The Top Restaurants in Tulum, Mexico

Hartwood is known for its excellent live-fire cooking and lack of electricity
Hartwood is known for its excellent live-fire cooking and lack of electricity | © Nicholas Gill / Alamy Stock Photo
Siobhan Grogan

From humble snacks served curbside to avant-garde, envelope-pushing cuisine, Tulum is a foodie haven nestled on Mexico’s Caribbean coast.

There’s more to food in Tulum than tacos – though they’re certainly some of the best you will ever eat. The Mexican town has more than its fair share of unmissable eating spots to sink your teeth into, including barefoot budget options on the beach, vegan-friendly restaurants, high-end fine dining and some of the world’s best street food. If you prefer to sit down and tuck in, these are some of our favorite restaurants.

1. El Asadero

Restaurant, Steakhouse

When only meat will do, this chic spot with indoor and outdoor seating does the best steak in town. Graze on chips and dips as you study the menu with a craft beer, then order the restaurant’s trademark flank steak served with sausage. There’s also great service, seriously moreish margaritas and vegetarian options – though go early, as it’s always packed, meaning there may be a wait.

2. Kitchen Table

Restaurant, Mexican, Vegan

Leave the beach behind and head into the jungle to this top-rated spot that feels like you’re eating in a treehouse. It’s a taxi ride from most of Tulum’s restaurants, but the food is fresh and seasonal with typical dishes including grilled octopus and quesadillas. Reservations are only accepted a maximum of one week in advance, so dial fast and don’t forget insect repellent to ward off those jungle bugs.

4. El Camello Jr

Restaurant, Mexican, Seafood

El Camello restaurant Tulum
© H.C. Peres / Alamy Stock Photo

You’ll have to fight the locals for a table at this much-loved open-air spot at the end of Tulum’s downtown strip. Founded by a local fishing group, it serves the freshest seafood in town, including some of the best ceviche you’ll ever eat and whole grilled fish with mountains of rice and beans. Don’t know where to start? Tuck into seafood dip with tortilla chips and then treat yourself to zingy fish tacos.

5. Gitano

Bar, Restaurant, Mexican, Pub Grub

Courtesy of Gitano

It’s Mexican food but not quite as you know it at this modern kitchen that serves seasonal dishes cooked on an open fire and in a wood-burning oven. Food is designed to be shared and messy and includes 12-hour roasted pork loaded with habanero, and lobster tostadas eaten under fairy lights and disco balls in the jungle. Finish off with steaming churros with agave caramel, chili and Mexican chocolate – you’ll thank us later.

6. Chamicos

Food Stand, Mexican

Chamico himself will cook you up fish caught in the sparkling blue Soliman Bay that very day at this spot close to the center of town. If you’re having a hard time making up your mind, the ceviche with lobster tail is outstanding. Grab an outdoor table and while away the afternoon (and then go back for seconds).

7. La Barracuda

Restaurant, Seafood

Go hungry to this seafood restaurant at the south end of downtown Tulum. A great affordable choice, this laid-back café serves up tasty fried fish and shrimp soup, but the large platter piled with octopus, squid, crayfish and more is the dish of choice and will easily serve three. Wash it all down with the house margaritas or a refreshing glass of lime juice.

8. Hartwood

Restaurant, Mexican, Seafood, Central American

Tulum, Mexico restaurant The Hartwood, founded by two New Yorkers, is known for its live fire cooking and lack of electricity.. Image shot 2013. Exact date unknown.
© Nicholas Gill / Alamy Stock Photo

If you have something to celebrate in Tulum, this is the only place to do it. This candlelit restaurant owned by American chef Erin Werner has no roof and no electricity but plenty of food to blow your socks off. There’s a chalkboard menu of ever-changing dishes cooked in the wood-burning oven and based on the best local ingredients available, so it’s anyone’s guess what to expect. Just remember it’s closed every Monday and Tuesday and allows limited reservations by email one month in advance.

9. Antojitos la Chiapaneca

Restaurant, Mexican, Street Food

Tulum, Mexico - 8 August 2018: Antojitos la Chiapaneca restaurant is famous for its tacos al pastor and its traditional mexican food.
© Marc Bruxelle / Alamy Stock Photo

You didn’t think we were going to forget to include a taco joint, did you? These are the best around – and that’s saying something. The stand is on a corner in Tulum town so there might be a short wait for a seat, but it’s well worth it for authentic and astonishingly cheap tacos made from beef, chicken and the local favorite, all-day spit-roasted pork. Pile it high with complimentary condiments including spicy sauce, lettuce and guacamole. This one’s open for dinner only, though.

10. Raw Love Tulum

Restaurant, Mexican, Vegetarian

Even the most diehard carnivore won’t miss meat at this acclaimed vegan café hidden away on the grounds of Hotel Ahau (ask a staff member to point you in the right direction). Just steps from the beach, this is a restaurant made for lingering, with hammocks and swings for seats and a menu that will keep you coming back. Feel virtuous and order smoothies, salads and açaí bowls – then forget all your good intentions and feast on divine raw chocolate delicacies.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Lauren Cocking.

Looking for more? Finding the perfect stay is easy when Tulum has a hotel for every traveler type, or if you’re traveling in a big group, a stylish villa to fit your needs. Best of all, you can book your next stay right here on Culture Trip. During the day, take your relaxation to the next level with a trip to one of these yoga studios or immerse yourself in local history and explore some of the best ruins near Tulum. When evening rolls around, unwind with a drink at one of the best bars in Tulum.

landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Winter Sale Offers on Our Trips

Incredible Savings

Edit article