Where to Eat in Cancun and the Riviera Maya
Collected by Tommy Alexander, AFAR Staff
Joaquín Zetina Gasca, Q.R., Mexico
Sweet, sugary, colorful, flaky, rich, eggy bread. It comes on a bicycle. If you sit on a street corner in any of the pueblos along Mexico's Mayan Riviera coast, it will pass by. All you need to do is wait. Of course the tamales bike will pass by...
Benito Juárez, Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, Mexico
I learned a great deal in Mexico: 1) 30 SPF does not cut it. 2) 50 SPF does not cut it. And 3) Aloe vera, cold shower, aloe vera, cold shower. Luckily for me, I also learned the best way to get your mind off of pain is delicious food, and freshly...
Av. Tulum 879, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Eating in Tulum's Pueblo is a more inexpensive way to load up on calories and enjoy some authentic Mexican cuisine. El Camello Jr, is a seafood restaurant located at the far south end of the main highway that runs through Tulum. It is a decent...
Blvd. Kukulcán KM.9 ,Plaza Party Center, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Located in an alley behind Dady'O, this taquéria dishes up the best arrachera and tacos al pastor in the hotel zone, and the price is right. The atmosphere is laid back and can be noisy, but it's been a longtime favorite with locals and tourists...
Av. Juárez Mza. 217, Ejidal, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Named after the mythical Alux drawn from Maya lore, this unusual restaurant is located inside a naturally formed cave. According to legend, Aluxes are the guardians of property and only appear at night. Born in the moonlight, they seek magical...
5ta Av. s/n esq. Calle 22 Norte Local 1 y 2, Centro, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Yaxché specializes in Maya and Yucatecan cuisine. The décor recalls a Maya palace and the food is award-winning – and delicious. Try the nohuc, lemon seasoned prawns on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes accompanied by grilled vegetables, followed by...
MZA 4 LTE 7, Calle Quinta Avenida, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
The 33 main dishes served at Mi Pueblo are drawn from the culinary favorites of 33 cities throughout Mexico. Locals and tourists alike frequent this place for delicious homemade Mexican food. Leading the list are corcholatas callejeras, sweet...
Avenida Sunyaxchen 6, 25, 77509 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Traveling as a vegetarian can be challenging, luckily in Cancun there's Restaurantes 100% Natural. Unlike the majority of restaurants in the area, they have a vast selection of delicious vegetarian dishes made from fresh local ingredients. In...
Xel-ha M 2 13 SMZ 28, 28, 77501 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Mercado 28, or Mercado Veintiocho, is a huge flea market in downtown Cancún, where you'll encounter not only tasty tacos, but an assortment of tourist items mixed in alongside handmade goods of all shapes and sizes. Take a break from haggling with...
Calle 34, Centro, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
This Playa del Carmen restaurant takes its name from a traditional Mexican dish known as aguachile: chili-marinated shrimp with lime juice, onion, and sometimes other ingredients that lend it a strong, spicy-citrus flavor. With its open-air...
Kukulkan, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Situated on Cancun's lagoon with indoor or alfresco seating, this is one of the area's classic restaurants. Northern Italian cuisine made with fresh local ingredients is the specialty, along with excellent service.
Quinta Avenida 17 Mz. 27 Lote 14, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
It may look like an ordinary 5a Avenida restaurant from the outside, but once inside Aldea Corazón, you're transported to an intimate jungle enclave - complete with small cenote and Maya ruins. It's the perfect rendezvous place after a busy day of...
Avenida KM 13,5. Lote 24, Blvd. Kukulcan Km. 9.5, Zona Hotelera, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
When in Cancun or on the Riviera Maya, go to Cenacolo Mare—an Italian restaurant that specializes in pasta and seafood. This is their Mediterranean appetizer consisting of mozzarella, zucchini, mushrooms, sprouts, and roasted pepper and pesto...
Av. Benito Juárez, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
While planning a solo trip to Mexico, one is generally warned, "Don't talk to strangers." The truth of the matter is that the "strangers," or locals as I like to call them, know all the details of what to do, and most importantly, what to eat. So...
Calle Margaritas #25 Mz 20 SM 22, Centro, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Stepping into Labná is like stepping into a Yucatécan home. The vaulted ceiling - decorated with a pre- Hispanic mural - evokes the area's past. The specialty here is authentic - and excellent - Maya cuisine. Leading the list of local favorites...
Avenida Constituyentes, Quintas del Carmen, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
A Playa del Carmen mainstay, El Fogón is an open-air taquéria off the beaten path of bustling Quinta Avenida. If you're in the mood for authentic Mexican dishes and drinks, this is the place. Tacos al pastor (served only at night), chorizo,...
Av 38 Norte Mz. 4 Lote 3, Zazil-ha, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
When visiting Playa del Carmen, La Cueva del Chango (Monkey's Cave) is an especially good choice for breakfast. Nestled in a jungle setting with Maya gods peeking through the patio décor, breakfast favorites include fresh papaya, huevos a la...