The Best Italian Restaurant in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen center is, what I jokingly call little Italy of Mexico because of the insane amount of Italian restaurants on and around the famous 5th avenue. I wasn’t able to figure this out, if it was the Italian population living here or just the demand for the cuisine. Either way, this phenom had my attention and I tried as many restaurants as I could during my couple months there. One place that lingered in my mind like a junior high crush was Como Como Osteria Mediterraneana Restaurant. Simply the best Italian Restaurant in Playa, period. Although it’s a fusion with other Mediterranean cuisine, it’s still very much Italian like its owner and executive chef Stefano Dal Ben.
Stefano welcomed us with a fish tatar taster, fresh baked bread and a glass of wine in true Italian fashion. The passion for his restaurant shines bright as he charismatically speaks of the humble beginnings of his first restaurant and how it evolved to this one. Como Como is the little big brother of his very successful first restaurant and as Stefano said, “his beloved hole in the wall.” He proudly creates Italian classic dishes with with a refreshing dash of the Mediterranean and 100% Mexican ingredients.
The relaxing vibe is the first thing that captured me. The restaurant is airy, cozy and welcoming. Felt as if I was eating in the backyard of a home in the Italian countryside. Located on tenth street (parallel block to fifth avenue), away from the happy chaos that is 5th avenue. This is a place to relax enjoy the beauty of slow food, a small but meticulously selected wine selection (and best Imported bottle prices I had seen in Playa) and a darling Italian backyard in Mexico.
Como Como literally translates to “Eat Eat” or “How How” or “how do I eat so much” and the list goes on! Basically the translation can mean many different things depending on your mood. In my perspective, it was definitely the expression of “how I eat so much” so I was immediately drawn 😉 The restaurant’s name was conceived during a conversation amongst Stefano’s colleagues discussing the future name. The same word kept popping up, “como” or “how” and they just couldn’t come up with the name so Stefano humorously suggested just that, Como Como. It’s catchy! I told Stefano, and how much I loved that each customer gets to have their own take on the name.
I am Incredibly thankful to have broken bread with another outstanding restaurant like Como Como Osteria. So next time you are in Playa del Carmen craving something besides Mexican food know that you are in the best Italian restaurant in Playa del Carmen and in great hands with Stefano and the Como Como crew.
See why Como Como is the best Italian Restaurant on Trip Advisor
Stefano has been in Playa del Carmen from Italy for 13 years now. He has witness the dramatic growth in what used to be a small fishermen town and has also grown with the demand of Italian food. I loved meeting some of his staff members who have been faithful by his side for over a decade. And this is why this place feels just like a family hosting dinner.
This colorful dish here is not only appealing to the eye but an explosion of some of my favorite flavors in the world! Grilled Octopus tentacles with kalamata olives, cambray onions, bell peppers and topped with crunchy sweet potatoes.
Fresh baked break to get us started!
Seared tuna cubes in his secret balsamic sauce, a hint of Asia with roasted sesame seeds and a fennel, cucumber and fresh beet salad. Fresh and delicious, almost like a palate cleanser before the big boys come 😉
The chef at work 🔪 Love what you do and do what you love. Stefano embodies the love for his work and it reflects on the rest of his team. He’s had staff with him for over a decade that have followed him through different ventures. This explains much of that home feeling I was honored to experience while dinning here.
For chicken lovers like me this rich dish is the chicken breast stuffed with stuffed with huitlacoche, goat cheese and mushrooms, mustard and maguey honey sauce, served with mashed sweet and regular potatoes. Even with all the rich flavors I enjoyed being able to taste each individually without outshining each other. #nom 🍴
Basil tortellini filled with sweet potato in a four cheese sauce and drizzled with black truffle. Once I was spoiled with homemade pasta, I will take no less! 😜 Everyone must experience fresh made pasta at least once in their lifetime #pastaislife
A gorgeously lush back yard at Como Como 🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴🌴
Classic tiramisu with fresh baked cookies! Mascarpone cheese & cocoa adorned with berries, bitter chocolate and a sweet chipotle taster. Perfectly paired with a Vin Santo dessert wine. Save room for dessert 👌🏽 You can thank me later 😉
Say hello to the cheese, almond, and cocoa strudel topped with chocolate chips; paired with a Fragolino aromatic wine. I believe to have been Italian in my past life because although I usually don’t have dessert, Italian desserts are my exception to the rule 💘
Stefano suggested an Apéritif and what’s better than a Mezcal sipper. Mezcal tastes nothing like tequila although it is considered one. The main difference is that tequila can only be made with blue agave where as mezcal can be made with many other variations including blue agave. Served in traditional Oaxacan fashion with a grapefruit and chili powder. We tried a smoky Espadin mezcal which is the popular kid of Oaxaca state and the other is a young and modern artisan mezcal called Perro Malo “bad dog”. I was incredibly excited to see the spirit culture hold quality to a much higher standard specially with the growing trend of artisan mezcals. Made to sip and enjoy vs a quick and dirty buzz. 🙊 An experience from beginning to the end it’s what makes Como Como the best Italian restaurant in Playa.
To learn more about Mezcal check out this great article by Mezcal PHD
Special thanks to Stefano and team Como Como for sharing your story and succulent food with us. Makes my heart smile to meet amazing people behind places like this one.