Life in Mexico is full of adventure, great weather… and delicious food. If you’re visiting or if you are thinking to retire in Playa del Carmen, here is a list of 5 restaurants that you must visit!
Zenzi Beach Bar & Restaurant – This beachside eatery is located at the end of Calle 10 Norte and is situated directly on the beautiful white sandy beach in Playa del Carmen, along with Mexico’s beautiful Riviera Maya. You also have the advantage of looking out over the gorgeous Caribbean water as you enjoy your food and spirits.
Zenzi appeals to a large expat and retiree crowd who mixes well with the many locals who also come to enjoy the restaurant and its laidback ambiance. Almost every afternoon and evening you can listen to live music being played from one of Playa del Carmen’s many talented musical groups.
The atmosphere is very beachy and offers plenty of open air seating. After the sun goes down, accented lighting around the palm trees provides an intimate feel with music and conversation happening in the background. Take your shoes off and feel the cool sand between your toes!
The menu offers a variety of appetizers, sandwiches and dinner entrees. The food is very well prepared and is complimented with great service. They also have a full bar that will prepare your special request or a menu to select an alcohol or non-alcohol beverage.
Zenzi is a great place for family and friends to get together, where couples can meet or just drop in for a quick bite or a cool refreshing drink. Sit back and enjoy the music while you’re relaxing in paradise!
Restaurant Fah Bar – Fah Bar is a unique restaurant that sits directly on the world famous Quinta Avenida (5th Ave), between near the corner with Calle 10 Norte. Fah offers lots of exciting street action that includes everything from break dancers to traditional mariachi music, to jugglers. It is also a great location to people watch from your street side table, booth or the open air dining area.
The off street dining area provides a tropical forest like feel with an oversized tree that provides a natural canopy but still allows the outside in. They have a variety of seating choices that consist of tables and chairs to padded sofa duets, and a back wall with bench seating that faces the bar, dining and stage areas.
Entertainment is provided most every afternoon and evening. The music mixes very well with any mood. The menu is quite extensive and offers a cuisine that can be found in many fine dine restaurants. The service is very courteous and complete with complimentary servers who assist the waiters in keeping your needs met.
The drink menu offers some unusual cocktails served with or without alcohol. If you are an exotic connoisseur of martinis, you must try the cucumber martini or any of the other creative beverages. The relaxing atmosphere will provide a subtle comfort that can’t always be found in similar eateries.
Pez Vela – Another great 5th Ave. restaurant and bar is Pez Vela. It is probably one of the longest standing eateries on Quinta Avenida, with an astonishing 28 years of existence. They must be doing something right to be around for that long. You can find this restaurant on the corner of 5Th Ave. and Calle 2 Norte.
They are more of a casual – lets hangout restaurant and cantina. Their walk up “U” shaped bar has swing seating that offers quick service and a full drink menu. Their clientele ranges from locals to vacationing singles or couples, to expats looking for a casual conversation. The atmosphere of the open air corner bar kind of reminds you of a Mexico version of ‘Cheers’.
The restaurant offers curbside dining which is great for people watching and other activities that are constantly passing by. There is an inside dining area, as well as a mezzanine that is ideal for group parties or a special occasion get together. The motif is traditional Mexican with a flair for color, and yes there is a big screen TV for watching your favorite sporting event.
The food is true Mexican but has its own special flavor. They have received awards from the Federal Tourism Board regarding their quality of cleanliness and kitchen preparation – a big plus for delicate stomachs. Their menu is fairly simple but covers all the desired dishes normally wanted when visiting Playa del Carmen. The service is friendly, prompt and very attentive. The prices are budget friendly and offer great value.
El Oasis – El Oasis on Calle 12 Norte between 5th and 10th Avenidas is an eye-catching location. The eatery is a true seafood venue with an extensive menu of top notch dishes. They aren’t a high capacity restaurant like a lot of their neighboring peers. They do have a fully stocked bar, but their main focus is Seafood cuisine!
You have a choice to either be seated street side, on a small open-air covered patio or dine inside. The décor is styled very elaborately with a strong emphasis on a nautical theme. The walls, ceiling and seating are painted with bright colors that provide quite a novel experience.
The menu goes from ‘A to Z’ in seafood choices and cooked any way you want it. They pride themselves on fresh lobster, ceviche and their signature shrimp tacos. The food is plentiful, served hot and fresh and is extremely delicious. They serve a small cup of seafood chowder as an appetizer that will arouse your taste buds and tease you for what is ahead. The service is excellent with a smile every time they visit your table.
They do have a small bar area that offers Happy Hour specials, but not really known for having a cocktail hour crowd. However, they serve up a mean margarita that is crafted at your table with ingredients that you would never have imagined being in a margarita. It is actually served to you in a mortar type bowl with an accompanying straw. If you enjoy good seafood in a unique setting, then a visit to El Oasis is a must.
Casa Sophia – Located on Avenida Aviacion between 10th Ave. & 50th Ave (Highway 307), Casa Sophia is a great place to have some good Italian food, great conversation and enjoy a glass of wine. Its cuisine is prepared authentically as if coming from its own origins.
The restaurant and bar is a stone’s throw away from Playacar and is very popular with the locals, as well as the area’s expats and seasonal residents. It has multiple dining sections that include a glassed in dining area with a full bar, two open air covered patio areas, and a smaller indoors area near the deli counter.
Its ambiance is simple but casual and very comfortable. The menu is very detailed with some of Italy’s finest dishes. Their pizzas and pasta are handcrafted with true Italian style. They also have a variety of wines that compliment any meal. The table settings are reminiscent of the old country where dining is an art of ambiance and food combined. The service is exceptionally friendly and delivered in a professional manner.
Casa Sophia is somewhat off the beaten path and offers no significant similarities to its peers that reside beachfront or on Playa’s Quinta Avenida. There is no hustle and bustle or lapping waves or street entertainers. Just a relaxing setting for family, friends or couples wanting to enjoy a conversation. The pricing is very reasonable for the exceptional quality of food served. They accept pesos and USD only.
Enjoy Italy in the heart of the Riviera Maya!
Do you have any other recommendations for eating out in Playa del Carmen?
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