Since arriving in Playa del Carmen in November, one of the highlights for us has been discovering all the great restaurants this very international city boasts. There are tons of Mexican places, of course, but these are joined by a plethora of Italian restaurants, seafood spots a'plenty, and many more.
If you avoid the pricier places that cater to tourists, dining out here is more reasonably priced than in the US (and much more so than on Ambergris Caye, Belize), so we do it more often. And although we have a nice list of favorite restaurants in our "rotation", we like to throw in a new one now and then for fun. And more often than not, it earns a place on our "list".
Last night's new find was no exception. Not only did it have whimsical decor, the food and service were both top-notch!
We were greeted by the mascot giving us a big "smile".
Yeah, I was having a little fun before entering the giant palapa that is El Oasis Mariscos and finding a nice, breezy table on a beautiful early evening. This place is on the west side of the highway so a nice little walk for us, and that works out well when you eat as much as we did. We ROLLED home.
I loved the various decorative items and lights hanging from inside the palapa roof.
Yep, even Spider Man was there! He seems to be pretty popular in Mexico.
There were so many choices on the menu, I got a bit overwhelmed: shrimp ceviche, fish tacos, spicy octopus, among many, many others -- all things a seafood lover like me would have enjoyed. Too many choices!
Finally, I settled on what I thought was a tropical grilled shrimp dish, but when it came, the shrimp were fried. Oops! I'm gonna check it on the menu next time we go; it's entirely possible that I made a mistake since the menu was so extensive and I rushed a bit when the waiter arrived to take our order. To be sure, it was delicious, but I had wanted something a bit healthier, and with veggies, and this plate did not come with anything green.
I was envious of the tropical grilled fish that Barry got. I had no idea it would be covered with additional seafood and veggies as well. I know what I am getting next time with no need to agonize over the menu. And there will definitely be a next time!
Barry's dinner was so healthy, in fact, that he was craving a little something from the dessert menu. Much to our surprise, when he inquired about postres, they brought out this huge dessert tray! A Mexico first for us! And of course, dessert trays always make the choice much, much more difficult.
I was stuffed so told Barry to pick two, which he did. Of course I couldn't resist the temptation, and still ended up eating some of each. Desserts are my weakness!
Needless to say, we rolled out of there. Good thing we had a fairly long walk to get back to our rental.
We also recently returned to Cheester's, a local Italian place far from the tourist zone. Portions are huge, and prices are small, a perfect combination! Based on the portion size from our first visit, we decided to switch it up this time and share a massive mango/chicken salad and just one pasta dish. This worked out well and was plenty to eat, especially accompanied with their delicious home-baked rolls.
After the salad, we didn't need much pasta at all, so took most of this home. It was sauced with fresh tomatoes, carrots, onions, and a touch of bacon. And we had enough left for an entire dinner the next night back at the ranch, with the addition of a salad.
Finally, we returned to Salt Rock Grille, which is the only 5th Avenue (i.e., the tourist drag) restaurant we have been to. It's a bit of a splurge compared to most of the places we dine, but still reasonable for 5th Ave.
We always enjoy going to Salt Rock, as we're treated so well, and the food is really good and creative. In addition to an entree special, they offer a different drink special nightly for only 45 pesos (approximately $3 US), like this yummy pomegranate daiquiri.
We went on this specific night to try the nightly special, ravioli with curry sauce. It was great! The raviolis were stuffed with lobster and a spinach/ricotta blend. Mmmmmm.... We also had house salads and bread with chutney.
Of course we couldn't resist Catherine's amazing desserts and ended up having to try two of them, since they sounded so wonderful. And they were! This carrot cake couldn't have been any moister.
And this warm, gooey chocolate-peanut butter brownie was to die for.
Really, we don't usually eat this decadently. But some weeks are just better than others!
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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