Where To Eat & Drink In Tulum guide image

TLUMGuide

Where To Eat & Drink In Tulum

Beachside burritos, parties in the jungle, and more on the Yucatán Peninsula's Caribbean coast.

It’s been a minute since Tulum was considered a quiet escape from the crowds of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. One of the most popular tourist spots on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Tulum sees a steady stream of digital nomads, day ravers, and people with a few thousand dollars to drop on wellness retreats flock to its beachy bungalows, boutique hotels, and treehouse Airbnbs.

Crowds aside, the beaches are beautiful, the ruins incredible—and conveniently close to town—the food is great, and there’s a solid variety of dining experiences to pick from throughout your stay: you can party at restaurants in the jungle, eat extremely fresh seafood pretty much anywhere, or grab a quick burrito for lunch downtown. Find all of that and more below.



SCENEY DINNERS IN TULUM BEACH


photo credit: Gavin Higgins

Hartwood review image

Hartwood

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Tulum Beach Road, Tulum
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Everybody will tell you to eat at Hartwood, and you should absolutely make the effort to go. The chalkboard menu changes daily, but expect dishes like jicama salad, ceviche de aguja with ginger and mezcal, agave pork belly, and grilled octopus, plus excellent cocktails. Email a month ahead for a reservation, otherwise plan to spend a while waiting for a table with everyone else who was told to come here too.


Restaurants along the main road in Tulum Beach are either beachside or jungleside. Argentinian spot Casa Banana is jungleside, tucked under a canopy of palm trees with a covered open-air patio for when the tropical weather gets a bit too tropical. Order the roasted short ribs, any one of the steaks, or the vegan lasagna, plus a cocktail or two, like the Petra with mezcal, Mandarine Napoléon, and Ancho Reyes. Go with a date, solo, or a big group—the communal tables and smaller tabletops can accommodate both.


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photo credit: Gavin Higgins

Arca review image

Arca

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Did you come to Tulum to celebrate something? Do it at Arca. The menu at this well-designed jungleside spot changes seasonally, but you can expect dishes like grilled deer ribs with yucca flautas, roasted squash with flowers, and octopus al pastor. If you’re traveling solo, order a mezcal cocktail or two, like the Lost Martini or the Lone Palm, while you eat at the bar.


Gitano has three locations in Tulum, one in NYC, and another in Miami, a fact you’ll probably hear at least once from the table next to you. If you’re looking for a sceney dinner in the jungle, this is it—you’ll find disco balls, a live DJ, and plenty of groups working hard to keep the party going from Gitano’s beach club across the street. Sit down, order a mezcal cocktail and a bunch of the small plates, and get a little weird with them.


DOWNTOWN DINNER SPOTS


Do you need to hide from all the new friends you made at Gitano? Head to Pasha for the exact opposite type of experience. This spot is a great Mediterranean restaurant downtown that’s the perfect place to have a relaxed dinner away from the hotel zone. Start with the meze before moving up to the heartier platters, kebabs, or pastas, like the beef or vegetarian musakka. Go with a group and plan to share as much as possible.


You don’t need GPS to find El Asadero—just let the large yellow street sign outside with a bull in the center function as your north star. The menu at this Mexican steakhouse is absolutely loaded with beef (think huge tomahawks, rib-eyes, arrachera, and more) though there are solid seafood options, too. Come with a big group and you can all hit your protein quota for the year.


Encanto Cantina brings jungle energy to downtown Tulum, so much so that you might actually forget you left the beach. Grab a table in the backyard garden for lunch or dinner and go to town on some ceviche before moving on to the cochinita pibil tacos, the butter-grilled vegetable burger, or any one of the seafood, surf and turf, or vegetarian big plates.


Great seafood is everywhere in Tulum, but there are a couple of things from Sabor de Mar we can’t stop thinking about. The grilled shrimp tacos have a cheese crust on the tortillas, the ceviches come loaded with shrimp, tuna, and octopus, and you could probably stretch out the huge tinga marlin burrito for two meals. Don’t be shy with the homemade salsas—the mango and mint one goes great with the ceviche and the chipotle option balances out the richness of the marlin.


BREAKFAST OR LUNCH


The best thing about Celti is its warm, homey vibe. The second best thing is the chiles en nogada, made of poblano peppers stuffed with beef and pork and topped with a creamy walnut sauce. We also love the sopes and chile rellenos, but it’s crucial that you save room for the fluffy cornbread. Plan to spend a bit of time here, and maybe ride a bike—the meal is relaxed and slow (in a good way), and it’s a little bit outside the main downtown area.


Loco is our favorite place for lunch in Tulum Beach. Even though this is a Mediterranean restaurant with a menu filled with tofu salads, pasta, falafel, and vegan burgers, they make great fish tacos. Order those and a Mexican craft beer and hang out among the palm trees.


Was your flight delayed, twice? Recharge with a fresh fruit bowl or smoothie at Hola Mermaid. The sunny terrace downtown is the perfect place to spend a lazy morning hashing out your plans for the rest of the day, even if the extent of them is to lay on the beach until the sun sets.


Burrito Amor is a great place to start your morning, especially if you’re trying to soak up last night’s margaritas with a very large burrito. Begin with any of the egg burritos, which can also be served as bowls, and a fresh juice. Expect a bit of a crowd, but don’t be discouraged—the space is big and can accommodate groups.


All of the food at Safari is cooked over the open fire in an old converted airstream trailer. We love this spot for breakfast—they do great roja chilaquiles, molletes, and huevos divorciados on a tostada. It’s also a solid lunch move for nopal tacos and fresh guacamole.


El Canaston makes the best horchata in Tulum. Order a glass to cool off, then sit down for a quick plate of rajas and potato tacos before you meet up with your tour group to see the ruins. The open-air space is small but reminds us of a charming beach hut. There are also great vegetarian options and refreshing juices, too.


If you woke up craving something sweet or just need something very cold immediately, head to Campanella Cremerie. Explore the entire ice cream menu—the matcha with lemongrass is great, but you should try the banana crunch, classic chocolate, and pistachio—or go all out with the crispy, fluffy Belgian waffles topped with a scoop of gelato, whipped cream, and chocolate.


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