Written by Natalia Bolohan
If you’re in Playa del Carmen and you love French food then you can have your macaron and eat it too. Playa boasts several quality French restaurants and we’ve fallen hard for three of them.
Our one stop, everything French food shop is Chez Celine. It’s conveniently located on Fifth and 34 and their food has us going back time and time again. For breakfast you can’t go wrong with any of their sweet or savory crepes. Or perhaps something with more sustenance like a breakfast combination of eggs, smoked ham and baguette bread. No meal at Chez Celine is complete without lattes and croissants which rival their French counterparts in quality and visual appeal (totally Instagram worthy).
Our lunch cravings are usually satisfied by either the French onion soup or a salmon fougasse. The former has a cult following here in Playa, the latter is our latest discovery and it entails a combination of soft bread, cream cheese, smoked salmon, onions and capers. When we save room for dessert, which is always, we order the Chez Celine mini tarts. Ten pesos per tart means we don't have to make any impossible choices so we get one of each flavor, and we think you should too.
Dinner plans with French cuisine in mind are best reserved for Byblos. This Playa gem is only open for dinner and it is located on 10th and 26. Come hungry because their portions are generous and their food is delicious. Menu items like home made fettuccine, escargot and the Normandy style grouper had us feeling like a French trained chef must be behind the scenes of this restaurant. In fact we sat down and talked to native Parisian and owner Sylvie Goetz who told us that she hand selects all of the recipes but her staff is all Mayan and they have been with the restaurant since it opened in 1999. We were already in love with the food at Byblos, but when Sylvie informed us that she gets all her produce from the local market and never freezes her fish we fell even harder. One tip we can give our readers is to not bother asking for popular dish recommendations when ordering at Byblos. The staff and the owner are so confident everything is good that they will only guide you toward ordering what sounds good to you.
*Since the time of writing Byblos has sadly closed.
If you’re on your way to the Cozumel ferry on Calle 3 Sur don’t miss this adorable café. It’s the perfect place to grab a quick snack and a coffee. We are partial to their premade sandwiches, especially the three cheese baguette with walnuts and spinach. For dessert the chocolate croissant never disappoints. When we’re feeling extra fancy we have some macarons, and eat them too.