The Best International Restaurants in Tulum, Mexico

The open kitchen at Posada Margherita
The open kitchen at Posada Margherita | Courtesy of Posada Margherita
Jennifer Kennedy

Tulum might be smaller than its northern neighbours Playa del Carmen and Cancun, but its international dining options are just as impressive.

From fine Italian cuisine and Argentine comfort food to spicy curries and Middle Eastern dishes, there’s something for everyone. Check out Culture Trip’s favorite Tulum international eateries below.

1. Mezzanine

Restaurant, Mexican, Thai

Courtesy of Small Luxury Hotels of the World

Part of the luxury Colibri Boutique Hotels chain, Mezzanine offers outstanding Thai food on its beachside terrace. Head chef Garn Surasak cooks up a range of tantalizing dishes with the help of Mezzanine’s own chef consultant, Dim Geefay, a Thai cooking teacher and TV personality. Choose from hearty noodles and spicy curries to juicy marinated ribeye and fish cooked in a citrusy habanero sauce. Everything is freshly prepared, and the restaurant even produces its own coconut milk and grows its own Thai herbs.

2. La Nave

Restaurant, Italian

Although there’s no shortage of Italian restaurants in Tulum, the nautically-themed La Nave is a reliable favorite located in the centre of town. This popular mid-range eatery owned by Fernando and Ariana offers a wide selection of wood-fired pizzas, pasta dishes, carpaccio, salads and mains such as fish, shrimp and filet mignon. Start with the bruschetta, crusty bread topped with tomato, garlic and oregano; followed by the al fungi creamy mushroom sauce with homemade fettuccine pasta. Finish this off with an order of tiramisu and one of La Nave’s liqueur coffees.

3. UNO Noodle Bar

Restaurant, Japanese

Specializing in Japanese food, this cute wooden-clad restaurant is the perfect spot for reasonably-priced noodle dishes. Located on a side street just off of Tulum’s main strip, UNO serves bowls of wholesome ramen soup, wok-fried noodles and sushi with a touch of Mexican flair. Appetizers include edamame, miso soup and delicately-steamed gyozas. While the menu is Japanese-inspired, UNO’s owners have an affection for China’s enigmatic bear – check out the giant Panda face carved into the front of the building.

4. Shiva

Restaurant, Indian

Named after the Hindu goddess and patron of yoga, Shiva serves up northern Indian food in a chilled jungle garden. Options include chickpeas cooked in tomatoes, tender pieces of chicken in a mild peanut sauce, and the vindaloo, which is made with succulent cuts of lamb cooked in a hot pepper sauce. Shiva also offers a choice of Tandoor dishes – shrimp, chicken or cheese baked in an Indian clay oven. All mains come with jasmine rice and yoghurt. To drink, try a lassi – a traditional yogurt drink – or the khawah – a soothing green tea made with cardamom, cloves and ginger.

5. Roraima Burgers

Restaurant, American, Spanish, Mexican

This centrally located joint offers 12 different types of burgers. The dependable classic includes the usual beef patty with tomatoes, red onion, lettuce, ketchup and mayo. For something more adventurous, check out the Mexicana, which also comes with beans, Gouda cheese, coriander, avocado, jalapeño and chipotle sauce. There are several vegan and veggies options and sides include French fries and rustic potatoes. Also on the menu are pepitos, a type of sandwich which originated in Spain but is now a popular snack across Latin America – fillings include beef, chicken, or cheese.

6. Pasha

Restaurant, Mexican, Vegetarian

Courtesy of Pasha

Owned by Cypriot-Mexican couple Tania and Gurdal Aydinli, Pasha serves Mediterranean-style Middle Eastern food bursting with authentic flavours. Tender pieces of lamb that fall off the bone, eggplant cooked in a rich tomato sauce served on a bed of couscous and juicy prawn kebabs are just a few examples of what Pasha has to offer. There’s also a good choice of salads and wraps. Don’t miss the baklava for dessert – the perfect accompaniment to Pasha’s iced coffee. Dine inside under a relaxing canopy, or in the pleasant patio outside.

7. Nao

Restaurant, Japanese, Fusion

This smart Japanese-fusion restaurant has an extensive sushi menu. The varied options include different types of kushiage (deep fried skewers of tuna, octopus and plantain), sashimi (thinly sliced raw fish or meat) and the hosomaki (rice with fish, meat or vegetables thinly rolled in a sheet of nori, a type of edible Japanese seaweed). Salmon filet fried in panko, whole fresh lobster and teriyaki chicken are just some of Nao’s main courses. The noodles are handmade and don’t leave without trying the artisanal green tea ice cream.

8. Saikuk

Restaurant, Moroccan

Saikuk is an upscale Moroccan restaurant offering fine dining in the heart of Tulum’s jungle. Starters include harira, a traditional Moroccan date soup, and a selection of briouates, small crispy puff pastry parcels with a choice of fillings such as spinach, chicken and lamb. Follow this with one of Saikuk’s hearty tagines – slow-cooked stews made with lamb, chicken, beef or vegetables. For those who want to share, there’s the tender shoulder of lamb, or the oven-baked fish tagine. Some of the sweet treats on the dessert menu include a refreshing lemon ginger sorbet and the decadent chocolate lava cake.

9. Posada Margherita

Restaurant, Italian

front sign
Courtesy of Posada Margherita

Posada Margherita offers fine Italian dining in a lush beach setting. The lunch and dinner menu includes plenty of vegan and vegetarian options as well as grilled prawns with salad, prawns in a white wine sauce and prawns, cherry tomatoes, courgettes and pine nuts. The wood-fired pizzas come with a choice of topping such as sausage, rocket and grana Padano cheese, or ham and mushroom. To drink, try one of the cocktails; Posada Margarita’s mixologist uses syrups, bitters and ginger beer to create interesting drinks like the Tamarindo Spicy – a blend of tequila, tamarind, pilsner, lime, and agave syrup.

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