If you're in Riviera Maya and your tummy is rumbling, you're in luck as tacos and burritos are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great Mexican cuisine here. While Playa del Carmen reigns supreme when it comes to Riviera Maya nightlife, the culinary choices are strong across all towns in the region. With a growing emphasis on Mayan culture and traditional ingredients, you'll find a whole host of creative dining adventures outside your resort.
In Riviera Maya you can dine on Mexican specialities such as the Mole condiment made from cacao and chillies — the perfect garnish to shrimp, pork or chicken. Or you could try Cochinita pibil, pulled pork that has been marinated in achiote and citrus flavours. At stands all up the coast you can buy great fast food options when you need a quick bite of local flavour.
To help solve the problem of non-native Lionfish in the Mexican Caribbean, many hotels and restaurants are incorporating the pez leon into their menus. The white meat of the predatory species is flavorful, sweet, and makes for excellent ceviche and tacos.
As the name suggests, Oh Lala! is perhaps slightly pricier and higher brow than some of the other eateries around Playa del Carmen – but it's well worth the added expense, especially if you have a little extra money to spend after booking one of our cheap trips to Mexico.
The ambience here is unbeatable, the portions generous, the service exemplary and the quality of the food second to none. For a romantic dinner for two, make sure you book well in advance.
A flexible choice of venue in Playa del Carmen, Kaxapa Factory serves up delicious vegan and vegetarian options alongside chicken, beef and pork staples for the staunch meat-eater. In fact, its varied menu includes a range of different influences, though the overbearing theme is Venezuelan cuisine. This comes as little surprise when the owners are ex-patriots of that fine nation who have spent the last decade or so in Mexico. For a delightful dining experience at cut-rate prices, Kaxapa is the ideal choice.
The idea behind Zine is a truly innovative one. The venue has been created out of a densely forested area of the Tulum jungle, in which four private cinema screens have been installed.
The short but expertly-prepared menu serves up a diverse mix of cuisine, from sliders and pizzas to salads and pastas. While the food is excellent and the drinks delicious, the real lure is the sheer novelty of crunching your popcorn in the thick of the Mexican rainforest. Just think of it as one way to make holidays in Mexico all the more unique.
elNicho in Puerto Morelos uses fresh ingredients and careful attention to detail to craft wholesome, delicious breakfast and brunch meals that are sure to satisfy appetites of any stripe. With generous portions and reasonable prices, it's the perfect spot to get your day off to a great start. In addition to the firm favourites of huevos rancheros, eggs benedict and a variety of omelettes, there are also fruit juices and non-alcoholic cocktails to die for.
Tucked out of sight in Playa Maroma, this quaint and welcoming restaurant is sometimes a little difficult to locate but well worth it if you do manage to track it down. With an al fresco balcony offering picturesque views of the Caribbean Sea, it's an ideal place to take that special someone and enjoy a beautifully intimate lunch or dinner.