Where to Eat in Tulum: Lots to Taco 'Bout

BREAKFAST

Taqueria Honorio (6am-2pm)

We made this restaurant our second home while in Tulum. The kitchen opens before 6am and from that moment on for the rest of the day, hungry diners are anxious to get their hands on these tacos. You can order individual items rather than full meals so it’s perfect for a quick snack or a full lunch; but their hours make it the place to go for breakfast. 

where-to-eat-tulum-1.JPG

They offer tacos, quesadillas, tostadas and tostas as their main dishes; flan, and cream cheese empanadas for dessert. We tried nearly everything on the menu and our favourites were the Relleno Negro de Nevo (turkey) and the Carne Asada (pork) tacos. The Jamaica and melon drinks are good too. 

If you’re stopping in for breakfast, we suggest getting the tosta version for it’s ‘eat-on-the-go’ option. This was a key attribute in the time we raced the sunrise to the beach at 5am. 

If you’re sitting in, you should have a little bit of everything. But good luck getting your hands on the empanadas — we never got to try them because they apparently sell out faster than you can get there. 

El Canaston (9am-2:30pm)

If you want a tangible way to understand the essence of Tulum, El Canaston is where you need to be. The vibe here is so laid back that you feel relaxed as soon as you step into their open-air, stone-floored establishment. You order from the food stand and seat yourself at any table. There is a salsa station available with pickled peppers as well.

where-to-eat-tulum-2.jpg

An essential stop for vegetarians, they allegedly offer some of the best tacos in town. Unfortunately, we had arrived late in the afternoon so we were bound by their “once it’s gone, it’s gone” mentality and had to choose between the leftovers. But even these were great so I’d bet the reviews speak the truth about the rest. 

If you want a chill vibe, fresh-pressed juice and some casual-yet-awesome tacos — check this place out. 

where-to-eat-tulum-3.JPG

Lunch

Burrito Amor (8am-10pm)

Aside from the two restaurants above, finding quality lunchtime food is a bit of a challenge as most don’t open until 5pm everyday. Unless you’re down with sitting in shady tourist-trap bars and eating crappy pizza, take a slight detour to Burrito Amor. I talk about this place a lot but to me, they’ve established themselves in an oft-ignored niche in Tulum: open all day, serves a great variety of food appropriate for all hours, and tops it off with some great decor and passionate staff. 

The burritos are good but the salads are even better. I wrote more about it here and here!

El Camello Jr. (10:30am-9pm)

I’ll be honest — I really don’t know how I feel about this restaurant. Every review we read about it calls it the best seafood place in town but we definitely didn’t see it that way. There are some seriously unfortunate meals on their menu (do NOT order the Octopus el Guajillo or the fish tacos). 

where-to-eat-tulum-4.JPG

However, there are some great items on the menu too. The ceviche was tasty (but even the small is huge and you’d be wise to order it in a group). The seafood soup was great. The Squid al Mojo de Ajo was superb. Their shrimp cocktail looked SO good but it also looked so big that we didn’t think we could finish it.

So while I do suggest you give it a shot, I caution you to choose wisely.

Side note: they get bonus points for standing up for the sea turtles and refusing to offer straws with their drinks. For that I will always stand behind them, despite their guajillo sauce.

We make a point of carrying reusable straws with us wherever we go. These stainless steel ones have been amazing!

where-to-eat-tulum-5.JPG

Dinner

Antojittos La Chaipaneca (5pm-1am)

Okay, so you can’t skip this one. At just 7 pesos per taco, it’s like Taqueria Honorio, but the spicier night time version. You can order any version of meat-on-tortilla you could ever want. There are the essentials like Empanadas, Tacos, Quesadillas, and Tostadas. There are also unique options that I didn’t see anywhere else: Salbutes (a layer of beans spread), Panuchos (cold), and my favourite Sopes (the tortilla was more like naan bread). 

where-to-eat-tulum-6.JPG

When your food arrives, there’s a salsa station near the entrance with fresh cilantro, cabbage, onions and two choices of sauces. The red one is seriously spicy. It all comes together for one of the best taco experiences in Tulum. 

It’s also there for you until 1:00am, if you desperately need a taco after a night on the town.

Orange you glad I brought you here?

Orange you glad I brought you here?

