The effervescent lure of 5th Avenue, with its plethora of shops, restaurants and vivacious nightlife, charms both visitors and those of us who live in Playa del Carmen. While strolling along this magnetic, world-famous, cobblestone street, vacationers may choose from a succulent mix of native and international cuisine. However, at times, a curiosity arises to go beyond the main tourist destinations to sample the city’s gastronomy and possibly gain a slightly richer cultural dining experience. This list features ten top restaurants favored by locals and situated off of the bustling 5th Avenue. From traditional Mexican dishes, to authentic Italian offerings, to regional options with a contemporary twist, these eateries are sure to satisfy your cravings for something out of the ordinary.
Located near Calle 34 and 25th Avenue
The vast menu offers tostadas topped with fresh tuna, seafood lettuce wraps, oyster and shrimp cocktails as well as smoked fish tacos and delicious salads with ceviche-style shrimp. This popular lunch eatery known for its giant-size bottles of cold beer is open from 12-7pm.
Off The Vine
Located near 1st Avenue between Calle 26 & 28
This quaint wine bar is nestled one block from 5th Avenue and features fantastic live musicians in a friendly neighborhood type atmosphere. Their exquisite wines are paired with scrumptious tapas or the chef-prepared menu of the day which includes a starter salad, entree and dessert . Indulge in a champagne mimosa with breakfast which is served daily after 10am or reserve a table for you and your girlfriends on Tuesday which is ladies night.
Located near Calle 4 between 10th and 15th Avenue
Aromas of authentic Italian cooking fill the air within this charming local favorite. A menu of risottos, brick-oven pizzas and hand-made pastas always delight patrons’ tastebuds. Since all items are prepared fresh, make allowance for preparation time and enjoy a glass of wine or a cool beverage and the warm ambience. Call 9841416507 for reservations and hours of operation.
Located near Calle 26 and 10th Avenue
The best setting to enjoy sushi and saki in Playa del Carmen. The chic ambience is perfect for couples seeking an romantic night out or for groups of friends gathering together to laugh and converse over samplings of sashimi, rolls, tempura and rice bowls. Open 24 hours, The Sushi Club features daily food and drink specials, and a lively Saturday Ladies Night.
Caguameria de Esquina
Located near Calle 20 and 1st Avenue
For superb casual dining and drinks, Caguameria is the starting point of a memorable night out in Playa del Carmen. The Mexican style cantina offers a contemporary (and comical) menu which bursts with bold flavors from incredible burgers, to smoked salmon tostadas to beet salads. Conveniently located with exceptional food and service, Caguameria is open 2:00pm – 1am.
Located on Airport Avenue in Plaza Coba, Playacar
This newly established Italian bistro requires reservations every night of the week for good reason! The pasta is prepared fresh daily, the wine is free flowing and the prices are very reasonable. The pizzas are loaded with savory toppings and the terrace’s decor is whimsical and romantic. Open 7am – 11:30pm, reservations are recommended. 984 166 4252
Located near Calle 4 and 40th Avenue
Specializing in pasta and single serving sizes big enough to feed an entire family, Cheester’s presents a fun dining experience you won’t forget! Located well away from the tourist scene, you must literally read the writing on the wall, the menu wall that is, to order. The baskets on the table encourage patrons to leave their cell phones in order to get the most out the rich food and unique dining experience. Open Wednesdays to Mondays 2:00 – 10:30pm, closed Tuesdays.
Located on 10th Avenue between Calle 12 and 14
This award-winning restaurant features a menu of Mediterranean-Italian cuisine in a tranquil, intimate setting. The service, food and presentation are divine as is the craft beer and organic wine selection. Open daily for breakfast 7:00am – 1:30pm and for lunch and dinner, 1:45 – 11:30pm. Reservations are recommended and free 2 hour parking is available in the Tendenza building across the street.
Cueva del Chango
Located on Calle 38 between 5th Avenue and the sea
An array of tropical blended juices, fresh-baked sweet breads, crepes, and a host of traditional Mexican breakfast and dinner entrees are served within a stunning, natural setting. Youngsters enjoy spotting the inconspicuous monkeys hanging throughout “The Monkey’s Cave” as well as admiring the turtles and Koi fish in the pond. Open 8:00am – 10:30pm, this place is a must when dining in Playa del Carmen.
Located on Calle 6 bis and 30th Avenue diagonally across from Walmart
The list would not be complete without a nod to a genuine Mexican taqueria! There are several El Fogon locations in downtown Playa, but this one is the biggest with 2 floors. For a truly authentic taco experience, I recommend the tacos al pastor, delicious shavings of spit-roasted pork topped with a slice of pineapple, cilantro and onions. You will need an icy pina colada or a cold beer to tame the fire in your mouth from the spicy salsas that add the finishing touch to these delicious Mexican specialties.
You’ve been looking forward to some much needed rest and relaxation for a while. You find yourself enjoying the warm weather and welcome some downtime at the beach with your family or friends. But your team has just made the playoffs and you do not want to miss a game.
Or maybe you’re spending an extended time in Playa del Carmen and only have local cable television without American or Canadian sports channels. You need to find a sports bar that broadcasts regular games to keep up-to-date on your team’s standings.
Well, you’ve come to the right place! Here is a list of the Top 10 sports bars that give you the chance to catch the live play-by-play action.
Taco City Café
Location: (5th Avenue between Calle 12 & 14)
From fight night and NFL to fútbol and NHL, Taco City Café is a favorite hangout for sports fans to see a game. Enjoy cold beer and cocktails with casual menu items like tacos, pasta and burgers as you cheer on your team.
Open for breakfast at 7am to Midnight
Sr Dan’s Margarita and Sports Bar
Location: (1st Avenue Sur towards the beach from Nike on 5th Avenue)
With 3 large HD TVs and over one thousand channels to choose from, the one and only Señor Dan and his personable crew create a perfectly relaxing yet fun setting to take in the big game. Not only is the channel selection extensive, but the margarita menu offers a long list of tasty concoctions like their famous Kiwi margarita.
Open from 9am-1am
Legends Sports Bar
Location: (Calle 16 Bis between 10th & 15th Avenue)
This modern sports bar seems to have a screen in any direction you turn plus a giant screen for popular sporting events. Watch the game indoors in the comfort of air-conditioning or enjoy it on the spacious patio with a group of friends.
It is rare that the friendly staff at Legends can’t find the game you’re looking for, but they invite you to call ahead to ensure it will be playing. To go along with the ice-cold beer buckets, try their wings and other generous portions of pub-style fare.
Open 11am – 12am
Wah Wah Beach Bar
Location: (Calle 2 and the beach)
This is one of Playa del Carmen’s top gathering spots for locals and expats. With the biggest projection screen in the city under a massive thatched-roof palapa, Wah Wah offers plenty of space to kick back with some cold beverages.
It’s ideal location looks out onto the Caribbean Sea and is the ultimate beach bar setting. Their brick oven pizzas are delicious and you can enjoy casual tex-mex menu items such as onion rings, burgers, tacos and jalapeño poppers.
Open 10am – 12am, on the weekends and 10-7pm Monday through Thursday
Location: (10th Avenue between Calle 28 and 30)
Serving over a dozen flavors of wings from Atomic Bomb to Sweet Chile and sampler platters to share, Wings Factory is a fantastic alternative when you can’t get the game at your home away from home.
In a convenient downtown location, you can find excellent 2 for 1 drink specials and some of the best prices on bottled beer in town.
Open 1pm – 12am
Location: (Calle 10 between 10th & 15th Avenue)
What goes better with beer and a Habs game? Poutine of course! The owners have proudly brought this Quebec treat to Playa del Carmen and it is a hit with locals and visitors alike.
Beginning in the new year, theme nights were added to their weekly entertainment calendar. Not only will the friendly atmosphere make you feel right at home while you’re watching the Super Bowl or an NHL game, you will love the live music and special events presented on their big screen.
Open 3pm – 11:30pm
Location: (Constituyentes just before 115th Avenue)
This North American chain is a favorite choice to catch your team live. There is a play area to keep the kids entertained while you take in the sports action in the air-conditioned restaurant or pub area.
The menu features an assortment of game day foods such as tender, boneless chicken wings, dry ribs, pizza and beer served in frosted mugs. There are also a variety of delicious salads, flat breads, and pastas. If you are traveling with kiddos, they offer a children’s menu. Count on drink specials every day of the week.
Monday 1pm – 11:30pm, Tues-Sat 1pm-1am and Sun 12pm – 12am
Pinche Gringo’s Sports Bar
Location: (1st Avenue and Calle 26)
Whether you are a fan of futbol or football, see EUFA Champions League and college football games on PG’s large projector screen. Wear your team’s colors and head over for nachos and cold cervezas. You can be sure to meet other like-mind sports enthusiasts that like to gather at this lively watering hole.
Open until 2am
Location: (Just off the Federal Highway north of Sam’s Club)
If you are staying in Playacar, this nearby sports bar is a perfect option to take your crew for cold beers, burgers and all-you-can-eat wing specials. A huge, open-air patio can accommodate large groups and inside, there are plenty of screens showing soccer, basketball, baseball and hockey games starting in the early afternoon.
On big game nights, your fun-loving server adds to the excitement by presenting a free pool to enter your name for a chance to win a cold beverage.
Open 1pm – 11pm
Location: (10th Avenue and Calle 4)
Along with excellent pub fare such as nachos, wings and burgers, try the mouth-watering molcajete, a traditional Mexican beef, prawn or chicken dish with melted cheese served in a porous, volcanic rock bowl. Enjoy cold beer by the litre and 2 for 1 cocktail specials to accompany nail-biting live games and exciting pay-per-view sporting events.
Located in the downtown core of Playa del Carmen, it’s a top choice to watch soccer and hang out with locals. If you have kids in tow, bring them along. The whole family will love the lively, air-conditioned bar with attentive staff at La Taberna.
Open from 9am – 2am
We hope you found this Top 10 list of sports bars in Playa del Carmen helpful. Enjoy the game!
You anxiously await to deplane. The flight attendants open the door and as you emerge onto the jetway, the warm, tropical air greets you with a welcoming embrace. Delighted to officially begin your vacation in Mexico, you arrive at your lodgings and settle in. After the day-long journey, you have a hankering for a cold beverage and a bite to eat.
With over 700 hundred dining establishments to choose from in Playa del Carmen, the city has become a foodie heaven, bursting with flavors from hundreds of different regions of the world. If you are embarking on an inaugural trip to this land, rich in beauty and culture, this diverse nation offers a long list of delicious culinary creations worth devouring, I mean sampling. Here is a breakdown of our top 10 list of traditional dishes which will help in navigating the menu on your next Mexican getaway.
- Ceviche – a perfect snack or lunch at the beach, this tangy appetizer’s best friend is a bucket of ice cold cervezas. Light, white fish (pescado) has been cured in lime and salt, then combined with colorful ingredients such as cilantro, tomatoes, onion and avocado. Other versions are made with prawns (camarones) or a mix of seafood (mixto) and are served with a side of tortilla chips.
- Enchiladas – this flavorful dish features rolled soft tortillas filled with meat, cheese, beans, potatoes or seafood covered in a chile pepper sauce. They are typically topped with mild red and green salsas, but some recipes take the spice level up a notch. One of my preferred selections on the menu, are enchiladas stuffed with chicken and covered in a rich mole sauce (chocolate is actually one of the at least 30 ingredients in an authentic mole!)
- Pozole – there is no denying that Mexican cuisine is one of my favorites and this hearty white hominy soup is another reason why! Made with a variation of pork, chicken or both, this specialty has been known to remedy a throbbing headache among other hangover symptoms. The whole corn kernels (hominy) add a stew-like dimension to the broth which can be clear, red, or green depending on which recipe you opt for. Fresh toppings include slivered lettuce, radishes, cilantro, and diced onions with a squeeze of lime.
- Chile Rellenos – Another plate I request most when dining out here in Playa del Carmen are roasted poblano peppers, stuffed with cheese or a ground meat and raisin mixture and coated in a light egg batter. Most often they come smothered in a mild red salsa while other versions are topped with a creamy, walnut sauce. In any case, your tastebuds will shout “gracias!”
- Chilaquiles – As unusual as the idea of frying tortilla chips in salsa and serving them soft sounds, this traditional breakfast food will subdue the skeptic in you the moment you delve into this tasty dish. Drizzled with thick cream, and garnished with avocado, cilantro, raw onion slices and crumbled cheese, you can also add an egg or meat to this Mexican food fan delight.
- Empanadas – I would describe these as Mexican pizza pops or perogies. A thin circle of dough made from corn meal or flour is stuffed with a variety of ingredients including chicken, ham, cheese, beans, potatoes or vegetables then folded, pressed on the edges, and fried. Common toppings include pickled red onions, cream, shredded cabbage and salsa.
- Tamales– A thick, corn-based dough envelopes a filling of meat, beans, cheeses or fruits and is wrapped in dried corn husks and steamed. In our family, we look forward to the tradition of feasting on pork and chicken stuffed tamales every New Year’s Eve.
- Sopes – refried beans are spread upon a mini pizza-like, fried corn flour dough and served with toppings such as steak, chicken, chorizo, milanesa (a breaded veal, beef or pork), and garnished with shredded cabbage, pickled red onion, cream, crumbled cheese and salsa.
- Molcajete – This rich and cheesy entree made of beef, chicken or shrimp and bell peppers is baked in a traditional stone bowl, typically used as a grinding dish. The savory melted mixture is served with warm soft tortillas and a roasted tomato or tomatillo salsa.
- If you come to Playa del Carmen, one of the most popular weekend outings is a late night stop at a taco place for Tacos al Pastor. A boneless pork shoulder is marinated in spices and dried chiles then placed on a vertical rod to roast. Thin slices of this perfectly seasoned pork is cut from the spit and served on small tortillas with cilantro, onion, radish, pineapple and a squeeze of lime. These taco diners often offer a variety of salsas which tend to pack a mighty spicy punch. To avoid unsightly steam blowing out from your ears, try washing your tacos down with a cold Modelo beer or a tall glass of horchata, a creamy drink made from rice, vanilla and cinnamon.
These top 10 menu selections will give you a scrumptious sense of the authentic flavors of Mexico. So now that you know, go ahead and explore these and the many more fascinating aspects of this vibrant culture!
