10 Best Places In Playa del Carmen To Eat On The Cheap
If you’ve ever been to Playa del Carmen, you’ll notice one thing for sure. Besides its warm Caribbean waters and white sand beaches, visitors love the infinite possibilities for to satisfy their taste buds. Playa is renowned for its extensive repertoire of divine local and international flavors. The diversity of menus, thanks to a flourishing expat community, enhance an already extensive list of magnificent Mexican cuisine offerings.
For the most part, no matter which eatery you choose, you’ll still be paying less in Playa del Carmen for the same caliber meal in Canada or the United States. In this sublime seaside paradise, you’re able to sample exquisite plates created by some of Mexico’s finest chefs. However, there are also plenty of opportunities to delve into tasty dishes that cost less than a burger combo in your hometown. In this article, you’ll discover Playa del Carmen’s top restaurants featuring unassuming culinary stars and budget-friendly menus.
1. XG Sabor Extra
(10th Avenue in between Avenida Luis Donaldo Colosio and Calle 74)
As the saying goes, “When in Mexico, do as the Mexicans do.” Alright, we put our own spin on the popular saying, but it’s especially true when you’re in Mexico. You don’t want to miss out on the authentic flavors of this renowned cuisine.
So if your tastebuds are looking for a Mexican fiesta, we recommend starting at XG Sabor on the north side of Playa del Carmen. There’s a beautiful public beach close by with a cenote near its white shoreline (Playa Punta Esmeralda just past Calle 100.) Before spending a day in the sun and surf, stop by to pick up lunch at this beloved local diner.
From enchiladas and tortas to chile rellenos and chicken tinga, the authentic tastes are a delightful presentation of Mexcian home cooking. Not to mention, these casual plates will set you back less than $5.00, including a non-alcoholic beverage. Buen provecho!
2. Pollo Feliz
(Constituyentes and Avenida 100 Norte)
This family and budget-friendly restaurant is out of the tourist hub, but is worth exploring. This popular Mexican franchise is known for its rotisserie chicken served with fresh, homemade corn tortillas, grilled jalapeño salsa, and fluffy red rice.
An order of horchata (sweetened rice milk with a sprinkle of cinnamon) or jamaica juice perfectly complements the meal. A family of five can leave with full bellies for approximately $25 USD— take that McDonalds!
3. El Fogon
(Three downtown Playa del Carmen locations)
Tacos for a dollar? You don’t have to wait until Tuesday to sink your teeth into these delicious Mexican fare all-stars. The cooks designated to the revolving spit-grilled pork are geniuses when it comes to tacos al pastor. These tender bites of pork are a mouthful of goodness when served on warm tortillas with a slice of pineapple and spicy salsa.
El Fogon has three downtown locations, on Calle 8, Constituyentes, as well as on 30th Avenue. Each eatery is busy, but typically has a quick turnover. After a day at the beach, or a night of dancing, you’ll find the tasty tacos are an ideal end to a memorable day in the Riviera Maya.
4. Green & Fit
(10th Avenue & Calle 24)
Green & Fit is one of the top restaurants we like to recommend for healthy and flavorful options. In addition to a fresh and diverse assortment of build-your-own-salad ingredients, you can count on pleasant prices.
From medium-sized salad starting at $96 Mxn Pesos ($4.75 USD) to crispy paninis and poke bowls, this is a go-to favorite if you want to eat well on a budget. Besides sensational salads, their signature green juice, made with cucumber, mint, and lime, is as refreshing as a day at the beach.
5. El Gran Taco
(Calle Diagonal 70 Across the street to the North from Centro Maya Mall on the South end of Playa del Carmen)
This is a must stop if you want to taste the true flavors of Mexico. The menu is vast and can be overwhelming for first-timers. More than a dozen ceramic pots of taco fillings are prepared fresh daily. Choose to stuff your warmed corn tacos with heaping piles of goodness such as pulled pork or chicken in a green salsa. Furthermore, the picadillo (a classic seasoned ground beef with potato mixture,) or rajas (roasted poblano peppers in a savory cream sauce) are top picks.
