Q-Roo Paul’s Pick: The Dining Experience in Tulum and Playa del Carmen

Back in February of this year, I wrote a very positive review about a relatively new restaurant in Tulum called The Dining Experience.

I don’t write many restaurant reviews; however, I made an exception in this case because The Dining Experience offered something unique that I felt many of our readers would enjoy.

Apparently, I really know how to pick ’em because they’re currently rated as #1 on Tripadvisor out of #394 restaurants in Tulum. It’s a shame I’m not as good at picking winning lottery numbers.

On the heels of their success in Tulum, the owners of The Dining Experience recently opened a second location in Playa del Carmen. They invited us to come and check it out and provide them with honest feedback about the improvements they had made to the overall experience.

Now, some folks who have a restaurant in the #1 spot might be tempted to adopt the if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it mentality, but not the owners of The Dining Experience. They definitely raised the bar since our last visit.

The experience consists of multiple courses that feature the local cuisine. We thoroughly enjoyed them all, especially the lionfish ceviche and the cochinita pibil (Mayan shredded pork dish).

Lionfish ceviche, served with cured cactus, grapefruit and orange slices and leche de Tigre

By the end of the evening, I had tried more than a half a dozen traditional dishes from the region and every one was prepared perfectly. You definitely won’t leave hungry.

Looking back, I should have snapped more pics but I was enjoying myself too much to think about it at the time.

Trio of Mexican street food classics 1) homemade Sope with chorizo/potato/sour cream 2) Mexico cities favorite street food – esquites, with homemade alioli 3) prawn and pineapple skewer al pastor

Tostada of Chaya with huitlacoche. Freshly made Tostada, topped with huitlacoche (aka Mexican truffle) with seasoned Chaya salad, sliced avocado and fried leek

Well, obviously we enjoyed our meal and experience but that fact alone really doesn’t help you decide whether this place is right for you or not. So, here’s more information about the concept and what to expect if you go.

What Is The Dining Experience?

Calling this a ‘restaurant’ is a bit misleading because it’s much more than that. It’s a highly-entertaining, adults-only, English-only, three hour gastronomic journey with multiple courses, amazing cocktails and a lot of interaction with the other guests. All along the way, you’ll learn more about the culture and history of the area.

These dinners are by reservation only. All of the guests arrive at the same time and sit together at a large table in a climate controlled dining room. The host for evening stands at the head of the table and is tasked with guiding you on your culinary journey.

Unlike most restaurants, there is no menu here. The dishes were carefully chosen to highlight the traditional food of the area and many of them are very time-consuming to prepare.  If you have any dietary restrictions, it’s important to let them know that at the time you make the reservation so they’ll have time to prepare alternative dishes for you.

As I said before, this experience is very interactive. We learned how to mix amazing cocktails and then we made them for the person seated to our left. Here’s a clip demonstrating our cocktail shaking prowess:

 

Although we didn’t know any of the guests before we arrived, it wasn’t long before we were all laughing and having a great time together.

The whole experience took about three hours, but to tell you the truth, the time just flew by. We were still enjoying ourselves right up until the end.

Prices, Reservations and Maps

To make a reservation or to get more information about prices, locations and available dates, go to their website:

www.thediningexperience.rocks

Tip: Click on BOOK NOW to see available dates, maps and prices.

Let’s Wrap This Up

If you’re looking for an entertaining and unique way to spend an evening in either Tulum or Playa del Carmen, we highly recommend The Dining Experience. You never know, you might even run into us there.

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About the Author

Q-Roo Paul
Paul Kurtzweil (Q-Roo Paul) was a deputy sheriff in Florida for 25 years before retiring at the rank of lieutenant in 2015. He and his wife moved to Mexico looking for to maximize their retirement income. In 2016, they started a blog called Two Expats Mexico (qroo.us) sharing their experiences, as well as information about the logistical and legal aspects of retiring south of the border. The blog has been viewed over two million times and the articles have been republished in numerous periodicals across Mexico.

28 Comments on "Q-Roo Paul’s Pick: The Dining Experience in Tulum and Playa del Carmen"

  1. Cindy Aldrich | July 19, 2018 at 8:56 am | Reply

    Divine intervention! I’ve been scouring your blog trying to find the name of this place! Perfect timing. We plan to go while at Maroma next month. Thanks!

  2. Looks so good. Thank you!

  3. “It’s a shame I’m not as good at picking winning lottery numbers.” LOL!

    Your review of the place in Cozumel prompted us to try it and it was exceptional! You might have a second career as a restaurant critic!

    This place looks like a must-go for our next visit. Thanks, Paul!

  4. Hannah Neufeld | July 19, 2018 at 9:58 am | Reply

    Sounds great Paul!! I will definitely check it out next time I’m in Playa! Thanks!

  5. Wendy Meredith | July 19, 2018 at 10:07 am | Reply

    We loved it also.. very unique experience. Glad they have one in Playa also now. Our Dining Experience went on until about midnight. Quite a trip back to Playa…but well worth it ..

  6. Looks great!! Heading to Cancun next month for our annual visit, would love recommendations if you have any, as some of our local favorites are no longer. Thanks Paul!!

  7. Intriguing, for sure! I’ve been on their site and cannot find pricing….

    • Ahhhhh…..I found it! You actually have to go the “book a reservation” to see pricing. $69pp. Sounds like a deal! We will definitely be trying this on our next visit.

  8. lindy gelber | July 19, 2018 at 10:58 am | Reply

    Paul, What a great idea! My daughter is adopted from Korea and we have been there 11 times. I cannot tell you how many times, here in the states at a Korean restaurant, I have acted as an ambassador explaining selections to ensure people have a good experience. This ‘experience’ is worth its weight in gold bcz you also learn how to make some things. Doing this you take it home and weave it into your own family fabric!! BRILLIANT!!
    Gotta try it. Thanks so much.

    • We really enjoyed it. In fact, we’re trying to get a group of our friends to go with us next time.

  9. Nora Alvarado | July 19, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Reply

    Love this idea!

  10. Darn! We just left that area. Stayed in Puerto Adventuras for a month. Loved it. Will have to try it when we return. I pinned it on Pinterest to help me remember it. What is the name of the restaurant in Cozumel?

  11. Thank you for all your recommendations. Planning to be in Playa del Carmen this Aug. Will definitely try to go to Sal Del Mar in Cozumel for an exciting day trip. Do we just take a taxi from the ferry? Looking forward to a mother daughter getaway.

  12. If you ever make it to Cancun City I would suggest you try two great downtown restaurants La Habichuela and Cheesters. Just make sure you go to the original Habichuela not the one in the tourist zone and also go to the original Cheesters it’s run in a local neighborhood out of a house next to a park not the Cheester in the strip mall.

  13. When will that restaurant be in Nuevo Vallerta??

  14. “English only??” Now that kind of bothers me. I feel that any business operating in Mexico has the moral if not legal obligation to accomodate guests and customers from the country in which they are earning a profit. It’s kind of sad to think that a Spanish only speaking Mexican customer would not be able to partake in what this restaurant has to offer in his or her own country don’t you think?

    • The reason for the language requirement is because a major part of the experience is chatting and interacting with other guests at the table. That would be extremely difficult to do if everyone at the table did not speak a common language.

      When we went, our table was made up of Americans, British and Mexicans. All of the Mexicans spoke English well and everyone had a great time chatting and learning a little more about each others cultures.

  15. This sounds amazing for a cozy and romantic dinner. We had a celebration with my large family @ Oscar & Lalos which we enjoyed very much.

    I’ll keep this in mind when its just the Mrs and I.

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