This booming city by sea has come a long way since it first became an official part of Mexico in 1902. For many decades, Playa del Carmen remained a quiet village sheathed by the wild brush of the Yucatan Peninsula jungle.
However, in recent years, development has been steadily increasing, bringing with it modern amenities and attracting a current population which hails from every continent on the planet. From this mishmash of international folk has emerged something of a culinary cloud nine. Scattered throughout Playa, is a mouthwatering array of delectable cuisine from not only every region of the country, but spanning cultures worldwide.
The staff at Bric, well we love to eat! Finding gems and delicious little hole-in-the-wall type restaurants is one of our favorite pastimes. Previously, we have shared with you our favorite restaurants in town. But in this particular article, I am going to feature my top picks for vegetarian and vegan menu options, and there are plenty of good ones, so stay tuned!
1. La Senda
Location:10th Avenue between Calle 10 and 12
This signature Playa-style eatery sits in the center of town and presents an abundance of superb vegetarian and vegan options. Open daily from 9am to 10:30pm, La Senda Vegana features a fantastic zucchini noodle dish with spirulina pesto. But my favorite is the lentil burger with Yucca cheese and a chimichurri sauce.
To accompany the oh so tasty burger, choose from the sweet potato fries or a mixed green salad. Their green juice, made from nopal (cactus), parsley, pineapple, chaya leaf, celery and ginger, is almost a meal in itself and is chock-full of healthy goodness. La Senda is open daily from 9:00am to 10:30pm.
Location:10th Avenue just south of Constituyentes beside the Scotia Bank
Conveniently located in the city center just a block off 5th Avenue, BIO-Natural has a ton of vegan and vegetarian menu options in the restaurant, and a large selection of health food products in their store (same location).
For breakfast/brunch, the quinoa bowls are top notch. The super salad and Greek salad are made with almond cheese and the portobello mushroom burger is amazing. On Tuesdays, they have a special on their falafel pitas and they sell a refreshing brand of bottled aloe drinks. BIO-Natural is open everyday from 8:00am to 11:00pm.
3. Aloha Raw Bar
Location:20th Avenue between Calle 38 & 40
I love this vegan/vegetarian restaurant and juice bar for the quality of their ingredients. Of course, the flavors are pretty fabulous too. One of Aloha’s top sellers is their scrumptious acai breakfast bowl, but be sure to try the Popeye breakfast bowl as well. It’s loaded with the likes of spirulina, banana and coconut flakes to name a few. Another highly recommended option to fuel you right for the day is the protein waffles. I prefer mine topped with kiwi and bananas.
This darling little establishment is open daily from 8:30am until 2:00pm, except on Sundays (closed). It’s a bustling little place so reserving a table might be a good idea.
4. Choux Choux Cafe
Location:20th Avenue and Calle 24
This is one of my favorite hippy-chic eateries in Playa. The decor incorporates nature and the essence that is Playa del Carmen. This place oozes ‘una buena vibra’ or a good vibe. They often host events and participate in many community improvement programs.
Choux Choux offers some great vegetarian options and the owners are working on expanding their vegan menu. I love the vegan blueberry hotcakes and The After Party, which is a dish made with in-house baked, rustic bread topped with beans, sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus.
To wash this down, I like fresh, cold coconut water, right out of the shell. The coffee is also one of the best blends in town. They are conveniently open daily at 7:00am but close early on Sundays and Mondays (at 3:00pm).
Location:Calle 34 and 40th Avenue
I love this place for smoothies and the chipotle quinoa breakfast bowl has a mildly spicy and delicious flavor. However, my top choice at Frutiyogurth is their vegetable chilaquile dish topped with fried plantains. Frutiyogurth is open 7 days a week from 7:00am to 10:30pm except Sundays (open at 8:30am).
6. Marvin’s Burgers
Location:5th Avenue and Calle 48
It’s a tiny place, but you get a lot of bang for your buck at Marvin’s Burgers. The menu features a variety of vegan burgers including their signature patty made with beans, quinoa, mushrooms and beet. Toppings like chorizo made with soy cause your tastebuds to stand up and cheer.
The icing on the cake is that all the burgers and hotdogs are accompanied by the best sweet potato fries in Playa. The location is central and easy to find, yet on the quiet end of 5th Avenue. Marvin’s Burgers is open Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00pm – 9:00pm and closed on Mondays.
7. El Zorro Plateado
Location:5th Avenue and CTM
Not exactly known for its vegan/vegetarian menu, El Zorro Plateado made the list with its to die for portabello mushroom with hummus. It goes perfectly in with the refreshing cilantro lemonade. I love the cool ambience day or night and if you happen to be staying at one of our top properties in town, The Elements, it’s conveniently right down the street.
This lively eatery opens early for breakfast at 8:00am and stays open late for dinner and cocktails until 12:00a.m.
Location:30th Avenue and Calle 20
A similar concept to that of BIO-Natural, this vegan restaurant also has a health food store on the premises. They make and sell their own nut butters, vegan mayonnaise and natural yogurts.
From the menu, I recommend the green pea hummus served with a mix of raw veggies as an appy then it’s a tough choice between the pizza, sushi, burger or ceviche. They also feature a vast menu of delicious blends of cold-pressed juices and heavenly salads. Clorofila is open from 9am – 10pm daily except for Sundays (closed).
9. Comet 984 50’s Diner
Location:Calle 8 between 20 and 25th Avenue
This place has a wild and colorful decor and the food is just as fun! The vegan menu is so good it’s bad. The flavorful Krusty Burger with breaded cheese is my top choice, but they also serve a spicy burger that is a close second.
To top off the junk food extravaganza, you must try one of their 100% vegan, rich and creamy milkshakes (the Snickers-style malteada is mind-blowing!) No breakfasts here, they just skip right to the good stuff! The diner is open from 1:00pm to 9:00pm daily except for Sundays (closed).
10. El Hongo
Location:Calle 19 Sur between 80 & 85th Avenue on the west side of the Federal Highway
I wanted to include this place because a) they have great food and vegetarian options, b) it’s a very local, rare and wonderful experience and c) the owners are very involved with the less fortunate children in the community and offer free meals, free language and art classes and a beautiful, safe place for them to convene.
This gem is tucked away in the Ejidal side of Playa del Carmen, but it is worth the trek. The modest tables are set within a natural, green setting. The reasonably priced menu presents a variety of traditional Mexican favorites. For vegetarian options, they serve omelettes, chilaquiles, picaditas (mini sopes) and aguas de frutas (fresh fruit juices). The menu is unexpected and has a wide range of options from authentic Veracruz-style dishes to Asian-inspired fare and pastas.
There is nothing pretentious about El Hongo, it is a simple restaurant with delicious, home-cooked food, warm service and a funky atmosphere, often with live local bands. It is open from 9am – 5:30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, 9 to 3pm on Sundays and closed on Mondays.
I couldn’t conclude the article without a mention of this last, but not least vegan eatery.
11. The Pitted Date
Location:Calle 26 between 5th and 10th Avenue (moving to CTM soon!)
This charming vegan restaurant, bakery and cafe is at the moment, conveniently located one block from Bric Hotel and Spa. However, construction is well under way at the new CTM location set to open in October. When I stumbled upon this place and discovered the cheesecake, I thought I had died and gone to Vegan Heaven!
