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Several tacos laid across a plate, topped with salsa and roasted vegetables, on a bright background
A spread at Aca Tacos de Canasta
Aca Tacos de Canasta [Facebook]

The 21 Essential Tulum Restaurants

From glitzy jungle restaurants by big Mexico City chefs to hangover busters at a local spot in the downtown mercado, here’s where to eat in the buzzy beachside town

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A spread at Aca Tacos de Canasta
| Aca Tacos de Canasta [Facebook]

Paradise comes with a huge price tag. Back in the early ’90s, Tulum was a sleepy pueblo on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, a day trip from a hotel in Playa del Carmen or Cancún to see the ruins and walk around downtown. But by the end of the 20th century, Tulum was well on its way to becoming a global destination, first for hippies seeking yoga and meditation retreats, then for celebrities, and then for developers. International investors, hoteliers, restaurant groups from Mexico City, and chefs from all over the world flocked there, eventually creating an expensive tropical playground by the sea.

These days, you can throw a stone from your hotel and hit a trendy outdoor restaurant set on decomposed granite with a wood-fired oven cooking local, foraged ingredients — exactly the sort of restaurant you’d expect from a place with Tulum’s reputation. But over the past couple of years, new chefs from all over Mexico (often recruited by Mexico City restaurant groups) have increased competition and brought other regional cuisines and specialties to town. And there are even a few affordable stalwarts of old Tulum that have survived the area’s economic evolution.

Still, dining in Tulum is mostly expensive, and if you’re going to drop over $300 on dinner and drinks for two, you’d better make sure your meal is worth it. The best restaurants deliver all the magic, romance, and aesthetic promised by the trendy beachside destination. They serve dishes elevated by the local flora and fauna and cook with techniques inherited from the Maya; that often includes recaudos (colorful herbal marinades), especially grilled octopus in a recaudo negro, a dish made iconic by chef Jose Luis Hinostroza’s Arca.

Here are the best places to find outdoor grilling, street food, Mexican and Yucatan cuisine, and even a little bit of old Tulum.

Price per person, excluding alcohol:

$ = Less than 200 pesos (less than USD $10)

$$ = 200 - 400 pesos (USD $10 to USD $20)

$$$ = 400 - 800 pesos (USD $20 to USD $40)

$$$$ = More than 800 pesos (more than USD $40)

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Cetli

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Carretera 109 Tulum Coba Km 2.5, Villas Tulum, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico
01 984 108 0681
Visit Website

Inspired by the gastronomy of her home state of Puebla, chef Claudia Perez Rivas prepares moles and other regional dishes in an older style of Mexican haute cuisine that’s a rare treat these days. Her seasonal Pueblan classic, chiles en nogada, is perfectly balanced between savory meat, fruity picadillo, roasted poblano, and silky white walnut sauce. Local fish is plated similarly, but with a white mole thickened by almonds, and Perez prepares several moles with rolled chicken breast stuffed with local chaya as well. Enjoy all of it surrounded by the Mexican folk art that covers the white adobe walls, and be sure to get some of the signature mole pastes to take back home. [$$]

From above, a fish fillet on branded plate covered in white mole sauce topped with a sprig of parsley, dark chocolate sauce and sesame, on a wood table beside serveware and a small package wrapped in corn husk
Fish in white almond mole with parsley, dark chocolate sauce, and sesame
Cetli [Facebook]

2. Doña Paty Tacos de Guisado

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Av. Yodzonot, Calle 19 Colonia Tumben Kaa, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Add a stop to visit Doña Paty on your Tulum taco crawl for her tacos de guisados, Mexican stews ladled into fresh corn tortillas. The guisados change from day to day, but Doña Paty usually offers around 10 classics, like chicken meatball in salsa, ham and cheese croquettes, dark and smoky pork ribs in chile morita, chile strips and melted cheese, and chiles rellenos. And say yes when she asks if you want rice on the taco; it helps keep all the savory juices on the tortilla. Doña Paty also serves breakfasts like chilaquiles, huevos a la mexicana, and even fluffy pancakes. [$]

Scrambled eggs with sauteed chaya
Huevo con chaya
Doña Paty Tacos de Guisado [facebook]

3. Aca Tacos de Canasta

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Tulum Centro, Tulum
Quintana Roo, Mexico

Among the street vendors on Avenida Satélite, look for a bright yellow banner, tan beach umbrella, and pair of bamboo tiki bars that serve as a taco stand. That’s where you’ll find the perfect midmorning snack: tacos de canasta (steamed tacos) filled with scrambled eggs with the spinachlike chaya, red mole with chicken, or chicharron prensado (intense pork marinated in adobo). As they steam, the tortillas absorb the flavors and colors of the fillings until they give off a sweaty, oily glow. Order five and a fresh squeezed juice to fuel up for shopping in downtown Tulum. [$]

