Playa del Carmen Journals

Gastronomic Tour of Playa del Carmen

A February 2006 trip to Playa del Carmen by JesusW

Nativo Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico More Photos
Quote: With a rich melange of cultures, there is also a great variety of food to choose from.

Gastronomic Tour of Playa del Carmen

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Overview

The entrance, look for the orange bags Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Playa del Carmen used to be a small, sleepy fisherman village not so long ago. It was the point of departure from the mainland in order to catch the ferry to go scuba diving in Cozumel. But slowly a lot of people realized this was an excellent place to stay instead of alcohol-crazy Cancun, and so one by one small restaurants with ethnically diverse origins began to open, you can find an Indian restaurant on the side of a Thai Noodle Bar and a seafood place around the corner of a Arrachera place. And everybody gets along very well.Quick Tips: If you don´t want to stick to the pricey touristy restaurants on the 5th Avenue (the soul of the Playa del Carmen), then you should be a little bit ad...Read More

Hotel Casa

Hotel

Hotel Casa Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Hotel Casa was was clean, family-owned, and close to everything!!! What else you can ask for?The place is clean, has only 11 rooms, and is a block and a half from the beach, half a block from the main street, 3 blocks from the bus station, and half from the local places to eat. There is a drugstore, an internet joint, and a travel agency, all in front of the hotel, and a mini-mart next door.The rooms are not spacious, but when you come to the beach you won´t stay longer than the time required to sleep, take a shower, and change clothes, would you? Even the bathroom is clean, and in good shape, my only complaint is that the hot water may not be too hot, and the pressure is not too ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Hotel Casa
Calle 6 Between 5th And 10th Avenues
Playa del Carmen

Nativo

Restaurant

The entrance, look for the orange bags Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
They have great juices and combo blended juices, plus some very Mexican dishes.

They are off the touristic area, and so you will find plenty of locals.
The fruit selection is very good, and they take good care to choose ripe and tasty ones. They will make a one litre juice of all the fruits you like.

For breakfast, or lunch, you can ask for eggs in various styles, don´t miss the Mexican and Yucatan (with ham, beans and peas bathed with tomato sauce and served over a fried tortilla).
Also you can ask for enchiladas, grilled breast chicken, or quesadillas.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Nativo
25th Avenue
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Cejas

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Restaurant | "El Cejas"

Cejas Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Sea food from the experts.These guys opened many, many years ago in Mercado 28 in Cancun, so they know their business, and the customers can tell. You won´t see a lot of tourists, as they are located in a very secluded and quiet part of town, it may even take you a little bit to find them the first time. just make sure to ask any cab driver, and they will promptly take you there. Walking from 5th Avenue is not too long, so you can give it a try.Their menu is extensive, they have all kinds of seafood dishes, from the normal fish fillet, shrimps, and quesadillas, to octopus, ceviche (raw seafood cooked with lime juice), conch, lobster, crayfish, river fish egg (hueva de pescado), Roque...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Cejas
26th Street
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Tarraya

Restaurant | "La Tarraya"

Tarraya Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
This is one of the older (or the oldest) restaurants in Playa. They have real flavor, great atmosphere, and excellent prices.Here you feel at home, the waiters are attentive and make sure you are having a good time. The decoration is, of course, sea-themed but with some humor. Also, they blend the restaurant with the bar, with the excursions shop and the dive shop, it is funny to have it all in one.The food is incredible, really fresh and the cooks know their job. I ordered the fish fillet yucatecan style (grilled on aluminum foil and bathed with achiote paste and served with steamed rice and veggies), and it was excellent, I also added an order of French fries to dip in the ac...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Tarraya
Downtown Beach Front at 2nd Street North
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Churros

Restaurant | "Churros Cart"

Churros Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
The churros are traditional Mexican (actually, more Spanish than Mexican, but very well adopted here) snacks.These are fried sticks, very similar to doughnuts, but crunchier and firmer.The guy only sets up his cart in the evening, leaving around at 22:00, so go right after dinner.There are also french fries available, in case you still has a free spot in your tummy, or just want a quick snack on the road.In general, in Mexico, you have your churros along with a cup of hot chocolate or coffee, I guess that in Playa not many locals feel the need of hot drinks, but you can find a coffee shop very close. Just walk one block from the churros cart towards the ferry ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Churros
Cart at Main Plaza
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Pizza Pazza

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Restaurant

Pizza Pazza Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
This is a chain of small pizzerias, with something like four locations in Playa. They are the best!!!A lot of other guys offer pizza for the same price, with bigger slices or the same size for less, but the kings of Playa are Pizza Pazza, the only ones consistently busy all day long. The reason, the thin crust and the flavor are perfect.My only complaint is that usually there is only one attendant taking care of serving and charging, instead of one serving and one cashier, but it seems that the owner is not really worried about people waiting. A few minutes is OK, but when you are standing in line with the fabulous pizzas just in front of you, time is eternal.Some o...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Pizza Pazza
Avenida 5
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Quinta Pasion

Restaurant | "La Quinta Pasion"

Quinta Pasion Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
They serve a special seafood variety of Mexican food.

