I have to say, vegan and vegetarian choices have multiplied exponentially in the last few years. A friend of mine moved here in 2000 and was looking for vegan basics like Almond Milk, Soya Milk, Tofu, and gluten free bread. At that time, there was nothing. A few restaurants offered vegetarian meals, Babe’s Noodle Bar and Restaurant and 100% natural in Playa de Carmen being two of three restaurants that served vegetarian, but not vegan. In most cases cheese was added to all meals so a vegan was out of luck.
In the last few years and particularly in the last two years, vegan restaurants, vegan bakeries, and vegan stores have been popping up all over the place. Gluten free products are found in local grocery stores and specialty food stores are stocking more and more vegan options. My friend still lives in the area, and she is amazed at retail and restaurant choices available in all Riviera Maya cities.
Vegan Christmas dinners served at local restaurants could be tough one. I have yet to discover a local restaurant that is serving tofu turkey on December 25th. That said, we all my be surprised, and if you know of a local restaurant serving a ‘typical’ Christmas vegan meal, we want to know!
What we can offer our vegan friends is a list of stores that sell vegan products appropriate for the vegan kitchen. Sadly, I think you have to make your own, but vegans have more choices today than they would have had 17 years ago.
Bio Organics is a great store to buy your Christmas dinner ingredients. David and his crew have stocked hard to find items at a reasonable price. Their restaurant is also worth checking out for breakfast and lunch. David is an accomplished Yoga teacher who delivers some great classes. All of this and more can be found at Bio Organics on 26th street between 5th and 10th. They open at 8:00 am Monday to Saturday, and 9:00 am on Sunday.
Bio Natural has a nice selection of organic, gluten free, and vegan products. Their restaurant is also a great place to check out. Located on 10th Avenue between 16th Street and Constituyentes Avenue. Open 7 days a week 8:00 am to 11:00 pm.
Dac Market has been around for as long as we can remember and continues to be the go to place for fresh fruit, vegetables, organic and alternative products. If you have non-vegans coming for dinner, their deli counter, selection of national and international cheeses, and organic meats is worth checking out. You will find a mix of vegan, non-vegan, organic and non-organic products in this store, so look around for what you want. If you can’t find what you need, just ask. Lots of fresh items are keep in the back fridges, and staff are happy to fetch items that are not on display. Located on 30th Avenue between Constituyentes and 20th Street just down the street from the Mega Grocery Store. Open Monday-Saturday 7:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sundays 7:00 am to 2:00 pm.
The Pitted Date Vegan Bakery and Café is the only 100% vegan bakery in Playa Del Carmen. Their treats are delish and chocolate is included in their list of popular treats. They also serve breakfast, brunch and lunch! Located on 26th Street between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue. Open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm
Rollito Dulce – This small European bakery makes some vegan baked goods. Their sweet rolls with various toppings are vegan. Located 2nd Street near 15th Avenue. Open from 12:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
Kava Kasa Market is a once a week pop up local market with local vendors. There is a mix of organic, vegan and non-vegan foods, but unlike the other stores, there are prepared foods you can take home. Good prices, friendly atmosphere and a wonderful place to meet other locals. Located on 22nd Street between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue. The market is open on Tuesdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm.
Coco’s Organic Market is located near Coco beach (nhence the name) and is similar to the Kava Kasa Market. Open Friday mornings from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm you will find a mix of food and handicrafts here. Many vendors sell prepared foods and there are some vegan vendors.