other recs for Playa del Carmen?
Playa is growing like crazy - becoming a mini-South Beach - but some of our favorites are still there:
HC Monterrey - a butcher shop that also sells food. Get the arrachera (flank steak) platter that comes with half an avocado and a roasted onion.
For seafood - El Cejas. Everything is always good. I love the seafood empanadas, ceviches, and grilled langoustines.
Not as casual, El Trapiche is towards the growing "Little Italy" section - north of 5th Avenue (calle 28). Excellent Mexican specialties with an extensive menu with lots of authentic items to choose from, and great Margaritas. Everything here has been good - chiles rellenos, chipotle shrimp, the soups, grilled meat and seafood, mole enchiladas, chiccharones, carnitas, lengua. I always get the Chiles en Nogada. Hopefully this picture will link!:
For lighter fare and something different try Media Luna. So good my wife wanted to eat there everyday. Chicken, salads, shrimp, vegetarian... but not Mexican at all. Located in the heart of 5th,but you can walk right past it since the sign out front is only a cut out of a half moon (media luna)