Best Spots at Playa Del Carmen


Having spent enough time in Playa Del Carmen, I’ve eaten out quite a lot. Even though it’s mostly a tourist hub, I’m enjoying myself in this part of Mexico. I’ve met a few Montreal expats, Canadians, Europeans, and locals of Playa. But it’s also a walking island, so I’ve done my fair share of that too. This has led me to a number of hidden gems, great must-sees, and delicious food. If you plan to fly to Playa Del Carmen for your next vacation, here are my top recommendations. 

Café Italia

Located off Calle 4, I found this Italian café tucked in a vibrant restaurant scene. It’s a little place, yet a beautiful gem to explore. Since it’s also near hostels and local neighborhoods, it’s a great spot to meet digital nomads and other travelers. I met a few just by writing there for an hour.

If you plan to go, I recommend trying the lasagna. I also went there for breakfast and the omelette is better than some restaurants that are double the price in the tourist strip. 

The owners who run the café are hard working, helpful, and welcoming. You’ll walk in curious and leave feeling like a local expat living your best life in Mexico. 

Chez Céline

My cousin told me about this restaurant before I left for Playa Del Carmen. It was so packed that we couldn’t get a table. That’s when you know a place is good sometimes. Luckily, though, I was caught in a rain storm one afternoon and found myself in front of Chez Céline just before it got worse. Fate brought me there, as it seems. 

A Parisian style café, I had a Mexicana baguette sandwich and a smoothie that had bananas, granola, honey, and yogurt. 

I also went there for breakfast and had a Deli Egg Bagel with my new favourite drink — a smoothie with bananas AND Nutella. 


Funny enough, I also got into the café society feeling of watching life pass you on the street, at the tables around me, and in the stores on that side of the tourist strip. I had a Parisian moment before even going to France. Maybe that’ll be my next trip. 

I Don’t Give A Dick

Yes, that’s the real name. It catches your attention quickly on the tourist strip. It’s an erotic waffle house. And if you’re open minded enough to try its erotic-shaped waffles, you’ll be surprised about how much you like eating certain body parts (LOL!). The waffle was freshly baked, and along with the vanilla and strawberry sauces I put on it, made for a great combination. 

The people who run the shop are these nice Argentinian locals. Let me tell you, though: it has some good coffee – particularly, the French Vanilla Cappuccino. I’m not even a coffee drinker, so it says a lot. 

If anything else, come in to meet cool people and take an awesome photo. You might surprise yourself on how much you don’t give a d*ck about what anyone thinks 😉 

Los Tabernacos

Growing up in Quebec, eating a poutine is a rite of passage. But having one abroad is a point of pride. That’s what Los Tabernacos represented to us – a group of Montrealers and Canadians that could not resist checking this place out. And it did not disappoint. 

From the moment we got to Los Tabernacos, we heard people speak in French, saw there was a hockey game playing live at the restaurant (for reference, fùtbol/soccer is king in Mexico), and poutine was on the menu. It felt like we teleported back to Montreal. We were home.

My group and I decided to order two large poutines for the table. And if I got to be honest with you, both were a solid 8.5/10. I’ve had worse in Montreal, and I’ve also had some just as good as the ones at Los Tabernacos. The only feedback I have is that there wasn’t enough gravy in the dishes. But overall, it was great. I’d go back again and again.