Just back from Tulum, where we ate some fabulous food.
For dinner: Cetli offers some interesting combinations--I loved the amuse plate the chef hand-delivers, and the tortilla soup was excellent. Our mains were slightly less fantastic, but I would definitely recommend if you are in the market for a refined meal in the pueblo. Our favorite dinner spot by far was El Tabano, which is located on the beach street across from Hemingway's. The husband and wife team running that place do an amazing job. The apps and the mains were equally outstanding--some of the best fish and shrimp I've ever eaten, and the chocolate flan and fruit crepes were to die for. The setting is romantic, as is the obvious love between the owners. Dos Ceibas offers delicious achiote fish served in a cast iron skillet, and grouper wrapped with coconut shrimp. The service is slow but the food is worth it.
For lunch: I say skip the beach restaurants and head into the pueblo for some authenticity. Don Cafetos food is average, but the carrots that come with the chips will blow your mind. Worth the blandish ceviche. Los Pepes was fantastic, with garlic shrimp and killer ceviche. But our number one lunch spot, hands down, was Oasis. OMG the tacos. The best fish and shrimp tacos I've ever eaten (and I live in LA). The mojo de ajo shrimp was a close second, but those tacos are the bomb. Better than the quesadillas.
Don't miss Pan Del Carmen for brekkie treats, and definitely hit up the fruit stand on the corner about halfway into town on teh east side of the street. Also, you must visit the juice bar toward the far south end of town on the east side of the street (just called "liquados"). Pull into the parking lane when you see the giant El Taqueto palapa and you can't miss it. The BEST coconut ice cream bars you could ever imagine, and frozen pineapple bars with chile flakes.
Skip: Ginger (gross, we left after the apps). El Mariachi (boring--go to Don Cafetos intstead). Cueva del Pescador in Akumal (average and full of loud obnoxious drunk gringos). We stayed at Mezzanine but never ate there--who wants thai food in Mex? Same with Posada Margarita, we felt no need for italian. Hechizo was closed, sadly, but I guess that means we'll just have to go back!
Enjoy--Tulum is an absolute paradise.