Playa del Carmen is the newest favorite tourist spot of Mexico. Playa del Carmen was a fishing village for decades and it was a popular stop because of the ferry station to go to the Island of Cozumel. "Playa" as we locals call it, as a new city, just celebrated their 24th anniversary last July, 2017. During Prehispanic times, Playa was called Xaman Ha "Waters of the North" and together with Zamma (Tulum), Xcaret, and Xell-Ha, were an important coastal, commercial, and trade route cities.
Today Playa, is a cosmopolitan city, with a mixed population of 159,000 people, with local Mayan descendants and Mexicans from all over the country, to thousands of Italians, Argentinians, Canadians, Americans, South Americans and Europeans from different Nations.
Playa is a place full of life and diversity, with day and night activities for every taste and choice. In Playa you can rest on the beach, take a Catamaran tour along the coast, go for a snorkeling trip or scuba diving in the Cenotes. Playa has a large number of restaurants and bars, located mostly on the beach and on the popular fifth avenue, ten avenue and the surrounding streets. Playa is also popular for the wild night life, 10th and 12th street "Calle 10 y Calle 12" are the most popular streets to go to the dancing clubs, bars and lounges. (Source INEGI 2017.)
Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen has a large number of Restaurants. It is hard to recommend or to say which one is the best Restaurant. In my opinion some of the new restaurants are a bit overpriced. I think in general the restaurants that have been open for over two years will offer good quality food, as in Mexico the ingredients are fresh and available all year long. I could recommend you over ten or more places to go, but I will recommend mostly the traditional restaurants that are very popular for locals and not well advertized or advertized at all.
Since 1992. This carnitas restaurant is located on 1st south street, between 20th and 25th av. Close to the USA consulate, one block from the shoe store Tres Hermanos on Juarez av. Good tacos and salsa, ask for their specialty of Kastacan tacos, the best one you can try in Playa.
Carnitas de la 38
This is a Taco street stand on calle 38th, close to the corner of 35th av. They are open from 7 in the morning to 11 AM. Their surtida is not recommendable for weak stomachs, but; their Maciza is amazingly tasty.
Humble local restaurant, located on 30th av and 28th street. Famous for their "Barbacoa" on the weekends. They open every day for breakfast and lunch, fresh fruit, salads and juices are serve everyday. Try their Chiles rellenos and cheese or tinga Flautas. Barbacoa is a pulled tender sheep meat, cook normally in a pit. Barbacoa is serve in consommé, tacos and flautas (deep fried tacos).
La Cueva del Chango
Mexican restaurant open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. One of the oldest and nicest restaurants in Playa. Located on 38th street between 5th av and the beach, cross street from a pizza restaurant. Very popular for breakfast and lunch, be aware of the waiting list to be seated.
A very popular fish and sea food restaurant. Located on 40th st between 5th and 10th av. This local rest with plastic tables and chairs is one of my favorite restaurants in Playa. I like their ceviche mixto and breaded shrimp, also very popular for their fried fresh whole fish, do not forget to order corn Tortillas with your food.