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. 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

  • 3. La Sirena

    $$$ | International

    Overlooking the town square, La Sirena serves an eclectic mix of dishes ranging from mini-sliders and grilled grouper to hearty plates of BBQ...Read More

  • 4. Unico

    $$$ | Zona Hotelera | International

    As competitive as the culinary scene has become in Tulum, this restaurant by Chef Brian Sernatinger truly is único (unique), with every dish...Read More

  • 5. 100% Agave

    $$ | Mexican

    Fernando's friendly, homey restaurant—which serves as a sort of ersatz visitors bureau—seems to change locations often but remains a Mahahual...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Cafe Karlita's

    $ | Café

    The smell of fresh baked goods wafts onto Mahahual's boardwalk from this central café. The towers of cookies, pastries, and muffins under glass...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. El Camello Jr.

    $$ | Seafood

    By the time you get to this local favorite at the very end of Tulum's downtown strip, you'll think you've already left town. In fact, you've...Read More

  • 11. El Tábano

    $$$ | Mexican

    This jungle-side hangout run by Barcelona chef Laura Brea brings imaginative cuisine to a rustic garden. You could spend the day here at a country...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Ibiza Sunset

    $$ | International

    It may be far from Ibiza, but this trendy beachfront spot hits the mark with food like garlic fish and vegetables wrapped in foil, pineapple...Read More

  • 14. Ki-Janal

    $$ | Mexican

    You can't get any closer to the ruins than this two-story restaurant. Adding color to the palapa setting are Mexican blankets draped over wooden...Read More

  • 15. La Buena Vida

    $$ | Mexican

    With driftwood tables overlooking Half Moon Bay, swings at the lively bar, and salsa music keeping things moving, this might be the perfect...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. La Cueva del Pescador

    $$ | Seafood

    Dig your toes in the sand floor and enjoy the catch of the day at La Cueva del Pescador. A crowd of easy-going expats hunkers down for the afternoon...Read More

  • 18. La Playita

    $ | Mexican

    Two blocks north of the town square, this "restaurant" is actually made up of plastic tables and chairs shaded by mini palapas and tarps. What...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Mezzanine Thai

    $$$ | Zona Hotelera | Thai

    People come from Playa del Carmen for the zingy flavors of this authentic Thai restaurant. Overseeing the menu is Thai Chef Dim Geefay, a well...Read More

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