These are the best local restaurants in Playa del Carmen that you don’t want to miss
I don’t know about you, but one thing I hate about traveling is finding a good restaurant. I love when I do find a good restaurant, but the process is really stressful to me. Digging through Yelp, TripAdvisor, hotel recommendations, blogs, and more can get really overwhelming. All that mixed with proximity – it can end up being decision overload!
Sure, I probably end up overthinking it. But there’s nothing worse than having a mediocre meal on vacation. I want my meals to be an experience. I want them to be curated. And if you’ve landed here, I’m sure you do, too.
I’ve been to Playa del Carmen a handful of times and I’ve eaten at the tourist traps and the great restaurants alike. These 6 restaurants all end up shining as the tried-and-true gems in Playa del Carmen.
Even if you’re staying at an all-inclusive, these restaurants are great places to eat in Playa del Carmen and are well-worth venturing off the resort for. If you’re looking for dining inspiration, these excellent restaurants are all great choices in Playa del Carmen!
Chez Céline – Great for French Cuisine!
Chez Céline is one of my favorite restaurants in the world, and that is saying something – considering I live in Houston, an up-and-coming foodie capital of the world. Every time I visit PDC, I visit Chez Céline literally at least a handful of times because it is legit that amazing. And it is cheap. But don’t be fooled by the prices: the food is super fresh and delicious.
Chez Céline is a French-style restaurant serving up delectable breakfasts, fresh-baked breads, gorgeous pastries, and other hand-crafted foods. I LOVE their breakfast especially. The “Countryside Breakfast” includes a smoked ham & cheese omelet, a quarter of a baguette, fresh butter & jam, a hot beverage, and fresh-squeezed orange juice.
Are you drooling yet?
All that for ~$8.
And look at their pastries!
La Cochi-Loka – Fantastic Street Tacos
After a night of drinking, nothing sounds better than Taco Bell, amirite?
Well, what if I told you you could get the best street taco… ever… at a cute little taco stand that’s open 24 hours?
La Cochi-Loka serves up delicious tacos & tortas (sandwiches) to locals and tourists alike. The tacos are simple but delicious in their simplicity. Best of all, they are cheap.
They are small, so if you’re hungry, definitely get 3 or 4. But at this price, there’s no guilt.
Carboncitos – Authentic Mexican Food
Carboncito’s is one of those great places to eat in Playa del Carmen if you’re looking for sit down Mexican dining. Located in Hotel Cielo, Carboncito’s is conveniently located off 5th Avenue near the Cozumel ferry, making it super easy to find.
Hungry for breakfast? Swing by for a delicious breakfast burrito stuffed with scrambled eggs, ham, and cheese or huevos rancheros. Coming in for lunch or dinner? Get an ooey gooey platter of enchilada, the sizzling hot fajitas, or a delicious seafood dish. If you’re just looking to enjoy a low-key cocktail, then saor it on the rooftop terrace, which boasts beautiful views of the ocean.
What makes Carboncito’s really special is the real Mexican hospitality. Everyone is so friendly and I always feel like family when I visit. That, combined with the delicious food, makes Carboncito’s one of the best local restaurants in Playa del Carmen.
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Don Chendo’s – Delicious Pizza
Looking to satisfy your pizza fix? Then Don Chendo’s is the restaurant for you. Serving up Chicacgo-style pizzas, gluten-free pizzas, delicious pastas, salads, and more, there is something for everyone if you’re looking for a carb fix.
The pizzas here are delicious. I LOVE the Chicago style pizzas, personally. Rumor has it that the recipe for the crust comes from Naples, Italy – so you know it has to be good.
The ingredients are fresh and the food is made with love. What more could you want?
Small tip – this is a little bit off the main tourist drag. It’s definitely safe to walk here during the day, but I’d be careful at night. This may be a better place to visit during lunch.
La Vagabunda – Music and Food!
Great music & even better food pretty much summarizes what your experience will be like at La Vagabunda. With an open-air dining patio, palm trees, live music, and traditional Mexican food, La Vagabunda feels like a vacation (while on vacation) – honestly, eating here is a lot of fun.
Serving up every meal of the day, you can enjoy everything from delicious eggs benedict, Belgian waffles, or pancakes to nachos, enchiladas, or tacos. I especially love the breakfast here – there’s nothing better than enjoying warm, fluffy pancakes in an atmosphere like this. The perfect breakfast while on vacation is really something else, isn’t it?
The delicious food, super friendly service, and fun atmosphere makes La Vagabunda one of the great places to eat in Playa del Carmen.
Ah Cacao – Chocolate and Coffee
For a relaxing cup of coffee and dessert, Ah Cacao is unmatched. Admittedly, Ah Cacao seems to be a chain, but I’ve only seen it around the Riviera Maya, so I don’t feel bad recommending this restaurant.
They always have the cutest little patios in nice hubs so you can enjoy great people watching with your coffee. My favorite order is a mocha frappé with cheesecake – the nice, frozen drink paired with the creamy cool cheesecake is perfect in the Caribbean breeze.
My dad swears by their carrot cake, so if you’re a carrot cake aficionado, you definitely have to try that, too. And buy some chocolate swag to go. When I say swag, I do mean swag – they have chocolate shampoo, lotion, and other items that are super luxe and very unique to Ah Cacao.
When I visit PDC, I swear I swing by Ah Cacao nearly every day!
If you’re looking for great places to eat in Playa del Carmen, you can’t go wrong with these 6 local restaurant recommendations
It doesn’t matter if you’re staying at a boutique hotel or a lavish all-inclusive, these restaurants are all worth venturing off the resort for. From street tacos to pizza to dessert and more, you can find amazing cuisine in PDC!
While in Playa del Carmen, don’t forget to take some excursions. For an all-day snorkeling water park adventure, you can’t beat Xel-Ha. If you would rather explore a nearly untouched cave and underground river system, Rio Secreto is the adventure for you.