The menu is full of great 100% plant-based vegan options like a soup of the day, paninis, banana sushi, salads, detox waters, almond milk chai lattes and more. But the crème de la crème is their outstanding selection of home-made baking and desserts.
As previously mentioned the cheesecake is exquisite but it now only available on special order. The raw carrot cake with cashew cream cheese icing will send you over the top, as will the maple pecan pie. There are also plenty of options made without gluten or refined sugar, so go ahead and indulge! The Pitted Date is open for everyday from 8:00am to 10:00pm for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
That rounds off the top ten list for the best vegetarian and vegan menu options with an added bonus for best vegan desserts in Playa del Carmen. I hope it serves you well when you come to visit this beautiful place for sun, fun and healthy cuisine.
Coming from Vancouver, a Canadian city with a large population of health-conscious, active folk, I was happy to discover the same type of community here in Playa del Carmen. There are local eco-labs producing biodegradable skin and hair care products. Weekly farmers markets pop up around the city with vendors offering regional superfood products, honey, and fresh home baked goods. New health food stores are appearing more and more around town. There are plenty of vegan eateries and vegetarian menu options if that’s your lifestyle of choice.
Although there are no mountains to hike, there are miles and miles of white sand coastline to wander along. Playa is a small enough city to get around on a bike, which is the transportation method of choice for many. Palm-fringed golf courses, tennis courts, soccer fields, pools and open-air yoga palapas are bustling with adults and children of all ages. The endless summer climate makes it nearly impossible to not take advantage of the great outdoors.
As far as Playa del Carmen has come in recent years in the way of health products and services offered, finding a large selection of organic products in one location has been a challenge…until now. ArtHumus in Plaza Paseo Coba on Aviation Avenue celebrated its grand opening at the end of June to much fanfare.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with founders David and Ana Paula in the intimate French restaurant and wine bar. With so much happening within the modern, yet cozy bistro setting of ArtHumus, I was eager to explore their intriguing business concept. Over a glass of organic white wine, I learned how they managed to so successfully entwine their love for quality French cuisine and wine with their passion for the arts and sustainable living.
Juanita: How long have you been in Playa del Carmen and why did you choose Playa?
David: Our family moved from France two years ago. I came here almost 15 years ago on vacation and fell in love with the area. We were ready for an adventure and I convinced Paula to move here and begin our next chapter.
Juanita: What are your backgrounds?
Paula: I am an artist of fine art and I study permaculture.
David: I have worked in different industries throughout the years, but have spent over a decade in the restaurant business. During that time, I learned every aspect from service to the art of preparing French cuisine.
Juanita: What inspired your vision for creating a place like ArtHumus?
Paula: As I began a study of permaculture, it lead to a fascination with nature as well as a desire to live a sustainable, organic lifestyle. Our family has eaten mainly organic for six years now.
David: When we moved here, we met many people who had chosen the same path as we had, but noticed that there were not many places in Playa del Carmen that provided organic products. Paula first began contemplating the idea for creating a space where organic products were easily accessible and where our like-minded community could gather. Together we designed ArtHumus which serves our original purpose, while also introducing good quality French cuisine at a reasonable price.
Paula: It was important to us that our children grow up with a consciousness of the environment and healthful living. Our two daughters are involved in every way possible.
Juanita: What would you call ArtHumus if you were to clarify it for the public?
Paula: This concept is very difficult to fit into one box. Our ideal image is a holistic meeting place with a European flare.
Juanita: What does the term slow cooked mean?
David: Slow cooked food simply means everything is made from scratch. None of the ingredients used come from a package or have been processed.
Juanita: Can you explain what permaculture is?
Paula: Permaculture is a method of agriculture which integrates human lifestyle with nature in its very basic, natural form. The goal is to create and maintain highly efficient, self-sustaining ecosystems. Organic seeds that have not been modified in any way are key in this method.
Juanita: What can visitors expect to find here?
David: ArtHumus is a slow food French restaurant and organic wine bar. In the store, we receive organic produce every Thursday. Our shelves are stocked with a variety of practical organic products such as general cleaning products, toiletries, teas, cheeses and yogurts, natural snack products, baking supplies, skin care, clothing, seeds and yoga gear. Also, we carry a line of natural pharmaceutical products including essential oils and vitamins.
Paula: Towards the rear of the space is a library and meeting room decorated with pieces of artwork by various artists that both Playenses and visitors to Playa deserve to enjoy and purchase, if they so choose. As well, I have included a few of my own treasured paintings in the theme. At the very back is a lounge space with a sofa seating area and tables that is perfect for a group. Also, we have teamed up with the yoga and meditation studio next door, as our clientele tend to share the same interests.
Juanita: Where do your products come from? How much is locally sourced?
Paula: 95% of our products are made in Mexico. Our organic backpacks and lunch kits come from the States. Our wines come from other countries as Mexico produces very few organic wines and they are very expensive.
Juanita: Where does your organic wine come from?
Paula: It comes from the United States, France, Australia, and Spain.
Juanita: Who came up with the menu? What are the top dishes you would recommend?
David: Paula came up with the entire concept, then I designed the menu. There is a ‘Menu del Dia’ that changes everyday. This is important because the dishes are of the freshest quality and it allows us to use what is in our kitchen, creating less waste. All of our recipes have been passed down from three generations back. The mission is to provide traditional French cuisine. However, at times it is difficult to find all of the ingredients, so we are challenged to evolve and to work with what is available. This requires that I stretch my creativity and inventiveness with the recipes, which makes it fun – adding a twist to the traditional.
Our Coq au Vin, Boeuf Bourguignon and quiche are popular items.
Juanita: I think this is a great initiative that provides people with an accessible platform from which to link to resources that aid in creating whole and sustainable existences. Are you involved in any other community programs?
David: We are proponents of the slow cooking movement.
Paula: Little by little, initiatives like this are coming to Playa del Carmen. We have encountered a large percentage of locals who think like we do. So we plan to host conferences on permaculture here, inspire people to cultivate their own gardens. We have a growing library of reading material on this subject so people can educate themselves on permaculture.
Juanita: What are you passionate about?
David & Paula: French food, nature, art, holistic, sustainable living and providing a place where people can convene and have a delicious, healthful experience.
ArtHumus is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m.to Midnight, Sundays from 2 p.m. and is closed on Mondays. It is on the south end of the city between the two north entrances of Playacar on Aviation Road. For reservations, call (984) 593-6738 or if you would like more information visit arthumus.com.
Image – Catch restaurant
If you visit Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya, the city’s seemingly limitless number of restaurants can make the decision on where to dine a daunting one. We have dozens of recommended staff favorites, ranging from casual beachside eateries to elegant choices. But if you are a foodie with a palette that appreciates lavish textures and flavors, we hope this list of upscale eateries will satisfy your longing for phenomenal cuisine and service.
(Located on Calle 12 and 5th Avenue, open from 6pm)
For the best views in the city, we recommend dinner at Catch on the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel Playa del Carmen. Sample artful creations like the Tartar Trio, a cool combination of Salmon, Hamachi and Tuna served with American Caviar. From the entrée menu, choose from delectable options such as aged strip loin, Alaskan King Crab or the savory ‘Catch’ of the day.
