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.
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.
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.
Ok, we know you don’t go to Mexico to eat Italian food, but trust us on this one. The melt-in-the-mouth homemade pastas and pizzas at this beachside restaurant are unbeatable, and it takes an iron will to resist the aroma of Posada’s focaccia wafting in on the sea breeze – it’s made fresh in-house every day. Save room afterwards for the homemade gelato made with coconut from the restaurant’s own palm trees, and be sure to bring cash since cards aren’t accepted.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.