Want to eat at Arca Tulum Restaurant?
You’ve come to the right place because I ate there, and will be sharing my Arca Tulum experience with you in this article. (In case you’re wondering, I was not sponsored by Arca to write this, and I paid for my dinner 100% out of pocket.)
As a foodie, I wanted to check out what’s known as the “best restaurant in Tulum Mexico,” so it had to be Arca. Led by Mexican-American chef, José Luis Hinostroza, Arca has been a Tulum hotspot since opening in 2015, both for food and drinks.
While it’s not easy to get a table, and not cheap to eat there, you’re probably wondering — Is Arca Tulum worth visiting? I’m going to tell you all about my experience and share Arca food photos in this honest Arca Tulum review, so let’s get to it.
If you’re unfamiliar with Yucatecan cuisine from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, you’re in for a treat, and likely a few dishes you’ve never heard of.
The modern Yucatan cuisine at Arca had big, bold flavors. Everything is cooked over an open fire, which is traditional of the region and a nod to the local Mayan culture.
The food is farm-to-table, and they use only local ingredients. According to the Arca website, “We have spent several years nurturing our relationship with our local purveyors whom are now like our family.”
Arca Tulum Menu Photos
When we ate at Arca, this was the menu. However, their menu is seasonal and changes a few times per year. Because of this, you can only use these Arca photos of the menu as a guide.
💰 Note: All Arca menu prices are shown in pesos; not USD.
WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE ARCA FOOD PRICES?
Arca Restaurant Tulum prices hover around $450-850 pesos per dish (about $25-45 USD).
Our server recommended 2-3 dishes per person, so a meal at Arca will average $50-75 USD per person, without drinks or tip, if you get 2-3 dishes.
WHAT ARE THE AVERAGE ARCA DRINKs PRICES?
Cocktails at Arca Tulum were all about $350 pesos, or $15 USD each. Bottles of wine started at about $50 USD, but went up to $500+ USD.
How much do you tip in Tulum?
Tipping in Mexico restaurants is the norm, and 15% is considered a good tip.
Of course, you can show your appreciation for great service by tipping 20% or more, but know the your server is expecting at least 15% gratuity when tipping at Arca.
Arca Tulum Food
You’ll enjoy tapas-style small plates at Arca, which are intended to be shared. There’s an open kitchen at Arca Restaurant Tulum, and the dishes are prepared over a fire to perfectly complement the Tulum jungle vibes.
We had a party of three, and our server recommended six to nine plates for the table. It was the perfect recommendation, as we ended up settling on eight and all left satisfied.
Here are the images of what we ate during dinner at Arca Tulum:
Course 1: Scallop Crudo with Scallop Chicharrón (Cracker)
This was a really refreshing dish in the Tulum heat, and the scallop cracker was a unique touch that provided an extra dose of scallop flavor. I personally think the scallop chicharrón cracker made the dish.
Course 2: Soft Shell Crab Tacos
Our server recommended this one, so we ordered it. It was the least favorite for everyone at the table — and though it does look very cool, it lacked flavor.
Course 3: Grilled Green Beans Caesar Salad
The char on the green beans was absolutely perfect, and the dressing was super flavorful. They brought the bread dish after the salad, but we all wished we had some bread to soak up the last of the dressing.
Course 4: Pulque Sourdough Bread
We basically ordered this out of curiosity to see if their bread course was anything really special, but it wasn’t.
Course 5: Maitake Mushroom Tlayuda
While this dish bared little resemblance to an actual Oaxacan tlayuda, it was still delicious. For me, this was the standout dish of the night.
Course 6: Roasted Bone Marrow with Toast
If you love rich foods, you’ll love the Arca bone marrow dish. I ate with my boyfriend and a friend, and this was their favorite dish of the night.
While I also enjoyed it as well because I love bone marrow, I liked the mushroom tlayuda (#5 on the list) and sucking pig (#7 on the list) more.
Course 7: Suckling Pig Roulade in Peanut Mole Sauce
The pork was cooked perfectly, and melted in your mouth. It was served with a cracker, plantain, and mole made with peanuts and banana.
Course 8: Goat Cheese and Guava Ice Cream with Coconut Cake
Everyone loved it, and we were licking the plate on this one! 🎂 Note: It was a birthday dinner, so the staff added the candle for us.
Cocktail: Pisco Sour
A Mexican twist on the classic pisco sour. Also, the bartender did a great job with the egg whites, as they didn’t fall even with the intense Tulum humidity.
Dzilkipak (Sikil Pak)
Note: The vibe at Arca is communal all the way, and being so close to our neighbors we ended up engaging in conversation. While we didn’t try these last two dishes, the people at the table next to us did, and they let me take some photos.
Sikil pak is an ancient Mayan food made with roasted tomatoes and pumpkin seeds. If you love umami, you’ll love this dish — and even if you don’t get it at Arca, you’ll find it at other restaurants in Tulum that serve Mayan foods.
The presentation was stunning on this grilled venison which comes with three distinct toppings — pickled red onions, caramelized peanuts and a chive/grilled onions mixture.
My new friends at the table next to ours who graciously let me photograph their food said this was the favorite dish they ordered.
How to Make Arca Tulum Reservations
Though their website doesn’t specify that reservations are mandatory, it is strongly recommended that you make a reservation for Arca Tulum.
It is a smaller restaurant, and a very popular one, so you likely won’t get a walk-in table — especially on weekends, holiday weekends, or during the Tulum busy season months of about December to February.
