Tulum Dining – Tips & Advice
- Cash: Most restaurants in Tulum accept cash only, even the fine dining restaurants. Some accept U.S. dollars, but most require payment in Mexican pesos. If given the option, pay in pesos to get the best rates; you will always overpay if using dollars. Many resturants that do allow credit cards charge an additional 3% surcharge.
- Tipping: Tipping is part of the custom here, and 10 to 15% is the standard rate. But first check bill for the word “propina” (meaning tip) to see if it has already been added to the bill. If so, add the necessary amount to bring the propina total up to 10 to 15%. Tipping in pesos is best, so the staff don’t have to pay a bank to exchange it into pesos.
- Most of Tulum’s best restaurants are in the Pueblo or Middle Beach Zone. The Pueblo has more authentic, affordable restaurants, while the Middle Beach Zone has more chic, upscale spots. Most restaurants in the beach zones are on the jungle side of the road with outdoor seating.
- Best Cooking Class : Rivera’s Kitchen Tulum (Pueblo)
- Best Breakfast: Tunich (Beach Town) • Del Cielo (Pueblo) • Taqueria Honorio (Pueblo)
- Best Sunsets: Kin Toh (Beach Town) • Mateo’s Mexican Grill (Beach Town)
- Best New Restaurant: MEZE (Middle Beach Zone)
- Best Ice Cream: Campanella Cremerie (Pueblo) • Panna e Cioccolato (Pueblo)
- Best Coffee: Ki’bok Coffee (Pueblo)
The 28 Best Restaurants in Tulum
1. Arca – Middle Beach Zone • $$$$
High-end restaurant serving contemporary, flame-cooked, Mayan-Mexican dishes. The menu changes often, but always offers the freshest, local seafood, meat, and produce from nearby Mayan farms. Open for dinner Tuesdays through Sundays. Reservations strongly recommended. Cash only.
2. Hartwood – Middle Beach Zone • $$$$
Tulum’s premier fine dining restaurant offers a new menu each night highlighting seasonal produce from local markets and farms, along with sustainable seafood and meats. Totally off-the-grid, all food is cooked over fire and the only lighting comes from candles. Open for dinner only from Wednesday through Sunday. Email for reservations about a month in advance. Cash only.
3. Cetli – Pueblo • $$$
A romantic, candlelit hacienda-turned-restaurant just outside of town, Cetli serves up amazing Oaxacan mole dishes. Local, fresh ingredients are ground with a metate stone in pre-Hispanic style. Open for lunch and dinner; reservations recommended for dinner. Cash only.
4. La Gloria de Don Pepe – Pueblo • $$
Charming little spot for Spanish tapas, and fantastic wine. Their greatest hits include paella, fideuà (seafood pasta), and chistorra sausage. Buzzing atmosphere, especially in the evenings. Open for lunch and dinner. Cash only.
5. NÜ – South Beach Zone • $$$$
Contemporary Mayan-Mexican cuisine served in the jungle under the stars. Dishes feature traditional, local ingredients prepared in a creative, modern style. Its romantic ambiance makes this an ideal spot for special occasions. Dinner only; reservations recommended.
6. Posada Margherita – Middle Beach Zone • $$$$
Upscale yet unfussy beachfront Italian restaurant serving delicious handmade pasta and outstanding pizza made according to an old family recipe. The wine list is broad with an ever-changing selection of excellent labels. The restaurant is open all day, but the lunch and dinner menus are best. Cash only; no reservations.
7. Safari – Middle Beach Zone & Aldea Zama • $$
Rustic, Yucatecan-Mexican dishes cooked campfire-style, over an outdoor fire pit, and prepared in a retro-chic Airstream trailer. The menu is small and simple, pairing well with Mexican craft beer, signature cocktails, and house-made aguas frescas. The beach zone is the original location, open for lunch and dinner, cash only, with outdoor seating in the jungle. Aldea Zama is the newer location, with indoor seating (the food is still flam-cooked), breakfast available, and accepting credit cards.
8. Clan-Destino – Middle Beach Zone • $
Awesome hamburger restaurant built around a private cenote in the jungle. Burgers come with meat or veggie patties, while the bar serves classic cocktails and cold beer. Virgin Cenote is lit all night with a chandelier, and legend has it that jumping in restores the virginity of the swimmer. Very casual atmosphere and always filled with music, whether from the jukebox, karaoke, or live bands. Open from noon until 5:00 in the morning. Cash only.
9. WILD – South Beach Zone • $$$
Ultra-chic, open-air dining in the jungle. The menu features gourmet Mexican-international gastronomy, using locally-sourced ingredients cooked over a wood fire. The inspired cocktail bar offers signature drinks made with fresh juices, homemade syrups, and edible flowers. Ideal for weddings and special events. Reservations recommended.
10. El Asadero – Pueblo • $$
The best steakhouse in the Pueblo, El Asadero serves up succulent meats (don’t miss the arrachera) with Mexican accompaniments, including chorizo, grilled cactus, and roasted potatoes. Dinner only; reservations recommended.
11. Casa Banana – Middle Beach Zone • $$$
The best steakhouse on the beach road. Casa Banana offers a high-end Argentine-Mexican menu with excellent meat cuts, homemade chorizo, local beer, and a long list of mezcal cocktails. Open all day, but dinner service is the best. Cash only.
12. MEZE – Middle Beach Zone • $$$$
The best new restaurant in Tulum. MEZE is a stylish Greek taverna specializing in meze plates (the Greek version of tapas) and creative cocktails. All dishes are made to share, so bring a friend and an appetite.
13. Tunich – Beach Town • $$
The best brunch in the beach zone. Tunich offers a hearty menu of Mexican and international favorites, from chilaquiles to eggs benedict, with friendly faces and a relaxed vibe. All day brunch from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Cash only.