I tried the shrimp quesadillas (3 per order), and everything from the tasty cheese, to the fresh shrimps, and the acompanying guacamole, were all excellent. The salsa pico de gallo wasn´t too hot, and that is nice, it lets you enjoy your food.

I had a large Naranjada (like lemonade but with orange instead), it was very fresh and natural.

Too bad I was in a rush to catch a bus to the airport, otherwise I would have loved to have a larger meal, a lot of my friends love this restaurant when they come on vacation to Playa.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Quinta Pasion
5th Avenue and 26th Street
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Babes at Little Italy Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Babes is an institution in Playa del Carmen, and this is the second location conveniently located on the new part of town, the Little Italy.They keep up with the same tradition, and great service as the original one. The place is busy but fortunately not as crowded as the one on 10th street.Babe serves great Thai food and a couple of extra items in the menu (Swedish meatballs for example).The spring rolls and shrimp rolls are excellent all the time, the order comes with two large ones with a little dish of dipping sauce. And that is just for entree. There are also soups and salads The bar offers full service of cocktails and nice wines, but if you are li...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Babes at Little Italy
5th Avenue
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
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Tacos Arabes y Tortas Israel

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Restaurant

Tacos Arabes y Tortas Israel Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Tacos, tacos, and also tortas!This place is very typical and very truly of Mexican food. This is where the locals eat, and also the few lucky adventurous tourists that want to eat the real food.Tacos arabes are known for the rest of the people as Tacos al Pastor, the ones where the meat is stacked in a rotisserie and is cooked by the flames directly.Arab and Israel don´t mix? Here they do, as Israel is the name of the owner, nothing to do with the country.There are not many items on the menu, tacos and tortas, but they are tasty. On the salsa table, you have to be extremely careful and the waiters/waitresses will tell you. The salsas on the right s...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Tacos Arabes y Tortas Israel
15th Avenue and 12th Street
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Asadero El Pollo - Pollos Asados Sinaloa Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
Pollos asados al carbón estilo Sonora (Charcoal Roasted chicken, Sonora style).These guys do a great job, they roast a lot of birds everyday and a lot of people have them for lunch on-site, and also quite a great number take it to go.This are extremely cheap, you get a whole chicken, tortillas, rice, onions, and salsa for a mere 70 pesos (less than $7, February 2006). You can feed a small family with that, just add the drinks.Chicken is juicy and tender, the salsas are mild hot (in comparison with those extremely hot Habaneros by the bus station), and the result is you enjoy a great meal for a few pesos.There is not much to add, besides that ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 24, 2006

Asadero El Pollo - Pollos Asados Sinaloa
15th Avenue and 2nd Street
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Xlapac

Restaurant

Xlapac Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
They have great fruit smoothies!!!

Here you get big ones and for a very inexpensive price, 25 pesos (less than US$2.50 in Feb 2006).

The place is decorated with replicas of Mayan murals, but not exactly cheerful ones (war themes prevail in the Mayan art).

The names of the smoothies are in reference to Mayan names or cities. There is a huge variety, but all of them are fresh and prepared in front of you, and the fruit is washed and disinfected for your safety. The bartenders are very kind, and even if their English is not the best, their skills compensate for it, as do their smiles.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 10, 2006

Xlapac
5th Avenue and 18th Street
Playa del Carmen, Mexico

La Cueva del Chango

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Restaurant

La Cueva del Chango Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
This is one of the favourites for the tourist looking for a breakfast with a Mexican touch.You will find fresh squeezed orange juice along with other fruits juices and fresh fruit salads.Also you have cheese empanadas or eggs (try the ones with chaya (a local veggie) to choose from a wide offering.Crepes with local flavors like mushrooms or nopales (edible cactus, very good for your health, lots of fiber and helps control diabetes) and French toast and buns are some of the reasons to have breakfast here.The place is decorated "jungle" style, with a little creek flowing through the center of the restaurant, the roof has colored bottles instead of stained glass ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 18, 2006

La Cueva del Chango
38th St. between 5th Ave and the Sea
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
+52 (984) 804 91 90

Look at the windshield Photo, Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quote:
With Playa del Carmen being one hour away from the Cancun International Airport, cabs are not cheap and sharing a van is not very comfortable if the other guys are going to a different resort than yours.The answer: the ADO-Rivera bus. It takes one hour but you are comfortable, watching a movie (in English with Spanish subtitles), and all for the cheap price of 65 pesos ($7 in Feb 2006). They are clean and have air-conditioning that works. The bus leaves from the parking lot of the arrival area in the airport. You can buy your ticket in a booth that is located near the taxi booth inside the building, or just buy it from a guy standing in front of the bus (look for the red uniform and AD...Read More