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Playa Del Carmen- Restaurant Recos?

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Hi All, Going down to the Playa del Carmen area in a few weeks and are looking for restaurant recos. Looking for hidden gems, non-typical touristy spots where the food is memorable and delicious. Thanks for your suggestions!

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  1. La Bamba Jarocha and Pastorcita on 30th ave n of Constituentes, La Tarraya on the beach at 4th st, Alux -the cave on Juarez 1km west of 307, Veracruz on 10th ave s. of Juarez for ceviche, El Faisan y El Venado on 307,are 6 to get you started, and all are Mexican owned and fairly priced. There is a lot to choose from, although most new spots are not at all mexican themed. Higher end are Cocina 38, Negrosal, and John Grey's. Can you provide more about your preferences?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Veggo

      Ditto La Bamba Jarocha.
      Not a restaurant per say, but stop by the push carts at the bottom of Juarez next to the church and 5th. Their roast pork sandwiches (tortas) will seduce you and keep their hooks in your mind long after your vacation! Beware of the hot sauce on the counter and get there early (for breakfast) as they pack up way before lunch.
      I'm salivating now.

      1. re: Veggo

        La Bamba Jarocha is on the north east corner of 30th & 34th. Someone told me to go to that corner, and gave me the wrong restaurant name, but later made the connection. I was recommended their aguachile - which I will try tomorrow.

        Had Oasis's aguachile today - and thought it was good, but not great (and yes, Oasis is open in PDC).

        1. re: turbox3

          I'm glad to hear that Oasis has re-opened. I hope they continue with a fish oriented menu - that part of town needs one.
          If you were a Java Joe's fan, you know they closed. Joel has health issues. He and Ronnie have been my very good friends there for 14 years.

          1. re: Veggo

            Paella @ Oasis

            http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-a...

            1. re: turbox3

              Wow, does that look good, and purdy, too. The new Oasis seems quite uptown! I am baffled by the crab and clam, because they are not at all common in the area. Nor is the use of saffron. I'll be sure to try it when I return after the oppressive heat of summer.

      2. And don't forget to have a brownie at Au Cacao Cafe on Avenida 5 and Constituentes.

        1. cocina 38 med high but a world class treat

          1. Is there still a Lechon cart on the corner of 30 and 30?

            17 Replies
            1. re: LBD

              Thanks for all this info! Does anyone know about a place that you sit in swings and eat? More of a gimmick, but my friends wanted to ask.

              1. re: kmesquita

                El Pirata at the Costa del Mar Hotel, and the Blue Parrot. El Pirata is the better deal.

              2. re: LBD

                I'm passin' through PDC for food and friends on my way back to Belize next Tuesday. I sure as hell hope the tarp is up for the lechon! It's a reason for my detour!
                I'll advise.

                1. re: Veggo

                  OK, excellent. BTW, we are staying at Esencia, any info on the food there?

                  1. re: kmesquita

                    Esencia is excellent. Xpu-Ha bay was owned by 5 mayan brothers and occupied in addition by half a dozen fishermen and a falconer until 1998. The fishermen are dedicated to supplying the lodgers there; the falconer returned to Europe. Xpu-Ha is rich with recent history, which I miss, but it is well done in the present. To tease you, we used to buy platters of spiny lobster tails piled high, more than 4 could eat, for 40 bucks and get a smile too.

                    1. re: Veggo

                      Ahhh, the good ole days of the "Tourist Corridor"....er..."Mayan Riviera"?

                  2. re: Veggo

                    Veggo, swing down 319 and go through Mahahual and stop at 100% Agave. Maybe Fernado can fix you up with some sangrita to go with his tequilla. And where do you eat in Belize City, or do you even go there?

                    1. re: crewsweeper

                      Nah, Belize City has a high creep factor, and there is only one decent restaurant outside the Radisson. I cross to San Pedro from Corozal now, and there are a couple places to get a Belikin and conch fritters on the water a short distance from the airport while they try to find the pilot of the 310.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        So in San Pedro, do you go to Wild Mango or Sunset Grill? Cocina Caramba or El Fogon? Is Jambel's closed like the one in Belize City?

                        Sorry folks didn't mean to hijack the posts :)

                        Crew

                        1. re: crewsweeper

                          I'll post on one of the active Belize threads within a couple weeks.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Thanks Veggo for the info on Esencia. Those lobsters sound amazing!! will report back--thanks all!

                    2. re: Veggo

                      The tarp was up at 30th and 30th early this morning. I had 2 tortas de lechon with chicharron, pico de gallo and habanero salsa for breakfast. 18 pesos each, $3 total.
                      I had a great lunch at La Tarraya under the palm trees in the sand yesterday. 6 ´gigante´ camaromes with a sweet suace of onion, tomato, garlic and cilantro, 10 bucks. Ceviche chico mixto, with octopus, squid, shrimp, and conch was $2.80. ´Ritas there are good, no mix or syrup, just tequila, lime and orange juice. Dinner was at Jurgen´s living room, the second floor of Mom´s hotel where expats play pool, drink, and have $7 home cooked American style dinners Mon thru Fri. Last night was a garlic parmesan pork chop stuffed with mushrooms and bacon, rice with gravy, steamed veggies.Tonight is chicken parmesan, Wednesday is rib night, then pork stroganoff, Friday is lasagna. Great food and comany for the price.
                      Other updates: Java Joe has relocated across the street, Oasis and Dr. Taco are closed, Captain Dave the rib man passed away somewhat suddenly but his partners are carring on at the Bad Boy Bar on the beach near 4th st. The beach in town between the docks was restored with sand from Cozumel during a week in January and is now 100 meters wide. Return visitors will not believe what they are seeing.
                      Grecko´s Dirty Martini Bar is still the happenin´place. Grecko is healing well since his accident in Holland. Wicky´s is indeed a beautiful spot. I met with Ricardo the manager and Collin the chef from Colorado before the dinner hour. Many locals say their 80 peso burger ($7) is excellent. I reviewed every menu; a nice dinner for 2 will run $150 US without wine. I made a few suggestions about the wine list, including dropping the Opus 1 to something below $1000! There is a 28% inport duty on american wines here, but some prices were off the wall.
                      I´m off for the day´s mischief and then Belize tomorrow.

                      1. re: Veggo

                        Thanks for the updated info. We are headed down again in early April. With Oasis and Dr Taco closed, sources of good shrimp tacos are fewer - just have to go further afield.

                        1. re: Ron_in_Dover

                          Shrimp tacos - La Floresta on the highway. They were first and they´re the last man standing for shrimp tacos. And arguably the best the whole time.
                          I just OD´d on a whole boquinette and shrimp soup at Las Brisas on 4th st entre 5&10 aves. They invited me into the kitchen and let me pick my fish. Nice to go an hour without hearing any English.

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Everything we have ever had at Las Brisas has been quite good. Maybe not the absolute best, but quite good. Last trip I had their shrimp ceviche and tikin xic, and wife had a kebob of some sort (does not do seafood). I expect we will have dinner there at least once next month.
                            Not too sure I want to make the trek to La Floresta after heading to La Borrega for some babacoa and also a mandatory trip to the glass factory at Calle 80 and 307.
                            There is a little comida corrida place on 30th around calle 68 that I want to try after hearing good things. My list of places to try has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last couple of weeks. I am going to have a tough time winnowing through the list.

                      2. re: Veggo

                        Veggo,

                        I think Jaime from Oasis in Playa is at NohochKay in Majahual...all the way down at the end of the malecon. Only takes 20-30 people a day. Reports say his fish tacos, conch, octypus, shrimp are wonderful.
                        next time you're wandering through stop in.

                        1. re: crewsweeper

                          Thanks c, Jaime and I owe each other an abrazo, a sonrisa, and a beer. He will do well in Majahual, he knows what travelers want for a "+1" experience, and he has a genius for making Mexican/ Mayan connections based on trust, all the way from fishermen to liquor distributors. Not bad for a greek transplant. I'll bet you didn't know he is greek! He lands on cats' feet wherever he goes and has been a great participant in and contributor to the F&B scene in the Yucatan for 15 years. He is an hermano. And you might not have guessed that Elias, my hermano and good friend who owns several nice places in Cozumel, is a Lebanese jew. Whoda thunk it.