Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

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El Arrayán

El Arrayán, Centro and Environs

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  

El Arrayán Review

The oilcloth table covers, enameled tin plates, exposed rafters, and red roof tiles of this patio-restaurant conjure up nostalgia for the quaint Mexican home of less frenetic times. Here you can find the things Abuelita (Grandma) still loves to cook, with a few subtle variations. Highlights of classic Mexican dishes from around the country are rib-eye steak served with traditional cactus-pad salad, duck carnitas in a glaze of smoky chili and orange, and cochinita pibil, a dish from the Yucatan Peninsula of tender pork cooked in a banana leaf and served with black beans and fried plantain. For dessert try caramel flan or a light tamarind-flavored ice. It's a bit pricey for Mexican comfort food, but it has a very dedicated fan club.

    Restaurant Details

  • Credit cards accepted.
  • Closed Tues. No lunch.

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
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    I live here (half the year) and this is my "go-to place"

    I love this place. The ambiance is comfortable, but professional and the food, as always, is original and delicious. I could best describe it as "indigenous" (cochinita pibil, duck carnitas, roasted crispy cricket tacos and those oh-so-addictive raicilla Boom Boom cocktails that you'll find nowhere else).

    My Mexican wife and I particularly enjoy it on the weekends when Los Frijolitos ("The Beaners") are performing the songs that my wife remembers from her childhood growing up in Nayarit.

    That said, I'm a little surprised at the negative reviews. I don't know what those reviewers were expecting, but for us El Arrayan is always a relaxing and tasteful experience.

    by captronj, 3/16/14
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    El Arrayán Review

    I do know how there can be such polar opposite reviews of the same restaurant, but I’ll leave that explanation for the end of my review.
    We run an animal rescue operation here in PV and we were taking one of our visiting volunteers out to celebrate her birthday at El Arrayan. She loved it and is still raving about it now that she’s back in Canada. I had the pork chop from the specials menu and it was fantastic. My wife had the Cochinita Pibil which she shared with me as always. Fantastic! The unique to El Arrayan salsas were great with each of our meals and the black salsa on our empanadas is completely addictive.
    I had a Margarita Coco to start. This is my favorite signature cocktail in all of Mexico and it is always amazing. After that I asked Claudia to pair a wine with my meal and she produced a great Merlot which complemented the meal well. My wife had the Raicilla Boom Boom, an amazing concoction made from locally sourced Raicilla and the only drink of it’s kind anywhere as far as I know. The birthday girl had a virgin daiquiri which she loved, but not as much as she loved her meal.
    We’ve lived here for more than five years and El Arrayan has been consistently one of the best restaurants in town. The owners are wonderful and the staff is always friendly and professional. I am not paid by them or any other restaurant to write reviews for them on Fodors. They have too much pride in what they do to pay others to create phony reviews of their restaurant or their competitions.
    I figured out why the reviews of El Arrayan are so drastically opposed to each other. I read the worst of the reviews from someone identifying themselves as “Troubleinwpb”. Then I followed his link to the only other review he did. The first review was done by someone with very poor English skills, repeatedly spelling “guest” as “guess” and gull instead of gall among many other things. I don’t say this to disparage the reviewer, his English is far better than my Spanish. However, the second review was clearly done by a professional marketer. There is no way the same person wrote both reviews attributed to the reviewer. I hope they have a way of flagging these fraudulent reviews, I would hate to think that some competing restaurant could get away with such untrue slander without any consequences from Fodors.
    I love El Arrayan and I am happy to put my real name on that statement.
    Sincerely,
    Todd Melcher

    by Todd_Melcher, 2/24/12
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    El Arrayán Review

    Starting out this review, I should declare I'm a bit taken aback at the negative reviews to date. I've just returned from Puerto Vallarta and our dinner at El Arrayán was a highlight. No it's not fine dining, but the staff were helpful and nice - even walking us over to have a chat about the arrayán fruit tree in the centre of the courtyard. Admittedly it was a Wednesday night, but I definitely would have gone back on Thursday. The empanadas with plantain and the hibiscus (jamaica) quesadillas were really special. I probably wouldn't recommend the arrayán margarita, but that was a tiny blip in a nice experience. We also enjoyed the Mexican chocolate ice cream, but the cafe de la olla wasn't the best I've had. From Nuevo Vallarta, it was about a 10-15 minute taxi and well worth the adventure.