From this vantage point, the vistas of the cityscape make you feel like you’ve been transported to a futuristic Playa del Carmen. For cocktails, dinner with friends, or a romantic night out with your loved one, Catch offers big city views with an ultra-chic vibe.
Oh La La
(Located on Calle 14 Bis between 10th & 15th Avenue, open from 6:30pm)
We love this place because of its charming, yet covert location off of 5th Avenue and of course, the exceptional food. Oh La La was born out of Chef George’s deep appreciation for fine cuisine. He and the extraordinarily accommodating staff invite you in with a warm welcome and truly give patrons a unique, memorable dining experience.
On the menu, the seared Tuna Steak is a favorite as is the rich Thai Chicken Curry. For dessert, try the creamy cheesecake, one of the best in town. Oh La La presents a full bar and a sophisticated wine list to accompany your incredible meal.
In October of 2014, Oh La La was rated #1 Traveler’s Favorite Fine Dining Restaurant in Mexico. There are under a dozen tables in this intimate dining establishment, so reservations are highly recommended.
(Located on Calle 16 between 1st and 5th Avenue, open 9am-2pm and 6-11pm)
This fine dining concept is like no other in the Riviera Maya. Chef Juan Diego Solombrino uses his haute culinary skills to produce superb dishes such as the Grilled Lobster Tails, Chilean Sea Bass in a delightful citrus sauce or the Certified USDA Fillet Mignon in a rich mushroom cream sauce. The unique aspect of Plank is that the gourmet entrees are cooked and served on Himalayan Salt Blocks, Mesquite, Hickory, Cedar and Maple wood planks. The flavors are impeccably infused within each creative menu option and the result is a divine experience for your taste buds.
The stylish and modern ambience matches the elegant cocktail and wine lists. Try signature Plank beverage creations such as the Smoked Mint Julep or the Lychee Martini. Visit this upscale eatery on the weekend for brunch, dig into a cut of tender prime rib on Wednesday nights, or celebrate a special event with a group of friends. In any case, the experience is always a memorable one at Plank!
(Located on 1st Avenue between Calle 14 and 16, open from 7am-2pm and 6-11pm)
This is one of our top picks for breakfast which includes freshly prepared green juice, a basket of sweet breads, a plate of vibrant seasonal fruit with local honey and yogurt, as well as a main brunch favorite like the rich eggs benedict or a delightful leek omelet. The eatery has the ambience of a quaint French bistro with its patio lining the sunny, cobblestone street.
In the evenings, the menu offers an exquisite array of starters like the Tuna Tartare (my personal favorite) and clams cooked in a wine and garlic sauce. The inventive dishes feature an Asian fusion with a selection of international cuisine that is far from ordinary. Nosh on the duck in a flavorful orange sauce or try the red curry with mango and cashews over fragrant jasmine rice.
If you’re in the city during a holiday, Imprevist creates incredible menus just for the occasion. The service and food is consistently impeccable, but the restaurant is intimate so reservations are recommended.
Casa Del Lago
(Located in the Rosewood at Mayakoba, 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen on the 307 Federal Highway, open from 7am)
Upon setting foot on the vast Rosewood property, one of the most spectacular pieces of land in the Mayan Riviera, you will be awed by its outstanding design and stunning, natural setting. For a serene and chic dining experience away from the hustle and bustle of Playa’s 5th Avenue, we suggest Casa Del Lago.
This delectable restaurant offers unparalleled views overlooking the prestigious resort’s pool and picturesque lagoon. Enjoy the heavenly vistas while sampling interesting Italian inspired dishes made with local ingredients. The blend of Mexican elements within the traditional Italian cuisine is unexpected, yet executed perfectly. The unique fusion is portrayed in entrees such as the Risotto with Huitlacoche (edible corn fungi – a popular Mayan delicacy) and the Catch of the Day bathed in a sauce with a hint of mint, green tomatillos and mild chile guajillo.
Dine al fresco earlier in the day on traditional Mexican breakfast favorites like Juevos Rancheros and witness the sunrise over the glistening waters. Play a round of golf at El Camaleon, Mayakoba’s renowned PGA tour course, then enjoy a light lunch of tuna tostadas and signature cocktails at Casa Del Lago or escape for a private dinner to La Cava, the restaurant’s glass-walled wine room.
There is an elegant dress code for dinner and reservations are recommended.
(Located on 5th Avenue and Calle 10, open from 12pm)
For the best steaks in the city, Sur is our first choice. The casual yet sophisticated ambience is ideal for lunch, dinner or drinks. The ample outdoor dining areas overlook the colorful 5th Avenue and present the prime vantage point for watching the international characters flock over the city’s most famous street.
Combined with the succulent surf and turf menu, the servers go above and beyond to create an amazing dining experience. As a precursor, enjoy a cucumber martini at the stylish bar, and when you sit down to dinner, choose a bottle from the impressive wine list to accompany a superb filet.
Apart from the large selection of tender cuts of red meat, patrons can also choose from an assortment of poultry and seafood entrees as well. For those warm Mexican Caribbean nights, Sur offers an elegant, air-conditioned dining room.
Passion by Martin Berasategui
(Located in Paradisus Playa del Carmen on 5th Avenue & Calle 88, open from 6:00pm)
The prominent Spanish chef, Martin Berasategui has accumulated 7 Michelin stars over the years. Fortunately for us, he decided to open Passion here in Playa del Carmen. Either on the open terrace or in the refined, yet comfortable dining room, a meal at Passion is a culinary adventure.
Choose from a 7-course tasting menu or create your own delicious line-up from the a la carte menu. Sample exquisite morsels of Kobe beef, divine mushroom ravioli or remarkable foie gras while the in-house Sommelier forms the perfect pairing to delight your palette.
The attention to detail in the service and presentation makes the experience an unforgettable one and is an excellent destination for a special occasion. Passion is an adult-only dining establishment and advance reservations are required. A proper dress code is in effect and valet parking is available.
(Located on 5th Avenue and Calle 32 in the Lat20 Hotel Building, open from 5pm)
If you appreciate the rich flavors of authentic Italian cuisine, Cenacolo is a fine choice! Handmade pastas in savory, yet light sauces made with fresh ingredients take traditional dishes like lasagna and ravioli to a new level. The Seabass in the leak sauce is exceptional and the crème brulee is an excellent grand finale to a fantastic meal.
The intimate eatery features a sophisticated wine selection and elegant décor with classic white tablecloths. Sit inside and enjoy the staff’s highly professional service, romantic dim lighting and serene atmosphere, or dine on the terrace, which looks onto the effervescent 5th Avenue. Reservations are recommended.
(Located in the Azul Sensatori Resort in Puerto Morelos 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen, open from 6pm)
The delectable menu at Le Chique is a labor of love orchestrated by Chef Jonatan Gomez Luna. Upscale items like the Brioche are anything but typical with their Yucatecan-inspired flavors. Seasonal and regional ingredients are perfectly incorporated into traditional dishes like mole, gorditas and panuchos, taking them up a notch on the culinary scale.
A tasting menu gives you the chance to sample delicacies served to Mayan royals like crickets and Tascalate, a sweetened warm corn, chocolate and vanilla drink. Superior service staff work with the talented culinary team to present the exquisite offerings in such a visually appealing way that you are left astounded. Not only are the mini pedestals used in the presentation impressive, but also the combinations of flavors are out of this world.
