The meaning of the phrase "Mexican cuisine" has become far too vast to fully comprehend all of the flavors you'll find in this wonderful country where we leave. Every state, every region adds its own touch to traditional Mexican dishes. Today, many eateries have ventured even further, creating fusion cuisine that combines food from Mexico and other countries across the world. In some restaurants, you might simply find a fusion of cuisines from different regions of Mexico to create a truly unique taste.

Muelle 3, Cocina del Mar (Calle 34 between 5th and 10th Avenue 984-803-4291)

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen

Muelle 3 provides the perfect example of Mexican fusion cuisine. Here, they brilliantly mix flavors and products from the Pacific and the Mediterranean to get what they call "Bajamed style". Owners Antonio and David first opened in Ensenada, where last year they won the Best Restaurant Award in Ensenada en Valle de Guadalupe. Muelle 3 has become a huge hit in Ensenada over the past 7 years, and now they have opened here in Playa del Carmen at only a few steps away from the world famous 5th Avenue.

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen 

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen
Octopus carpaccio

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen
Jurel sashimi (jurel is a yellow carangid fish from the Atlantic and Gulf coasts)

The name of the restaurant was chosen because of its location on Pier 3 in the port of Ensenada, where every day fresh products are delivered and served "en el momento". They decided to bring that same flavor to Playa del Carmen and give their clientele the opportunity to try a different seafood style from Ensenada, Baja California.

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen
Steamed mussels from Rincon de Ballenas, Ensenada

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen
Steamed clams from San Felipe, Baja California

With attention to detail, friendly service, organic and fresh products every day, and a spacious palapa for hosting groups (or lots of customers during a busy night), Muelle 3 is a smart and oh-so-delicious way to start an evening in our lovely beach town. 

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen

Octopus huitlacoche (mushroom that grows on corn) with polenta

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen
Oysters from Bahia Falsa- San Quintin, Ensenada

Muelle 3 is characterized by its fresh, quality ingredients, mostly all imported from Ensenada, Baja California. The ambiance ties in perfectly for a family dinner or a night out with friends. Here, you'll discover a real culinary experience through the restaurant's enticing dishes and its extensive drink selection of Mexican wine, mezcal and exclusive microbrews. The restaurant carries products from Wendlandt and Aguamala, two award-winning breweries from Ensenada. The Mexican wine selection offers options from wineries located in Valle de Guadalupe, the perfect way to experience the complexity of Mexican wine and find the ideal pairing for the dishes at Muelle 3.

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen 
Microbrewed beer Agua Mala

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen
Selection of Mexican wines from Valle de Guadalupe for pairing with Muelle 3 cuisine

Muelle 3 offers local discounts and deals, like 20% off on Mondays when presenting your local ID, and Ladies Night on Saturdays with open bar for the ladies from 6pm to 9pm.

They open every day except Tuesdays, from 1pm to 10:30pm

Muelle 3 restaurant Playa del Carmen
Owner Antonio and girlfriend Tania

 

El Jardin (Calle 20 between 10th and 5th Avenue, 984-130-9823)

Tucked away in a quiet space in the center of Playa del Carmen, El Jardin offers a kind of fusion cuisine you won’t find again: Yucacheca cuisine. This enchanting restaurant serves daily breakfast (all day!) and lunch, combining local Yucatan dishes with Czech flavors (“Checo” in Spanish).

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen 

The garden itself looks like something out of a fairy tale, offering an idyllic space for a relaxing daytime meal with true Playa del Carmen style.

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen 

El Jardin is owned by a couple of childhood sweethearts: Dutch expat Paula and Czech expat Honza. Together they have created a simple yet flavorful menu that includes Mexican favorites like cochinita pibil and chicken in mole sauce, all prepared with El Jardin’s unique Yucacheca style. The eggs and coffee are organic, and all of the tortillas are hand-made.