Several tacos laid across a plate, topped with salsa and roasted vegetables, on a bright background
Tacos from Aca
Aca Tacos de Canasta [Facebook]

4. Taqueria Honorio

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Satélite Sur Tulum Q.R. Mexico, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

This trendy street stand became Tulum’s destination taqueria and a viral sensation during chef Rene Redzepi’s residency at Noma Mexico in 2017, when visiting foodies from the U.S. spilled over into Taqueria Honorio, filling Instagram with mouthwatering posts of Yucatán-style tortas de lechón (suckling pig), tacos de cochinita pibil (roasted marinated pork), and relleno negro de pavo (marinated turkey). These dishes offer a masterclass in recaudos of Maya cuisine: the acidic recaudo rojo on the cochinita pibil, the charred and smoky recaudo negro for the relleno negro, and the all-purpose spice blend, or recaudo blanco, that scents the slow roasted suckling pig. Join the crowd at this trendy street food stand and snack on the essential flavors and colors of the Yucatán. [$]

A tray stacked with several types of tacos, including ingredients like chicharron, boiled egg, meat, and pickled vegetables
Tacos from Taqueria Honorio
Taqueria Honorio [facebook]

5. Antojitos La Chiapaneca

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Calle Acuario Nte. 3, Tulum Centro, Tobiano, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Don’t let the name fool you. La Chiapaneca (the Chiapan) specializes in Yucatán-style tacos de al pastor and antojitos like panuchos (bean and meat-filled tortillas) and salbutes, a slightly puffed fried tortilla topped with chicken in recaudo rojo and vegetables. Try the gringa, which consists of al pastor with melted cheese in a flour tortilla. Like so many taquerias in town, there are vegetarian options too. [$]

6. Campanella Cremerie

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Av. Tulum, Tulum Centro, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

With delicious gelato, high-quality coffee made with beans from Veracruz, and waffles, Tulum’s most inviting cafe is a crowd favorite any time of day. There’s a juice bar and paninis for lunch, double espresso to pick you up in the afternoon before another fun-filled evening of food and drink, and sweet gelato to end an evening after dinner and a stroll. With seasonal flavors like Argentine caramel, lemon pie with toasted coconut, and Sicilian pistachio, there’s something for every palate, and it’s all better as an affogato. [$]

At night, diners sit at outdoor tables in front of the lit-up Campanella Cremerie sign, which is displayed above the interior of the gelateria where an ice cream counter is visible and servers move about.
Campanella Cremerie
Campanella Cremerie [Facebook]

7. Encanto Cantina

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Av. Tulum 21, Tulum Centro, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Grab a seat in the enchanting backyard garden of this downtown bar for a serious dive into the universe of Mexican spirits: mezcal, raicilla, sotol made from dasylirion wheeleri, and pox, a Mayan corn distillate from Chiapas. The menu has plenty of tacos, ceviches, and botanas to nosh on, while you sip refreshing agave cocktails, like one that combines pox and licor de damiana (or a bright, tangy gin tonic, if you prefer). Be sure to try a flight of mezcal or, better yet, multiple Mexican spirits. [$$]

From above, several people enjoy a spread of snacks and drinks on a glass table above pebble flooring
Tacos, ceviche, and drinks
Encanto Cantina [Facebook]

8. Sabor de Mar

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Calle Jupiter Manzana 5, Lote 17 Local 4 centro, Tulum Centro, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

For a taste of Mexican seafood in Tulum you can count on this Sinaloa-style mariscos restaurant downtown. The menu includes aguachiles, tostadas mixtas covered in fresh fish and seafood, and the latest trend in Sinaloa (and LA): several kinds of torres de mariscos (Mexican seafood towers). The towers come decoratively stacked with layers of avocado fans, diced vegetables, and seafood drowned in rich sauces and lime juice. The Escuinapense tower, for example, is loaded with dry shrimp from the town of Escuinapa, Sinaloa, while the Mazatleca comes with aguachile, raw tuna, and cooked shrimp. [$$] 

9. Rincon de Jade

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Calle Orión Sur, Tulum Centro, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Dining exclusively at restaurants with international influences and chefs can make you forget you’re in Mexico. A trip to the Mercado de Tulum will reorient you around local gastronomy, especially if you stop by the Rincon de Jade stall, where Keily Medina serves regional specialities like albondigas paired with fideos. Check out the chirmole de pollo (relleno negro), a dark stew blackened by recaudo negro with chicken and a hard boiled egg, or the frijol con puerco, a rich pork and bean stew full of epazote that’s best eaten with a raw habanero as a chaser to each bite. Then there’s the Sunday morning mondongo, the best hangover cure in town. Imagine a slow cooked menudo full of stomach, tripe, and other offal that’s soaked in Seville orange juice, then stained dark red by recaudo rojo (red achiote paste). If the mondongo doesn’t cure you, the raw habanero that comes on the side will make you forget all about your headache. [$]

