Savor Spicy Salsas and Mouthwatering Flavors On Playa del Carmen’s Taco Route
The YucatanÑÑ Peninsula is famed for its glorious natural beauty, its ancient cities, and its world renowned Mexican Caribbean coastline. Follow the Mayan Route for a fascinating history lesson by visiting remnants of the civilization’s once thriving meccas. Or make your way along the Cenote Route to discover prehistoric, turquoise sinkhole pools. But for an authentic Mexican experience complete with mouthwatering morsels of meat mounted on soft tortillas, Playa del Carmen’s tasty Taco Route does not disappoint.
Without a doubt, if you’re in search of authentic street food in Playa del Carmen, head to the parking lot of the Mega grocery store. Located on 30th Avenue and Calle 14 bis, this low-key taco stop is a hit with residents. Not only will you find the best birria tacos in town, but also, it’s a prime opportunity to meet locals and connect with expats.
Keep an eye out for the lively “El Compo” stand. As you approach the area, the aroma of rich consomme and succulent birria tacos fill the air. Sink your teeth into warm tacos piled high with thinly sliced brisket (known as a suadero.) Be sure to order a traditional Mexican beverage like horchata (sweetened rice milk) — a perfect pairing with tacos.
Equally tasty are the tacos carts outside the entrance of the Super Aki grocery store just down the road on 30th Avenue and Calle 40. Despite the dozens of dining options on 5th Avenue, the tacos stands do it best. By venturing outside of the tourist hub, you’ll discover the true essence of the city, not to mention memorable eats!
(Calle 6 & 30th Avenue, open 12pm to 3am)
(Constituyentes just before 30th Avenue, open 1pm to 12am)
(30th Avenue & Calle 32, open 12pm to 11pm)
With 3 busy locations in the downtown core, El Fogon has made its mark as a preferred Playa del Carmen taqueria. The spit-fired tacos al pastor are marinated to perfection and sliced thinly strips are served on a warm taco shell, topped with pineapple. A spicy assortment of freshly made salsas and grilled nopales (cactus leaves) complete the sensational flavor bomb. Plus, their fishbowl piňa coladas and ice cold national beers are more reason to visit.
Taquerias El Ñero
(Benito Juarez & 45 Avenue)
Photo courtesy of Taquerias El Ñero
Sure, El Ñero serves up fine tacos al pastor. But if you want to take your authentic Mexican taco experience to the next level, this is your opportunity to go big or go home. Although you may have to summon up some courage to try these delicacies, it is a worthwhile culinary adventure.
For gutsy guests, the tacos de cabeza (tender meat from the entire cooked head, usually from the skull or cheek area) and tacos de lengua (tongue) are satisfying options.
Open 3pm to 12am Monday to Thursday, 4pm to 1am Friday to Sunday.
(Calle 10 between 5 & 10th Avenue)
Photo courtesy of La Cochi-Loka
There are a few rules when visiting Playa del Carmen that, when adhered to, lead to your best vacation experience. One: Don’t drink the tap water. Two: Stay with Bric Vacation Rentals. Three: Try Cochinita Pibil. This slow-roasted pulled pork dish is a Yucatan Peninsula star as far as regional dishes go.
Categorically, the undisputed champion of Cochinita Pibil tacos and tortas is La Cochi-Loka. When it was first established almost a decade ago, it was a little-known hole in the wall. Indeed it was a grab-and-go, with condiments and a few stools along the bar outside the service window. Today, it has blossomed into a popular neighborhood eatery with indoor and outdoor seating.
As a result of their scrumptious cochinita offerings, warm atmosphere, and very reasonable prices, La Cochi-Loka rightfully earned a Travelers Choice Award for 2022.
Open 24 hours everyday.
Upscale Taco Experiences
Axiote Cocina de México
(Calle 34 & 5th Avenue)
For certain, their incredible wine and mezcal selection makes for the perfect companion of their traditional birria tacos made with succulent lamb. Likewise to their economical counterpart La Chochi-Loka, Axiote boasts a divine regional Cochinita Pibil taco dish. If you’d like to venture slightly out of the box, opt for their delectable duck tacos.
Axiote’s contemporary and elegant twist on traditional Mexican favorites has also earned the beloved establishment a Travelers Choice from TripAdvisor for 2022. Cheerful servers set the tone for a delightful night out and the dishes are served in stunning, hand-painted clay pottery.
Open from 12pm to 11pm daily, except for Sundays when it closes at 10pm.
(Calle 2 & 10th Avenue)
Whether enjoying the views of the Caribbean from the infinity pool by day, or overlooking the romantic cityscape by night, The Fives Rooftop offers an undeniable upscale ambience.
Sit back in between bites of your tantalizing tacos to revel in the loungey beats coming from the poolside DJ. Sip on cool cucumber margaritas, artisanal beer, or a smoky mezcal splashed with fresh tropical fruit juices. The entire experience is an intoxicating one that reflects Playa del Carmen’s beachy, metropolitan vibe well.
Open daily from 11am to 10pm.
Fish & Shrimp Tacos
Los Aguachiles Riviera Maya
(Calle 34 & 25th Avenue)
This modest, yet bustling palapa-roofed restaurant has been popular with locals and visitors alike for over a decade. The smoked fish tacos and breaded shrimp tacos are a mouthful of seafood goodness. What makes Los Aguachiles stand out is their variety of salsas. From sweet tamarind to smokey chipotle to the spicy habanero, these savory sauces elevate the already yummy tacos.
Open from 12:30pm to 10:00pm daily, except for Mondays when it closes at 8pm.
(Calle 22 & 1st Avenue)
Photo Courtesy of ICTIO
To begin with, you’ll love the flavor-packed breaded fish or shrimp tacos.These select seafood bites are smothered in a zesty habanero tartar sauce and topped with a tangy cabbage slaw. A second stellar option on the menu is the grilled octopus encrusted with a chile cheese layer. Furthermore, if you go before 6pm, you can hit their delectable oyster Happy Hour.
By highlighting the most fresh and delicious local ingredients in their seafood dishes and signature cocktails, ICTIO creates an outstanding dining experience.
Open from 4pm to 9:30pm Monday to Friday, 2pm to 9pm Saturdays and Sundays, closed Tuesdays.
(Calle 2 and the beach)
Photo Courtesy of La Tarraya
We cannot end without a shout out to La Tarraya seaside restaurant. This Playa del Carmen legend offers a light and airy Mexican Caribbean beach atmosphere with cold drinks and an affordable casual menu. Their fish tacos and lime margaritas are the ideal combo after spending a day taking in the sun and splashing in the sea.