During my nine months of living in Playa del Carmen, I sought out the best restaurants, bars, and food in town. You can find some of my tips for great tacos, the best breakfast in Playa del Carmen, and other spots in town. I even compiled a list of my top tips for Playa del Carmen.
But these are the four places that didn’t fit into any of the other posts, and that have become my favorite restaurants in Playa del Carmen, that I go to the most often.
Las Hijas de la Tostada
Although Las Hijas de la Tostada has tacos, ceviche, and many other dishes on the menu, the seafood tostadas are the star of the show here. The sandia tostada (tuna & watermelon) is one of my favorite foods in town, followed by the tuna carnitas tostada. With a full bar, this is a great spot to stop in for an afternoon beer and snack.
Alternative Recommendations: You can also find great seafood tostadas at Los Aguachiles (location), which has two locations in Playa del Carmen and also a location in both Tulum and Cancun. And Chiltepan Marisquillos (location) is also one of my favorite restaurants for several seafood dishes.
Osteria de Roma
There is no shortage of great Italian restaurants in Playa del Carmen, due to the large Italian population throughout the Riviera Maya. But I think Osteria de Roma is the best. It isn’t in a fancy resort and is far enough off the main tourist drag of 5th Ave that you have to seek this place out to find it. But when you do, you’ll typically see every table taken and likely a wait. The menu is simple pastas and Roman style pizza, but Federica (the owner) shows her Italian pride through the food. There’s a reason why this is a top-rated restaurant on Trip Advisor.
Alternative Recommendations: I have a hard time deciding the next best Italian restaurants. But if you are uptown, then Salento (location) is a great choice. If you are downtown, then La Famiglia and Romeo Trattoria are both popular.
When I asked about the concept here, the chef told me he describes Primo as “craft Mexican.” The premise is that every entree is cooked with wood or charcoal, and they even have an underground pit to cook things like duck pibil and the short rib. You can pair these with the ceviche or the catch of the day tostadas to create your own surf ‘n turf. They also have a great cocktail list.
Alternative Recommendations: Plank is a lively restaurant that serves an array of steaks and smoked meats on a wooden plank. It’s in the heart of the tourist area though, so prices are a bit higher for what you get. For somewhere a bit quieter and more relaxed (also generally older clientele), 500 Gramos Grill is a popular steakhouse & Italian influenced eatery hidden in the Hotel San Pedro.
Off the Vine
Off the Vine is a local wine distributor for many bars and restaurants in the region as well as a retail store. It’s also the best wine bar in Playa del Carmen. They have also created a small food menu and an outdoor dining area so you can buy a bottle to take home, or have it opened and enjoy it on site. What makes this place especially great though is the inventory of Mexican wines they keep in stock. Although Mexican wine making is still in its infancy, its vineyards are the oldest in North America. Come here to give some of it a try.
Alternative Recommendation: if you’re willing to take a short cab ride outside the main tourist area, then you will find Wine O’ Clock is a gem with great wine, food, and live music. Location