Israel, Mexico, Asia and More Represented in Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants

Playa del Carmen, affectionately referred to as "Playa" by locals, was once just a small fishing town where you could catch the ferry to Cozumel. However Playa has rapidly grown into a bustling, yet still charming beach town that tourists from all over the world visit. No matter how big Playa gets, it never loses it's bohemian feel.

Like it's residents, many of whom are expats from other countries, Playa del Carmen's cuisine is international, and you'll find upscale fine dining and small "hole in the wall" eateries that serve tempting creations from all over the globe. Pedestrian walkway 5th Avenue is an obvious choice for a meal in Playa del Carmen, but many of Playa's best restaurants are off the beaten path (the beaten path being 5th Avenue).

For a true international experience in one place, Playa del Carmen's best restaurant, Oh Lala!, offers very few tables, so it's best to make a reservation. A taste of Israel can be found at an economical price at Falafel Nessya.

At Imprevist, Asian fusion cuisine is prepared by a Guatemalan Chef, and at Don Chendo, diners will find the only Chicago-style pizza in Playa del Carmen.

Babe's Noodles serves delicious Thai dishes (and yummy mojitos), while Sushi Club offers fresh sushi and a chic ambiance. Lido Beach Club serves breakfast, lunch and early dinner right on the beach, and Blue Lobster is known for steak and well, lobster.

Try a different type of cuisine each evening in Playa del Carmen's international restaurants.


For an authentic Mexican experience, stop by La Perla Pixan Cuisine & Mexcal Store. Adored by locals, La Perla Pixan incorporates flavors from all over Mexico and serves them with their own special twist. Just say no to Jose Cuervo and try one of their mezcal cocktails (Mezcal is all the rage, don't you know?). They also sell bottles of many different types of mezcal and pulque. The palapa roof, open kitchen, funky interior and live music make this one of the coolest restaurants in Playa. Seating is mostly outdoors. What's that you smell? Copal, the Mayans preferred ceremonial incense.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: La Perla Pixan Cuisine & Mexcal Store offers the real taste of Mexico in a hip, funky atmosphere.

Kristin's expert tip: Make reservations if you plan to visit with a group.

Read more about La Perla Pixan Cuisine & Mezcal Store →

Don Chendo serves Playa del Carmen's only Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and it is delicious. The owner Russell is from New York, but worked at Uno's Pizzeria in Chicago. If that isn't reason enough to go, they also serve spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan and a killer Antipasto salad. Adult beverages include, beer, wine and spirits, and are all served in chilled glasses. The decor is simple and clean. Don Chendo is open Monday through Saturday from 3 pm to 10:50 pm and from 3 pm to 10 pm on Sundays. Like many area restaurants, they are normally closed the month of September.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Don Chendo is the only place in Playa del Carmen that serves Chicago-style deep dish pizza.

Kristin's expert tip: Don Chendo is small so try to go during off-peak times.

Read more about Don Chendo →

La Cueva del Chango is one of "Playa's" most popular restaurants and has been open for almost 20 years. 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 (eggs) rancheros or divorciados. 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.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Some say Cueva del Chango serves the best breakfast in Playa del Carmen. The ambiance can't be beat.

Kristin's expert tip: Get there early to get a table and avoid a wait.

Read more about La Cueva del Chango →


Sushi is a little different in Mexico, in a very good way, and Sushi Club, located on 26th Street between 5th Avenue & 10th Avenue, does sushi well. With an upscale, romantic, chic ambiance and a DJ, patrons can settle in and enjoy rolls, sashimi, edamame, wok dishes, cocktails and mocktails. Sushi Club offers some interesting specials like all-you-can-eat and � price sushi on some days. They also deliver and serve breakfast. Try the Cuban (with plantain), Bala'am, Beach or Buenos Aires rolls and the Chocolate Lust for dessert.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Sushi Lalo Wey serves fresh yummy sushi rolls at a great price.

Kristin's expert tip: Cream cheese is a popular ingredient in sushi rolls in Mexico, but don't order too many rolls that have cream cheese in them at the same time.

Read more about Sushi Club →

Breakfast, lunch or an early dinner on the beach? Si por favor! Lido Beach Club provides everything from live music and a great staff to yummy food and drinks at good prices, all on the shores of the turquoise blue Caribbean Sea. Loved by locals, expats and tourists, Lido is located on the beach between 10th and 12th Streets (Calle 10 y 12), and offers different specials every day and buckets of ice cold cerveza. Don't miss the shrimp tacos, tuna tostadas, flank steak quesadilla and drinks served in real coconuts.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: You can rent a lounge chair at Lido Beach Club for 200 pesos and you get it back in drinks/food.

Kristin's expert tip: The best seats in the house at Lido Beach Club are the swings at the bar.

Read more about Lido Beach Club →

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 and 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. Visitors love the festive atmosphere, the menu, which is on a giant board, and the 5th Avenue location. You can make a reservation on their website if you don't feel like testing your Spanish over the phone.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Blue Lobster is the place to go for well, lobster, in Playa del Carmen.

Kristin's expert tip: Since it's located right off 5th Avenue, this is a great place to people watch during your meal. Sit on the terrace.

Read more about Blue Lobster →

This fun restaurant is decorated with a retro 40s and 50s hipster motif. Thai fusion 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. Smoking is not permitted at Babe's, not even in the outdoor seating section.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Babe's Noodles and Bar serves scrumptious fusion Thai dishes.

Kristin's expert tip: Try one of Babe's famous mojitos.

Read more about Babe's Noodles and Bar →

Imprevist is another spectacular restaurant in Playa del Carmen that is not located on 5th Avenue. Open for Sunday-style breakfast and brunch from 7 am to 2 pm and dinner from 6 pm to 11 pm (they are only open for lunch on Sundays) this popular restaurant serves international and Asian fusion dishes. Guatemalan Chef Juan Diego Solombrino has trained and worked all over the world and co-owns the restaurant with two childhood friends. The tasting menu with wine pairing is a highlight. Both air-conditioned and outdoor seating are available. Like a song you're hearing? Ask for their playlist.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Imprevist serves creative, quality cuisine in an intimate ambiance.

Kristin's expert tip: Try Imprevist for a delicious breakfast/brunch.

Read more about Imprevist →

Falafel and hummus in Mexico? Si senor! This hip little "hole in the wall" eatery is owned by an Israeli woman. There are only three menu selections but they are fresh and economical and pickled salad options have a Mexican flare. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options are available, as well as free WiFi. Falafel Nessya does not serve alcohol and there is no air-conditioning but there are plenty of fans and seating for about ten people. They are open daily from noon to 10:45 pm. Service is friendly and efficient.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Falafel Nessya serves delicious food at an economical price in a casual atmosphere.

Kristin's expert tip: Go early in the day when the fresh pitas are still warm.

Read more about Falafel Nessya →

Oh Lala! opened in 2011 and quickly became a favorite of both tourists and locals. With only a few tables, it's best to make a reservation, maybe even before you arrive in Playa del Carmen. Both indoor and outdoor seating is available. Oh Lala! is a fine dining restaurant, but there is not dress code and prices are not off the charts (prices on the website are in Mexican pesos). The decor is very simple, service is excellent and the owners and staff warm and welcoming. Open only for dinner, Oh Lala! serves international dishes and is closed on Sundays.

Recommended for Playa del Carmen's Best Restaurants because: Oh Lala! simply offers the best food, service and ambiance in Playa del Carmen.

Kristin's expert tip: Try the Passion Fruit Martini!

Read more about Oh Lala! →


Meet Kristin Busse

After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.

Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University....  More About Kristin