When in Tulum you really don’t have to search hard for a great meal. Whether you’re the type to make a list, or just wing it, you’ll have a great foodie experience here! There’s no need to compromise, you can enjoy great food in an equally unforgettable setting at each place. Another plus, is the amount of options makes it really easy to stick to any dietary restrictions you may have. The only drawback I can think of is this makes it all the harder to decide where to go. You may find yourself trying to convince yourself that you are hungry again each time you walk by another beautiful restaurant. These are most of the places I went to, some by choice, some by chance. Maybe this can help you a little with your decision making.
Raw Love (at Ahau)
I ordered the Healthy Belly Bowl, which had papaya, ginger, turmeric, passion fruit, and coconut milk. These ingredients give the bowl great digestive and anti-inflammatory properties. Basically, the perfect cure for that jet bloat. I added hemp protein because it was the only thing I recognized from the long list of superfood add ons. The decor here was really earthy, with lovely live edge tables and hammocks. Being one with nature came with a price, there were a lot of mosquitos, so make sure you bring your bug spray with you. I ate my bowl while standing/dancing around just so I would stop getting bit.
This is the cafe of my dreams come to life, the jungle vibes are captivating to say the least. You will walk along a path of wooden stepping stones, past dangling vines and ropes to get to your table. The open courtyard allows the natural light to shine down, so definitely come here on a sunny day. The menu keeps true to their roots. I ordered some classics, like the chilaquiles rojos and horchata, which were both good and while they weren’t remarkable, the ambiance of this hideaway certainly made up for that. I would go back to try their lunch for sure, I hear the vegan pizza is really good.
Moro (at HABITAS)
Located at the bottom level of their clubhouse, this Spanish-Arab fusion restaurant makes for a transportive experience via the aromas, flavors and ambiance. The Moorish influenced dishes are indelible, especially the shakshuka. I actually wanted to order another one as soon as I finished, so I would not recommend sharing, you will want the entire dish to yourself, I promise. Another word of advice order their melon smoothie, it is light and refreshing with lovely minty, citrusy notes, but enjoy it poolside instead.
The design of this hotel is stellar. It is minimalistic while still having an old world charm about it. If you are looking for somewhere to stay in town instead of along the beach strip, this is the place. It is so serene, you don’t feel like you are in a busy town at all. It’s also the perfect escape for a caffeine fix, I got a cortado, which is my favorite espresso drink. In Mexico, it is actually much closer to a macchiato in espresso to foam ratio, it was also consistently more acidic and bitter. I got a freshly made guanabana jelly donut to balance the coffee. I watched as the other guests got the brunch entrees, and everything looked so appealing, I would say you should come hungry.
As I passed the “Follow Your Dreams” sign I knew I was on the right path. I stopped for a coffee break, not that I needed one (this was my third coffee that morning), but it was certainly the most memorable. They have a great selection of drinks. I got the “MatchaAttack”, which is a perfect blend of my two all time favorites. I’m a little mad I didn’t come up with this combo myself, half matcha, half cold brew with a splash of agave. Caffeinating while people watching from the swings, what more can you want from a cafe?
Macondo (at Nomade)
The floor seating, comprised of cushions and low tables, is an homage to bedouin culture. It was so comfy and laid back, I felt right at home, not only because of the decor, but also thanks to the sweet staff here. The server made the effort to learn our names, was constantly cracking jokes, and was great with recommendations. He brought out a trio of dips with an Arab twist on the house. These dips and the guacamole with mango salsa both came with homemade potato chips which was a bit unexpected but worked well. I would go back for their zoodle macro bowl, mainly because I am a zucchini fanatic. While the Mediterranean/Spanish fusion worked for most of the dishes, I wasn’t a fan of the almond falafel, it was far too dry and dense.
The decor here was pretty; vintage and colorful at the same time. I can’t really think of much else to say about this restaurant though. If you really want to sit with your feet in the sand without being on the beach, I guess this is the place for you. Sarcasm aside, the food wasn’t anything special. It might be better for breakfast or dinner. However, with so many solid food spots in Tulum, you aren’t missing much by skipping this one.
For our first meal in Mexico we stopped in Playa del Carmen at an authentic taqueria called El Fogon. The entire meal for two cost us just $7. The server helped us choose the Arrachera tacos, although he pointed out the pork options are even better. To our surprise they came with a plate of nopales (cactus leaf) and sautéed onion. It was my first time having nopales, and they were amazing, further fueling my obsession with cacti. This place set the bar very high for all our meals to follow. Any taco we had was always compared to these. So while this isn’t in Tulum, I highly recommend stopping here on your way to and from the Cancun airport.
Pizzeria in the front, Italian restaurant at back. This may just be one of the hardest decision you have to make on this trip. I was very happy with my choice, the shrimp pasta with zucchini, which was incredible. You can also order a lobster version, which looked delectable. It also comes with a large bread board of assorted focaccia and parmesan cheese. I’m usually a super slow eater but I cleaned my plate so fast, I actually think I spent more time walking around their grounds than I did eating. There was a lot to see, every inch is adorned in beautifully random knick knacks, each time you scan the same spot you see something new, from Cacti, to glass bottles, and vintage Coca-Cola signs.
Kin Toh (at Azulik)
This big treehouse for adults is so whimsical and fun. I would recommend coming at sunset, and planning on staying a while. This dynamic spot has a lot to offer. From a lounge area where you can get hookah and drinks, to their iconic suspended nets which are a perfect spot to hang and of course make for some great photos. They even have a couple of rooftop nest-like tables, which are ideal for large groups! The gastronomic experience here was a nice change from all the vegan/holistic restaurants I had been going to. I knew right away I wanted to try truffle baked oysters and beef cheeks. My friend was apprehensive about the beef cheeks, but she ended up loving it. I hope you also try something new on your trip! All the interesting little bites they bring out in between courses, like octopus ceviche, were a welcome surprise and much needed since the portions here are on the smaller side. That is probably why most people just come here for the drinks, but I still enjoyed my tree-top meal!
Philosophy (at Casa Malca)
Just about every Narcos fan has heard of this former home of Pablo Escobar, turned hotel, by now. To me the real allure of Casa Malca, however, is that is essentially one big live-in art gallery. Each room had a completely different look but they were all equally eccentric. The decor at Philosophy was no exception, but if you are easily creeped out by dolls, you might want to consider eating elsewhere. Otherwise, try their croquettes. They were a charcoal color on the inside, with each one topped with a different garnish, delivering a distinct flavor. For the main, I preferred the steak tacos, but my friend went with the shrimp ones. We were able to agree on one thing; we were ready for a walk, both to admire all the art and to digest.
It was nice getting to see so many hotels during my stay. If you are going during high season, you’ll want to make some reservations, as most of these hotels won’t let you explore their grounds unless you are dining with them. I went during the summer so that wasn’t an issue for me. Some places that I’m upset I didn’t get a chance to go to but are worth checking out: Safari, Wild, Ocumare and Hartwood.