We also stay at the north end of town near 38th and love it. You're close to everything but it has the feel of being in a real neighborhood. We had appointments at the Vida salon and one of the owners, Trevor, was a very good hair stylist. His partner, Yohai, is also a partner in the new restaurant La Route Des Vins. We didn't get a chance to eat at Cocina 38 but plan to try it the next time we are in Playa. We enjoyed Kool Fish (after they turned down the music) The sopa de mariscos was very good and came out in a bubbling crock type bowl loaded with seafood and their cerviche was pretty good. We found it a nice place for a late afternoon snack after returning from the beach. We had a very nice meal at El Emporio with very friendly service. But what is really great is that just a block or so away are so many authentic local places to try for such reasonable prices.
It's exciting to see the growth but hopefully it won't hurt that nice neighborly feel of the area.