Akumal Beach Villas
In the Yucatan, fresh local ingredients are served up with pride. While there are hundreds of restaurants and bars to choose from, here are our personal favorites in Akumal, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.

Akumal


La Lunita
(Mexican/continental)
Dine under the stars at the beach at this restaurant in the center of Akumal.
www.lalunita.com

Turtle Bay Café and Bakery
Billed as "eccentric comfort food," the owners deliver great hamburgers, BLTs, world-class pecan sticky buns and birthday cakes.
www.turtlebaycafe.com

La Cueva del Pescador
As they have their own fishing boats, you're guaranteed to get the freshest fish at this inexpensive local hangout. Enjoy the fish brochette as well as fresh lobster on most days. The local hangout, located next to Turtle Bay Bakery.

Favorite bar: La Buena Vida
A jovial beach bar with locals swinging on bar seats and a crowd after midnight.

Tulum


Posada Margherita
Located on the seaside beach road of Tulum. This small Italian restaurant is part of a boutique hotel. Savor fresh fish cooked in sea water and pasta made according to their mother's recipe. Authentic, stylish, and well worth the price. Take your bathing suit with you; go for a long lunch and swim in the ocean.
www.posadamargherita.com/html/restaurant.php?lang=en

La Nave
In the center of the main street of downtown Tulum is this inexpensive brick oven pizza restaurant. Owned by a Naples native, La Nave is great for a quick lunch or dinner.

Charlie's
Don't let the location fool you; it's located on the main drag of the town next to the ADO bus station, but this restaurant has been serving some of the best Mexican food around for more than 20 years. Be sure to meet Charlie himself -- the bottles decorating the place are his own artwork. Enjoy live music in the high season.

Favorite bar: Zamas
On the beach at Tulum, this bar is a great spot at sunset – you may even spot a paparazzi-shy celebrity enjoying a private moment. Tip: The jewelry vendor at the entrance is a fixture; negotiate a price prior to purchasing.

Playa del Carmen


There are hundreds of restaurants and bars to choose from in this rapidly growing town. The main tourist road, Fifth Avenue, is filled with eateries and shops. Here are our favorite off-the-beaten path spots.

Negrosal
Named for "black salt," Negrosal is a continental restaurant with a variety of seafood options including fresh fish, smoked salmon, and lobster. Extensive wine list.
www.negrosal.com

Cenacolo
Enjoy fine modern Italian cuisine at this sophisticated restaurant in a non-touristy area of town.
www.cenacolo.com.mx

John Gray's Place
You'll find a wide array of international dishes including fresh grouper, spicy tuna and duck breasts prepared in a Mayan style. Dine in the courtyard among twinkling lights in this well-established, quiet spot.
www.johngrayrestaurantgroup.com

Favorite bar: Deseo Hotel, rooftop terrace
Above this minimalist chic hotel is a super-hip rooftop bar that is THE place to be after hours. Watch the action on the street below, or just watch the people around you in this poolside fantasy lounge complete with an oversize movie screen showing black-and-white classics.
www.hoteldeseo.com