El Fogon is a Playa Del Carmen institute! Escape the 5th Ave tourist traps and experience some authentic Mexican food.
If you are a tourist in Playa Del Carmen looking to experience an authentic Mexican Restaurant with the greatest Tacos in the city, then this is the place your hotel or taxi driver will take you to.
El Fogon has three locations in Playa;
The original location is on 30th Ave Calle 32- this is the furthest away from the tourist area. They only open for dinner.
The newest location is on Constituyentes and is open for lunch and dinner. This location does have some English speaking staff and tends to be mostly tourists.
The third location is just down from where we stay here on 30th Ave on the corner of Calle 6bis. This location has a roof terrace and whenever we have been in the crowd tends to be more local but there is normally one or two tables with tourists. This location is open for both lunch and dinner.
We have visited both 30th Ave Calle 6bis & the branch on Constituyentes. The main difference I found was that on Calle 6 they give you extra large bottles of soft drink whereas on Constituyentes they have smaller bottles of soda.
The menu at El Fogon is typically Mexican: Tacos, nachos, tortas (sandwiches), but the star of this has got to be Al Pastor Tacos:
Now I know what your thinking….that looks like an orange doner kebab…
Al Pastor basically means ‘in the style of the shepherd’. There are various stories about its origins but one that comes up frequently is that it is an adoption of the shawarma grilled meat on a spit brought into Mexico by Lebanese Immigrants. Whoever is responsible for it is a hero in my eyes!
So what is Al Pastor? Well, it is beautifully flavoured thin slices of pork that have been marinated and then stuck onto a spit to then vertically roast. On top of the spit they stick a pineapple on top and as the meat cooks the pineapple drips onto the meat helping to tenderise and add even more flavour to the meat.
To serve in tacos, they carve thin slices of the meat directly onto a soft corn tortilla and skim off a wedge of pineapple before topping with ‘cilantro y cebolla’ (coriander and onions…hold the coriander on mine please!)
El Fogon also double up your tortillas so you get two per taco. This is traditional as no cutlery is given when you order tacos. You can either split the meat into two or you use the second tortilla to pick up any pieces that have dropped onto your plate. A double tortilla is a sign of a great taco joint.
On your table you will find a selection of treats to pimp up your tacos: Fresh lime wedges (a must over el pastor), crunchy radish slices, pico de gallo, cactus and two salsa: one red and one green. Now I’m my opinion neither are overly hot. The green has more kick than the red but then again I pretty much have an asbestos mouth and can eat anything without a drop of sweat!
Now although Al Pastor is best inside tacos, you can also order the mean on tortas which are large Mexican sandwiches. El Fogon fills theirs with tomatoes, guacamole and stringy Mexican cheese. The cost of this carbilicious delight? 48 Pesos (£1.85/$2.67)
The price on the menu for tacos is per one taco. Normally I’ll have 3 or 4 depending how hungry I’m feeling. They come in at a whopping…..14 Pesos each! That’s around £0.55/$0.77! Where in the UK or US could you find food as good as this for that price?!
Another hit at El Fogon is their nachos. Just check out this monster:
These are their ‘Nachos normal’ which are just covered with cheese and mashed up refried beans. You can also get these with Al Pastor! Just don’t do what I did and order tacos AND nachos…it’s near impossible to finish! The cost for these giant nachos: 62 Pesos (£2.38/$3.45)
El Fogon have quite an extensive menu with items to satisfy everyone. And with prices are good as these, you’d be a fool not to visit!
Below I’ve posted a copy of the menus. These are correct as of May 2016: