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Jan 12, 2014 12:52 PM

Suggestions for Tulum Chicken?

Hi folks,
My sisters and I are taking my mother to Puerto Aventuras (sisters' idea). I'm planning a day excursion with a stop for lunch in Tulum.

Nothing fancy, not any new-age, vegan, smoothie place.

I'm looking for chicken. Tulum Chicken, fired over live charcoal, served on plastic plates at a plastic table with plastic chairs. Roadside with sleeping dog optional. Served half or whole with rice and likely espaguetis. Chicken so good, it'll be the benchmark for all grilled chicken to come.

What are my best bets?


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  1. El Pollo Bronco, in Tulum Pueblo. On the main drag. We went last year and it was easy to find, but I don't remember the cross street.

    Fantastic. The chicken's delicious, the cheesy potatoes were great, and very tasty slaw and salsa.

    1. Thanks Ismutko!
      I know Bronco, on the 307 "service road".
      We've been to Tulum a few times in the 80s and 90s, when the chicken places lined the main drag. Things were different then when you had to cross the roadside ditch to get to the restaurant.
      Last time we were in Tulum was maybe 6 years ago and it was very different, although Pollo Bronco was going strong.
      I was just wondering whos most popular these days.

      4 Replies
      1. re: porker

        We were there last year and the woman who was caretaking the house we rented (and a couple other locals and expats) pointed us toward Bronco, so I think it's still the pick.

        We were last there in the early 2000s, and the change along the beach road is significant -- I think you'll be surprised and maybe a little sad. Big supermarket on "T" to the beach, and a townhouse development, too.

        But the chicken's still good.

        1. re: lsmutko

          "maybe a little sad"
          You don't know the half of it.

          We first visited Playa Del Carmen in the 80s when it was actually a sleepy village with dirt roads and 5th ave had an open sewer along the middle.
          There was only one mainsteam hotel next to the Cozumel ferry dock, there was no such thing as Playacar, and the town was basically bordered by the sea, the 307, Benito Juárez, and Constituyentes.
          North of Constituyentes and the other side of the highway was jungle.

          The closest all-inclusive was in Cancun.

          Beer was 25c (20c when you returned the empty).

          I caught fish for dinner from the town beach (Theres no more fish) and snorkeled for lobster with locals (I'm not sure, but theres likely not much in the way of lobsters either).

          There was a beautiful, living, coral reef 150 yards from shore on the beach just north of Playa proper.

          Yeah, I'm saddened...

          1. re: porker

            We did see some lobsters at Paamul and some turtles at Akumal.

            While I've only seen about 10 years' of change, it's been rapid. And not always for the good -- though I'd guess residents are happier without the open sewers.

            But a lot has been lost.

            1. re: porker

              I agree, Tulum is unrecognizable from the olden days, it's lost all its hard to get to, exotic charm

        2. FWIT, we had lunch @ El Pollo Bronco and the chicken was indeed delicious, as was the slaw & salsa. Also ordered spaghetti side and real cokes all around.
          There were 5 of us and lunch with tip was 300 pesos (well under $5USD each).