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Trip Report Our dining out in Puerto Vallarta, Dec '11 - Jan '12.

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We arrived in Puerto Vallarta 03 December, and left 04 January -- here's the "where & what" of our dining 'out'.

Ouch -- sorry, it's long!!

1. 03-12 December (restaurants listed in order tried, prices in pesos - here, and subsequent listings).

- Victor's Bar & Grill (Pino Suarez 232) -- our arrival day and first evening in town, we were not hungry enough for a full-fledged dinner, thought Victor's would hit the spot, and it did. We shared a plate of six perogies (70p), and a pizza (one side ham & pineapple, the other side vegetarian) (105p). Good, and perfect for the mood and condition we were in after the early-morning travel, and etc.

- Cenaduria Celia (Lazaro Cardenas 506) -- a big favourite eating place of ours, well-prepared Mexican fare - we were warmly-welcomed in with smiles and a big hug from the waiter we know (who opened the door just as we arrived). We shared a plate of pig's feet (50p), and beef enchiladas (50p) - each so tasty and much-enjoyed. The sauces at Celia's are outstanding!! The first of several dinners there I suspect!!

- D'Mike (Olas Altas, beach-side of street, near corner with Rodolfo Gomez) -- a hot dog stand, a snack favourite of ours during some evening walkabouts. Good, tasty dogs (17p).

- Eat At Davids (Aquiles Serdan 380) -- new-to-us -- the sign says "American Comfort Food", but it's much more, with two daily specials, and a short menu, and everything priced so right. It was a Tuesday, the specials that day are spaghetti and lasagna, we both had the lasagna (100p) - it came with a caesar salad and garlic bread, the portions were big, and very tasty. Rosie, the Manager, is a delight, so warm and friendly, and the service the same. A cute little place, decorated in bright Mexican colours. We'll be back!!

- Ofe's Shack (Francisco Madero 366) -- a breakfast stop one morning shopping/walkabout -- I had the omelette special (45p) - it was (just) 'ok'.

- Tony's Please (Lazaro Cardenas 440) -- what can I say, Tony and Oscar (brothers), and Mom (in the kitchen) do it good, and we always enjoy what they do!! She had the shrimp crepes (118p) and I had the Mexican steak plate (128p), both well-prepared and presented, and tasty. The chili rellano was 'the' best I have ever had there, or anywhere - for me, a total yum of wonderful flavours!!! Nacho chips and salsa, and salad and (home-made) bread, preceded the main courses. Tony's provides "our kind" of dining experience - welcoming, friendly, and good food!! See you again Tony!!

- Eat At Davids - our second visit - it was Friday, the specials were fish & chips and pork chops, we went for the fish & chips (90p, or 120p for 'all-you-would-want-to-eat'). Tempura-style battered fish (tilapia?), fries, and cole slaw. Thought the portions of fish and fries were on the small side, and prepared only just 'ok' , had expected much more from the pre-hype provided to us from others.

- Los Tres Delfines (Manuel M. Dieguez 183, a few paces east of Casa Dona Susana) -- our "like being home" restaurant. We have known Tenor (Owner/Manager/Cook) for several years, know what to expect food-wise, and are always treated like one of the family when we dine there. She had the bbq ribs (120p), and I had the tender beef steak (120p) - both were specials of the day, and included small salads, rice, frijoles, guacamole, and toast. One free drink was included - we each chose a margarita, and it was served with nacho chips and a very tasty guacamole (made with avocados right from their garden). Except for a little too much salt (for my liking) used in the preparation of my steak (which I overlooked), we thoroughly-enjoyed our meals, and totally-cleaned our plates!! (I will tell Tenor about the salt thing when we visit the next time.)

- Hacienda Alemana (Basilio Badillo 378) -- it was "50% off Monday", and we thought a great time to try some German food. We had schnitzel (165p), and with the 50% off deal, 165p for the two dinners - a great deal. Our dinners came with a tasty and colourful appetizer of marinated marlin, a pate, and bread - the entree came with two breaded schnitzel's, spatzel (sp?, our choice), and a bowl of cooked, red cabbage. The whole offering was well-prepared and presented, and much-enjoyed. The restaurant was very busy, and reservations were in-order -- we did not have one, but were able to catch a table 'up back', just in front of the bar (we've sat there before, so it was a familiar location for us, we felt at home!). Mike (Owner/Manager) dropped by for a 'hi', and with the place so busy by the time we requested our bill from a server, he was the one to actually deliver it to our table.

2. 13-20 December.