    by foodntravel, 8/8/11
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    El Arrayán Review

    WOW What can I say about this horror of a restaurant. First, the staff thinks they are the owners. The owners are in cloud 9. The food was horrible. Not worth the hike up that hill. I will say I was very surprise that they even screwed up a Bacardi and Coke. Lord how can one screw that up is beyond me. We were a PARTY OF NINE and the manager / owner whatever she was had the gull to come after us and asked why we did not leave a TIP. We informed her that the 4 orders that we sent back, and the other 3 that my guess did not want sent back because they were embarrass for the Chef was not a hint that the restaurant was not fit to even bring my dogs to. What really gets me is that I live here in PV and this place keeps on getting good ratings, and my guess all wanted to go there even after I warned them that no true native or would be native would got there. IT IS A TOURIST TRAP, but since, my guess wanted to go there we went there. TO their NOW regret. I think that this place gets tips off that a reviewer is going and it is on its best behavior or comps the meal. THIS IS NOT A PLACE TO GO and experience the wonder that PV gastronomy has to offer. I have eaten better at some tacos stands than this place. I have live here since Nov. 18 2006 and I still feel the same since my first dinner that I had there then.

    by Troubleinwpb, 3/28/11
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    El Arrayán Review

    We had the worst service! New Years Eve and they tried to rush us out of there. My husband was still chewing and they removed his plate. We ordered 'duck carnitas' and it's supposed to take 15 min. to prepare. We had this dish 3 min. after ordering it. When we complained to one of the owners she was also very rude and didn't care. That was the last straw!! I paid in cash and stiffed the waitress! P.S. Not only New Years Eve but also my husband"s birthday! AVOID THIS RESTAURANT IF U WANT A GOOD RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE!!! The value and ambience rate a #1 due to such lousy service and poor attitude from the owner!

    by jacquiend, 1/1/10
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    shrimp ceviche YUM!

    Average restaurant, I saw it was rated #1 mexican restaurant in PV, I dont agree with that, but it was okay. The shrimp ceviche was very good, the pineapple was so sweet with the shrimp flavor, very flavorful!! Entrees were okay. Very nice Mexican setting and the service was good!

    by Janiebii, 5/5/08
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    Traditional Mexican Fair

    Not Mexican American foods. They were out of Chicken dishes the night we were there.

    One couple walked out, just costly for what served

    by rmeisels, 3/18/08
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    Over-priced and Over-rated

    The evening we dined at El Arrayan (3/09/08) we had pazole, lettuce salad, fish entree, pork entree and flan along with a couple of margaritas. The food was fine, not exceptional, but both the food and margaritas were very expensive. Our dinners cost as much or more than we paid at some 5 star gourmet restaurants in PV, and by comparison El Arrayan does not have the creativity, prsentation, or ambiance that one would expect at those prices. Not a good value. For this type of fare, one can do much better in PV.

    by carolsu, 3/14/08
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    WOW

    How do I love this place? Let me count the ways. First of all I love the lovely setting with seating around an open air courtyard of an old hacienda. Secondly, I love the warm and welcoming staff. Finally, I love the authentic Mexican cuisine. It's a world apart from "tourist" Mexican. The duck carnitas are my favorite meal in Vallarta. This place is a must. It is pricier than you might expect for Mexican food but worth every penny.

    by uncledave8, 7/23/07
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    Charming

    We had the Cochinita Pibil and it was excellent! Good pozole also. Lovely little courtyard in middle of restaurant. Will go again. Loved the sinks outside of bathrooms!

    by rollo, 2/17/07
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    Wonderful Authentic Mexican

    The atmosphere here is amazing; there is tons of beautiful Mexican artwork and the place is so lovely and intimate. The food is good, but there isn't a huge selection, so just be prepared. The plaintain fritters and black bean soup are out of this world.

    by emc8760, 12/28/06
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    We liked it

    This place was fun and funky. We had a good meal and the service was great. We had our 4 year old in tow and it wasn't a problem -in fact they were very accomodating. The owner is very charming.

    by ShelleyK408, 11/12/06

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