tables and lounge chairs on the beach along with tables on the deck and bar seating inside. Palm trees are encircled with twinkle lights, and this place becomes even more enchanting at night. There is live nightly entertainment (our favorite is the reggae cover band that usually plays Fridays).

Breakfast Restaurants

La Cueva del Chango

Does brunch on the beach sound good? Check out the trendy new restaurant at the end of calle 8, called C-GRILL. The vibe is reminiscent of a California beach house, and the food is outstanding. It’s also open for lunch and dinner.

A favorite in Playa, with 3 different locations, is EL NATIVO. Here you can order a liter of some fresh-squeezed juice concoction, a delicious omelette or tasty Mexican breakfast like chilaquiles verdes. Look for their trademark thatched palapa roof and colorful sign. They’re located on the corner of Juarez and the highway, as well as north of the MEGA grocery store [on 30th Avenue].

Prefer to stay downtown? If you can only manage to stroll a few steps from your hotel to rustle up some coffee and grub, try these spots. Right in the middle of downtown is 100% NATURAL, an outdoor restaurant with lots of healthy options, smoothies and delicious indulgences like chocolate-chip pancakes [on 5th between 10 & 12]. Further north on the strip is LA VAGABUNDA[on 5th between calle 24 & 26] and LA CUEVA DEL CHANGO [on calle 38].

TIP: If you’re trying to please kids or just want to play it safe with breakfast, we recommend IMPREVIST [on 1st Ave between calle 14 & 16bis] and CHEZ CELINE [on 5th and calle 34]. These are the top two breakfast spots in Playa del Carmen!

Rooftop Restaurants

La Santanera

These rooftop terraces are best enjoyed in the early evening or at night, when you can cool off, relax, see and be seen!

LA SANTANERA is a trendy rooftop bar and club in the heart of downtown [on the corner of 5th Ave and calle 10]. At the ground floor reception area, there’s a huge neon light wall display of a DJ Jesus spinning tracks. Ride the elevator up to the top and enjoy great views of the ocean and the strip.

Try the pretzel bread with mustard butter, or fresh grilled fish at the stylish new rooftop restaurant/bar CATCH [at the top of the Thompson Hotel on 5th and calle 12]. Even if you go here for just a drink, the views alone are spectacular.

TIP: Many hotels on the strip have a rooftop bar or restaurant that is open to the public. Just ask at reception if you are curious! For example, a really chic place to hang out day or night is at NIBS, located at the top of the Cacao Hotel [5th and calle 32].

Steakhouse Restaurants

Sur Steakhouse

Craving a succulent steak and perhaps a glass of red wine to go with it? Playa definitely caters to the carnivores out there, with Argentinian and Brazilian steakhouses galore.

For huge appetites and samples of every cut of meat imaginable, you must visit BOVINO’S. This new location in the popular restaurant chain just opened in Playa in 2015. It has a fantastic buffet and staff serve you delicious cuts right off the skewer–lamb, filet mignon, bison, you name it. You’ll find this brick restaurant on the corner of 10th Ave and Calle 10 [across from Coco Bongo’s Nightclub]RIO BRAZILIAN is a similar, less-crowded but still fabulous option that’s tucked away behind La Bodeguita del Medio Cuban restaurant [on 5th between calle 34 & 36].

Looking for something elegant, with great service? For that extra special evening with your significant other, we have 3 recommendations!

SUR is a glamorous choice, and you’ll be treated like a king. The Argentinian theme showcases prime beef cuts and a fine wine selection. You can’t miss it, it’s on the corner of 5th Ave and calle 10.

Tucked away in a more intimate setting is PLANK. It’s the only smokehouse in Playa! Food here is served on salt rock slabs, and the vibe and service are both supreme.

Probably the top choice for steak is the brand-new HARRY’S, located in the Calle Corazon shopping plaza [5th Ave and calle 12]. This upper-level restaurant has a raw bar and the service is excellent. With 28-day-aged steak and handmade cocktails, it’s more than just a restaurant…it’s an experience!

Mexican & Mayan Restaurants


While you’re here, you’ve just got to sample Mexican and Mayan cuisine–it would be a tragedy not to!

Mexican and Mayan? Yes, they are different! YAXCHE restaurant showcases the unique flavors and ingredients of Mayan food. The menu offers such delicacies as cochinita pibil [a rich marinated pork dish] and flambéed mango crepes. And have you ever tried a jalapeno cilantro margarita? The successful restaurant is opening a new location on 1st Ave and calle 38 shortly.

