Taste indigenous recipes at Yaxche, where the chef adds contemporary touches to dishes he learned how to make while living in a Mayan village for five years. The restaurant is on the quieter side of Avenida La Quinta, and its outdoor tables are perfect for enjoying tsotobilchay (Mayan-style tamales, $6) and tikin xic (marinated fish grilled in a banana leaf, $16).
Follow the smell of meat over an open flame to Taqueria El Fogon (Calle 6 and Av. 30; no phone), an open-air restaurant where the grill takes up half the space. Locals flock here for the arrachera ($9), a well-seasoned skirt steak and tacos al pastor ($1 each), filled with pork cooked on a spit.
Sample no-frills seafood dishes, like octopus tentacles in chipotle sauce ($7) and frosty micheladas ($3), at the fisherman-owned La Tarraya (Calle 2 Norte at the beach; 984/873 2040), not far from the ferry dock. The divey spot, with a wood hut and plastic chairs right on the beachfront, is a throwback to the days when this was just a tiny fishing village.