Tulum is a popular Mexican tourist destination known for its gorgeous beaches and aquamarine waters; but most notably, for its history and architecture. However, there’s so much more to this city than its Mayan past. Here, the past and present combine beautifully to create a dynamic, lovely city where new elements and historic roots shine in all their Yucatecan splendor.

This is just one reason why the cuisine in Tulum is so distinctive. A combination of influences--Mayan, Yucatecan, and Spanish, to name a few-- make for menus that are classic and traditional; bold, vibrant, and fun.

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Dishes To Try In Tulum

With so many signature dishes to choose from, foodies visiting Tulum have their pick of a variety of vibrant, local cuisine.

Ceviche

Made from über fresh raw seafood marinated in lime juice and then combined with equally fresh, finely chopped tomatoes, onion, chiles, and cilantro, this delish dish is a must-try for any visitor to Tulum. Be sure to try it with fresh-made tortilla chips (known as ‘totopos’).

Sopa De Lima

Soup lovers are in for a treat with this chicken-based soup made with chiles and lime and bursting with flavor. Full of texture and subtle spice, Sopa de Lima is a great example of one of the many classic dishes found throughout the city.

Cochinita Pibil

This dish practically screams Tulum, as it includes annatto seed—a native to the area. Juicy, citrus-marinated pork is combined with annatto and garlic, wrapped in banana leaves, and slow-roasted until super tender. Usually shredded and served in a number of dishes including tacos, it’s served with a variety of condiments including pickled onions and salsa.

Papadzules

Comfort food at its finest, papadzules are like empanadas taken to the next level. Warmed tortillas filled with hard-boiled eggs and topped with a combination of sauces (usually tomato and green pumpkin seed sauce), this dish will warm you from the inside out. Be sure to try it topped with chiltomate salsa for a real Yucatecan treat.

Polkanes

This dish’s roots date back to the days of the Mayans and it’s easy to see why. Delicious corn, beans, and onions are shaped into bite-sized balls of flavor and then deep-fried to perfection. Topped with tomato sauce, these little bites are great for a snack or a tasty app all their own.

Dzotobichay

Tamales are great and everything, but once you try dzotobichay, you won’t look back. Though they are made similarly to tamales (steamed in a corn husk), they are filled with very different toppings that are distinctly Yucatecan. Egg, pumpkin seed, and chaya leaves (a wild, local plant) are stuffed into a delicious, corn-based dough. For a newer take on this traditional dish, top with chiltomate salsa to spice it up.

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Restaurants To Try In Tulum

There are plenty of amazing restaurants in Tulum to try out any of these signature dishes. Get creative and try a mix of the traditional and contemporary to fully experience Tulum’s vibrant food scene. From street vendors to more trendy, upscale destinations, Tulum offers a variety of spots to satisfy any palate.

*All prices are estimates and do not include alcoholic beverages. Be sure to call ahead or check restaurant websites to learn the latest prices, hours, and menu options.

Hartwood

This popular open-air, tropical restaurant is as delicious as it is eco-conscious. With ingredients acquired from local vendors and often foraged from the surrounding region, Hartwood is also entirely run by solar energy. All dishes are also cooled over an open fire. Scrumptious and sustainable!

  • Address: Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
  • Average Price Per Person: $45 and up
  • Be Sure To Try: Sea Bream Fillets

Verdánt

Another zero-waste, environmentally conscious restaurant, Verdánt offers an exciting fusion of traditional Mexican and Caribbean dishes with a flair all their own. Good news for those vegetarians out there—there’s always a vegetarian menu available with fresh delicious herbs and veggies are grown on-site.

  • Address: La Veleta, Tulum
  • Average Price Per Person: $25 and up
  • Be Sure To Try: Tasting menu changes regularly, but examples of current dishes include Coal Roasted Bacalar Cabbage (Vegetarian), and Small Game Hen Sausage with Mole.

La Corriente Cevicheria Nais

Visitors describe this fashionable restaurant as being its own tourist attraction as its popularity has translated into a national chain of restaurants. But don’t let that fool you: the food is fresh, original, and consists of newer riffs on Tulum classics.

  • Address: Carretera Tulum Boca Paila, Tulum Beach
  • Average Price Per Person: $10 and up
  • Be Sure To Try: Ceviche Tostadas

Atila

A casual brasserie known for its creative bites and exceptional wine menu, Atila is amazing outdoor dining that is both sophisticated and relaxed. Most ingredients are regional (from the Yucatán), so you’ll definitely get that signature, local flavor in every bite.

  • Address: Carretera Tulum Boca Paila
  • Average Price Per Person: $20 and up
  • Be Sure To Try: Cheese Board paired with a chilled glass of wine

Cetli

Tulum is known for moles (a delicious sauce usually made from dried chiles and usually sweet ingredients), and Cetli delivers the goods. The Pueblan classic dishes are traditional, with ingredients like chaya (also known as ‘tree spinach’), yet updated with bright and fresh fruit and vegetable combinations.

  • Address: Carretera 109 Tulum Coba
  • Average Price Per Person: $10 and up
  • Be Sure To Try: Potosi (chicken breast stuffed with chaya and served with chili jam)

Tulum is a popular tourist destination with a beachy, tropical vibe that complements its traditional, Mayan roots; and this is reflected beautifully in a vibrant restaurant scene filled with amazing dishes that are the perfect combination of the old and the new--like Tulum itself.

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