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen
Tikin Xic (fish prepared whole then marinated with adobo de axiote, filled with garlic, onions and green pepper, then wrapped in a banana leaf)

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen
Motuleños (fried corn tortilla covered with re-fried beans, fried egg, ham, red sauce, cream, peas, cheese and plantain) 

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen
Vegetarian eggplant (eggplant filled with vegetables, granola, nuts, seeds and cheese, served with mashed sweet potatoes and mixed salad)

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen
Enchiladas de mole (soft corn tortillas filled with chicken and covered with mole sauce, cream and cheese)

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen
Ceviche mixto (marinated raw fish, shrimp and octopus in lime, served with onions, cilantro and fresh mango)

In addition to breakfast and lunch, El Jardin also hosts a weekly “Noche de Divas” (Divas Night) every Friday. This concert begins at 7pm, and features the singing talents of Cuban soprano Mayret Rosa Alvarez as well as the owner herself, contralto Paula Liebe.

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen 

El Jardin is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, and Friday evenings for Noche de Divas from 6pm to 9pm.

El Jardin restaurant Playa del Carmen
Owners Paula Liebe, Honza Mlejnek and Chef of El Jardin

 

Axiote (Calle 34 between 5th and 10th Avenue 984-803-1727)

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen 

Axiote's Chef Xavier Perez Stone was awarded as the Best Mexican Cuisine Chef of 2012 and Iron Chef Canada 2014.

A year ago, he decided to open Axiote in downtown Playa del Carmen, situated just 50 meters from 5th Avenue. The restaurant sits under a beautiful palapa with an open kitchen and a large bar. Axiote's unique flavors are inspired by Mexico's many traditional dishes, and the restaurant implements Mexican and locally sourced ingredients while offering innovative flavors created by its award-winning chef.

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen 

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
Duck tacos in a 3-chile sauce

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
"La Marquesa" soup with mushrooms, cactus and epazote

Axiote invites you to travel through the flavors of Mexico in a relaxed atmosphere with a friendly service in order to create an amazing culinary experience right here in Playa del Carmen. The bar offers a wide selection of Mexican spirits like mezcal from the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, in addition to tequilas and local beers. As for the wine selection. the menu is designed to promote Mexican wines.

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
Octopus with pasilla mixe chile, black beans and red onion

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
Crab chimichangas in veracruzana sauce

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
Kastacan pork tacos with lettuce, tomato, red onion, cactus and radish

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
Roasted squash with esquite-style corn, poblano chile and thick chile sauce with hoja santa

Chef Perez Stone chose Playa del Carmen to open his first restaurant in 2014 after winning the Iron Chef Canada, and he has brought a special flavor to both international visitors but also local clientele with dishes ranging from guacamole with grasshopper, to lime trout from Morelia and Yucatan and beef tongue in green sauce with purslane, just to mention a few.

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen

 

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen 

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
"Chapulines" - grasshoppers

Every Wednesday, Axiote promotes Mexican cuisine by presenting special events with local and national chefs, sommeliers, restaurants researchers. etc. In order to get to know different concepts and products through dinners or lunch on that special day, either with or without wine pairing, every meal includes wine, mezcal or local beer. Axiote opens every day from 1:30 pm to 11pm.

Axiote restaurant Playa del Carmen
Lime popsicle

It is a blessing as residents of Playa del Carmen (as well as visitors and residents of nearby cities) to have access to such an abundance of unbelievable restaurants. From small locally-run restaurants just beginning to make their way, to upscale gourmet cuisine and everything in between, we are able to discover and appreciate dishes and ingredients from all over Mexico. We can savor seafood from the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic, and indulge in unique fusion flavors that represent our very own melting pot. BuyPlaya foodies are honored and blessed to have tried these three amazing restaurants, and we hope you all will be able to enjoy the same culinary experience that we had.

 

 

 

 

 

 

andrea-perron-ruiz 

Andrea Ruiz Perron was born and raised in Montreal by a Mexican mother and a French Canadian father.  She studied cinema and photography in Argentina and Montreal, and has now been living in Playa del Carmen for a total of 6 years. Both her Mexican and Canadian roots are an important influence on her identity and how she perceives the world through her photography and writing as the content creator for BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors www.buyplaya.com

 

Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/andreita_ruiz/