The main strip in Tulum has no shortage of restaurants, but they cater to tourists with overpriced drinks, and American-style hamburgers. Luckily it’s easy to find more affordable local restaurants if you veer off slightly onto a side road or follow the main street just past the main tourist area. If you’re trying to figure out where to eat in Tulum, check out my top 4 recommendations for tacos and seafood.
If you’re also visiting nearby Playa del Carmen, check out the best places to eat in Playa del Carmen and things go do over 3 days in Playa del Carmen.
1. Taqueria el Carboncito
Location: Main street between Jupiter Sur and Acuaria Sur
After strolling the main street, stop at Taqueria el Carboncito for delicious tacos al pastor cooked over charcoal. You can order individual tacos, or for a better deal, get an “order” (orden de tacos al pastor) to receive a generous amount of pastor meat and tortillas, and assemble the tacos yourself. They provide 3 different sauces, from no-heat to super-spicy.
Easily one of the best value meals in Tulum… generous serving, absolutely delicious, and very affordable. Open for lunch and dinner.
2. El Camello Jr.
Location: Main street and Av. Kukulkan
The restaurant name means “the camel” but you come here for delicious seafood. The bright fluorescent lights can be off-putting after sunset, so we arrived during daylight so our eyes would acclimate.
We came specifically for their fried whole fish (pescado frito), which is served with some steamed vegetables, steamed rice and refried beans. Simple food, impeccably prepared and delicious.
El Camello Jr. provides each table with a generous serving of totopos (nacho chips) and salsas (dips), including a delicious bean-based dip.
I’d also love to try their ceviche… It looked delicious. Open for lunch and dinner.
3. Los Aguachiles
Location: Main street at Palenque
If you’re looking for some great seafood with a bit more ambiance than El Camello Jr., then Los Aquachiles should do the job perfectly.
The roasted whole octopus (pulpo asoleado) is a must. The namesake aguachiles (similar to a ceviche) are also delicious.
Some dishes can be on the pricier side, but the seafood is fresh and absolutely delicious. A lovely treat. This is a place you can come back a few times because there’s so much on the menu.
4. Deli Fresh Cocina Mexicana
Location: Calle Jupiter Sur, just south of the main street
In the theme of getting off the main strip for great local places, we stumbled on Deli Fresh Cocina Mexicana. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is frequented by a mix of friendly locals and Spanish-speaking tourists. You’ll need some basic Spanish to order.
The food is fresh, well-prepared and nicely presented. We had chicken tacos and quesadillas. There’s a little bit of everything to cater to all tastes.
The chilaquiles also seemed quite popular and looked absolutely delicious.
These were our food highlights from our short stay in Tulum in February 2023. Share your favourite places to eat in Tulum in the comments below.
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