An optional wine-pairing menu is available and an elegant resort dress code is enforced. Call in advance to reserve your table and if you want a more private, intimate dining experience, ask for a table in the wine cellar. Although eating at Le Chique requires you to drive outside of Playa del Carmen, the drive is absolutely worth it!
(Located in Tulum on the compound of Rancho San Eric, on the main strip on the right side of the fork that runs along the sea)
We had the great pleasure of dining here for a friend’s birthday a little while back. Hechizo is owned and operated by Chef Stefan along with his wife Pastry Chef extraordinaire Hui and sits along the world-class beaches of Tulum.
Before we ordered, Chef Stefan came out to introduce himself and explain the elaborate menu offerings. We savored gourmet entrees like black peppered prawns and local, sautéed greens, seared Tuna and Salmon dishes and finished with a flourless, dark chocolate cake to mark the special occasion. The servers were stealth-like and we didn’t notice until we picked up our glasses that our waters had been refilled.
There are outdoor tables on the sand, but on the evening we went, it was quite windy. So opted to sit indoors, but still enjoyed the sounds of the waves pounding the shore just a few steps away. The whole experience was definitely one to remember. Although the food and service was deserving of a 10-star rating, the atmosphere was extremely warm, friendly and unpretentious.
The charming, family run business closes periodically during the low season so be sure to call ahead to reserve your table.
This rounds out our top 10 choices for upscale restaurants in this magical city by the sea. We hope that this list provides you with some good direction as you search for the ultimate culinary experience in Playa del Carmen.
Buen Provecho! Bon Appetite!
Playa Del Carmen, once a sleepy fishing village, has blossomed into an effervescent city by the sea. From its magnetic multicultural community, has immersed a rich bounty of scrumptious dining experiences. The following is a list of local bistros and cafes visitors can use as a guide to some of Playa’s most delectable breakfast options.
Opens at 8am, located on 1st Avenue between Calle 14 and 16
This delightful, upscale restaurant serves a gourmet menu of international fusion consisting of benedicts, omelettes and traditional Mexican cuisine. Your choice of hot dish is accompanied with coffee or tea, fresh fruit platter served with local honey, granola and yogurt, basket of pastries and a 100% natural juice (the jugo verde is one of the best in town).
Breakfast served from 8am – 12pm, located on Calle 14 and the beach.
Enjoy Indigo’s famous buffet which includes coffee, fresh squeezed juice, fruit, yogurt and pastry buffet along with your choice of main breakfast entree. Situated on the cool alabaster sand, brunch while taking in the captivating views of the glistening Caribbean Sea.
Opens at 8am, located on 5th Avenue and Calle 34.
A local hotspot, this authentic French bakery’s aromatic scents of fresh baked bread can be detected from blocks away. The enticing menu includes healthful options such as seasonal fruit with granola and omelettes, as well as a succulent offering of sweet works of art from tarts, pastries and of course buttery croissants. For an inventive twist on traditional lemonade, I recommend the ginger infused Limonada Celine.
Opens at 8am, located on 10 Avenue between Calle 14 and Constituyentes.
This health food store and restaurant serves a vibrant and fresh vegetarian/vegan menu. From omelettes to quinoa salads, fruit bowls to hotcakes, their flavorful combinations please any palate.
CUEVA DEL CHANGO
Open at 8am and located on Calle 38 between 5th Avenue and the sea.
A truly unique dining experience, “The Monkey’s Cave” has a river flowing through its center inhabited by turtles and is set within a lush green environment. Famous for their vast selection of blended fruit juices, the breakfast menu also includes a selection of traditional Mexican offerings (the enchiladas with chile pasilla are a personal favorite), fresh fruit, omelettes and crepes.
With the plethora of options for dining in Playa Del Carmen, it can be a cumbersome task for those visiting to sift through the infinite possibilities. May this tantalizing top 5 list of exquisite breakfast eateries come in handy as you venture out in the glorious Riviera Maya mornings to satisfy your hunger pangs.
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!
Recently, Trip Advisor announced the Travelers’ Choice edition of the 25 top destinations in the world. To those of us who live or spend a significant amount of time in this little piece of heaven, it comes as no surprise that Playa del Carmen found its rightful place on the list. Some members of the Bric team have been residents of Playa del Carmen from two to five years, while others have lived here for a decade or more. Being here as long as we have, we felt it was time to share what we know so that you too can discover the many things that make the Riviera Maya such an attractive destination. Hopefully you can use this info as a guide to some of the lesser-known local gems to help you get the most out of your Mexican vacation experience!
From laid-back hippie-style watering holes to the most posh of eateries to sublime secluded beaches, we have covered a wide range of enticing choices for every type of traveler. Playa del Carmen not only showcases a thriving gastronomy scene, but the once sequestered fishing village, boasts world-renowned beaches, dive sites, and a friendly multicultural community, passionate about the arts.
Some of the most talented painters, writers, performers and musicians on the planet are drawn to the artistic air of Playa. Because of this growing collection of creative virtuosos who are transforming the city, those of us who are not so artistically inclined, can delight in the colorful murals, cultural centers, museums, theatres and sensational live music that continue to pop up around town.This intriguing directory of hot spots gives insight into the Playa lifestyle and the many reasons why we have chosen to call this seaside paradise home!
Here we present to you Bric Vacation Rentals’ go-to list of favorite places to indulge in good food and good times Playa del Carmen!
Claudia, the smiley ambassador at Paseo del Sol recommends the Eggplant Parmesan and Lasagna Bolognese at PapaCharly Pasta Factory. Cheesecake fans can savor a rich slice drizzled with cajeta. This quaint Italian restaurant located on Calle 30 and 25th Avenue features handmade pasta, made fresh daily, and a friendly staff that will make you feel right at home!
For a night out with friends, Claudia likes to head to Bar Ranita in La Rana Cansada Hotel (meaning The Sleepy Frog) on Calle 10 between 5th and 10th Avenue. The easy-going, beatnik ambience and comfortable couches are the perfect place to relax with a cold draft, listen to live music, and meet locals and fellow vacationers.
Aurora, our bookkeeping wizard’s favorite restaurant in town is El Diez, an Argentinean grill located on Calle 30 and 5th Avenue. She raves about the arrachera, a thin, skirt steak grilled over an open fire. To accompany the main dish, Aurora suggests a Piña Colada made with Amaretto instead of the usual Rum. The aromatic coffee is brewed to perfection at El Diez and is a nice end to a fantastic meal.
On a recent outing, Aurora, along with friends and family caught the one-hour ferry from Playa del Carmen to the Cozumel marina. From there they hired a captain to take them on a 4-5 hour journey around Mexican Caribbean Island. There was a special place, El Cielo, an undeveloped beach that she describes ‘Like nothing I have ever seen before. For a moment, I thought I was in Fiji!’ The water was crystal clear with the most striking shade of turquoise. The group loved that they were able to walk out hundreds of feet while the water level never went above their hips! There were also other points where Aurora and her crew stopped for snorkeling. The boat accommodated sixteen passengers and they were allowed to bring their own food and beverages.
For more information, call the Bric office or speak to your Bric ambassador who can arrange for one of these magnificent tours.