Saucy shredded meat on a decorative plate beside sliced avocado, lime wedge, and rice, on a checkered tablecloth
A full meal at Rincon de Jade
Rincon de Jade [Facebook]

10. Verdant

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La Veleta, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico
044 984 132 8378
Visit Website

Chefs Maya Scales, a veteran of Arca and Mexico City’s Izote, and Benjamin Coe, of the Bay Area’s Morimoto Napa, Commis, and Box and Bells, co-created this zero-waste, environmentally conscious space in Tulum. Options might include beautiful Caribbean prawns poached in seawater, or local grouper with nixtamalized tomatoes that pays homage to pre-Hispanic cooking methods. Tasting menus change regularly, but there’s always a vegetarian menu with plates like coal-roasted Bacalar cabbage in a spicy Trinidadian curry, made from herbs and vegetables grown in the rooftop garden. [$$$]

An open-air dining room blends seamlessly with an uncovered patio covered in potted plants and natural greenery. The space features long geometric wood beams, soft pendant lighting inside and out, tile flooring, and light wood chairs and bar stools.
Outside Verdant
Verdant [official]

11. Mi Amor

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Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 4.1, Zona Hotelera Tulum, Zona Costera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Couples staying at this sexy boutique hotel on the beach are in for a treat at chef Paul Bentley’s Mediterreanean a la Mexicana restaurant overlooking a beautiful ocean view. Bentley, who is a veteran of the new Guadalajara scene, serves fresh shrimp tagliatelle, tacos, and juicy burgers for lunch. Dinner brings braised, tender octopus over squid ink garganelli, tuna crudo, and a thick New York steak, all paired with an excellent gin and tonic menu. [$$$]

An open-air dining room looking out on the sea with empty tables set for breakfast
Mi Amor dining room
Mi Amor [Facebook]

12. Gitano

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Beach Road Km. 7, Boca Paila
QRO, Mexico

The vibe is the allure at this swank jungle getaway with an old-world feel that merges 17th century Mexican architecture, candlelit dinners, and overgrown palm trees and vines. The food is a blend of Meditteranean mezze, Mexican American tacos, and appetizers like quesadillas cut into acute triangles like the ones at American chain restaurants. Order a smoky, citrusy Gitano Swizzle or any of the delicious tropical mezcal cocktails, and snack away in this irresistibly hip setting. [$$$]

The entrance to an outdoor seating area, surrounded by lush forest, with sun peaking through the leaves, and a bright neon sign bearing the name Gitano
Outside Gitano
Gitano [Facebook]

13. RosaNegra

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Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila 5-Km 7, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

If a clubby rainforest patio sounds like your kind of scene, head to Rosanegra, a wealthy playpen billed as a tribute to Latin America (that’s such a hit with chilangos that they opened one in Mexico City’s upscale Polanco neighborhood). Soft light emanates from hanging bamboo coche lampshades, as beautiful patrons wave sparklers and dine on ceviche served in terrariums, A5 wagyu tacos with excessively sauce-dotted plates, and giant churro hoops shooting out of martini glasses. Order the millionaire, a surf-and-turf combo of a Hyogo Prefecture 8-ounce New York Kobe cut, paired with lobster tail imported from the Mediterranean or a Nigerian U2 Tiger Shrimp. You’ve booked a Sea Villa at Azulik. You can afford it. [$$$$]

A large empty dining room covered in natural wood with a stone wall in the back, large pop-arty decorations, hanging woven lanterns, and tables set for dinner
Inside RosaNegra
RosaNegra [Facebook]

14. Hartwood

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Carretera Tulum Boca Paila 7.6Km, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Maintaining respect for the community and environment, chef Eric Werner leads the team at one of Tulum’s most renowned restaurants as they forage in the surrounding areas, source ingredients from local markets, and cook freshly caught seafood over fire. The chef leaves local Mexican food culture in the hands of Tulum’s traditional cooks; he focuses on cooking in Mexico, rather than cooking Mexican cuisine. In reality, that translates to sea bream fillets, Caribbean lobster, and arrachera cuts of Angus beef cooked on a wood-fired grill, served simply with bitter greens and roasted vegetables. Seated under simple white awnings on a gravel floor, the restaurant evokes a Tulum before the hype. [$$$$]

A large roast pork belly, with some sliced, beside roasted pineapple and tortillas
Agave pork belly
Hartwood [Facebook]

15. Arca

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Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 7.6, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

