Playa del Carmen -- places to eat like the locals?

Old Apr 30th, 2007, 07:00 PM
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Playa del Carmen -- places to eat like the locals?

Hello! My husband and I are going to Playa del Carmen in July (yeah, I know it's hot but we live in St. Louis where 90 degrees w/100% humidity is cool for the summer!)

We will be staying near 5th Ave. at Hotel La Tortuga and are looking for some cheap places off the main drag to eat great food. As long as we can bike or walk we are ok. We are completely fine w/an untranslated menu. My husband is the type of person who just points to a menu item and smiles and eats literally anything put in front of him. I think the only food he dislikes is mayonaise We both liked to be challenged. Any suggestions? Any great dessert places? (I've got a sweet tooth).

Yes I know we are going to a very touristy part of Mexico -- but I also know you can find good authentic food anywhere. I keep reading posts about great pizza in Playa -- but as a former NYer -- I'm not interested in that.

Thanks!
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Old May 1st, 2007, 03:35 AM
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I'm a former NYer too and now have a place in Playa where we get to call home at least part time now. There are a lot of great places to eat off the main drag and I rarely eat on 5th anymore. Perhaps just for pizza - on the way back from the beach I tend to stop for a slice for the walk. El Fogon on Constituyentes and between 25th and 30th Ave is good as is La Pesca across from the Mega on 30th Ave. Il Pescatore has wonderful Italian food - especially the alfredo sauce. Babe's Noodle Bar has great Thai food and blueberry frozen margaritas. They have two locations and one is at the north end on 5th. There's a whole restaurant section on www.playa.info that has a lot of posts by folks who do food reports on their finds. So many places to eat and most are very good. Just thought of another Moroccan restaurant on Calle Corazon that's fantastic too. Have a great time.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 03:43 AM
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I haven't spent much time in Playa in the past few years, but it used to be that all you had to was wander a couple blocks off 5th Avenue and there were literally dozens of wonderful small Mexican eateries. Never had a bad meal in any of them, and never got sick either.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 04:20 AM
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I've not been sick there either no matter where I eat. I remember a woman I ran into on the street a couple of years ago. She asked if I spoke english and said that her family was scared to eat here because her travel agent had warned her against eating anything outside of the AI. I told her she needed a new travel agent.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 03:18 PM
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Well I'm not a timid traveler. So getting sick is not really a concern of mine. I love street food and pretty much anything. That's why we are not staying in an AI. I've never been to one but they sound awful.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 06:15 PM
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Manne's Biergarten on Friday nights has pork roast as their special and it is really yummy. Manne is from Berlin and makes some excellent food. I believe it's on 4th street and around 15th or 20th avenue. It's more toward the south end of town. HC de Monterray is also on the south end of town and is open in the afternoon until around 6. It is a butcher shop with tables and chairs and an excellent arracherra served with either onions or potato. Very local. I'll try and think of some more if you want.
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Old May 1st, 2007, 07:09 PM
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We are heading there next week, please keep up the local suggestions.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 03:41 AM
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Ok, I'll try to keep going The north end of town has a section called Little Italy because of the large number of Italian people who have moved there and opened shops/restaurants. Hence, the large amount of italian restaurants which are quite good. Il Bareto on the corner of 5th Ave and I think 22 or 24 street is great for food and people watching. Desserts - there is a chocolate place on the corner of Constituyentes and 5th right by the big fountain called Al Cacao which has all kinds of chocolate stuff. Dona Maria's uptown at 30th ave and 28th st. that I'm going to find this time as I haven't been there yet but I've heard it's great. My husband went to a small, local place in Feb that was quite good called La Bamba Jarocha on 30th Ave and 22nd street (again pretty far north up by the Mega. If you're at La Tortuga it's not that far.Burritos del Gordo - It's on 15th Ave. between Calles 10 y 12 - very small place on the east side of the street - great fish tacos and burritos. Look for the red coca cola chairs outside. I pulled this next piece off another site and I've heard so much about this lady I'm going there myself in June. Can't wait to try it. Sra. Delia has reopened La Casita de los Guisos. The new location is on 20th avenue, between Calles 4 and 6, on the east side of the street. Her food is still terrific. She told me the other day that she will now have tamales daily, but I don't know if she'll be able to pull it off daily (it's very time consuming). Her tamales are something special, with chipotle and garlic shredded chicken. Her menu changes daily and it's all terrific. They serve picadas, which are hand made large tortillas fried a bit crisper than an average tortilla, then topped with refried black beans, onion, a bit of habanero sauce, and cheese. You can also add seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken. Other options include enchiladas verde or mole, empanadas, huevos al gusto, chilaquiles, and an ever changing rotation of specials. They also have breakfast(Huevos al gusto: scrambled eggs with some sort of chorizo, black beans, tortillas, habanero salsa, and fresh OJ). A meal with a drink will typically run you no more than 40 or 45 pesos.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:09 AM
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We found this outdoor place that barbecues chicken. You can eat their on picnic type tables, or do take out. They provide various condiments, and tortillas to go with the check. We bought a couple of chickens twice and brought it back to our condo because they were so good (and inexpensive - there were 4 of us). I can't remeber the exact location, I think it was on 10th AV, maybe around 15th St, Maybe someone else here can help.

We also found a little whole-in-the-wall ice cream place on 1st st, around 10th av. They had homemade popsicles in dozens of flavors (from fruit like canteloupe or watermelon, to rice pudding pops).
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 09:10 AM
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Actually the ice cream place I mention is closer to 20th av, not 10th.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Wow! You guys are getting me really hungry -- this is EXACTLY the type of info I wanted.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 04:22 PM
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I live around 20th but I can't place it. I did think of the gelato place across from the bus station that has great gelato - Caio Gelato. Yum. After a long bus ride it's a good snack to walk up town. There's also a new sandwich place that's getting really good reviews called Schlongo's Deli. Haven't tried it yet but I will next month. Take Calle 12 toward the beach and make a left on 1st. Deli is on the left side of the street. Not mexican food but they say the sandwiches and salads are great. I'm going to have to look for that ice cream place on 1st and 20th too. I guess I'll go find something to eat now.
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Old May 2nd, 2007, 07:53 PM
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Wow is right... Thank you very much for the information. We can't wait to try some of the great local food.
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