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.
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About the Author
Erika lives for the simple pleasures of life. She loves being outdoors, especially near the sea, discovering delicious local eateries with her friends and enjoying downtime with her two cats. She has called Playa del Carmen home for five years and works at Bric Vacation Rentals.