Here is my food report from my visit in May 2006. I know it was awhile ago, but I just discovered chowhound.
My husband and I are big foodies and coming from San Francisco (which has some of the best restaurants) we are picky when it comes to food. We’ve been all over Mexico and have experienced nothing but great cuisine. Knowing that the restaurants in Tulum were expensive, we expected that the food would have been better. Most of the food at best was okay. A big price to pay for just okay food. Also, keep in mind that most places include your tip in the bill. We didn’t realize until a couple days before we left that we had been tipping an extra 15-20 percent. It was also hard to find decent Mexican food. It seemed like most of the restaurants catered to the Europeans and served lots of pasta dishes and seafood. Luckily my husband speaks Spanish since he’s South American. When we got sick of non-Mexican food we had to ask the cab drivers for their recommendations. Even the cab drivers said that you couldn’t really find authentic Mexican food in Tulum and that Playa del Carmen was the place to go for real Mexican food.
Posada Margherita – Hands down the best restaurant for dinner. I had the saltfish topped with tomatoes and a side of rice. The absolute best fish that I have ever had. My husband had the homemade pasta (might have been linguini) with shrimp, so good! The tiramisu for dessert was to die for. Great wines to go with your meals. Dinner is expensive, but totally worth it. They also have breakfast and lunch here. For breakfast I would suggest the egg dishes, pancakes or the French toast. Lunch is the same menu as dinner, but with smaller portions.
Ana y Jose – Overrated and expensive. $7 for guacamole and chips? I had the shrimp ceviche which I did not like. There was some kind of spice which overpowered the dish, I can’t put my finger on it. For the two of us we spent almost $50 for lunch.
Zahra – Good. It was the only place in Zona Hotelera that had an extensive Mexican food menu. It had more than just guacamole and chips and tacos.
Piedra Escondida – Okay. Mostly seafood and pasta dishes.
El Tacoqueto – Great. It’s in town. One of very few places in Tulum serving authentic local food. Mostly soups and stews. We had a stewed beef dish with a side of rice and beans. The agua frescas looked good too. This was where the locals were (mostly hotel workers), so we knew it had to be decent. For the two of us with drinks we paid $7. By far the cheapest meal in Tulum.
Parilla de Leo Arrachera – It’s in town. A little overpriced, but good barbecue. I had the seabass and was not disappointed.
Don Cafeto – Okay. Also has an extensive Mexican menu. My husband had the grilled chicken, I had the milanesa. We weren’t disappointed.
Mezzanine – Okay, but overpriced. We were using our local Thai restaurants as a basis for comparison. Thai restaurants in San Francisco are a dime a dozen. The chicken satay and pad thai were good. Sesame chicken wasn’t something that I hadn’t had before. They had a really good drink menu. Ambiance was really nice.
Zamas – Pretty good. We ate here for lunch the day before we left and wished we had eaten there sooner. Their dinner menu looked really good. Somehow we spent $50 for lunch on guacamole, tacos, and drinks. I don’t know how that happened. I guess we drank a lot because it was hot out that day.
El Mariachi - It was okay. I liked it better than Don Cafeto.
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