Busy, colorful and noisy 5th Avenue Playa del Carmen restaurants are everywhere. It seems like every second building along this hugely popular tourist street in Playa del Carmen is a restaurant for tourists. Although many appeared to be kid-friendly restaurants, I stayed in Playa Del Carmen for a month with my wife and two kids (aged 2 & 4) and we didn’t eat a single meal along this street.
I’m sure there are some nice places to eat on 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen, but as a general rule, restaurants in the tourist zones are low quality and high priced, so we found some great family-friendly restaurants in Playa del Carmen off the strip. alternatives elsewhere.
Here are our eight favorite kid-friendly restaurants in Playa Del Carmen:
Kid-Friendly Mexican Food Restaurants
1. El Fogon
It’s not the fanciest restaurant in Mexico, but in our opinion, El Fogon has the best food in Playa del Carmen. We enjoyed El Fogon so much that we came here four times, including the honored spot of our final meal in Mexico.
El Fogon is a casual, covered, open-air restaurant with amazing Al Pastor dishes. Al Pastor is a Mexican version of shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by the Lebanese immigrants to Mexico. Pork is marinated in a combination of dried chilies, spices and pineapple, then slowly cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
The dish we ordered most often for the adults was Fajitas al Pastor. We both agreed this was some of the best food in Playa del Carmen. The Fajitas al Pastor serving sizes were so big that we often needed to take some home for lunch the next day.
Many dishes at El Fogon come with a bean soup (Frijoles Charros) that you simply need to try. Ask if your meal comes with the soup and if not, be sure to order a side of it – it’s seriously that good!
The bean soup at El Fogon is a kid-friendly meal. We started ordering a side of Frijoles Charros for our 2 year old, as we got tired of him eating all the beans out of our soup!
El Fogon is a very kid-friendly restaurant in Playa del Carmen. The kids typically devoured their meals here. Meals we ordered for our kids at El Fogon included cheese quesadillas, ham & cheese tortas (sandwich), or simply sharing portions of our soups and entrees.
Even the kids portions were so large at El Fogon that the kids often finished their meal for lunch the next day.
Carboncitos is an authentic Mexican restaurant with a covered, outdoor seating area on a quiet side street, not far from Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue.
The Chicken Mole Enchiladas at Carboncitos were so good that Celine ordered them on both of our visits here.
I had Stuffed Poblano Peppers on our first visit to Carboncitos and a stuffed chicken dish from their authentic Mayan food section of the menu. I really enjoyed both my meals here, but the Chicken Mole Enchiladas were the clear winner. The pre-meal bowl of tortillas with a variety of dips was also a nice touch.
Carboncitos isn’t just authentic Mexican food, they are a kid-friendly restaurant too with a small kids menu with some American favorites.
Our kids were really good at eating Mexican food for most of our trip, but it was nice to give them a chance to eat something more familiar like chicken fingers and French fries. We also appreciated the crayons and paper placemat they got to color while we waited for our food.
3. Don Sirloin
Don Sirloin is a chain of simple, family-friendly restaurants in Playa del Carmen. On both of our visits to Don Sirloin we ordered a variety of tacos, including chicken, chipotle sausage, sirloin and al pastor.
Don Sirloin has a variety of salsas and sauces to choose from – the mango & jalapeno salsa was excellent and the pico de gallo was pretty decent too.
The tacos at Don Sirloin were really quite good, but as is typical in Mexico, they were a little on the small side. We recommend you supplement your Don Sirloin taco order with a side of guacamole and chips.
The chicken burritos are a kid-friendly offering at Don Sirloin. The serving size was pretty big, so we cut it in half to share between the kids. The chicken burrito had lots of green peppers inside, which was nice as vegetables aren’t easily found in Mexican food. Between the two kids they ate the whole thing.
On another visit to Don Sirloin with our kids, we brought in a few slices of pizza from a nearby takeaway place and they didn’t mind at all.
4. La Ceiba de la 30
La Ceiba de la 30 is a casual, family friendly buffet restaurant in Playa del Carmen. The La Cieba buffet has a decent selection of appetizers, entrees and desserts for the adults.