For the best Mexican restaurants, you’ll have to venture off touristy 5th Ave. (LA PARRILLA is lots of fun, though, with live mariachi music and dishes from all the regions in Mexico! It’s on the corner of 5th and Const.)

When you see a restaurant packed with locals, you know it’s gotta be good! We recommend the marinated pork tacos [called el pastor] at EL FOGON. For tacos with tender, juicy strips of steak, visit HC DE MONTERREY. Both are located near the MEGA grocery store [30th Ave and Constituyentes].

Other Ethnic Cuisine

There’s more to Playa del Carmen than Mexican food–way more! Think big. Think international!



If you’re a fan of Italian food, you have to visit Playa’s Little Italy district. It spans several blocks on both 5th and 10th Avenues [roughly between calle 28 and 38]. There are dozens of fine Italian restaurants; with forno ovens, red-checkered table cloths, even some with chefs preparing handmade pasta right in view! CENACOLO [calle 28] is one of them. Also, look for LA PIOLA, on calle 38. Both are simply excellent!

One of our favorite little hole-in-the-wall spots is ROMEO’S [on calle 4 between 10th and 15th avenues]. You can easily walk to it from your condo or hotel. With only a few tables, the atmosphere is cozy and comfortable. The food is absolutely divine, and you can watch the chef prepare it. You finish your meal in the traditional Italian way–with limoncello!

Off the beaten path is DON CHENDO, serving up delicious deep-dish pizza and the best chicken parmesan you’ve ever had! The owner is American and super friendly; he’ll always stop to chat a bit with his patrons and see how you’re enjoying your meal. You can find this little spot on 30th Ave, between calle 24 and 26 [not far from the MEGA grocery store].

In the gated community of Playacar, a big favorite among the local Italian ex-pats is CASA SOFIA. This charming restaurant has excellent lasagna, ravioli and forno pizza. With both air-conditioned and open-air dining, it’s an elegant choice for a memorable meal.


For a coastal Caribbean city, the Asian food here is pretty great! What’s your fancy…Thai? Vietnamese? Japanese? You don’t have to go far to find all these tasty offerings.

Sophisticated, air-conditioned and gourmet–if that sounds good, ASIANA is the place for you. It’s located in The Royal Resort [Constituyentes and 1st Avenue]. The menu covers all things Asian. Try the sashimi or sushi, spring rolls with spicy strawberry sauce or the tempura ice cream. (Note: You must be 18 or older to visit this restaurant.)

BABE’S is a well-loved restaurant that’s been around for more than a decade. Its unique fusion menu offers fresh seafood, delicious teriyaki chicken and shrimp, Korean and Vietnamese choices, Swedish meatballs, and delectable noodles. The ambiance is fun and retro, with vintage pin-up posters decorating the walls. You’ll find it on calle 10, between 5th and 10th avenues.

GLUAY MAAI THAI has great traditional Thai food and vegan options as well. It’s located in the trendiest part of 5th [on calle 38]. One of the chefs is Thai and will happily explain the menu and make recommendations. Try the sweet green curry or the papaya salad for something different!

For tasty sushi at reasonable prices, NIKKORI on 10th Ave is good [between calle 32 & 34]. Order two-for-one on Wednesdays! SUSHI LALO WEY is adorable and has consistently excellent sushi and keeps clients coming back for more! You’ll find this little gem in the food market on 10th Ave [between calle 8 & 10].

Vegetarian & Vegan Restaurants

With Playa’s international, health-conscious crowd, there are too many delicious options in this restaurant category to mention! Here are just a few favorites to get you started:

Got a big appetite but prefer to fill it with healthy goodness? SALADE is the place for you; right on the corner of calle 10 and 15th ave [near the Yoga studio and the CrossFit gym]. You get to choose among the freshest ingredients to create the perfect wrap or salad. And they’re huge! Their mint lemonade is also sensational; definitely a must.

KAXAPA FACTORY is a touch off the beaten path and has delicious Venezuelan food with lots of vegetarian/vegan/gluten-free options. Go down calle 10, and you’ll find it between 15th and 20th Ave. The owners are wonderfully nice and the service is outstanding. Don’t have time to sit down and eat? Just order a fresh juice to go; you won’t be disappointed.

For fresh, healthy food with a middle-eastern flavor, visit FALAFEL NESSYA. It’s on calle 4 between 10th and 15th Ave. The hummus is excellent, as are the pitas and of course, falafel! This is a laidback, cozy and clean spot with really reasonable prices. It makes for a refreshing change from most of the food you’ll find in Playa.