One half of our dynamic sales duo Susana, loves to dine at Cenacolo on 5th Avenue between Calle 30 and 32. The menu features a vast selection of exquisite Italian and Mediterranean cuisine, but Susi is always drawn to the Sombreditos Verdes. If you are looking for an upscale locale to enjoy a fantastic meal with friends or a romantic dinner for two, Susana can attest that the service and delectable offerings at Cenacolo will not disappoint!
Since she is a salsa pro, one of the places Susana loves is Zenzi on Calle 10 and the beach. Every night great local talent is featured on the main stage, but on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, an excellent house band plays from 10-12a.m. It’s an exotic beachside venue where salsa and bachata enthusiasts can tear up the dance floor. For beginners, they offer classes from 9-10pm.
Jonathan, in our administration department, is a very busy guy. Along with working in the Bric office, he is also a local radio host. So to unwind from his hectic schedule, he likes the warm ambience and buttery escargot at Byblos on Calle 24 and 10th Avenue. This charming French bistro has been around for years and offers an impressive selection of French and Italian dishes.
When he feels he needs to de-stress, Jon and a group of friends go to Palazzo Disco on Calle 12. Top local DJs create the ultimate dance environment that can last all night long if you’re in the mood to party!
The cheerful Veronica, one of our efficient ambassadors and longtime Playa del Carmen residents prefers the pasta Carbonara at Cheester’s on Calle 4 and 40th Avenue. The staff and casual atmosphere are fun and the portions are generous, but be sure to save room for one of their sensational desserts!
Cenotes are so inviting in this warm climate. So it’s no wonder Veronica chose Cenote Eden as her favorite spot in the Mayan Riviera. Located approximately 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, this open, sink hole has a cliff for jumping into the crystalline, natural pool, underwater caves in which to dive through, and palapa picnic areas with grills. For a memorable day, she loves to pack some food (and charcoal for the barbecue pit,) her snorkel gear, and a towel which comes in handy after swimming in the cool waters and sublime setting at Cenote Eden.
The martial artist of the group, Arturo, front desk representative at the Bric Hotel, loves the easy access to an abundance of fresh seafood in Playa. For tasty shrimp tostadas (Tostadas de Camaron) his pick is Los Aguachiles located on Calle 34 and 25th Avenue or Constituyentes between 1st and 10th Avenue. They also serve one of the best Micheladas (beer, lime and spices) and Ojos Rojos (beer, clamato and spices) in town! This casual eatery is a great place for a cold drink and light lunch after a day on the white sand beaches of Playa del Carmen!
If you are looking for adventure, Arturo suggests Xplor, just 5 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. He loves that he has a chance to play Indiana Jones and partake in an adrenaline-fueled adventure! Arturo has visited the park many times and is still thrilled to fly over hundreds of feet of pristine jungle on zip lines, ride rafts through the stalactite river, explore behind water falls and drive through caves on amphibious vehicles. To take the excitement level up a notch, he recommends going to the park at night with only the light of the moon and torches to guide you!
Lene, our chipper, Norwegian ambassador, spends her workdays mainly at The Royal Palms and Lotus buildings. When she is not taking care of guests, she loves to receive a little pampering of her own at the hip beach club, Papaya Playa, in Tulum. She loves the good food, good music as well as the beautiful beach and declares it her favorite seaside spot to relax and soak up the warm Mexican sun. In fact, when Lene finds it too hard to leave, she’ll even spend the night in one of their cozy bungalows on the beach. Waking up to the sound of the waves is one of her greatest pleasures.
In Playa del Carmen, when she’s got a hankering for great Italian food, Lene goes directly to Romeo’s on Calle 4 between 10th and 15th Avenue. For a starter, she often has the deep fried calamari and the pesto lasagna is her top selection for a main course.
The other half of our dynamic sales duo, Erika, seconds Romeo’s for its superb Italian cuisine. She savors the 4 Cheese Gnocchi with a glass of wine. This busy, little eatery is well known for its fresh, handmade pasta, pizzas and salads including a tangy, warm octopus salad.
For her top choice destination in the Rivera Maya, Erika chooses to head to the Mezzanine Tulum with friends. The beachside hotel presents striking ocean views from its terrace and offers a delicious Thai menu. With her background in culinary arts, she appreciates exquisite food and recommends the Bolsitas de Dinero (Money Bags), or wontons filled with shrimp and jicama served with a spicy ginger sauce. Another favorite are the Triangulos De Oro (Gold Triangles) or wontons stuffed with goat cheese, nuts and basil with mango sauce. For breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks, this is Erika’s top pick.
Miguel, our easy-going, personable ambassador at The Elements, prefers the octopus tacos and tuna tostadas at Chiltepin on Calle 34 and 20th Avenue. The seafood is fresh, the drinks are cold and the atmosphere is laid-back, just the way Miguel likes it!
If a more secluded beach is what you’re after, he will point you in the direction of Xpu Ha, about 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. Miguel suggests walking to the far right side, where he says is the perfect place to chill with some music, food and an ice-cold beer. A few beach clubs speckle the white sand at Xpu Ha, but there is also the option to pack your own cooler and find your very own place under a palm on this rustic stretch of heavenly shoreline.
Damien, our manager of operations at Bric, loves the Japanese dishes at Kampai on 5th between Calle 30 and 32. The upscale sushi eatery sits along 5th Avenue and offers not only delicious food and excellent service, but is a perfect location from which to people watch over drinks with friends.
If you want to hit the town and experience the sensational nightlife of Playa del Carmen, Damien’s favorite places in the city include Diablito Cha Cha Cha for a precursor – drinks and appetizers, then Salsanera for a few spins on the steamy dance floor! Both are located on Calle 12 in the club zone.
One of our longtime employees Abril, who works at the front desk of the Bric Hotel, thinks Piola on Calle 38 between 5th and 1st Avenue deserves an honorary mention. She is a big fan of the pizzas here and believe it or not, Abril’s #1 topping is a beaten egg! Unusual yes, but tasty, she swears. The ambience is fun, casual and welcoming towards families. They offer a vast selection of specialty drinks including a basil martini, and the pizzas are some of the best brick-oven pies in town!
Even on a rainy day, Abril is happy to bring her family to the Coba ruins for a day of exploring by bike and climbing the ancient pyramids. She says that once you arrive at the top, it is the most peaceful feeling to look out over the lush green jungle which reaches as far as the eye can see.
Josue, our fun-loving and always-on-the-go ambassador found it difficult to choose just one restaurant so he offered these for his preferred picks 1) La Floresta, best seafood (mariscos) tacos in Playa del Carmen, located on Calle 14 along the Federal Highway and 2) La Buena Vida beach club in Akumal for casual eats like ceviche and fish tacos. There are hammocks, beanbags chairs and plenty of shade from which to enjoy a laid-back afternoon and incredible turquoise views.
To spend a memorable day by the water, Josue suggests Blue Venado, situated 5 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. After snorkeling or horseback riding along the rustic beach area, the shaded lounge beds are a comfortable spot to relax with a good book or some music and of course, a bucket of ice-cold beer!
For the most delicious homemade hamburgers, sea salted fries and ranch dressing dipping sauce, our spa manager Jackie recommends La Buena Vibra on 115th Avenue just off the new highway 305. It’s a hole in the wall but the food will not disappoint and the staff is very welcoming and friendly.