Los Aguachiles (1pm-9pm)

This is a small chain restaurant. Admittedly, we didn’t get the opportunity to try it in Tulum because it was closed every time we tried but we managed to find it in Cancun. The variety of options and quality of ingredients they offer makes it worth mentioning. 

where-to-eat-tulum-8.JPG

After spending far too long trying to decide what to choose from their extensive menu, we went with the Pulpo Asoleado (fried octopus in a buffalo-style sauce) and three tostadas (octopus, shrimp and tuna). The octopus, served with beans and rice, was amazing. Crispy around the edges and tender toward the centre.

where-to-eat-tulum-9.JPG

The tostadas were good. They were notably fresh, above all else; the seafood was beautifully prepared. Although the flavours left something to be desired, the table came set with a plethora of sauce options to suit your preferences.

While it is open for lunch, to me it has more of a ‘nice dinner’ feel to it. 

DESSERT

Pasteleria Loncho (no hours posted)

This little corner shop is one block south of the main street. If your sweet tooth is calling, this is the place for you. For as little as $15 pesos, you can enjoy a variety of generously portioned treats. They offer pre-sliced or custom cakes, tarts and other similarly delicious items. Just note that they only speak Spanish so you may need to do a lot of pointing. 

Panaderia Bakery on their sign/Pan Del Carmen on google (6am-11pm)

If it’s not cake you want, this bakery has everything else. They offer a huge assortment of various types of baked goods — savoury or sweet. Anything from fresh bread to donuts. 

where-to-eat-tulum-10.JPG

When you enter, grab the big red tray and a pair of tongs. As you circle the serve-yourself displays, you simply grab the item with your tongs and lay on the tray. When you’re finished, set the tray at the cash register and they’ll pack them up for you.

The thing I loved most about this place is that they encourage you to eat it right away. There is an outdoor patio where you can sit and satisfy your cravings. 

Thirsty? Check out the 5 Must Try Drinks in Tulum

Craving something that doesn’t involve tacos? We’ve got you covered.


Tacos No Mas!

Sunset view from the bar of Burrito Amor.

Sunset view from the bar of Burrito Amor.

As the unwritten but assumed tradition goes, when visiting Mexico you are to seek out and eat your weight in tacos. Well, not ones to disrespect any traditions, we did just that. In fact, at around 50 cents each, you could say that we made sure this ritual was well-honoured.

Tacos? Check. Empanadas? Check. Tostadas? Check. Other versions of food on tortilla? Triple check.

But by our seventh day of Taco Tasting in Tulum, we were pretty much over it and sought out other avenues for alternative meals. 

So what does one do when the novelty of tacos wear off and you’re still hungry?

If you find yourself in this predicament or just don’t like tacos (what?) then here are our top four favourite places to eat in Tulum that don’t involve tortillas.

Roraima Burgers

We found this little burger shop out of desperation. In the final hours of our last night in Tulum, following a 5 am adventure chasing the sunrise, we were starving but so tired. We didn’t want tacos. We didn’t want to sit down at a real restaurant. We were nearly back to our Airbnb and ready to give up on food when we happened to pass Roraima Burgers. 

I honestly wasn’t expecting much. I wouldn’t presume that one of the best burgers of my life would be found in a tiny burger shop in a small town in Mexico. I ordered the Francesca. I was so unenthused that I didn’t bother taking a picture. 

Well, you know what they say about keeping your expectations low in order to avoid disappointment? Sure enough — this burger was incredible! That first bite was unbelievable! The combination of brie and alioli mixed with caramelized onions and mushrooms had me savouring every single bite. 

where-to-eat-tulum-12.JPG

I ended up snapping that photo in a state of bliss. I gotta say, there are few experiences in life closer to Heaven than being so desperately hungry but still slowly savouring every bite. Even Linda was obsessing over it and she has never cared much for burgers. 

International Bar & Grill

One day we were strolling the main street in Tulum, perusing sugar skulls and other assorted handicrafts when we casually crossed paths with International Bar and Grill. Based on the name alone, my first expectation of this place was that it would be a boring pub with boring food. Scribbled on their wall was a list of house specialties. As I had expected, it included your usual boring restaurant dishes but then! Written casually amongst these was one dish that stood out — bone marrow with focaccia!

Such a dish is unusual to come by in general but we certainly never expected to find it in Tulum, nestled humbly among cheap taco joints and souvenir shops. It didn’t open for a few hours so we made the plan to come back for dinner. 

