When you’re searching for the top things to do in Tulum, sampling the excellent fare at several of the area’s best restaurants should be near the top of any checklist. Although the highly-acclaimed Hardwood restaurant is often credited for putting Tulum’s thriving food scene on the international map, this boho-chic Caribbean beach town is home to a number of other amazing restaurants that are sure to please even the pickiest palate.
As this year’s most anticipated pop-up restaurant, Noma Mexico opened in Tulum on April 12th and will only remain open through May 28, serving dinner Wednesday through Sunday. As the latest brain child of chef René Redzepi and his former sous chef Rosio Sanchez, Noma’s Tulum pop-up was inspired by six months of travel throughout the country and features interpretations of Mexican ingredients and traditions. Seating sold out within a couple of hours, however, so unless you already have a reservation, or were one of the lucky few to obtain the special Noma package from Colibri Boutique Hotels, this option is most likely off the table (pun intended).
But don’t despair! Even if you don’t have a reservation to sample the haute-cuisine at Noma, Tulum’s culinary game is better than ever, offering a wide variety of other excellent options for foodies worldwide. Here are nine additional restaurants in Tulum that everyone should try at least once, according to Condé Nast Traveler:
With a focus on Yucatan ingredients used to create “Mexi-Cal” cuisine, Arca Tulum serves up farm-to-table starters like charred snap peas and grilled asparagus, as well as handcrafted cocktails like El Solar, which is a tantalizing blend of mezcal, hibiscus, chipotle syrup and smoked ancho chili rum. Other favorites include homemade sourdough bread (which usually sells out by 9:00 p.m.) and – of course – a variety of fresh seafood selections. Expect to find a simple yet elegant atmosphere that is a bit more upscale than nearby Hartwood.
Also located close to Hartwood, Cenzontle is a cozy Tulum restaurant serving up traditional Mexican fare with a twist, in a delightful candlelit garden that is reminiscent of a comfortable country house, despite the fact that it lies near the Caribbean Sea surrounded by the Yucatan jungle. Popular dishes include the goat cheese-stuffed piquillo peppers, vanilla and chile pork ribs and duck carnitas with fresh, house-made tortillas. Insider Tip from Investment Properties Mexico: Cenzontle also serves their very own locally-brewed beer, which is the first of its kind in Tulum, along with a variety of delicious cocktails.
Situated deep in the jungle WILD Restaurant & Bar lies on the edge of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers a variety of adventures and activities. It’s a large-scale Tulum restaurant that specializes in using sustainably-sourced local ingredients from the Riviera Maya and Yucatan Peninsula. Try the homemade flatbread with hummus and baba ganoush, or the organic beet gazpacho with jicama, charcoal ash feta and candied walnuts. The cocktails are also out-of-this-world and were created by Nicolas Baptiste from Experimental Cocktail, featuring fresh juices and purees, as well as syrups and cordials that are made on-site.
Mi Amor by Paul Bentley
Renowned Australian-born chef Paul Bentley came to Mi Amor by Paul Bentley is located in a 17-room boutique hotel and integrates his French-Italian approach in an adults-only atmosphere that is located just north of the main beachfront in Tulum. We recommend the kale soup, tuna paté or lobster tacos, but the cocktail menu is also noteworthy, featuring a variety of prosecco-infused options that seem fitting for this eatery perched on the rocks near the clear blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Looking for fabulous food and excellent conversation? Check out Habitas, located behind an artist community by the same name and created by Kfir Levy and Eduardo Castillo, who has made a permanent home on the Tulum beach, occupying a strip of white sand just north of Papaya Playa. Boasting a signature community-minded atmosphere, this Tulum restaurant specializes in weekly family-style dinners open to solo diners or groups, which fosters conversation and a unique social experience. On the menu, expect to find Spanish-Arab items infused with a modern Mexican flare, including tagines, albondigas (a type of meatballs) and mole, then relax in one of the establishment’s intimate lounge areas for live music and mezcal.
Charly’s Vegan Tacos
This vegan taco truck – started by the restaurant’s namesake Charly – is located on a small piece of Tulum just on the northern strip of beach, which has limited parking and foot traffic but still manages to draw a steady stream of devotees. Offering some of the best tacos in Tulum, Charly’s Vegan Tacos offers inventive fare with complex flavors and a welcoming atmosphere, featuring stevia-sweetened lemonade, spicy salsa, plantain chips served over coleslaw and quinoa, Portobello tacos and mango guacamole.
Chef Paco Ruano was born in Guadalajara and voted one of San Pellegrino Latin America’s “One to Watch,” having worked in restaurants located in Denmark and Spain before coming to Tulum, where he opened El Pez, a shabby-chic family-style restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating options. The seafood-centric menu offers delicious sikil pak pumpkin spread with fresh pita bread, shrimp aguachile with coconut cream and a variety of craft cocktails by Mulberry Project founder and renowned mixologist Jasper Soffer.
Tulum Art Club
Creating a much-needed meeting place and workspace for local and traveling creative types, the Tulum Art Club hosts events and showcases a variety of different artists, but also serves breakfast and lunch in the café, delicious turmeric lattes and other artisanal coffee drinks sourced from Veracruz, as well as an incredible dinner menu and craft cocktails. Check out the website to see what special events are coming up.
Pasito Tun Tun
Situated in the town of Tulum, Pasito Tun Tun is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and cocktails. This unique Tulum restaurant and bar is a go-to spot for locals and travelers, serving Mexican-style eggs, bagels, burritos and taquitos in a trendy cantina-style atmosphere. But let’s be clear: Pasito Tun Tun is perhaps best known as a fantastic mezcaleria and also has great music!
What do you look for in a restaurant while traveling? Tell us in the comment section
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