With its campsite kitchen and cozy, evening-picnic atmosphere, Arca should be at the top of your list for its artful, microseasonal cuisine, complete with ingredients that taste as if they were picked just beyond the fan palms surrounding the outdoor space. It’s the flagship restaurant of Mexican-American chef Jose Luis Hinostroza, whose resume includes Alinea, El Celler de Can Roca, De Kromme Watergang, and Noma. Crispy, spinachlike chaya enhances the grassy flavors of grilled avocado and buffets soft-shell crab in amaranth tempura. Don’t miss Hinostroza’s grilled octopus in recaudo negro marinade, which has become part of the Tulum canon. [$$$$]

A layer of thin octopus terrine sits on top of various mashed vegetables on top of a charred tostada, all sitting on a black plate on a cement gray background.
Grilled octopus terrine
Erick Huicochea

16. Bal Nak

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Av. Boca Paila KM 7.5, Tulum Beach, 77766 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Fashionable, modern Mexican fine dining is alive and well at Bal Nak, a lush outdoor restaurant where you feel like you’re at a backyard party in the jungle. Just look at the ceramic plates of almond mole served with duck breast, sweet and smoky mole of Oaxacan chilhuacle chiles paired with roast suckling pig and an hoja santa tamal, and chargrilled watermelon aguachile in a spicy guava sauce. Whatever you get, start with grilled chocolata clams and a beetroot cocktail. [$$$]

From above, a bright plate with two large hunks of roasted pig in the center in a pool of mole, with vegetables arranged around the perimeter, and a small pyramid-shaped tamal
Roast pig with mole and hoja santa tamal
Bal Nak [Facebook]

17. Bak

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Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 8.5, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

This luxury steakhouse and raw bar by Grupo Anderson’s sources seafood and steaks internationally. Oysters arrive from the U.S. East Coast, crab legs from Alaska, Kobe rib-eyes from Hyogo Prefecture, and corn-fed tomahawks from the American Midwest. Enjoy fresh Caribbean lobster tails and USDA prime cuts, braised in intense smoke from the restaurant’s Josper coal oven, and sip on refreshing mezcal and tequila cocktails on the stylish wooden deck. [$$$$]

Raw seafood variety served on ice in a large tree stump, beside sauces and condiments on a palm-laden table
Ocean platter at Bak
Bak [Facebook]

18. Atila

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Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila km 7.6, Tulum Beach, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

The latest project by chef Jose Luis Hinostroza is a brasserie serving bar bites with ingredients from the Yucatán, paired with a fine list of biodynamic and natural wines from the peninsula, as well as a selection of robust orange wines from Italy. It’s the ideal predinner outing in a relaxed, elegant outdoor setting. Try the hamachi crudo on lemon verbena coconut flatbread, and a cheese board accompanied by a zapote negro compote with a chilled bottle of Bichi, a natural wine from Tecate. [$$$]

From above, a plate on stone steps, with a large short rib sliced with the bone, in a creamy sauce dotted with chile oil
Miso-glazed short rib, bone marrow, chile morita oil
Atila [Facebook]

19. La Corriente Cevicheria Nais

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Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum Beach, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Launched in the early days of Tijuana’s 2010s local bar renaissance, the fashionable La Corriente Cevicheria Nais has expanded into a national chain, including a location in Tulum that has the fun, rustic feel of Disney’s Frontierland. The ceviche tostadas are excellent paired with spicy mezcal cocktails or Tijuana-style clamatos — cocktails of beer and Clamato juice, dubbed the “Mexican Bloody Mary” on the menu here. Try a campechana, an old-school ceviche-stand favorite of mixed seafood cocktail in a schooner glass, or go for smoked-marlin tacos or a whole pulpo zarandeado, grilled octopus inspired by Tijuana’s fish markets. [$$]

A pepper stuffed with shrimp and cheese on a tortilla drizzled with sauce on a white plate and neutral background
Shrimp and pepper taco
La Corriente Cevicheria Nais [Facebook]

20. NÜ Tulum

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Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila KM 8.7, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

Chef Cesar Castañeda of Mexico City’s Namron Hospitality Group honed his skills at places like Mexico City’s Dulce Patria. Now he’s offering a sophisticated modern Mexican menu at this romantic, candlelit restaurant shrouded in greenery. Order a glass of Mexican wine from the Valle de Guadalupe, and enjoy a sweet, nuanced passionfruit aguachile or grilled oysters lightly scented with notes of anise from local xtabentún liqueur. While many dishes focus on Mayan techniques and ingredients, some look outward, like the mole negro, which presents a contemporary take on the Oaxacan classic with duck (juicy on the inside, crispy skin on the outside) and chochoyotes (masa dumplings). [$$$] 

A bowl of ceviche topped with avocado fans in a sauce dotted with dark spots, in a stone bowl at the edge of a wooden table
Signature green ceviche with celery, apple, onion, avocado and white bean
Nu [Facebook]

21. Ka'an Tulum

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QROO 15, 77086 Sian Ka'an
Q.R., Mexico
01 984 105 3216
Visit Website