This Playa del Carmen buffet restaurant has lots of kid-friendly options including pasta, several meat dishes (at least half of which were not spicy), bread, lots of fruit and desserts.
Our kids loved the refried beans and cheese quesadillas. Kids under 100cm (39″) tall eat free, while kids under 120cm (47″) are half price.
5. El Ranchito
El Ranchito is a reasonably priced, charming Mexican restaurant in Playa del Carmen on 10th Avenue with good kid-friendly menu options.
On our visit to El Ranchito, we ordered a side of guacamole to start, Celine got the chorizo burrito and I got the chicken burrito. Our burritos were huge and quite good, with the chorizo one being the better of the two. The chicken burrito needed a bit more flavor, which was solved with some spicy red sauce.
Off the kid-friendly menu at El Ranchito, we ordered strawberry/pineapple juice and a chicken pizza for the kids. The pizza had a Mexican twist with a tortilla crust, topped with refried beans, tomatoes, chunks of chicken and lettuce.
The pizza at El Ranchito was really good, but the kids didn’t eat much as they were full from the massive amount of tortilla chips and guacamole they ate.
Non-Mexican Food Restaurants
6. Kaxapa Factory
The Kaxapa Factory is a nice, kid-friendly Venezuelan restaurant in Playa del Carmen with a covered outdoor seating area.
The service at Kaxapa Factory was very good, with friendly waiters who brought us a bunch of small shot glasses with a variety of juices to sample. They were all very good, especially the cinnamon one and the passion fruit one.
For dinner with the kids, we ordered a bunch of Venezuelan dishes and split them between us. We ordered chicken & cheese empanadas, a chicken and avocado arepa (sandwich), a beef and black bean arepa and a beef and cheese kaxapa (a sweet corn pancake with filling).
The food at the Kaxapa Factory was very good and authentic – it brought back great memories of our pre-kids trip to Venezuela in 2009.
We recommend Kaxapa Factory as a great lunch restaurant in Playa del Carmen. The arepas, while very tasty, were a modest size and we found them too small for dinner.
7. La Famiglia
Sometimes the kids just want something more familiar than Mexican food, so when our kids asked us to find a pizza restaurant in Playa del Carmen, we were happy to oblige. We ate at La Famiglia, a kid-friendly Italian restaurant on 10th Avenue on two occasions and had a very satisfying meal each time.
We loved the complimentary pre-meal onion focaccia bread at La Famiglia, served with an amazing chimichurri sauce. The bread was so soft, we could have eaten 10x the amount they gave us!
The kids ordered a Hawaiian pizza each visit to La Famiglia, which they loved and ate a ton of. As a parent, it’s always gratifying to see your kids eat a huge meal in a foreign country with unfamiliar food.
We ordered a Mexican pizza for us, which comes with chorizo sausage, onion and jalapeno. The pizza at La Famiglia was so delicious you’d think it was made in Italy, not Mexico. The pizza had thin crust and ours didn’t fill us up, so we topped ourselves up with the leftover Hawaiian (usually about half of their pizza).
As you’d expect, the La Famiglia Italian restaurant caters to tourists, so it’s a bit expensive relative to the local options. It was really good pizza though!
8. Mama Mia Pizza
On the night we bought Mama Mia Pizza, we had actually tried to go to La Famiglia for the first time, but we were too early it wasn’t open yet.
There are no sit down tables at Mama Mia pizza, so we got two large slices to-go for 50 pesos (~$3). We then walked down the street to Don Sirloin’s so the adults could have tacos while the kids ate their pizza slices.
There are several chains of takeaway pizza around Playa del Carmen, each offering a good selection of toppings. Great for an affordable meal or snack.
As you can see, there are a ton of kid-friendly Playa del Carmen restaurants outside the main tourist area. Don’t be afraid to venture a few blocks away from 5th Avenue – your tummy will be glad you did!
DON’T MISS: If you are currently in the Mayan Riviera or are planning a trip there, don’t miss our blog post, Plan the Best Family Trip to the Mayan Riviera. It’s packed full of planning tips, exciting family activities and links to all of our Mayan Riviera blog posts. It’s sure to help make your family trip a memorable one!
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