Vegetarian Friendly Restaurants in Playa del Carmen

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With meals revolving around tortillas, beans, salsa and cheese it’s pretty easy to find vegetarian friendly Mexican food. In tourist-orientated Playa del Carmen there are some excellent Mexican and international restaurants. Here are some of our favourites from our three month stay.


La Cueva del Chango

La Cueva del Chango

La Cueva is popular with Mexicans and tourists alike and for good reason. The food is fresh and tasty and it has a lovely setting in a lush garden. The breakfasts are particularly popular and there are good vegetarian options for breakfast and lunch, but it’s much more limited for dinner.

Some of our favourite dishes were the empanadas with your choice of many vegetarian fillings; molletes, a comforting dish of melted cheese and beans on bread served with salsa; the panela cheese and chaya (a local spinach) crepes with poblano sauce; and chalupitas, tortilla topped with beans and Oaxaca cheese. We also love the salsas that accompany every meal and the house juice of orange, pineapple and chaya. If you only go to one restaurant in Playa then we recommend here.

Chalupitas, crepes, molletes, and salsas at La Cueva.

La Cueva del Chango is on Calle 38 between 5th Avenue and the sea.

La Ceiba de la 30

Vegetarian burritos at La Ceiba
Vegetarian burritos at La Ceiba

La Ceiba is located within DAC, the vegetable market that we love (see Self Catering below). The dishes are a bit lighter and healthier than the usual Mexican restaurants and there are a few vegetarian options including vegetarian burritos, quesadillas, and sandwiches. The chilaquiles (tortilla chips in salsa with cheese and avocado—see top photo) were the best I had in the area. As well as Mexican dishes there are also salads and pasta. The huge smoothies are a highlight with a range of interesting flavour combinations.

La Ceiba is on 30th Avenue, between Avenida Constituyentes and Calle 20.

El Nativo

Vegetarian enchiladas at El Nativo
Vegetarian enchiladas at El Nativo

Opposite La Ceiba, El Nativo also has wonderful big smoothies and a few vegetarian options including vegetarian enchiladas and burritos. They come with beans and rice and the portions are huge, and you get tortilla chips and salsa while you wait.

El Nativo is on 30th Avenue, between Avenida Constituyentes and Calle 20.

Burro Playero

This funky burrito stand has vegetarian burritos and tacos.

Burro Playero is on Calle 8 between 10th and 15th Avenues


When you need a change from Mexican there are quite a few good options in Playa.


Piola became our favourite place for thin Italian-style pizzas. There is a huge menu with plenty of vegetarian options. The bruschetta is also great, and the creamy chocolate mousse served in a wafer basket is heavenly. Its famous for its big frozen basil martinis which I think are delicious, but Simon thought were odd.

Piola is opposite La Cueva del Chango on Calle 38 between 5th Avenue and the sea.


Genova panini at Novis

This Italian deli has lots of Italian produce including authentic but expensive cheeses, and some of the best bread in Playa—but you need to get there early as it’s often gone by the afternoon. We mostly came here for the paninis. There are a few vegetarian options but our favourite was the Genova with mozzarella, sundried tomatoes, pesto & basil.

Novis is at Calle 20 with 25th Avenue.

Chez Celine

Brie salad at Chez Celine
Brie salad at Chez Celine

An French boulangerie and patisserie with a prime people watching spot on 5th Avenue. We were hooked on the breakfast pastries including a wonderful chocolate croissant and we could never visit without taking a baguette home. They also do some good salads, sandwiches, and crepes (after 4pm). If you are craving some flavourful cheese then this is the place—the brie is punchy and I loved the homemade goats cheese with onion and garlic served on a toasted baguette. So simple but so good.

Chez Celine is on 5th Avenue with Calle 34.

Bio Natural

Hummus at Bio Natural

This the only completely vegetarian restaurant on this list and is located within a little organic shop. There are lots of interesting salads and pasta dishes (our friend liked the spirulina pasta). We enjoyed the spicy tomato chipotle soup (a daily special), the hummus, and the quinoa tortilla chips with aubergine, carrot and yogurt dips.

Bio Natural is on 5th Avenue between Calle 40 and 42. now has a bigger store and restaurant and has moved to 10th Avenue between Constituyentes and Calle 16, behind Quinta Alegría Mall. 

Titi Panini

Although the pasta isn’t quite as good as in an Italian restaurant they have a number of vegetarian options and every pasta or panini comes with a free salad bar visit which was fresh and tasty.

Titi Panini is on Calle 10 between 10th and 15th Avenues.

Sweet Treats

Ah Cacao

Ah Cacao chocolate cake

Ah Cacao does great coffee and chocolate treats. We loved the brownies, chocolate cake, and the spicy Mayan hot chocolate.

Ah Cacao has two locations on 5th Avenue—one by Calle 30 and the other by Constituyentes.

