Once you’ve had authentic Mexican cuisine you will never look at the Mexican themed fast food restaurants the same again.
Before going to Mexico my idea of Mexican food was tacos, burritos and nachos. But now I know better. There is nothing like a plate of huevos rancheros to start your day! Fresh sunny side up eggs topped with some salsa sauce on top of a flat ,soft flour tortilla with some refried beans and a few slices of avocado on the side and you’re ready to go to your next adventure! Of course tacos, burritos, guacamole, quesadillas and pico de gallo are all authentic Mexican dishes but they are done a little differently in Tulum.
There are many good restaurants in Tulum, but for desayuno (breakfast) our favorite place has to be Charlie’s. The huevos rancheros is only one of the tasty items on the menu, but keep in mind that desayuno is only served until 11am! The lunch and dinner menu are the same, filled with tasty dishes including the queso frito con guacamole. OMG! for the younger generation. And that’s only an appetizer! Yet the other good thing Charlie’s has going for it is it’s right beside the bus station which makes it handy for grabbing a bite to eat before you have to travel. If you’re in Tulum it’s definitely worth checking out!
Pico de gallo is one of our favorite Mexican dishes but it is not really a meal item, it is more of an appetizer and many restaurants in Tulum will bring you a little bowl of it to munch on before your meal comes. It is made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, salt and pepper(optional), and jalapeno peppers (also optional). It resembles salsa and I guess one could call it that but it doesn’t have the sauce that one usually finds in store bought salsa. Although the recipe is the same it’s the jalapeno peppers that make the difference between mild and having your mouth on fire! This little dish varies in hotness from restaurant to restaurant but if you like it very hot then Don Caffeto’s is the place. Their pico de gallo is handsdown the hottest pico de gallo in Tulum. Make sure you ask for extra water before indulging!
Chorizo is a sausage that many will be familiar with and is another favorite food of ours while in Mexico. You will find a variety of dishes that have chorizo in them like heuvos con chorizo (eggs with chorizo) , chorizo tacos, chorizo burritos and,,, well you get the idea! It is basically a pork sausage that can range from mild to spicy and can be mixed into the meal or enjoyed all on their own. Just remember to remove the plastic casing before using. There is also a type of mini chorizo that is called chorista. very tasty when cut into small bite sized pieces and fried in a little olive oil!! Just off the strip is a little place called Don Y Anna’s and they serve the best choristas in all of Tulum! The menu is more of an appetizer menu but it is a great spot to stop for lunch if you don’t want a heavy large meal in the middle of the day.
Now I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the other staples of Mexican cusine such as enchilladas, fajitas, chimichangas, tamales and empanadas. You will find these dishes at almost all the restaurants that feature Mexican cuisine in Tulum and it would take too long to list them all here.
Ceviche is another tasty Mexican dish that can be made a variety of ways but most feature a type of seafood. Served cold this dish varies from restaurant to restaurant as well. I prefer the lobster ceviche at Coqui Coqui Tulum on the beach but since it is a very common dish there you may want to try it at a few different spots before deciding on your own favorite place for ceviche!
For the budget minded there are cheap ways to eat in Tulum and one of the best ways to do this is to go to either the San Francisco or the Chedraui and buy the prepared foods they have at their food counters. These two places are actually stores that carry everything including groceries, kind of like Wal-Mart here at home. The San Francisco in particular has some authentic Mayan dishes as well as Mexican and most of the time two people can have a nice meal for under $10.
Not all the restaurants in Tulum serve only Mexican or Mayan cuisine. In fact there are a number of restaurants that serve european and american cuisine as well. There are pizza places if you’re in the mood for that but we usually don’t eat pizza when we are on vacation since we can always get that at home! However if you are in the mood for pasta we highly recommend Trattoria Romana located on the main strip in Tulum. The pasta is homemade as are the sauces and this little gem of a restaurant features authentic Italian dishes. A little bit of Italy in the heart of the Mayan Riviera! Reasonably priced and great service as well!
This brings us to lobster. Our favorite place and the one we recommend for the best lobster in Tulum is at the Villa las Estrellas located on the beach. It can seem a little pricey but the food there, in particular the lobster dishes, is worth every penny! A great spot for a romantic dinner with your spouse but get there early to avoid waiting for a table since they don’t take reservations!
If you’re craving a steak then we would recommend the Buenas Aries restaurant on the beach. They do have another location in town on the strip but we found the steak was better at the beach location. I could go on but all this talk about food has made me hungry! I think it’s time for some tacos,,no wait,,, a burrito,, no,, maybe some ceviche. Or some huevos rancheros,,or some chorizo,,,or,,,,,,,,,,,,,,