Here’s the catch. For obvious reasons, it’s a highly sought after meal here. When we arrived after 10:00 pm that evening they were long since sold out. That made sense — it was late in the evening. We would come back the next day. 

This time we arrived at 7:00 pm. Sold out! Now we were really intrigued. But at this point we only had two more days left to get our hands on what must be a delicious treat. They let us know they were closed the next day (Thursday) too. 

Make that one last chance. 

We wouldn’t — we couldn’t! — miss it this time! We were told they open at 5:00 pm on Friday. You can bet we were waiting out front at 4:55, mouths salivating, ready to go. And wait we did. It was as if they knew the game we were playing and took pleasure in teasing us.

5:50 pm the garage-style door opens and we’re the first ones in. We take our long awaited seats in the open air area at the back. They don’t even have to ask — they know what we’re here for — we’ve been asking for it for four days straight. 

As it arrived, we greeted it with a joyous happy dance. I would bet that no bone marrow has ever been so well-received and it had yet to even hit the table. 

where-to-eat-tulum-13.JPG

We scooped it out and took a bite with a side of focaccia bread. The consistency was just right! The seasoning was delicate, emphasizing the rich and buttery marrow taste. While we do prefer a more robust flavour, we appreciated the care that was put into this one. 

It was all over so quickly. But the anticipation somehow elevated this entire experience for us. 

Oh hey, you should also try the portobello mushroom appetizer while you’re there. It was delicious! 

Uno: Japanese Noodles

Okay, so we walked past this literal hole in the wall at least 10 times during our stay in Tulum. And every single time Linda and I joked about how we should go eat some ramen. We’d laugh and say “as if we’d come all the way to Mexico to eat the same thing we eat back home”.

Well by the end of the trip, the joke was on tacos. We caved and stepped inside the hole. The menu wasn’t in English but there was an employee there who walked us through everything with patience. She recommended her favourite items and we went with her suggestions.

We got the Ramen Reman. And oh. mah. gosh! The flavours! This beautiful soupy bowl came with octopus in a fantastic lemony broth. But you would hardly know that tasty broth was hiding under there because the bowl was stacked with a cornucopia of extras: seaweed, mushroom, tofu, shrimp, kelp, fish, corn and topped with chives and a soft boiled egg. 

I recommend finishing off with the strawberry drink. 

I recommend finishing off with the strawberry drink. 

In general, I find it’s unusual to come across a poor-tasting ramen. This cuisine tends to be comforting and fulfilling in most cases. But what’s not so easy to find is a ramen that absolutely floors you. 

I found that here and don’t tell the others, but I might have called it the best ramen I’ve ever had.

Burrito Amor

Yeah, yeah… it’s named after a burrito, but hear me out! This resto-cafe-bar is just a little off the beaten path. Like literally one street further than where the paved sidewalk ends. So combine the gravel side-of-the-road parking lot with their completely open air concept, you get this calm, tropical, hippy vibe that’s hard to beat.

Now I will say this: the burritos are really good! But that’s not the best part about this place. It’s the other stuff. Their menu is admittedly a bit strange and sporadic for a place mainly devoted to burritos but it’s perfect for people who aren’t particularly craving anything yet feeling peckish. 

Aside from their namesake burritos, they offer super healthy breakfast options like pastries, granola and pudding. There is also a solid variety of creative contemporary Mexican salads. 

where-to-eat-tulum-14.JPG

And don’t even get me started on their smoothies!

We really enjoyed the black bean and baby pumpkin salad. We had ordered a burrito as well but this salad completely stole the show. The dressing was just the right amount of tart, which complimented the flavours of the pumpkin and beetroot perfectly. 

where-to-eat-tulum-15.JPG

If you’re looking for a charming atmosphere with an inexpensive dinner, this is the place to be. Bonus points if you make it in time for the sunset. You’ll have a great view from the bar.

Now for some tacos…

Don’t get me wrong here. The tacos in Tulum are to die for! But we learned a valuable lesson about how much we’re missing out on when we simply trust our assumptions. In fact, it was quite ignorant of us to assume that certain foods wouldn’t be as good or even better than they are back home. 

“When in Mexico, eat all the tacos,” they say. Well, they’re not wrong. 

But that doesn’t mean ignore all of the other stuff — who knows, you might just discover the best ramen you’ll ever have.