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. 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

  • 2. Hartwood

    $$$ | Eclectic

    New York chefs cooking New York food for New York prices—in a wood-fired jungle lot, open to the night sky—that's Hartwood. Big-city transplants...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. 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

  • 5. The Leaky Palapa

    $$$ | Seafood

    Nobody expected the kind of sophisticated flavors that the Leaky Palapa brought to town, but this little 11-table palapa restaurant done up...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 7. Agave Azul

    $$$ | Japanese

    There’s more to Agave Azul than those sweeping lagoon and mangrove views. The glass-walled restaurant at the elegant Rosewood Mayakoba is hands...Read More

  • 8. 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

  • 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 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

  • 11. John Gray's Kitchen

    $$$ | International

    Next to the jungle, this restaurant draws a regular crowd of Cancún and Playa residents. Using only the freshest ingredients—from local fruits...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Pelicanos

    $$$ | Seafood

    Enjoy fresh seafood on the shaded patio of this family-owned restaurant in the heart of town. Try fish prepared al ajo (in a garlicky butter...Read More

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Restaurant Cenote Azul

    $$$ | Seafood

    Perched on the rim of the 300-foot-deep cenote, this palapa restaurant charges a M$10 entrance fee to access the site. Busloads of tourists...Read More

  • 16. Restaurante Oscar y Lalo

    $$$ | Eclectic

    This wonderful palapa restaurant with a pebble floor and peaceful garden is actually a couple of miles outside Tankah on Carretera 307. The...Read More

  • 17. Sergio's Restaurant & Pizzas

    $$$ | Pizza

    Locals rave about the grilled steaks and garlic shrimp at Sergio's—one of the nicest restaurants in Chetumal. The barbecued chicken (made with...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. 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

  • 20. 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

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