Roadside Dining

Posted September 28, 2010 by Kay Walten in Food & Drink

Carnitas Teresitas Playa del Carmen

One of the things to do “like a local” while in Mexico is to experience a meal or two at the roadside taco stands. Mexicans and ex-pats agree, these little family owned and operated “lonchoria economicas” are known for some of the best homemade salsas, guisadas and carnitas on the coast, and the price is always right. Don’t be afraid to pull off the road and give some of these places a try. Here are 3 of our favorites.

Paco Taco in Xpu Ha

Even though the founder, Paco, has left the coast, his famous shrimp tacos live on here in Riviera Maya. Paco Taco is located next to the Pemex station on the northbound side of Highway 307. These are the freshest fish and shrimp tacos for only $18 pesos each. A plethora of toppings and salsas are all made in house. The tamarindo sauce is a sweet compliment to the tempura batter fried shrimp. Seating is limited at this very busy taco stand so fill up your cooler at the gas station convenience store, get your tacos to go and picnic across the street at Xpu Ha beach!

El Arbolito in Puerto Aventuras

On the southbound side of Highway 307 across from the Puerto Aventuras gas station is a roadside kitchen with over 20 different tacos and homemade salsas to choose from. A few of the choices include shrimp, carne guisada (beef stew), chorizo with potato, and chile relleno (my favorite). The tortillas are handmade, delicious! No need to speak the language, just point at what looks good to you and motion that you would like a taste – they are more than happy to oblige. This place is very popular with the cabbies and combie drivers so get there early. The kitchen is only open while the day’s supplies last which is until about 2PM.
We have been to several parties catered by the Mendoza family and they do an exceptional job for a very reasonable price. So if you are celebrating an anniversary, birthday or family reunion while in the Riviera Maya, El Arbolito would be a tasty, economical solution to your catering needs.

Red Chicken in Tulum

Stopping in Tulum for a grilled chicken while cenote hopping is tradition. Red Chicken ( located on the East side of Tulum Avenue) has a simple menu, you need only decide how hungry you are – a whole or half chicken? This is accompanied with rice, tortillas and salad, all for $120 pesos. Lunch is served at plastic tables amongst the family’s pets and half dressed children, but what this place lacks in ambiance it makes up for in flavor and value. Get your cold cervesas at the convenience store across the street.

Photo by: Michele Kinnon

2 Comments

  1. Linda, October 30, 2010:

    This is our first time on the east side of Mexico and it is good to hear about these restaurants run by the locals. Are there any of these in the Pueblo Akumal?

  2. kay, November 1, 2010:

    Linda if you go into the pueblo if you go off the main drag to the right a block both the streets that run parrallel to the main road have places to eat. You just have to watch for signs. Edgar has a place I do not know the name but you can always ask around for the restaurante de Edgar.

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