A relaxing day on the beach is best spent at cantina Ka’an. You can sink into an equipale chair, dig your feet into the white sand beneath the cool shade of palm trees, sip on a Pescadores Güera blonde ale, and enjoy a sea bream tiradito. All the while, chef Hugo Durán is making corn tortillas from nixtamal for vegetarian tacos of roasted squash, grilled cabbage, and chayote. Or dig into a tamal (there’s always one on the menu), like Durán’s tamal de xpelón, a Yucatan-style bean tamal with a spicy curry. [$$]

Two women stand in the foreground preparing tortillas and cooking them on a griddle, with several other chefs at work in the background in an open air kitchen with a thatched roof.
Preparing blue corn tortillas by hand
Ka’an Tulum [official]

1. Cetli

Carretera 109 Tulum Coba Km 2.5, Villas Tulum, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
From above, a fish fillet on branded plate covered in white mole sauce topped with a sprig of parsley, dark chocolate sauce and sesame, on a wood table beside serveware and a small package wrapped in corn husk
Fish in white almond mole with parsley, dark chocolate sauce, and sesame
Cetli [Facebook]

Inspired by the gastronomy of her home state of Puebla, chef Claudia Perez Rivas prepares moles and other regional dishes in an older style of Mexican haute cuisine that’s a rare treat these days. Her seasonal Pueblan classic, chiles en nogada, is perfectly balanced between savory meat, fruity picadillo, roasted poblano, and silky white walnut sauce. Local fish is plated similarly, but with a white mole thickened by almonds, and Perez prepares several moles with rolled chicken breast stuffed with local chaya as well. Enjoy all of it surrounded by the Mexican folk art that covers the white adobe walls, and be sure to get some of the signature mole pastes to take back home. [$$]

Carretera 109 Tulum Coba Km 2.5, Villas Tulum, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

2. Doña Paty Tacos de Guisado

Av. Yodzonot, Calle 19 Colonia Tumben Kaa, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Scrambled eggs with sauteed chaya
Huevo con chaya
Doña Paty Tacos de Guisado [facebook]

Add a stop to visit Doña Paty on your Tulum taco crawl for her tacos de guisados, Mexican stews ladled into fresh corn tortillas. The guisados change from day to day, but Doña Paty usually offers around 10 classics, like chicken meatball in salsa, ham and cheese croquettes, dark and smoky pork ribs in chile morita, chile strips and melted cheese, and chiles rellenos. And say yes when she asks if you want rice on the taco; it helps keep all the savory juices on the tortilla. Doña Paty also serves breakfasts like chilaquiles, huevos a la mexicana, and even fluffy pancakes. [$]

Av. Yodzonot, Calle 19 Colonia Tumben Kaa, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

3. Aca Tacos de Canasta

Tulum Centro, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Several tacos laid across a plate, topped with salsa and roasted vegetables, on a bright background
Tacos from Aca
Aca Tacos de Canasta [Facebook]

Among the street vendors on Avenida Satélite, look for a bright yellow banner, tan beach umbrella, and pair of bamboo tiki bars that serve as a taco stand. That’s where you’ll find the perfect midmorning snack: tacos de canasta (steamed tacos) filled with scrambled eggs with the spinachlike chaya, red mole with chicken, or chicharron prensado (intense pork marinated in adobo). As they steam, the tortillas absorb the flavors and colors of the fillings until they give off a sweaty, oily glow. Order five and a fresh squeezed juice to fuel up for shopping in downtown Tulum. [$]

Tulum Centro, Tulum
Quintana Roo, Mexico

4. Taqueria Honorio

Satélite Sur Tulum Q.R. Mexico, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A tray stacked with several types of tacos, including ingredients like chicharron, boiled egg, meat, and pickled vegetables
Tacos from Taqueria Honorio
Taqueria Honorio [facebook]

This trendy street stand became Tulum’s destination taqueria and a viral sensation during chef Rene Redzepi’s residency at Noma Mexico in 2017, when visiting foodies from the U.S. spilled over into Taqueria Honorio, filling Instagram with mouthwatering posts of Yucatán-style tortas de lechón (suckling pig), tacos de cochinita pibil (roasted marinated pork), and relleno negro de pavo (marinated turkey). These dishes offer a masterclass in recaudos of Maya cuisine: the acidic recaudo rojo on the cochinita pibil, the charred and smoky recaudo negro for the relleno negro, and the all-purpose spice blend, or recaudo blanco, that scents the slow roasted suckling pig. Join the crowd at this trendy street food stand and snack on the essential flavors and colors of the Yucatán. [$]

Satélite Sur Tulum Q.R. Mexico, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

5. Antojitos La Chiapaneca

Calle Acuario Nte. 3, Tulum Centro, Tobiano, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

