Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants

Out of all the restaurants in a city, 10Best narrows the options to those places with the most appeal and the best reputations. We offer carefully vetted selections to let you explore Playa Del Carmen dining on your own. If time is really tight, though, and you don't have the leisure to look through all our offerings, we present our Playa Del Carmen Best Restaurants list. Here, we distill the best businesses down to a special selection of ten. These places promise a stellar experience and a taste of the city that you just can't miss.

8 Blue Lobster
This romantic fine dining establishment offers indoor white linen dining, as well as terrace tables for those warm evenings. Popular menu items include steaks grilled to order, such as the juicy t-bone. Assess your appetite and choose a lobster from the tank — you'll be charged according to its weight. Ceviche and the shrimp with lime butter are other favorites from the sea. The bar often features live music. (52-984-873-1360)

7 Java Joe's
Java Joe's has just what you need after a hard night of partying in Playa. Grab a Café Americano or an espresso with a "hangover special" on the side — a fried egg and Canadian bacon are served atop an English muffin. Java Joe's offers 16 different varieties of bagels. If you are in the mood for something heartier, try a bagel sandwich with tuna or your meat and cheese of choice. For those hot days, Java Joe's mixes up iced mochas. Get one to go along with a boxed lunch and eat on the beach. (52-984-876-2694)

6 Tarraya Restaurant and Bar
When a restaurant is located in a simple wooden shack on the beach, you know that fish is as fresh as it gets. The owners of Tarraya are fishermen themselves and used to supply local restaurants with fresh fish until they opened their own spot. One house special worth trying is the tik-n-xic — fish marinated in achiote and orange sauce and steamed wrapped in a banana leaf. (52-984-873-2040)

5 La Parrilla
This lively Mexican grill serves the traditional Mexican fare that you will recognize from home — enchiladas, quesadillas and killer margaritas. The house special is the parrilla mixta, a savory concoction of marinated and grilled seafood, chicken and steak. Vegetarians need not fear, since there are plenty of fresh salads and bean-based items on the menu. There is live music every evening beginning at 8pm. (52-984-873-0687)

4 Babe's Noodles and Bar
This fun restaurant is decorated with a retro 40s and 50s hipster motif. Thai food is the main fare, but that doesn't stop the chef from experimenting with other international favorites on occasion. Vegetarians love this spot for its creative salads and meatless stir frys seasoned with lime, ginger and curry. Homemade bread and the spring rolls in peanut sauce are other house specialties. Regular portions are large, so consider ordering a half-portion if you have a small appetite. (52-984-804-1998)

3 Media Luna
Inside or outside? You have your choice at this spot which offers options of upstairs dining on a terrace or street-side in the café. The menu has plenty of fresh seafood and pasta options, with a few vegetarian dishes for good measure. Blackened fish is served topped with mango salsa and a side of sesame rice. For something a bit different, sample the curried root vegetable puree drizzled with cilantro cream. The daily specials are always a good bet since the chef gets particularly creative with the day's freshest catch. (52-984-873-0526)

2 Yaxché
The name of this restaurant means "green tree" in ancient Mayan, and the restaurant is decorated according to this theme. Large inscribed stones replicate what you would find at a ruin, and there are murals of Mayan gods painted on the walls. This is regional cooking at its best, using local spices and produce. Start with the shrimp tacos and then sample the bean broth soup, rich with root vegetables, tomatoes and corn. An excellent salad mixes cucumber, jicama and fruits of the season with a lemon juice and paprika dressing. Many of the entrees are bean- or root-vegetable-based, so vegetarians will find a happy home here. Another good bet is the sour orange marinated pork baked in a banana leaf. A full array of fresh fruit drinks are available, and the restaurant boasts an impressive tequila list. (52-984-873-2502)

1 La Cueva del Chango
This "cave" actually makes you feel like you're picnicking at a secluded jungle spot. Waterfalls, a fishpond, exotic birds and natural wood and stone evoke a tranquil, natural setting. For breakfast, try freshly ground coffee, fresh-squeezed juices and huevos rancheros. The restaurant makes all of their own breads, salsas and tortillas. Dinner faves include shrimp spiced with cinnamon and tuna fish tostadas. Be sure to sample one of the Mexican wines on the menu. (52-984-873-2137)

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Maps and Directions

Blue Lobster 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Latin, Mexican, Seafood, Steakhouse
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Live Music
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
Java Joe's 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: American, Bakery, Coffee Shop
Dining Options: Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Take Out
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
Tarraya Restaurant and Bar 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Family Friendly, Group Friendly
Cuisine: Latin, Local Specialty, Mexican, Seafood
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
La Parrilla 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Family Friendly, Group Friendly, Live Music
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
COST: $$
Babe's Noodles and Bar 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Asian, Thai, Vegetarian
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Group Friendly
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
Media Luna 10Best List Arrow
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
Yaxché 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Bar / Lounge, Family Friendly, Group Friendly
Cuisine: Local Specialty
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
COST: $$
La Cueva del Chango 10Best List Arrow
Dining Options: Family Friendly, Group Friendly
Cuisine: Latin, Mexican
Neighborhood: Playa del Carmen
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