The Riviera Maya Restaurants

Restaurants here vary from quirky beachside affairs with outdoor tables and palapas to more elaborate and sophisticated establishments. Dress is casual at most places, so leave your tie and jacket at home. Smaller eateries may not accept credit cards, especially in remote beach villages. Bigger ones and those in hotels normally accept plastic. Many restaurants add propinas (tips) to the bill; look for a charge for "servicio." If tips aren’t included, a 15% gratuity is standard. It's best to order fresh local fish—grouper, dorado, red snapper, and sea bass—rather than shellfish like shrimp, lobster, and oysters, since the latter are often flown in frozen from the Gulf. Playa del Carmen has the largest selection of restaurants.

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  • 1. Chez Céline

    $ | French

    Take one bite of Céline's chocolate croissants, and you'll think you've died and gone to Paris. Fresh-baked breads and pastries bring honor...Read More

  • 2. El Muelle

    $$$ | Caribbean

    The Pier" resembles a Caribbean fish market with its wooden plank floors, whitewashed tables, and pilings strung with rope. A chalkboard features...Read More

  • 3. Imprevist

    $$$ | Asian

    The name means "unexpected," and––thanks to the international dishes created by executive chef Juan Diego Solombrino—this place is truly a surprise...Read More

  • 4. Aldea Corazón

    $$$ | Mexican

    Playa's most dramatically-sited restaurant sits atop a small cenote in a vast jungly garden full of strangler vines and Mayan ruins—right in...Read More

  • 5. Alux Restaurant & Lounge

    $$$$ | Eclectic

    Although this restaurant is a 10-minute drive from downtown, its location in an underground cavern makes it extremely popular. A candlelit rock...Read More

  • 6. Babe's Noodles & Bar

    $$ | Thai

    Photos and paintings of old Hollywood pin-up models share decor space with a large stone Buddha at this Swedish-owned Thai restaurant. It's...Read More

  • 7. Como Como

    $$$ | Mediterranean

    This small, intimate Mediterranean restaurant is where locals and travelers in-the-know go for perfectly al dente homemade pasta. Top orders...Read More

  • 8. HC de Monterrey

    $ | Mexican

    Follow your nose to this Mexican grill house, where locals gather for some of the best-tasting steak in town. Far from romantic, the open-air...Read More

  • 9. La Casa del Agua

    $$$$ | Seafood

    From the street-level bistro, a dramatic staircase leads up to a small cocktail bar and dining room overlooking Fifth Avenue. A stone waterfall...Read More

  • 10. La Cueva del Chango

    $ | Mexican

    This Playa institution, in a funky jungle garden with fountains, palmettos, and a rambling koi pond, is a favorite breakfast spot. The well...Read More

  • 11. Los Aguachiles

    $$ | Mexican

    This upscale taquerìa is an anchor of Playa's alternative culinary scene, reimagining tacos sautéed in olive oil and topped with cucumber or...Read More

  • 12. Plank

    $$$ | Steakhouse

    The name says it all at this New York–inspired restaurant where entrées are grilled on wooden planks or Himalayan salt blocks. The smoky flavors...Read More

  • 13. Sur Steak House

    $$$ | Argentine

    Focusing on food from the Pampas region of Argentina, this trendy corner spot has tables on 5th Avenue and second-story seating overlooking...Read More

  • 14. Café Sasta

    $ | Café

    This sweet little café serves good espresso drinks and a wide variety of teas, along with bagel sandwiches, fruit, yogurt, and pastries. Try...Read More

  • 15. G.G.

    $$$ | Italian

    The giant photos of a nightclubbing Sophia Loren on the wall capture the essence of this Italianissimo hot spot. Take in the newest part of...Read More

  • 16. Hot Baking Company

    $ | Café

    This cheap streetside breakfast café opens at 7 am, and it's one of the few places where you can get breakfast before early-morning sightseeing...Read More

  • 17. Mosquito Blue Restaurant

    $$$$ | Italian

    See and be seen in the open dining room of this fashionista hot spot right in the middle of Avenida 5's action. Top selections include linguine...Read More

  • 18. The Glass Bar

    $$$$ | Mediterranean

    Right in the heart of Fifth Avenue, the restaurant also known as Di Vino, takes its inspiration from the regional cuisines of Italy. Rough brick...Read More

  • 19. Ula-Gula

    $$$ | Italian

    A sceney streetside bar attracting a well-heeled crowd is the front man for the breezy, open-air restaurant upstairs. Most come for the martinis...Read More

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