Whether it’s your first-time in Playa del Carmen or you frequently visit this endearing vacation spot, the seemingly endless selection of eateries (with new ones popping up all the time,) can make choosing where to dine a bit daunting.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for restaurant recommendations! We not only live in Playa, but we love to eat! Since we receive so many questions from our clientele asking where the best place to find authentic Mexican food is, we thought it would be helpful to put together this guide with of our top picks.
If you’re looking for Taco Bell-style bean burritos, unfortunately, you won’t find any tex-mex establishments on this particular list. These suggestions offer a chance to taste the real deal, delicious regional and traditional Mexican dishes. Some of these places have been around for years and are local favorites, while others are just recently exploding onto the Playa del Carmen gastronomy scene with much fanfare.
When in town, don’t hesitate to explore new options. There are so many restaurants serving savory Mexican cuisine, that it would be a shame to have missed the opportunity to sample the genuine and rich flavors of Mexico!
Veronica picks Nativo
(30th Avenue and Calle 20)
Veronica is one of our amazing ambassadors who has a smile that can light up an entire stadium! When she’s not hosting guests, she takes photos for BRIC and enjoys spending time traveling or cuddling with her loveable dog. She’s lived here over a decade and the girl knows good eats.
Nativo lives up to its name with its colorful native murals and brightly colored seating under a massive thatched palapa roof. On the menu, you can find a large selection of recipes for healthy, blended juices with vitamin-packed fruit and vegetable ingredients like chaya. Also count on traditional Mexican favorites like chilaquiles and chicken enchiladas with a rich mole sauce.
Miguel picks Axiote
(Calle 34th in between 5th & 10th Avenue)
Our very own resident DJ and on-site ambassador extraordinaire at The Elements, Miguel is a man of many talents. When he’s not working hard, he loves heading to the beach or enjoying fine food with his pals.
Axiote does its best to support local vendors and uses 100% Mexican ingredients and products. The menu is a fusion of traditional Mexican with regional flavors. The Chimichangas de Jaiba is a prime example of the exquisite mix of old-style favorites with a contemporary, regional twist. Axiote is open after 1:30 p.m.
Abril picks Doña Mary
(Calle 28 and 30th Avenue)
A stylish mother of two and a key part of our dynamic sales team, Abril has an affinity for fashionable footwear and the Atlanta Falcons.
Doña Mary has been cooking up casual Mexican plates for years now. Just passing by, the aromas of the panuchos, salbutes, empanadas and tostadas coming from the kitchen are bound tempt your taste buds. This little local gem is open from 6 p.m. until late.
Damien picks La Pasteleteria
(Plaza Xaman-ha along hwy 307 on the south end of the city.)
Damien, our Manager of Operations, has dedicated his loyalty to two teams for nearly a decade, Team BRIC and the Denver Broncos. When he’s finished fulfilling his leadership role at the office, he loves to watch sports, hang out with his beautiful wife and their dear dog.
This is our go-to place for amazing birthday cakes for BRIC staff. Not only do they create divine sweets in their bakery, but the plentiful and friendly wait staff in the adjoining restaurant do a terrific job of serving up Mexican and regional plates like tortilla soup and fish fillets steam cooked in banana leaves. For the most delicious assortment of pastries in town and an extensive offering of signature coffees, la Pasteleteria is dessert heaven!
Aurora picks La Parilla
(On the corner of Constituyentes and 5th Avenue)
This numbers wizard has been our hardworking bookkeeper since shortly after BRIC’s inception. She has a healthy obsession with the game of golf and recently realized a longtime dream of visiting Paris.
This eatery is conveniently located in the middle of Playa’s dining and shopping district. You can count on delectable Mexican dishes like enchiladas con mole, and Aurora’s favorite, the fajitas. The nightly entertainment is a fantastic, live Mariachi band and the service staff is a riot. Ask for a fishbowl-sized margarita, which is often delivered to the table on the server’s head!
Isaac picks El Zorro Plateado
(CTM and 5th Avenue on the north end)
Before Isaac became a BRIC ambassador, he was a tennis coach and traveled the region in search of the best spots for kite surfing. He still loves the two sports, but when he’s not working or hanging out with his wife and kids (3 adorable dogs,) you can probably find him on the driving range or playing a round of golf.
This newly established Mexican eatery is receiving rave reviews. On the menu you’ll find tender carne asada (grilled meats), locally caught seafood and their signature cilantro lemonade. They’re open from 8 a.m. for breakfast and serve cold brands of Mexican beer until late.
Lene picks El Fogon
You’ll run into the vivacious Lene around The Royal Palms condominiums where this diligent ambassador is forever on a mission to make every aspect of her guests’ vacation just perfect. She understands that quality service can make a trip that much more amazing, as she is a regular jetsetter herself.
