If you’ve decided to fly over to visit and explore the beautiful Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya (in Quintana Roo state) and happen to stop by Playa del Carmen (PDC), here’s a vegan foodie guide if you’re looking for some healthy and wholesome food to try with an exotic twist! You won’t have a problem in this vegan paradise:
Peace & Bowl | Bajo Cafe | Mercado 30
Peace & Bowl is located in a beautiful open courtyard where they join communal tables and space with Bajo Café in Mercado 30. Not only will you fall in love with their vegan food but also the paradise vibes here. Popular amongst digital nomads, you’ll definitely feel the hustle and bustle but at the same time, feel the connection of the whole community of that world where people love to hang and chill out. From the tropical interior to the hut inspired styles, it just matches perfectly with the Mexican sun!
Known for their fresh smoothie bowls, they also have a variety of refreshing juices and great power food. Prepared with local, organic ingredients and love. We had their enchiladas and stuffed pita with cashew cheese. And they mean stuffed pita… they truly mean it! It was almost a mountain of generous amounts of filling and it was glorious! And for dessert, we tried their vegan brownie slice from Bajo Café.
Peace & Bowl https://www.peaceandbowl.com/
Bajo Cafe https://www.facebook.com/bajocafe/
Mercado 30 https://www.facebook.com/mercado30pdc
The Pitted Date Vegan Restaurant Bakery & Café
Tucked away near Encanto beach lies The Pitted Date. From breakfast pancakes, sandwiches, open toasts and more, a great spot to make your healthy stop before hitting off the beach. And once again, I just had to try more stuffed pita! We also loved the chill ambience on the outdoor patio as well. Check out Best 3 Vegan Dessert Spots in Playa del Carmen, Mexico where I mention about their sweet treats too (link article here once published).
The Pitted Date Vegan Restaurant Bakery & Café https://www.facebook.com/thepitteddateplaya/
Another popular spot for digital nomads, vegans, veg-curious and vegetarians. A bar style café just across Hilton Resort that serves an array of amazing choices of organic superfoods, smoothies, open face sandwiches, salads, buddha bowls and pastries. Here, I had their Pita Carnitas that’s seitan based served on a bed of lettuce, tomato, red onion, grated carrot, guacamole, hummus and enchiladas washed down with their green fresh juice—Verde Por Favor (with cactus, pineapple, orange juice, aloe vera, celery, parsley). They’ve also got pantry desserts like cookies, brownies, cakes for takeaway and of course I had to bring one to go!
Fresco Habito https://www.frescohabito.com/
When you reach this healthy Middle Eastern inspired restaurant, you’ll find a pink archway that will invite and welcome you with its beautiful stone pathway into this vegan oasis.
For lunch, I tried their Saffron Rice and Tofu Bowl that has beautifully roasted tofu paired with some lentils, cucumber, parsley topped with pistachio, golden raisins, and deep bright pomegranate that serves as edible jewels that adds perfect and extra texture and crunch with a side of toasted laffa flatbread and tahini dressing. It was absolutely superb!
Their coffee list has some interesting drinks resourced from the highlands of Mexico. There’s the Caffeine Rush (20-hour cold brew infusion), Nocarajillo (the same cold brew but sweetened with piloncillo (unrefined and whole sugar cane that is slightly caramel-like and earthy that is commonly used in Mexico), spices and soy milk), Petal & Leaves (espresso, rose water, mint syrup and sparkling water) or try their Bullet-Proof (Americano with coconut butter and MCT oil) if you need that extra boost of caffeine fuel.
And yes, the list still goes on here: homemade daily nuts, seed and super “milks”, power lattes, freshly pressed juices, exotic smoothies, elixirs (with combinations of natural extracts) and if you’re curious to try, they also have Sky Ha, special rainwater from the Mayan jungle. I had their Super Immune (that had a blast of radish, lemon, cucumber, bitter lime, habanero sweetened with maple syrup) and it was a definite shot alright, I wasn’t sure if I could take it with the Mexican heat haha! But I’ve always been a curious foodie (and drinkie?) so I’d try anything and at the end, I genuinely enjoyed it all.
Arcana Restaurante https://www.instagram.com/arcanarestaurante/
Strolling around Playa, I love taking photos of the many artistic murals around here. Situated a bit off the center, I stumbled upon this residential looking building with an eye-catching one. As I was ready to walk past it, I saw people hanging out upstairs and thought it was only for private events, curious anyway to find out, I headed upstairs and soon found out that it was a vegan hidden gem!
An open-air petite restaurant overlooking the street of curious passers by. Although petite, it just felt homey, cozy and served a mighty selection of gorgeous plates of vegan heaven. From organic fresh tortillas, soups, salads, Mexican specials, Tortas (sandwiches), dessert and drinks, so far this is where you found the best kombucha you can have in PDC. I then also had their tacos where you get to choose 3 picks, a great way to try a sampler of amazingness! Almost too pretty to even eat! Baja (cauliflower tempura), Pibil (oyster mushroom with plantain leaves) and Choripapa (chickpea “chorizo” and potatoes). It was too pretty to even eat them, you honestly just have to take a moment to appreciate it before devouring it, *sniffs* even writing about it is making me tear a little bit because of how good it is!
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Photo: Bel Brosas