To ensure you get a table at Arca, make your reservation at least a week in advance. If you’re visiting during the high season in Tulum from about November to January, or any holiday weekend, consider making your reservation further in advance.
We ate dinner at Arca Tulum on Sunday night, but made the reservation the Tuesday prior. This was in March, which is considered the Tulum shoulder season — so in the busy months, we might have needed to make our reservation even earlier.
While Arca Tulum will usually take walk-ins if they have any cancellations that night, it’s not worth the risk if this restaurant is on your Tulum bucket list.
Arca Tulum Prices
We were a group of three, and ordered quite a bit so we could try as much as possible.
The bill for eight dishes (seven dinner dishes and one dessert), plus three bottles of water, one cocktail and one beer, was $305 USD. This included a 15% tip.
Service at Arca Tulum
While no one liked the soft shell crab taco at Arca, the real miss was the service.
It wasn’t horrible per se, but they were really rushing us to leave so they could turn the table — going as far as to take away a plate that still had food on it (the server apologized, but still). Even the pace at which they brought the plates out felt rushed.
When we were seated, the hostess basically told us we have 90 minutes at the table, but that we could relocate to the bar if we want to stay longer. We knew from the get go they would rush us, but even with advanced warning, we weren’t expecting what we got.
Of course, my experience might not mirror yours on this, so I’m not saying don’t go to Arca. What I am saying is that you may not get the fine dining treatment you have in mind because they are really rushing to turn tables.
Arca Tulum Restaurant: Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Arca Tulum located?
Arca is located on the southern end of the Tulum Beach Road in the Tulum Hotel Zone. It is not far from a few other Tulum hot spots, like Rosa Negra, BAL NAK and Gitano Tulum.
📍 Arca Tulum Map
In Tulum, addresses aren’t used very much, but the Arca Tulum address is Km 7.6, Carretera Tulum-Boca Paila, Tulum Beach, 77760 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico. To find it, just type “Arca Tulum” into your maps app.
It is located not far from all the best Tulum Instagram spots, like the Ven a la Luz sculpture at Ahau Tulum Resort, the Tulum Follow That Dream sign, and Casa Malca, the house once owned by Pablo Escobar that’s now one of the best Tulum resorts.
When did Arca open in Tulum?
Arca opened in 2015, and has been one of the must-try Tulum restaurants ever since. They also have a creative cocktail menu if you just want to enjoy a few drinks at Arca Bar.
What are the Arca Tulum hours?
Arca Tulum Restaurant is open daily for dinner from 5:30pm-10:30pm.
He is a Mexican-American from San Diego, and used to work at Noma in Copenhagen, which was known as the best restaurant in the world. Though now closed down in 2024, Noma consistently topped the coveted World’s 50 Best List when it was open.
Do you need a reservation for Arca Tulum?
Yes — If you want to make sure you have a table, then make an Arca reservation at least a week in advance. Of course, they usually take walk-ins in the event of a cancelation, but it’s not worth the risk.
Is there a dress code at Arca Tulum?
Kind of — It is Tulum afterall, so beach vibes and beach-wear prevail at this casual fine dining restaurant. However, this is still an upscale restaurant and you’ll want to dress in your best boho chic Tulum outfits.
Is Arca Tulum worth it?
If you love trying unique foods and don’t mind the higher price tags, then yes, you will love Arca. From the jungle vibes to the beautiful presentation of the dishes, this is a quintessential Tulum restaurant.
Does Tulum have Michelin star restaurants?
No — There are no Tulum Michelin star restaurants. However, there are a few famous Tulum chefs who have a star themselves, or who have worked at restaurants with a Michelin star.
Elias Silva, head chef of Ocumare Tulum, does have a Michelin star. This is one of the best restaurants in Tulum Mexico, and was formerly run by Michelin Star Chef Mauricio Giovanini.
Also, Chef Jose Luis Hinostroza of Arca Tulum once worked at Noma Restaurant, which has three Michelin stars.
Are there any Michelin star restaurants in Cancun?
No — There are no Cancun Michelin star restaurants. However, some chefs in Cancun have worked at restaurants that have Michelin stars.
Does Mexico have Michelin star restaurants?
No — There are no Mexico Michelin star restaurants (yet!), though many suspect Pujol Mexico City will be the first because it is widely regarded as the best restaurant in Mexico.
Dining at Arca Tulum Restaurant: Final Thoughts
While I’m by no means a restaurant critic, I have eaten in my fair share of fine and finer dining places, and I have a good gauge on what to expect. For me, Arca was a 4.5 out of 5 on food, and 3.5 out of 5 on service.
If you have the space on your Tulum itinerary, and want an upscale meal, I still do recommend Arca. It is known as one of the best Tulum restaurants for a reason, and I will give the benefit of the doubt and assume the service was just off the night I visited.
For more Arca reviews and info, check out these sites:
Tulum Travel Planning Guide
1. Should I buy Mexico travel insurance?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master, one of the biggest names in travel insurance. (Read more)
2. Can you drink the water in Tulum?
3. Is it safe to rent a car in Tulum?
Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)
4. Will my phone work in Tulum?
Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy this Telcel SIM Card. As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. (Read more)
5. What’s the best way to book my Tulum accommodations?
6. What do I pack for Tulum?
Head to the Ultimate Tulum Packing List to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.
7. What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?
For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend Skyscanner.
8. Do I need a visa for Mexico?
Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you do a Mexico travel visa. The majority of travelers will receive a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa or passport stamp upon arrival.