Don’t let the name fool you. La Chiapaneca (the Chiapan) specializes in Yucatán-style tacos de al pastor and antojitos like panuchos (bean and meat-filled tortillas) and salbutes, a slightly puffed fried tortilla topped with chicken in recaudo rojo and vegetables. Try the gringa, which consists of al pastor with melted cheese in a flour tortilla. Like so many taquerias in town, there are vegetarian options too. [$]

Calle Acuario Nte. 3, Tulum Centro, Tobiano, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

6. Campanella Cremerie

Av. Tulum, Tulum Centro, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
At night, diners sit at outdoor tables in front of the lit-up Campanella Cremerie sign, which is displayed above the interior of the gelateria where an ice cream counter is visible and servers move about.
Campanella Cremerie
Campanella Cremerie [Facebook]

With delicious gelato, high-quality coffee made with beans from Veracruz, and waffles, Tulum’s most inviting cafe is a crowd favorite any time of day. There’s a juice bar and paninis for lunch, double espresso to pick you up in the afternoon before another fun-filled evening of food and drink, and sweet gelato to end an evening after dinner and a stroll. With seasonal flavors like Argentine caramel, lemon pie with toasted coconut, and Sicilian pistachio, there’s something for every palate, and it’s all better as an affogato. [$]

Av. Tulum, Tulum Centro, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

7. Encanto Cantina

Av. Tulum 21, Tulum Centro, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
From above, several people enjoy a spread of snacks and drinks on a glass table above pebble flooring
Tacos, ceviche, and drinks
Encanto Cantina [Facebook]

Grab a seat in the enchanting backyard garden of this downtown bar for a serious dive into the universe of Mexican spirits: mezcal, raicilla, sotol made from dasylirion wheeleri, and pox, a Mayan corn distillate from Chiapas. The menu has plenty of tacos, ceviches, and botanas to nosh on, while you sip refreshing agave cocktails, like one that combines pox and licor de damiana (or a bright, tangy gin tonic, if you prefer). Be sure to try a flight of mezcal or, better yet, multiple Mexican spirits. [$$]

Av. Tulum 21, Tulum Centro, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

8. Sabor de Mar

Calle Jupiter Manzana 5, Lote 17 Local 4 centro, Tulum Centro, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

For a taste of Mexican seafood in Tulum you can count on this Sinaloa-style mariscos restaurant downtown. The menu includes aguachiles, tostadas mixtas covered in fresh fish and seafood, and the latest trend in Sinaloa (and LA): several kinds of torres de mariscos (Mexican seafood towers). The towers come decoratively stacked with layers of avocado fans, diced vegetables, and seafood drowned in rich sauces and lime juice. The Escuinapense tower, for example, is loaded with dry shrimp from the town of Escuinapa, Sinaloa, while the Mazatleca comes with aguachile, raw tuna, and cooked shrimp. [$$] 

Calle Jupiter Manzana 5, Lote 17 Local 4 centro, Tulum Centro, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

9. Rincon de Jade

Calle Orión Sur, Tulum Centro, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Saucy shredded meat on a decorative plate beside sliced avocado, lime wedge, and rice, on a checkered tablecloth
A full meal at Rincon de Jade
Rincon de Jade [Facebook]

Dining exclusively at restaurants with international influences and chefs can make you forget you’re in Mexico. A trip to the Mercado de Tulum will reorient you around local gastronomy, especially if you stop by the Rincon de Jade stall, where Keily Medina serves regional specialities like albondigas paired with fideos. Check out the chirmole de pollo (relleno negro), a dark stew blackened by recaudo negro with chicken and a hard boiled egg, or the frijol con puerco, a rich pork and bean stew full of epazote that’s best eaten with a raw habanero as a chaser to each bite. Then there’s the Sunday morning mondongo, the best hangover cure in town. Imagine a slow cooked menudo full of stomach, tripe, and other offal that’s soaked in Seville orange juice, then stained dark red by recaudo rojo (red achiote paste). If the mondongo doesn’t cure you, the raw habanero that comes on the side will make you forget all about your headache. [$]

Calle Orión Sur, Tulum Centro, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

10. Verdant

La Veleta, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
An open-air dining room blends seamlessly with an uncovered patio covered in potted plants and natural greenery. The space features long geometric wood beams, soft pendant lighting inside and out, tile flooring, and light wood chairs and bar stools.
Outside Verdant
Verdant [official]

Chefs Maya Scales, a veteran of Arca and Mexico City’s Izote, and Benjamin Coe, of the Bay Area’s Morimoto Napa, Commis, and Box and Bells, co-created this zero-waste, environmentally conscious space in Tulum. Options might include beautiful Caribbean prawns poached in seawater, or local grouper with nixtamalized tomatoes that pays homage to pre-Hispanic cooking methods. Tasting menus change regularly, but there’s always a vegetarian menu with plates like coal-roasted Bacalar cabbage in a spicy Trinidadian curry, made from herbs and vegetables grown in the rooftop garden. [$$$]