14. Del Cielo – Pueblo • $$
Del Cielo Tropical Bistro offers a mix of Mexican, Caribbean, and international favorites. Don’t miss the tartine and French toast. The restaurant is open all day, but brunch is when they truly shine. Cash only.
15. Raw Love – Middle Beach Zone • $$
Vegan, raw food restaurant on the beach with a sandy floor, hammocks, and hippie style. Gluten-free superfoods fill the menu, while standout dishes include the raw pah thai and the açai bowl. Find them in Ahau Tulum hotel. Cash only.
16. Mateo’s Mexican Grill – Beach Town • $$
Multi-storied bar and grill with a rooftop deck offering sunset views over the jungle. Another terrace is filled with hammocks. The menu is Mexican-based but a little Americanized; standouts include the fish tacos, ceviche, and cocktails. Open all day; live music most nights. Cash only (ATM onsite).
17. Ukami – Middle Beach Zone • $$
Unique fusion menu of “Mayapanese” creations, blending Mayan and Japanese culinary traditions. Expect fresh sushi alongside wild concoctions, like gyoza made with yuca, teriyaki tacos, and miso soup with fried tortillas. The restaurant has covered and open-air seating with colorful murals, eclectic décor, and a casual atmosphere. Dinner only.
18. Mezzanine – North Beach Zone • $$$
Mezzanine Hotel is home to a surprisingly authentic Thai restaurant. Run by 2 Thai chefs and incorporating local ingredients, the restaurant offers subtle twists on classic dishes and pairs them with Asian-inspired cocktails. Elegant yet casual atmosphere, perfect for a date night.
19. El Vegetariano Mar y Tierra – Pueblo • $$
Tasty, casual vegan/veggie restaurant in the heart of town with a savory menu of Mexican and international dishes. Great chile relleno, burgers, falafel, and more, best enjoyed on the cozy garden patio in the back.
20. El Gourmet – Pueblo • $$
Wonderful café in the heart of the Pueblo featuring amazing paninis made with homemade focaccia bread (baked daily onsite), fresh cheeses, local produce, and quality meat. The breezy dining terrace sits in front under a canopy of rainbow umbrellas with the tables interspersed with plants and flowers. Cash only.
21. Kin Toh – Beach Town • $$$$
Stylish treehouse restaurant and bar with striking architecture and dreamy sunset views over the jungle. This so-cool-it-hurts spot is all about the atmosphere, so come for sunset cocktails in one of their nest perches or have a shisha while lounging on their hanging nets. The food is Mayan avant-garde and a bit pretentious, but the ambiance is truly original and well worth the trip. Reservations recommended. A 25 USD minimum consumption fee will be charged to a credit card on arrival.
The Best Tacos in Tulum
1. Taqueria Honorio – Pueblo • $
A family-run taco stand best known for their Yucatecan pork fillings, including conchinita pibil (slow-roasted pulled pork), lechón al horno (roast suckling pig), poc chuc (grilled pork with citrus marinade). This spot has become popular in recent years, so expect to pay a little more here than at other taco stands (though it’s still super cheap). Open from 6:00 a.m. until they run out of food, usually around 1:00 p.m. Cash only, limited seating.
2. El Carboncito – Pueblo • $
Tulum’s best tacos al pastor (spit-roasted pork with a Mexican-Middle Eastern spice blend). Chorizo and beef tacos are also amazing, especially when washed down with a glass of jamaica (sweet hibiscus tea) or horchata (sweet cinnamon rice drink). Though the seating area is large, it’s usually super busy with a long wait for a table, so arrive early or take it to go. Cash only.
3. Antojitos la Chiapaneca – Pueblo • $
Some of Tulum’s best tacos are also the cheapest, starting at 10 pesos each (15 pesos with cheese). Go for the al pastor. This stand is also known for its Yucatecan snacks, especially salbutes (open-face, deep-fried, mesa flour tacos) and panuchos (salbutes with refried beans added). Covered or open-air seating is available, but it’s standing room only most nights. Hours are not strictly kept, but usually the shop is open after 5:00 p.m. Cash only.
4. Tacos y Tortas El Tío – Pueblo • $
Authentic, cheap, delicious street tacos and tortas. There are only 5 chairs at this popular little cart, so plan on ordering to go. Hours aren’t set, but the cart is open at night only and usually on weekends, though you may catch them some weeknights, too. El Tío parks in front of the Oxxo convenience store at the corner of Avenida Tulum and Calle Geminis Sur. Cash only.
5. Burrito Amor – Pueblo • $$
Not technically tacos. But Burrito Amor cooks up a rich, flavorful menu based around a clean-eating philosophy. Burritos are made with their fresh, homemade tortillas (flour, gluten-free, or grain-free) and stuffed with a variety of fillings (meat, vegetarian, vegan, egg-free, dairy-free, and/or paleo-friendly). They also have a killer bar, mixing up signature cocktails, aquas frescas, fresh squeezed juices, and fragrant coffee. Great menu and service all day. Cash only.
6. Charly’s Vegan Tacos – South Beach Zone • $
Non-traditional taco shop serving 100% vegan tacos and snacks, including their signature Guaca-Mango (their sweet take on guacamole) and rich, flavorful mock meats. Tucked under palm trees, lit with hanging lights and candles, this is the most charming spot for tacos in Tulum. Cash only.
7. Taqueria La Eufemia – South Beach Zone • $
Rock ‘n roll style, beachfront taqueria offering great fish tacos and snacks. La Eufemia is not very authentic, but the flavors are bold, the margaritas are strong, the vibe is chill, and the smell of weed is in the air. The cheapest eats on the beach. Cash only.