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. 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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. Toby's

    $ | Mexican

    Near the entrance to Xcalak, this modest Mexican restaurant is made up of a few plastic tables and chairs. Stop by for Toby's famous fajitas...Read More

  • 11. Ziggy's Restaurant

    $$$ | Zona Hotelera | Mexican

    With tables under a palapa roof and on the beach, this restaurant is a perfect place to sink your toes in the sand while dining. Chef Jorge...Read More

  • 12. Posada Amor

    $ | Mexican

    This restaurant, the oldest in Puerto Morelos, has retained a loyal clientele for nearly four decades. In the dining room with its picnic-style...Read More

  • 13. Los Aguachiles

    $ | Mexican

    This Tulum outpost of the Playa hipster cantina has a light take on traditional tacos and seafood served with lots of lime and creativity. Batter...Read More

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