La Veleta, Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

11. Mi Amor

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 4.1, Zona Hotelera Tulum, Zona Costera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
An open-air dining room looking out on the sea with empty tables set for breakfast
Mi Amor dining room
Mi Amor [Facebook]

Couples staying at this sexy boutique hotel on the beach are in for a treat at chef Paul Bentley’s Mediterreanean a la Mexicana restaurant overlooking a beautiful ocean view. Bentley, who is a veteran of the new Guadalajara scene, serves fresh shrimp tagliatelle, tacos, and juicy burgers for lunch. Dinner brings braised, tender octopus over squid ink garganelli, tuna crudo, and a thick New York steak, all paired with an excellent gin and tonic menu. [$$$]

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 4.1, Zona Hotelera Tulum, Zona Costera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

12. Gitano

Beach Road Km. 7, Boca Paila, QRO, Mexico
The entrance to an outdoor seating area, surrounded by lush forest, with sun peaking through the leaves, and a bright neon sign bearing the name Gitano
Outside Gitano
Gitano [Facebook]

The vibe is the allure at this swank jungle getaway with an old-world feel that merges 17th century Mexican architecture, candlelit dinners, and overgrown palm trees and vines. The food is a blend of Meditteranean mezze, Mexican American tacos, and appetizers like quesadillas cut into acute triangles like the ones at American chain restaurants. Order a smoky, citrusy Gitano Swizzle or any of the delicious tropical mezcal cocktails, and snack away in this irresistibly hip setting. [$$$]

Beach Road Km. 7, Boca Paila
QRO, Mexico

13. RosaNegra

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila 5-Km 7, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A large empty dining room covered in natural wood with a stone wall in the back, large pop-arty decorations, hanging woven lanterns, and tables set for dinner
Inside RosaNegra
RosaNegra [Facebook]

If a clubby rainforest patio sounds like your kind of scene, head to Rosanegra, a wealthy playpen billed as a tribute to Latin America (that’s such a hit with chilangos that they opened one in Mexico City’s upscale Polanco neighborhood). Soft light emanates from hanging bamboo coche lampshades, as beautiful patrons wave sparklers and dine on ceviche served in terrariums, A5 wagyu tacos with excessively sauce-dotted plates, and giant churro hoops shooting out of martini glasses. Order the millionaire, a surf-and-turf combo of a Hyogo Prefecture 8-ounce New York Kobe cut, paired with lobster tail imported from the Mediterranean or a Nigerian U2 Tiger Shrimp. You’ve booked a Sea Villa at Azulik. You can afford it. [$$$$]

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila 5-Km 7, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

14. Hartwood

Carretera Tulum Boca Paila 7.6Km, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A large roast pork belly, with some sliced, beside roasted pineapple and tortillas
Agave pork belly
Hartwood [Facebook]

Maintaining respect for the community and environment, chef Eric Werner leads the team at one of Tulum’s most renowned restaurants as they forage in the surrounding areas, source ingredients from local markets, and cook freshly caught seafood over fire. The chef leaves local Mexican food culture in the hands of Tulum’s traditional cooks; he focuses on cooking in Mexico, rather than cooking Mexican cuisine. In reality, that translates to sea bream fillets, Caribbean lobster, and arrachera cuts of Angus beef cooked on a wood-fired grill, served simply with bitter greens and roasted vegetables. Seated under simple white awnings on a gravel floor, the restaurant evokes a Tulum before the hype. [$$$$]

Carretera Tulum Boca Paila 7.6Km, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

15. Arca

Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 7.6, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A layer of thin octopus terrine sits on top of various mashed vegetables on top of a charred tostada, all sitting on a black plate on a cement gray background.
Grilled octopus terrine
Erick Huicochea

With its campsite kitchen and cozy, evening-picnic atmosphere, Arca should be at the top of your list for its artful, microseasonal cuisine, complete with ingredients that taste as if they were picked just beyond the fan palms surrounding the outdoor space. It’s the flagship restaurant of Mexican-American chef Jose Luis Hinostroza, whose resume includes Alinea, El Celler de Can Roca, De Kromme Watergang, and Noma. Crispy, spinachlike chaya enhances the grassy flavors of grilled avocado and buffets soft-shell crab in amaranth tempura. Don’t miss Hinostroza’s grilled octopus in recaudo negro marinade, which has become part of the Tulum canon. [$$$$]

Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 7.6, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

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16. Bal Nak

Av. Boca Paila KM 7.5, Tulum Beach, 77766 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
From above, a bright plate with two large hunks of roasted pig in the center in a pool of mole, with vegetables arranged around the perimeter, and a small pyramid-shaped tamal
Roast pig with mole and hoja santa tamal
Bal Nak [Facebook]

