Last Updated on November 23, 2020 by Janine
One of the qualities that makes Mexico so loveable is that it’s so easy to eat delicious food for very little money.
When visiting a resort town, it can be a little trickier to find affordable places to eat on a budget, but it’s still possible!
My best tip for finding cheap eats in Playa del Carmen is to explore away from La Quinta Avenida. La Quinta (5th Avenue) is the heart of Playa’s touristic zone, and therefore the most expensive area.
Wander a block or two away from La Quinta, and you’ll notice the restaurants (and the prices) immediately become much more down to earth.
If you’re not up for intrepid exploration, I’ve put together this list of my favorite cheap places to eat in Playa del Carmen, but it is by no means exhaustive.
These spots will get you started, but you should make room in your Playa del Carmen itinerary to scout out some additional options!
For your convenience, I’ve plotted each of these restaurants on the Google map below, so you’re never left wondering where your next snack is coming from.
If you would like an even more robust map of Playa del Carmen with all of my recommended activities and attractions, click here!
You might also like:
- Best Things To Do In Playa del Carmen
- An Epic 5 Day Playa del Carmen Itinerary
- The Ultimate Guide to Tipping in Mexico
Cheap Places to Eat in Playa del Carmen
1. Don Sirloin
Avenida Constituyentes between Avenida 20 and 25 (also various other locations)
In my opinion, Don Sirloin serves the best tacos in Playa del Carmen. Their specialty, as you can probably imagine, is sirloin tacos.
They also offer arracherra, pastor, and chicken tacos, but none of them are as delicious as the sirloin.
The menu also includes other favorite Mexican foods, including quesadillas, fajitas, charro beans, and even burritos.
Three sirloin tacos and a beer will set you back about $150 MXN ($7.50 USD), including a tip.
Note: some locations accept credit and debit cards, and others don’t (Constituyentes does!).
2. El Fogón
Avenida Constituyentes between Avenida 20 and 25 (also various other locations)
El Fogón is one of the most popular taco spots in the city and is often touted as serving the best tacos in Playa del Carmen.
I remain loyal to Don Sirloin on that front. However, you can definitely find tasty fare at El Fogón.
My personal favorites are the fajitas or the chorizo tacos.
If you visit El Fogón after 7pm during high season (November – March), expect crowds. It’s not uncommon to see a large group of people waiting on the sidewalk for their chance at a table, especially at the main location on Constituyentes.
Fortunately, they’re conveniently located just half a block from Don Sirloin. Just sayin’!
Expect to spend about $150 MXN ($7.50 USD) for a meal for one. Also, they accept credit cards at El Fogón.
Bonus Money Saving Tip: You get more for your money at taco restaurants when you order in bulk. You can order 200g, 500g, or even 1kg of your chosen taco meat, and it will come with tortillas, charro beans, as well as salsas and fixins. If you can’t finish everything, package it up and save it for the next day!
3. Tacos El Ñero
Avenida Benito Juarez and 45 Avenida Nte.
This taquería doesn’t look like much from the outside. In fact, it doesn’t even exist during the daytime.
The tacos are grilled on mobile carts on the sidewalk, and the plastic tables and chairs are set up inside a covered courtyard.
But don’t let the DIY appearance fool you, the tacos are fantastic, and the place is usually crowded as a result.
You’ll never have to wait long for a table, though, as the service is exceptionally speedy (a rarity in the Riviera Maya).
If you’re looking for a truly authentic Mexican taquería experience, this is where you’ll find it.
You can choose from classic taco cuts, such as suadero, maciza, pastor, lengua, and more.
An average meal here (3 tacos and a soda) will run you $100 MXN ($5 USD) or less, and they accept cash only.
A word of warning: The tacos at El Ñero are very greasy– if you’re not accustomed to greasy food, you might experience a rumbly stomach after eating here.
4. Pizza Renzo
Avenida 10 Nte, between Calle 6 and 8
Pizza Renzo is just as delicious as it is cheap. At $20 MXN per slice, you can easily eat your fill of tasty pizza and still have money left over for a beer.
This is ultimately a carryout spot, but they have a couple of tables in front and more in the back garden.
The garden is peaceful, except for the multitude of massive iguanas eyeing up your meal. Beware of them: I was once a victim of an iguana-run pizza heist.
Renzo is cash only.
Calle 4 between Avenida 15 and 20
Wichoos is a small, unassuming seafood restaurant with kitschy decor and tasty food. It’s by far one of the best cheap eats in Playa del Carmen.
In my opinion, the highlights of the menu are the ceviche and the sopa Azteca. Sopa Azteca is a blended tomato-based soup to which you add fried tortilla strips, cheese, avocado, salsa, and other fixins. If you’ve never tried it, do so ASAP!
Wichoos also offers fish tacos and filets of fish, both of which are quite good.
The only downside to eating at Wichoo’s is that they aren’t licensed to serve alcohol, so you’ll have to settle for water or soda.
A meal for one will run you about $150 – $200 MXN ($7 – $10 USD). They don’t accept cards at Wichoo’s, so be sure to bring cash.
6. Lonchería Los Machacados
Avenida 45 Nte and Calle 3 bis Sur
This friendly antojito restaurant is one of my favorite places to eat in Playa del Carmen. The only annoying thing is that they don’t open until 5pm!
What is an antojito, you ask? Antojitos are corn-based appetizers (though a few of them can serve as a full meal). Tacos and tostadas are both considered antojitos, along with dozens of other items.
Los Machacados serves an assortment of traditional Mexican antojitos, including sopes, salbutes, tostadas, and empanadas, among other dishes, including a soap of the day, tortas, and smoothies.
The service is good, but it can be slow because the place is often very busy. It’s well worth the wait, though!
Each antojito item on the menu costs $18 – $20 MXN ($1 USD), and they are quite large, so 2 or 3 items are sufficient for a full meal. Expect to spend about $75 MXN per person.
Like most traditional antojito shops, Machacados is cash only.
7. Cafe Andrade
Avenida 20 and Calle 8 Nte
You could easily walk by this unassuming cafe without ever giving it a chance. In fact, that’s what I did for the first 4 months I lived in Playa del Carmen.
It wasn’t until one day, in search of a caffeine fix, that I decided to give it a try.
Aside from great coffee, Cafe Andrade has an extensive menu featuring just about every traditional Mexican dish you could ever want. You’ll find things like chilaquiles, enfrijoladas, enchiladas, huevos a la Mexicana, and more!
The food is good, and the service is excellent. This is definitely a local’s spot, and I have spotted many repeat customers during my visits.
You can expect to spend about $150 – $200 MXN ($8 – $10 USD) per person for a complete meal, and they do accept credit cards.
Looking for tips on how to distinguish a delicious Mexican restaurant from a crappy one? Check out my post on How to Find the Best Tacos in Mexico.
I like to go off the beaten path as well to find the places away from resorts. This is a great, mouth-watering list of possibilities!
Yes! You definitely get a more authentic experience that way! Thanks for commenting 😀
These look delicious! I also enjoy hunting for good local food and these places sound amazing.
Yay! Glad you think so! Thanks for commenting 🙂
I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD. I lived on the other side of Mexico for 3 years (Puerto Vallarta) and the food was just amazing. I’m sure Playa del Carmen is the same! Thanks for sharing!
That’s awesome! I love the pacific coast! Thanks for your comment!
We recently passed through Playa del Carmen, but looks like next time we’ll need to make a stop at Don Sirloin!