Travel Food Guide: What to Eat in Tulum, MexicoApr 27 2011 · 20 comments · Mexican, Seafood, Street Food, Tacos, Travel, Vegetarian
Ever since my Flor de Michoacan paleta post, I’ve gotten a ton of requests for more Tulum restaurant tips. Instead of writing a bunch of emails, I decided to make a little eating guide with some food photos I took when I visited the small Mexican beach town last Christmas. For part 1, I’ve included all the places I love in the puebla (as opposed to the beach).
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if you have Tulum food advice, help a fellow traveler and write it in the comments.
El Tacoqueto, Av. Tulum (it’s a red building with a thatched roof)
Popular with locals, El Tacoqueto is a place we always make sure to visit every time we’re in Tulum. This little red, thatched-roof restaurant is located on the main drag and offers some of the best “home-cooked” food in town at great prices—two people can eat for about $10. When you walk in, you’ll see a big, open kitchen, where women reside over large stainless steel pots of soups and stews. There’s no menu, so just walk up to the kitchen and take a look before you order. The mole is great (pictured at the top of this post), the soups never miss, and sometimes they even have chile rellenos.
Tamales “Don Taco”, Av. Tulum at Centauro Nte.
This little stand sits right across from the police station, and it’s not to be missed. Steamed in banana leaves, these tamales are so moist and the masa is beyond flavorful. You can get the requisite chicken or pork, but I go for the egg-stuffed tamale. Just choose a chair and place your order, or point to someone else’s food if you don’t speak Spanish. You’ll be asked if you want it drenched in salsa. Say yes.
Oasis (west end of Orion St., off of Av. Tulum)
Oasis is a cute little restaurant off the main drag, within the surrounding neighborhood. The décor is nautical to the max, and there are a few different rooms to sit in. We tried the fish quesadillas and the mixed ceviche. Both were good and very inexpensive—everything is about $6-$10 (seafood entrées can go up to $16). Oasis bills itself as a cockteleria, so there are plenty of shrimp cocktails to choose from. We saw another location on our drive back to the Cancun airport, so Oasis might be a small chain. Good beer selection, full bar.
Taqueria el Carboncito (east side of Av. Tulum at Acuario)
This is a local hotspot, and the service can be a little gruff towards tourists, but I can’t blame them. However, it’s on the main drag, so I’m not giving away any secrets—plus, the al pastor spit alone is enough to lure anyone wandering by. The seating at Taqueria el Carboncito is mostly outdoors, and that’s where most of the cooking happens, too. The pastor is very juicy and tender with bits of pineapple, and the queso fundido is pure decadence—just grab a tortilla and fill with a slab of bubbling cheese. Say yes when they ask if you want mushrooms.
Flore de Michoacan (Av. Tulum)
I wrote an entire post about this paletaria/juice bar back in back in January. I usually find myself at Flor de Michoacan more than once when I visit Tulum. The paletas are all fresh, handmade, and beautiful. And the frozen bananas are kind of spectacular. Sit in the courtyard out back—it’s really gorgeous with its white wrought iron chairs and tables and there’s always classical music playing. Don’t miss it.
Other spots worth checking out (Sorry, no pics):
Pan del Carmen—this is a large bakery where they serve pretty much any type of pan dulce (Mexican bread) you can think of. Grab a tray, and fill it up. Prices are only a little steeper than East LA.
Charlie’s Restaurant & Bar—I’ve only been here for breakfast, and I enjoyed the huevos rancheros I ordered. Also a gallery, the vibrantly colored art makes it a great spot, and I once saw a man order a giant sundae that I’ve never quite been able to get out of my mind. Very close to the bus station—moderate prices, beautiful courtyard.
Conchinita Pibil Stand—I don’t know exactly when this stand is open. In fact, in the 3 times I’ve been to Tulum, I’ve only gotten lucky once. But if you see a guy and his grandmother selling chonchinita pibil tacos next to the train station, buy one! They roast the pig in the ground, and begin serving at 6am until they sell out. I swear, it will make all your wildest dreams come true.