La Mission Restaurant has been in Playa Del Carmen longer then most restaurants. They opened in Playa in 2009 bringing their restaurant style from Cozumel to the mainland. For over half a decade they have been at the south end of town serving up Mexican food and seafood. What are they doing right that makes people keep coming back? Well we stopped by to see. Here is our review.
The La Mission Restaurant Story
The owners know seafood and the local area. They actually have three restaurants in Cozumel and one here in Playa. We sat down with Damian Miranda who is an owner and he told us about the restaurant. Their concept is to focus on the food and service for the customer (see the list below of things they do for their customers).
La Mission works with local fisherman to get seafood for the restaurant. This ensures the freshest quality. The business has about 30 years of local experience in Cozumel and Playa and knows the seafood market. They want to focus on the food, particularly the seafood main course. In fact they have a slogan “If you don’t like it , you don’t pay for it.” They have not followed food trends or have lavish side dishes, rather they keep it simple and just focus on the main course. It is a traditional restaurant that does not change what works and people tend not to mind because they keep coming back.
The lobster story
The lobster for the restaurant comes from Cozumel. This is where they are caught and supplied for local restaurants. We learned that lobster is offseason April and March since this is their breeding season. To keep lobster sustainable it is not caught then. There are two ways restaurants can still serve it though during these months and still be sustainable. One option is to buy in the month before and freeze it. This does not necessarily damage the meat or quality. This only happens with lengthy times in a freezer. If frozen for a long time the lobster falls apart when cooking it. Larger chain restaurants can have this problem since they buy from large warehouses where it is frozen for long periods.
The second method is catching them ahead of the offseason and having them in cages that are registered with the government. Some places with use tanks and some use cages that are in the water. That way you can still get very fresh lobster and you are not harvesting during the offseason.
Did you know that Mexico has powerful laws and a governmental agency that helps protect the environment and eco systems all while allowing sustainable lobster harvest for you to enjoy? The agency is called Semarnat. It is the Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources. They make sure that no one is harvesting lobsters in the offseason, counting the lobsters held in cages for use during the offseason, and will visit restaurants to make sure they do not serve small lobsters that might have not reproduced yet. It is nice to know that so much goes into fishing and food production here so we have sustainable food sources and protection of the environment. It is also nice to know that local restaurants like La Mission work with these laws to bring customers the freshest products and a sustainable product.
The restaurant and atmosphere
The La Mission Restaurant in Playa Del Carmen is on the south end of town just next to the quasi famous building with the life size horses statues jumping out of it on 10th Avenue near Juarez Avenue. Usually they have a food display out front to show people what they have. There is an open air palapa building and a outdoor garden for eating in the back. Most people prefer the garden but you do have the option of inside or outside dinning. For groups this restaurant can hold up to 100 people and the largest table can be for up to 25 people.
Things you probably did not know about La Mission Restaurant
- If you want to bring a bottle of wine that is not on their menu, they do not charge you to open and serve it to you.
- Dessert comes with your meal for free, automatically included. Usually it is flan.
- Free chips, Pico de Gallo salsa and guacamole come to your table when you order.
- Lime soup comes with your order for free as well. This is a Mexican specialty soup which is a chicken broth base with cut tortilla strips and lime (very popular here in the Yucatan Peninsula).
- If you have a fish that you caught you can bring it and they will prepare it for you. There is a minimal fee ($8USD). You can bring it ahead of time or bring it and wait for the preparation.
- They have a menu del dia for people that work in the area or cannot afford the regular menu. Instead of just one option per day they actually have many options to choose from. This is served from 2:00pm-6:00pm daily.
- Locals get a 30% discount with proper id. This is a bigger percentage then most places offer. This is something they do to give back to the community. This does not mean everyone else is overpaying. Many places in the world do this, like Walt Disney World giving discounts to locals.
Our video review of La Mission Restaurant
Don’t Forget the Sexy Coffee after your meal
Many people ask about Mayan coffee or Mexican coffee, a drink service that they light on fire. They have their own version here called “sexy coffee“. It is a production and something fun to get at the end of your meal. They will bring a cart to your table and start heating everything up. Three liquors are used and then the magic happens! They light it on fire and pour it back and forth. In the end you end up with a strong and delicious drink. It cost about $11USD.
Did you know you can also eat here for just a few dollars for lunch? Daily for only 75 pesos.
Open everyday from 12:00 noon until 11:00pm or until the last customer leaves.
Where is La Mission Restaurant?
La Mission Restaurant is on 10th Avenue between Juarez Avenue and 2nd Street.
Have you been to La Mission Restaurant in Playa Del Carmen? What do you think of this restaurant? Tell us about it in the comment box below. We would love to hear from you.