This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to writing about the Yucátan Peninsula of Mexico — aka, my home away from home. We’ve been going at least once a year as a family for as long as I can remember. I’ve written detailed guides about Playa del Carmen and Tulum, which are great reads if you want tips on where to stay and what to do. I just got home from spending Christmas and New Years in Playa del Carmen, and realized during the trip how hopping the food scene is in Playa. As many of you know, the exchange rate for USD to Pesos is incredibly good right now, which makes the already reasonable restaurant prices downright cheap. PDC has always been known for great restaurants, and my list has grown and grown over the years. You won’t find any main drag, fifth avenue restaurants on this list, thats for sure!
Romeo’s: We discovered Romeo’s a few years ago on Yelp. It’s totally hidden down a side street. We decided to try it back then, since it was filled with hundreds of five star reviews online. This unassuming place has very authentic food and servers. It’s a hidden gem and reservations are a MUST as far in advance as you can.
La Familia: You’ll find tons of Italian restaurants in PDC, none of them will be outstanding aside from a few. La Familia is delicious, takes reservations, and has an airy/laidback atmosphere. Ahhhh, the vodka ziti, still dreaming of it!
Como Como: This was the best meal of our most recent trip. I’d call this place fairly casual, but definitely a bit upscale when it comes to Playa’s restaurant scene. This Mediterranean style restaurant has great pastas, fresh fish options, cheese specials, and a beautiful atmosphere.
Babes: An institution! In the ever changing Playa, Babes has stayed the same (with some great renovations along the years!) Come here for great service, fun frozen cocktails and the best Thai food. Yes, the words best and Thai definitely did just make my Mexico must list!
Oh La La: Known as the nicest restaurant in PDC, and for good reason. We spent Christmas Eve here on their gorgeous patio surrounded by beautiful greenery. The filet minion and cheese plates are a must. They also have an impressive wine list. It’s personally my all-time favorite in Playa. Very small, so I’d make reservations on OpenTable in advance.
Axiote: Mayan cuisine is served here. One of the only high-end, authentic Mexican restaurants we’ve loved that isn’t a “fast food” joint, or a tourist trap. They have creative tacos, the best salsas, and great mezcal cocktails.
Plank: Gorgeous atmosphere, and great fish options. I live for their flatbread! On the pricier side when compared to other PDC restaurants, since its directly off fifth avenue.
Breakfast in Playa is THE BEST. Hello green juices and fresh omelettes on the beach…
Lido Beach Club: We had New Years Day breakfast here this year, and it was the perfect way to start off the year! Their acai bowl is super fresh, and we loved the open faced bagel.
The Palm: A hotel that we’ve stayed at multiple times, but completely welcomes the public at their restaurant for breakfast. We love sipping mimosas into the late morning here and laughing with the sweet waiters.
Liquid Prana: We stocked up on fresh green & fruit juices here for our condo, along with multiple overnight oat jars, and chia seed pudding. It was so nice to stay on track a bit with healthy juice every morning. The girls that work here are also super nice and informative!
Ah Cacao: OK, I really come here for the to-die-for brownie. Seriously, I live for that thing. They also have great iced americano’s that I pop in to get any time I’m passing by.
Que Huevos: The cutest little corner breakfast spot. Grab a breakfast sammie and cappuccino.
Fusion: We are still day dreaming about the burrito’s and margarita’s we had here. Fun servers and right on the beach, can you ask for anything more?!
Inti Beach: Get the mediterranean sandwich! We crave it all year until we’re back in Playa. It will change your life ;). They also have fresh coconuts that we order with rum to make it a “healthy” cocktail. So good.
The Grill at The Hyatt: Although a brand-name place, we always come here for a quick snack of guacamole and margaritas at the bar that looks over the ocean. It’s much pricier than other options in the area, but we love the view and classy vibes.
Lido Beach Club: Also great for lunch. Try the nachos and order a bucket of beer!
Dirty Martini Lounge: A total locals spot. Best ‘tini’s and aperol spitz’s in town!
Thompson Rooftop: A gorgeous rooftop bar and home to the famous chain, Catch. We love coming up for a craft cocktail and the fresh tuna sushi roll.
Marquee Playa: Brand new hotel a block from fifth avenue with an awesome rooftop bar.
SushiClub: A beautiful sushi lounge that has a downstairs bar and rooftop bar. We like to grab a drink here pre-dinner at Axiote. They make great martinis and have a nice wine list. The atmosphere is beautiful and classy compared to most bars in PDC.