In addition to tacos, this is the place to try gorditas exploding with robust mole, or flautas drizzled in crema and queso. Their yummy variation on the horchata rice milk drink comes with an added touch of coconut, which sells out quickly.
6. Ferron’s Jerk Chicken
(Avenue 105 between Constituyentes and 30 Bis)
Ferron’s is a longtime local favorite for its famous jamaican jerk chicken and reasonable prices. In addition, the zesty jerk marinade can be enjoyed on their finger-licking good ribs. Their recipe for crispy fried chicken is hard to beat. Plus, after sampling the creamy mac and cheese, velvety mashed potatoes, and warm rolls bring, it’s easy to see why customers return time and time again.
Having been around for a decade, the word is out on this gem on the other side of the highway. Without a doubt, it has earned its TripAdvisor Award of Excellence for the last five years running. Ferron’s is open from 12 p.m. to 6:00 p.m everyday except for Mondays. If you can’t make it across town, have it delivered. It makes for a perfect picnic on the beach!
7. La Brocherie Rotisserie
(15th Avenue between Calle 4 and 6)
We love this French-style bistro for its chicken roasted with Herb de Provence. It’s a busy place in the evenings so you may have to wait, especially on the nights they serve their rich le Boeuf Bourguignon or mouthwatering mussels.
The owner frequently walks through the restaurant to engage with patrons, which adds a warm and welcoming touch. The charming French experience begins with appetizers in the form of pate and creamy cheese platters. The rave-worthy cuisine continues throughout the meal and is completed with a sumptuous assortment of desserts. The creme brulee and chocolate mousse will blow your mind, as will the amount of the check! It’s a superb Playa del Carmen dining experience for a fraction of what you’d expect to pay.
8. Don Sirloin
(Three central locations)
Another hit on Playa del Carmen’s taqueria scene, Don Sirloin’s steak tacos are palate-pleasers. Also deserving a mention are the cheese fondues (Quesos Fundidos) and the arrachera tortas (grilled flank steak sandwiches.)
This is a perfect place to mingle with the local crowd and enjoy a cold $2.50 cerveza. The open-air eateries are conveniently located near the city center on 10th Avenue, Constituyentes and 30th Avenue. Don Sirloin’s vibrant atmosphere is an ideal for people-watching or catching an important soccer match.
9. La Tarraya
(Calle 2 and the beach)
If you’re in search of a table with a view, La Tarraya is a fantastic option. Nibble on fish tacos and breaded fish fillets (pescado empanizado) all the while absorbing the direct Caribbean vista. Toes in the powdery sand; tables under the coconut palms; there’s no better place for a budget-friendly meal and a margarita on the beach.
Other favorites include Fajitas with a combination of fried peppers and tender chicken. The habanero salsa is one of the best in town, but be warned! It lights a fire going down, so a little goes a long way.
10. Doña Mary
(Calle 28 & 30th Avenue)
Open at 3:30 in the afternoon, this is a very typical casual Mexican eatery with plastic tables and Coca Cola chairs. The ambiance is spirited, while the food is simple and authentic. Doña Mary’s presents a charming glimpse into the Mexican and Yucatecan culture.
Menu marvels include the empanadas— deep-fried, thin pockets filled with shredded pork, chicken, or cheese. Topped with sour cream, lettuce and the house salsa, the flavors are not the only thing to love. What’s really hard to believe is that these tasty little delights are less than a buck a piece! Without a doubt, an agua natural, is the perfect accompaniment when it comes to a traditional Mexican meal. These blended fruit waters are available in a variety of exotic flavors such as Tamarind and Jamaica (hibiscus.)
With this list in mind, we hope that you’ll not only save money, but also taste the incredible flavors of Mexico. For more information and suggestions on cheap eats or things to do on a budget in Playa del Carmen, contact your designated Bric ambassador. As a guest of Bric Vacation Rentals, you have access to a wealth of insider information through this dedicated Riviera Maya expert. Not only will your stomachs be satisfied, but your memory banks will be filled as well.