For a truly authentic casual dining experience, Lene recommends El Fogon Taqueria. This popular taco place has 3 locations in Playa del Carmen – Constituyentes near 30th, 30th Avenue and Calle 6 near Wal-Mart and on 30th Avenue at Calle 32.
They have typical Mexican agua frescas like Jamaica (cold, sweetened hibiscus tea,) Tamarind, and Horchata (a sweetened rice milk with cinnamon.) Also a must try are the tacos al pastor, which is marinated pork, slow cooked on a spit and bursting with flavor.
Erika picks La Perla Pixan
(Calle 34 between 5th and 10th Avenue)
One of the many wonderful things about Erika is her contagious laughter, which can often be heard around the office. Her personable nature comes in handy when customers call to make reservations through BRIC. She is a kind-hearted soul with a love for all animals and an appreciation for good food.
We trust her taste 100% when it comes to a restaurant recommendation and her pick is La Perla Pixan Restaurant and Mescal Store. The menu is Oaxaca-inspired, a region of Mexico renowned for their sumptuous cuisine. Erika favors the Tlayudas (flatbread with beans, lettuce, tomato, avocado and strips of meat) as well as the banana empanadas. If you’re looking for an exotic dining experience, where fried grasshoppers, mole and squash blossom flowers are some of the star ingredients in the dishes, La Perla Pixan is the answer.
Josue picks Cocos Cabañas in Xcalacoco
This friendly ambassador always manages to stay cool, calm and collected although he is consistently on the go, preparing for and taking care of all his clientele. He can always be counted on to get the job done and his limitless energy never fails to provide motivation for the rest of us in the office.
This restaurant and bar is located in Hotel Cocos Cabañas through the Princess Hotel entrance on highway 307 under 10 minutes north from Playa del Carmen. Josue loves the Camarones al ajillo (garlic shrimp) and the lobster pizza.
Ivonne picks Los Hijos del Mar
(30th Avenue in between Calle 24 and 26)
For three years now, this sociable ambassador has been charming BRIC guests with her quick wit and fun-loving demeanor. You’ll be well taken care of if you happen to be staying at the beautiful Paseo del Sol condominiums. She’s always on the move, so she has to fuel her body well. That being said, she knows a lot about where to go for a fabulous meal in Playa.
Los Hijos del Mar features a fresh menu with a vast selection of seafood including aguachiles, ceviches and tostadas. The plates come with a side of enticing salsas from red wine to spicy habanero. For her favorite menu item, Ivonne’s pick is the Toro Toro with chile guero topped with shrimp, octopus and avocado.
Angel picks La Cueva del Chango
(Calle 38th in between 5th and 1st Avenue)
Angel is the newest addition to the BRIC team and takes care of business at the BRIC Hotel and Spa. When he’s not at the hotel greeting guests and managing operations, Angel loves to explore new tastes by traveling to different regions in the country. If he meets new people along the way, to him, that’s the icing on the cake.
La Cueva del Chango opens at 8 a.m. and is perfect for breakfast, brunch or dinner. They have an extensive menu of blended, fresh juices and Mexican dishes such as sopes and incredible chicken enchiladas in a mild chile pasilla sauce. For a very traditional brunch item, Angel suggests the chilaquiles (tortilla chips with a red or green salsa, topped with chicken or just lettuce, avocado, sliced onion, crumbled cheese and sour cream.)
Sergio picks El Gran Taco
(Across the street to the north of Centro Maya Mall, on the south end of Playa del Carmen)
When he’s not in the office establishing efficient operations systems within the company and developing customer relations, Sergio is either at a Cross-fit class in the wee hours of the morning, or at the golf course attempting to better his handicap. If he’s not on the links himself, he’s passionate about traveling throughout the Yucatan Peninsula with his family, seeing the sights and watching his son participate in golf tournaments.
This hole-in-the-wall type, family-owned business presents casual fare so enticing, it has a line-up on most days. The menu offers typical Mexican treats like tacos and gorditas. You can choose from a selection of taco fillings from carnitas (shredded meat) and picadillo (ground beef with potatoes and carrots) to savory rajas (poblano chiles in a cream sauce with corn.) The gorditas filled with their fantastic chicken mole sauce will change your life!
There you have it - the ultimate directory for mouthwatering Mexican cuisine in Playa del Carmen! Buen provecho!
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About the Author
Juanita grew up in a small town in the middle of Canada. Having experienced twenty years of ruggedly cold climate, she had seen enough snow to last her a lifetime. After moving to and working in Vancouver for thirteen years (where she was ecstatic to see the odd palm tree) she jumped at the opportunity to move with her husband and three children to Playa del Carmen. She calls it a ‘dreamy existence’ and cherishes year-round, backyard barbecues with friends, road trips and watching the sunrise over the Caribbean. She writes for Bric Vacation Rentals.