Chez Celine

Breakfast pastries and baguette at Chez Celine
Breakfast pastries at Chez Celine

Although the coffee isn’t quite as good at Chez Celine as at Ah Cacao it made up for it with the delicious pastries and cakes. They also do crepes after 4pm. See above for details.

Self Catering

We cooked for ourselves most of the time and here’s where we did our shopping. For good bread we liked Chez Celine and Novis (details above).


A wonderful place with lots of vegetables, fruit, organic produce, international ingredients, and best of all, self service tubs where you could help yourself to spices, dried chillies, dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. It’s perfect for travellers as you don’t always want to buy a whole pack of something.

You can also pick up a smoothie to go or stop for a meal at La Ceiba (details above).

DAC is on 30th Avenue, between Avenida Constituyentes and Calle 20.


A huge supermarket conveniently located a few doors down from DAC.

Mega is on 30th Avenue with Constituyentes.

Cooking Course

We loved our cooking course with CoCos Culinary School which gave us lots of ideas to expand our Mexican cooking horizons (and know what to do with all those dried chillies in DAC).

Update: We’ve written a detailed guide to vegetarian food in Mexico that you might find useful travelling around the country. 


  1. I enjoyed reading this post about all the interesting vegetarian options in Playa. We spent three months there living near the Plaza. There are lots of other delicious offerings in Playa for meat eaters. Our favorite (with plenty of veggie- but not vegan- options was Kaxapa Factory, a Venezuelan restaurant owned by the effusive Jose Ramon. Great food and a lovely, family atmosphere.

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  2. There’s also this tiny place on Fifth Ave, about 2 blocks up from the ADO, that make these great falafel and veggie stuffed pita sandwiches. Yummy and very filling. Look for 4 lime green chairs.

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  3. Thank you very much for all the information on eating vegetarian in Playa del Carmen. We will be visiting PDC for a month and I know I will eat very well being a pescatarian leaning more towards vegetarian. My husband and I already registered for a cooking class at Co.Co’s. Can’t wait! yum!

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  4. Hi!
    I’ve just joined your newsletter by browsing your blog page. I liked it a lot that you dared to live your homeland and decided to become world citizens! I will be visiting PDC in a few days and watching your food references and photos has just made me hungry already. Ha. Thanks for sharing and for the good tips so far. :)

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  5. We just arrived in Playa del Carmen and your posts have been incredibly helpful – thanks so much for this wealth of information! Off to buy some fruit and veggies at DAC now :-)

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  6. In Playa now, been loving it! There’s a fantastic vegan restaurant called La Senda on Calle 10 and Avenida 10 Bis….mind-blown! Light meals, hearty meals, fresh juices, smoothies…

    also, Bio-Natural just moved to a larger space at Calle 26 between Av. 5 and Av.10. Breakfast is buy one, get one half off! YUM.

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  7. Thanks for this! We, too, are on a neverending voyage and find it takes a lot of time to find the restaurants where we can eat! Thanks again!

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  8. Just want to say a big thank you for your tips on where to eat great vegetarian meals in Playa! We have just arrived and with so many restaurants around the place, it’s great to have a wee list sorted for us! Think we’re going to head to La Cueva del Chango tomorrow for breakfast and then maybe a cheeky piece of chocolate cake from Ah Cacao to wash it down hehe!

    P.s. Not sure if you’ve eaten here, but we went to Kaxapa Factory (Venezuelan cuisine) and thought it was great!

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    • I hope you enjoy them! I heard Kaxapa Factory was good and had veggie options but we never got around to trying it.

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  9. Although i am not a vegeterian type of guy, I have to admit that most of the foods you posted here looks delicious,especially the sweets !

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  10. I’ve been looking for some inspiration for our first big supermarket shop in a few weeks. We’ve just arrived at a house sitting assignment here in New Zealand and I can’t wait to get back in the kitchen. A recipe for Ah Cacao’s chocolate cake is first on my list of recipes to google! Closely followed by a good hummus recipe!

    Hope the Cubans are looking after you both. Can’t wait to see your colourful photos from the vibrant country!

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  11. A fantastic, comprehensive post Erin! Beautiful photos. I feel very lucky that we were introduced to a couple of these great restaurants by you guys, and will be bookmarking this for future reference! Hope Cuba is treating you well and the food is just as good :)

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    • Haha, the food in Cuba was not as good so we’re rather glad to be back in Mexico now. Let us know if you discover any more good restaurants in Playa.

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  12. My goodness, you’re making me so hungry! Mexican food sounds so good right now after being underwhelmed by the often bland offerings in Chile. These places are definitely going on my list for Playa…when we eventually make our way up there from South America!

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    • South America (with a few exceptions) is pretty dull foodwise so you’ll appreciate the spice when you make it up here. :)

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  13. Here is me sitting in my office eating a sorry looking sandwhch with processed cheese and then I see this post. OMG, the empanadas look so amazing. I must go to Mexico!

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