Zenzi is also Jackie’s choice for a fun night out in Playa del Carmen. The tables are in the powdery-soft sand, surrounded by palms with strings of lights running through them. Quality musicians and DJs every night of the week make this a first rate hang out for locals and visitors alike.
Perhaps one of our most knowledgeable and adventurous ambassadors in the realm of gastronomy, Isaac recently discovered Mar Bella at the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal in Cancun. Next time you are planning a day trip to Isla Mujeres, Isaac suggests making a pit stop at this fantastic seafood restaurant. It is slightly hidden and you have to go through a convenience store front, then up a back staircase, but once you arrive, the panoramic ocean views are captivating. If you love fresh seafood, this is the place to find the best and biggest lobster he’s ever come across in the region!
In his downtime, Isaac likes to visit the Gran Cenote located 4 km from the town of Tulum (south of Playa del Carmen.) There are white sand beach areas, open, natural pools surrounded by lush vegetation, and caves in which to dive and snorkel through.
The fun-loving and spunky Ivonne, one of our on-site ambassadors at The Elements, has spent many nights out with friends at Almirante Pech. She loves the cool vibe and sophisticated environment. Menu items such as the tuna tzatziki and beet salad are flavorful and light and the artisanal beer and extensive bar in this tropical tavern make it a top choice for an elegant dinner out or drinks.
Our take-charge administrative assistant Janet enjoys the simple pleasures of life including cooking for her busy family of four kids. Her ideal meal involves picking up some fresh fish at El Pirata on Calle 40 between 5th and 10th Avenue and preparing a home cooked feast!
There you have it! So now that we let you in on our secret hideaways here in the Riviera Maya, we hope you will take the time to check them out for yourselves! May this list of Bric staff picks come in handy when you are looking for good food and fun options on your next trip to Playa del Carmen!
Fortunately, I have been blessed with a talent or two, unfortunately a green thumb is not one of my gifts! In lieu of this, a tall graviola tree in my front yard continues to grow and produce succulent soursop fruit (guanabana in Spanish) year after year. I am relieved that the tree seems to be aware of my gardening limitations. Despite all of them, we have managed to come to a mutual respect and understanding.
Thankfully, the only task required of me (no watering or pruning necessary) is to reap the harvest and enjoy the sweet flavor and health benefits of this cancer-preventing, vitamin-rich super fruit. Blending it with cold water and a natural sweetener (I use stevia), is one of my favorite ways to consume the creamy pulp.
Living in Playa del Carmen, I have had the opportunity to taste the bountiful offerings of exotic fruits and vegetables, many of which I had never heard of before. Since the climate is typically a hot and humid one, it breeds a tendency to reach for the fruit bowl often, in an effort to quench one’s thirst.
Not too many foods disappear from a plate faster than watermelon on a hot summer day. But if you have the good fortune to spend some time in this heavenly, tropical region, here is a list of rare fruits grown in the area, worth allowing your taste buds the chance to explore.
This medium-sized brown fruit has a rough exterior and is in the shape of a small football. The deep salmon-colored pulp has a very distinctive, intoxicating flavor, one that is difficult to describe. To choose a ripe mamey, it should be firm without blemishes and will give slightly when squeezed lightly in the palm of your hand.
Including mamey in your daily diet has been shown to alleviate symptoms of cardiovascular disease and hypertension, as well as prevent skin cancer, cataracts and osteoporosis. Rich in vitamin C, B, A, magnesium, riboflavin, and fiber, mamey makes a colorful addition to a fruit salad. To serve as a beverage, blend cubed mamey with low-fat milk, a pinch of cinnamon, vanilla and ice.
Carambola or Star Fruit
These oblong shaped fruit have five angled edges and a waxy peel. A good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C, star fruits are packed with antioxidants and aid in preventing respiratory infections and constipation. They are also natural cough suppressors and are excellent detoxifiers which can help to relieve headaches, hangovers insomnia.
When selecting a ripe starfruit, look for one that is yellow and light green in color. To consume, slice off the tips of the five ridges, cut the two ends and remove the seeds. Star fruits are sweet with a slight tartness and are similar to an apple, with its juicy, crunchy flesh.
Pitaya or Dragon Fruit
Perhaps one of the most interesting and beautiful of all fruits, pitayas are vibrant fuchsia-red color. Its thin rind envelopes a soft white pulp with tiny, black seeds. This bright fruit is considered a cactus plant, hence the prickly “leaves,” but has a similar taste and texture to a kiwi. Since dragon fruit are packed in antioxidants, consuming them regularly can help to detoxify the body, boost the immune system and delay the aging of skin cells. Other vitamins and minerals found in this nutrient-dense fruit include phosphorus, calcium, fiber, Vitamins C, B¹,B², and B³.
At the market, look for a bright, even-colored surface and similar to a kiwi, the skin of the dragon fruit should give slightly when gently squeezed. To prepare one to eat, cut it in half, and either scoop the white flesh with a spoon or peel the rind and cut the flesh in cubes. Dragon fruits have a mild flavor and look stunning as part of a fruit salad.
This once exotic fruit has become a common site in supermarkets in North of the border. If you have never tried it, the multitude of health benefits might tempt you to place one in your shopping cart next time you are shopping for groceries. Papayas are rich in antioxidant nutrients such as carotenes, vitamin C, potassium, flavonoids, and magnesium. Due to their high fiber content, papayas aid in digestion and help prevent colon cancer. Consuming the butter-like, salmon-colored flesh on a regular basis can promote cardiovascular health, decrease inflammation, support the immune system and lower the risk risk of rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
The first time I tried this pungent fruit was years ago on my honeymoon and I recall telling my husband that I thought the melon had gone bad! After a few more samplings, I became a huge fan and today, it is a staple on my grocery list. To prepare papaya for consumption, cut it in half lengthwise and remove the seeds with a spoon. Peel the skin with a knife, slice and enjoy.
In our family we often blend papayas in smoothies with mango, milk and cinnamon or we eat it cubed with coconut yogurt or cottage cheese and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It is so sweet we consider it a dessert! To add a tropical flair to your next meal, try a grilled filet of white fish such as halibut topped with a papaya, mango, cilantro, lime, and jalapeño salsa.
Guayaba or Guava
These firm, yellow golf ball sized fruits have a strong, floral aroma and are vitamin C powerhouses. Compared to oranges they have more than three times the vitamin C and a lower sugar content. The consumption of guavas can promote thyroid and brain health, prevent constipation and some forms of cancer, and boost the immune system. Since these small but mighty fruit are high in Vitamin A, they also help to maintain vision health.
Guavas are a very delicate fruit and when ripe, bruise easily. When selecting a guava, choose one that is firm and bright yellow or slightly green and turning yellow. Wash thoroughly and cut the tips off before eating. The skin and seeds are edible, but if you are blending it to make a juice, add a little natural sweetener and strain the seeds for a smoother beverage. Guavas are also served as glazes for chicken or used in jellies.
Although grocery stores do not yet provide nearly the interesting variety of [manufactured] products that we are accustomed to back home in Canada and the United States, Playa del Carmen does have an abundance of markets bursting with scrumptious fruit selections. Not only will this myriad of colorful produce make a striking centerpiece on your table, but by opting to include these super fruits in your daily diet, you choose enhanced health and vitality!