- Planeta Vegetariano (downtown, Iturbide 270, just a few steps up from Hidalgo, a half-block north of the church) -- went for breakfast - it is served all-you-can-eat buffet-style (as are lunch and dinner) - breakfast is 60p (lunch and dinner, 85p). Small, colourful place, with friendly staff, and good food offerings (and we are far from being vegetarians - there is always something for everybody). The breakfast buffet offers fresh fruits, yogurt (and all sorts of "toppings" - nuts, coconut, granola, seeds, etc.), bread(s), tostadoes, hot cereal, hotcakes, chilaquiles, nopales (cactus), potatoes, and other veggies, frijoles, tofu and soya dishes, plus, juices, coffee, and tea. The trays are replenished regularly, the foods tasty and well-prepared. For us, there's no shortage of what to try, enjoy, and leave with that satisfied feeling!!

- Mango Cafe (inside Plaza Romy, Lazaro Cardenas 261 & Ignacio Vallarta) -- went there for my "birthday breakfast" - a good decision, a chance to see/talk with Brenda (bzy1), see her new place, and enjoy some good "home" cooking. Cute place, like dining inside someone's home or apartment. Brenda was a delightful host, and we much-enjoyed the breakfast of cheese omelettes, w/chorizo verde sausage on-the-side, toast, nice home-made jam, some sliced fruits, and tea. And a lighted, home-made birthday cupcake!! The omelettes (55p), and the (premium) tea (18p). Everything to order and yummy - we enjoyed my birthday breakfast, and seeing Brenda and her new place, a nice start to the day!!

- Tony's Please (Lazaro Cardenas 440) -- our second visit, and we had the same entrees as before - shrimp crepes for she (128p), and Mexican steak plate for me (128p). Welcoming, friendly, and good food.

- El Buen Gusto (Francisca Rodriguez 157, next to Metamorfosis Spa, a few feet up from Olas Altas) -- small, family-friendly place, offering menu of Mexican, and fish/seafood fare. I had three fish tacos (15p/ea) and Jean had the fried chicken (60p). For the first time (dining here, and we have dined here several times over the years), we found the food and preparations really lacking, and quite poor, and they tasted the same. My tacos consisted small poorly cooked, and rather unpleasant tasting pieces of fish, with some not very nice looking shredded carrot and lettuce, on a corn tortilla. I barely ate two, couldn't even look at trying the third one. Jean's chicken consisted on two overcooked, flattened pieces of oily chicken, along with some rice (also oily), and some sloppy frijoles. It looked unappealing, and tasted the same. Along with the poor ambiance, this was not a dining experience to remember, and it will make it very difficult for us to consider a return visit at any time.

- D'Mike (Olas Altas, beach-side of street, near corner with Rodolfo Gomez) -- a hot dog cart/stand - a snack favourite of ours during a couple of evening walkabouts. Good, tasty (17p).

- Michoacan (sp? corner of Francisco Madero & Constitucion) -- ice cream, ice cream bars, popsicles, and the like - treats on evening after-dinner walkabouts - nothing fancy, just cool and yummy!!

- Que?Pasa (Aquiles Serdan 625) -- a neighbourhood restaurant/bar, a decent walk from Olas Altas, but always well-worth it (an easy taxi ride away for those who cannot or do not wish to walk the several blocks). Colourful, casual, and great food. We had burgers on our mind, but ended up ordering fish & chips, as recommended by JR. It wasn't a fish & chip Friday when we went there, but they were more happy to make us orders of such -- and we were sure glad we decided to try them!! And with JR in attendance at the time, after dinner we were able to tell him that we agreed that they were "the best" fish & chips we have tasted to date in Vallarta!! Three large pieces of fish (basa), lightly-battered and fried to a nice crisp, with a good portion of fries, and tarter sauce (85p). Happy-Hour beer (12p). A great deal and meal, and much-enjoyed.

- Dianita (Francisco Madero 243) -- a breakfast and comida corrida favourite spot of ours, we went for breakfast. Anna and staff do it well - good selections of breakfast and lunch offerings, well-prepared, and priced right. I had chilaquiles, w/scrambled eggs & bacon (50p), and Jean had liver & onions (50p) - my entree included frijoles, and hers, a small salad and rice - with baskets of both toast and tortillas on the side. A hearty and tasty breakfast!!

3. 21-28 December.

- Tony's Please (Lazaro Cardenas 440) -- our third visit, and for a change, this time we each had the breaded cutlet (105p). The cutlet came with veggies and rice (our choice, we preferred such over fries) - the entree as usual, was preceded by nacho chips and salsa, salad, and home-made bread. The breading on the cutlet was a little soggy this time (compared to preparations enjoyed on past trips), but otherwise, tasty. And as always, a warm, welcoming, and friendly environment, with Tony at the helm.

