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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.