Even though it’s become a chic beach haunt in recent years, Tulum’s lack of tourist traps and fussiness makes the town still feel remarkably unadulterated—especially when it comes to the food. Next door to Tulum’s famous Mayan ruins there’s no shortage of breezy outdoor dining where you can experience a fresh kind of Mexican cooking that doesn’t always stick to classic Mexican recipes or tropes. At places like Burrito Amor and Hartwood, chefs play with regional ingredients like Mayan spinach, Xcatic peppers and tropical fruits like papaya to showcase flavors native to the Yucatán peninsula. If that's not enough, there's also plenty of tequila cocktails. The food is so intriguing, it’s enough to distract you from the balmy beaches for a while. Here’s proof in 14 photographs from my recent trip to Tulum town.
Prior to the early 2000s, Tulum was still a sleepy town, boasting only a few cabanas and souvenir shops which catered to visitors of the nearby ruins. Now, the coastline boasts a tourist scene replete with cocktail bars, yoga studios, and independent boutiques. But the town of Tulum retains its pragmatic charm with painted store fronts like that of this poultry shop.
Grilled Octopus at Hartwood
All of Werner’s food comes from the dock that day—this tender, crispy octopus included. The dish, flavored with coriander, purple basil, chili, and mustard, included tart pickled onions and crispy potatoes.
El Camello Jr.
This roadside joint has some of Tulum’s best food, and a seemingly constant stream of locals fill large wooden tables to enjoy ceviche and tacos. The owner (also the restaurants’ fishmonger) works next to the kitchen cleaning fish, squid, scallops, and octopus to be served alongside freshly made tortilla chips and spicy micheladas. Carretera Chetumal-Cancun Locales 1 y 2 Lte 3 Mza 40, Centro, Tulum, Q.R.