- Que?Pasa (Aquiles Serdan 625) -- our second visit, and this time 'on' fish & chips Friday!! Thought I was in the mood for a burger, but fond memories of the fish & chips enjoyed during our last visit took over, and we both ordered the fish & chips once again, and with absolutely no regrets -- yum!! Three big pieces of light and crispy battered fish, a good-sized portion of fries, and some tarter sauce (85p) - a meal deal!! And happy-hour, priced-right beer (12p). Michael & company - we like your place!

- D'Mike (the hot-dog stand on Olas Altas, beach-side of street, near corner with Rodolfo Gomez) -- continues to be a snack favourite of ours during later-evening walkabouts, when we get the 'urge', and just can't pass by without trying one!! Good, and tasty (17p).

- Michoacana (on Lazaro Cardenas, between Ignacio Vallarta and Constitucion) -- our first visit to this location - ice cream, ice cream bars, popsicles, and the like - nothing fancy, just cool and yummy treats we often enjoy on after-dinner walkabouts.

- Hacienda Alemana (Basilio Badillo 378) -- my much-awaited birthday dinner, combined with our anniversary dinner, and shared with our Christmas dinner friends. A Wednesday, so the all-you-can-eat German Buffet was what we went for, and it includes all-you-can-drink ale (light or amber). A great spread of German and other delights (250p). The buffet was all we remembered it to be (from dining experiences during previous stays) -- soup, bread, cold table of salad makings (including prawns), hot table of potatoes, rice, spaetzel, sauerkraut, beets, pork hocks, and etc., hot table of meats - schnitzel, ribs, roast beef, bratwurst, pork, and roasted 'scallions', peppers, and etc., and dessert table with beverages. Much to see and choose from, and everything so well-prepared and presented. A wonderful buffet, and like no other that we have ever experienced in Vallarta!! We had a great time, and were so glad to have shared 'our' day with friends. Hacienda Alemana is a lovely place, and after dark, the outside courtyard is truly quite magical. Big thumbs up to Mike, and staff for what they do, and how they do it.

4. 29 December '11 - 04 January '12.

- Que?Pasa (Aquiles Serdan 625) -- our third visit during this stay, and this time we had the big and great burgers in mind when we set out to walk there from our hotel near Olas Altas. We each had the 'basic' Que?Pasa burger (65p), and it's far from being just a "basic or regular" burger -- it's sirloin, and looks much like a steak, presented on a big bun!! Big, tender & juicy, and cooked the way you prefer (you are asked how you want it), served with raw onion, tomato, and lettuce as the 'trimmings', and a good helping of fries. If there's a better burger in Vallarta, we have yet to find it during our stays!! And happy-hour, priced-right beer (12p). In-the-neighbourhood setting, casual, friendly, and good food!!

- Michoacana (on Lazaro Cardenas, between Ignacio Vallarta and Constitucion) -- ice cream, ice cream bars, popsicles, and the like - nothing fancy, just cool and yummy treats we often enjoy on after-dinner walkabouts.

- Tony's Please (Lazaro Cardenas 440) -- our fourth visit of this stay, and one of our most-enjoyed dining experiences there ever - casual, fun, friendly, and good food - a winning combination!! She had her favourite - shrimp crepes (118p) - and loved them. I had the filet mignon (145) - and loved it - done perfectly (medium rojo), smothered in mushrooms and mushroom gravy, with shoestring fries, and a selection of veggies. And as usual, our entrees were preceded by nacho chips and salsa (with my beer, and her water), and then a small, green salad and loaf of their great home-made bread. Tony and Oscar did the serving, with Mom cooking in the kitchen. We shared some rather nice extended-exchanges with some of the other customers before leaving, got to know where everyone was from, and a little about their Vallarta adventures. A very enjoyable dinner, and dining experience. Tony's Please remains at the top of our favourite dining spots in Vallarta list.

- Magna Magna (Lazaro Cardenas 288) - Italian, Owner/Chef from Torino, Italy. Small, colourful place, with only six tables. Our last meal, and we were very happy to have chosen this restaurant, we much-enjoyed the food and our dining experience there. It's been a long while since we dined there, and based on our experience last evening, much too long to have waited for a return!! We started with mandarin orange agua fresco (30p for a large pitcher), basket of bread and corn chips (and dips), and then one of their starters, their special brushetta (75p), a wonderful delight of mixed flavours. For entrees, she had the lasagna (90p) and I had the sea bass (110p) - both were excellent, well-prepared & presented, and so tasty!! We left fully-satisfied and wishing we had not waited so long in our stay to return. We (and others we have spoken to during this stay), give big thumbs up to this fine little Italian restaurant - dining there was definitely one of dining highlights of this stay!!

We're home now, and it's back to reality and our dining as normal.

Cheers, and happy dining in Vallarta to everyone!!!

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