Fashionable, modern Mexican fine dining is alive and well at Bal Nak, a lush outdoor restaurant where you feel like you’re at a backyard party in the jungle. Just look at the ceramic plates of almond mole served with duck breast, sweet and smoky mole of Oaxacan chilhuacle chiles paired with roast suckling pig and an hoja santa tamal, and chargrilled watermelon aguachile in a spicy guava sauce. Whatever you get, start with grilled chocolata clams and a beetroot cocktail. [$$$]

Av. Boca Paila KM 7.5, Tulum Beach, 77766 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

17. Bak

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 8.5, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Raw seafood variety served on ice in a large tree stump, beside sauces and condiments on a palm-laden table
Ocean platter at Bak
Bak [Facebook]

This luxury steakhouse and raw bar by Grupo Anderson’s sources seafood and steaks internationally. Oysters arrive from the U.S. East Coast, crab legs from Alaska, Kobe rib-eyes from Hyogo Prefecture, and corn-fed tomahawks from the American Midwest. Enjoy fresh Caribbean lobster tails and USDA prime cuts, braised in intense smoke from the restaurant’s Josper coal oven, and sip on refreshing mezcal and tequila cocktails on the stylish wooden deck. [$$$$]

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km. 8.5, Tulum Beach, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

18. Atila

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila km 7.6, Tulum Beach, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
From above, a plate on stone steps, with a large short rib sliced with the bone, in a creamy sauce dotted with chile oil
Miso-glazed short rib, bone marrow, chile morita oil
Atila [Facebook]

The latest project by chef Jose Luis Hinostroza is a brasserie serving bar bites with ingredients from the Yucatán, paired with a fine list of biodynamic and natural wines from the peninsula, as well as a selection of robust orange wines from Italy. It’s the ideal predinner outing in a relaxed, elegant outdoor setting. Try the hamachi crudo on lemon verbena coconut flatbread, and a cheese board accompanied by a zapote negro compote with a chilled bottle of Bichi, a natural wine from Tecate. [$$$]

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila km 7.6, Tulum Beach, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

19. La Corriente Cevicheria Nais

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum Beach, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A pepper stuffed with shrimp and cheese on a tortilla drizzled with sauce on a white plate and neutral background
Shrimp and pepper taco
La Corriente Cevicheria Nais [Facebook]

Launched in the early days of Tijuana’s 2010s local bar renaissance, the fashionable La Corriente Cevicheria Nais has expanded into a national chain, including a location in Tulum that has the fun, rustic feel of Disney’s Frontierland. The ceviche tostadas are excellent paired with spicy mezcal cocktails or Tijuana-style clamatos — cocktails of beer and Clamato juice, dubbed the “Mexican Bloody Mary” on the menu here. Try a campechana, an old-school ceviche-stand favorite of mixed seafood cocktail in a schooner glass, or go for smoked-marlin tacos or a whole pulpo zarandeado, grilled octopus inspired by Tijuana’s fish markets. [$$]

Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum Beach, 77760 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

20. NÜ Tulum

Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila KM 8.7, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
A bowl of ceviche topped with avocado fans in a sauce dotted with dark spots, in a stone bowl at the edge of a wooden table
Signature green ceviche with celery, apple, onion, avocado and white bean
Nu [Facebook]

Chef Cesar Castañeda of Mexico City’s Namron Hospitality Group honed his skills at places like Mexico City’s Dulce Patria. Now he’s offering a sophisticated modern Mexican menu at this romantic, candlelit restaurant shrouded in greenery. Order a glass of Mexican wine from the Valle de Guadalupe, and enjoy a sweet, nuanced passionfruit aguachile or grilled oysters lightly scented with notes of anise from local xtabentún liqueur. While many dishes focus on Mayan techniques and ingredients, some look outward, like the mole negro, which presents a contemporary take on the Oaxacan classic with duck (juicy on the inside, crispy skin on the outside) and chochoyotes (masa dumplings). [$$$] 

Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila KM 8.7, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum
Q.R., Mexico

21. Ka'an Tulum

QROO 15, 77086 Sian Ka'an, Q.R., Mexico
Two women stand in the foreground preparing tortillas and cooking them on a griddle, with several other chefs at work in the background in an open air kitchen with a thatched roof.
Preparing blue corn tortillas by hand
Ka’an Tulum [official]

A relaxing day on the beach is best spent at cantina Ka’an. You can sink into an equipale chair, dig your feet into the white sand beneath the cool shade of palm trees, sip on a Pescadores Güera blonde ale, and enjoy a sea bream tiradito. All the while, chef Hugo Durán is making corn tortillas from nixtamal for vegetarian tacos of roasted squash, grilled cabbage, and chayote. Or dig into a tamal (there’s always one on the menu), like Durán’s tamal de xpelón, a Yucatan-style bean tamal with a spicy curry. [$$]

QROO 15, 77086 Sian Ka'an
Q.R., Mexico

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