Puerto Vallarta Restaurants

First-time travelers come for the sun and sea, but it's PV's wonderful restaurants that create legions of long-term fans. You can pay L.A. prices for perfectly decorated plates but also get fresh-caught fish and hot-off-the-griddle tortillas for scandalously little dough. Enjoy a 300-degree bay view from a cliff-top aerie or bu
First-time travelers come for the sun and sea, but it's PV's wonderful restaurants that create legions of long-term fans. You can pay L.A. prices for perfectly decorated plates but also get fresh-caught fish and hot-off-the-griddle tortillas for scandalously little dou
First-time travelers come for the sun and sea, but it's PV's wonderful restaurants that create legions of long-term fan

First-time travelers come for the sun and sea, but it's PV's wonderful restaurants that create legions of long-term fans. You can pay L.A. prices for perfectly decorated plates but also get fresh-caught fish and hot-off-the-griddle tortillas for scandalously little dough. Enjoy a 300-degree bay view from a cliff-top aerie or bury your toes in the sand. Dress up or go completely casual. It's the destination’s great variety of venues and cuisine that keeps returning foodies blissfully content.

During the past 30 years, immigrant chefs have expanded the culinary horizons beyond seafood and Mexican fare. You'll find everything from haute cuisine to fish kebabs. Some of the most rewarding culinary experiences are found outside of fancy restaurants and familiar chain eateries at the street-side tacos stalls and neighborhood fondas, humble spots serving bowls of chili-laced pozole and seafood-heavy Mexican comfort food.

The trend of the day is restaurant-lounges. Ten years ago, DeSantos (co-owned by the drummer of the Mexican rock band Maná) was the first to combine dining and dancing in a hip new way, with its noisy ground-floor bar-restaurant and pulsing dance club above. Today DeSantos, Mandala, and other lounges provide places to party with the locals beyond the cool and chill dining rooms.

For those who prefer dining alfresco (and wearing flip-flops) over the glamour scene, almost every popular beach has a palapa shanty or two selling fish fillets and snacks, sodas, and beer. Some offer the Pacific Coast specialty pescado sarandeado (butterflied red snapper rubbed with salt and spices and grilled over a wood fire) or the devilishly simple (and fiery hot) dish aguachile, which is a ceviche salad. The catch of the day may vary, but the white plastic tables and chairs in the sand are permanent fixtures.

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  • 1. Café des Artistes Bistro Gourmet

    $$$ | El Centro | International

    Several sleek dining spaces make up the original, downtown restaurant Café des Artistes; the most beautiful and romantic is the courtyard garden...Read More

  • El Arrayán

    2. El Arrayán

    $$ | El Centro | Mexican

    The oilcloth table covers, enameled tin plates, exposed rafters, and red roof tiles of this patio-restaurant conjure up nostalgia for the quaint...Read More

    El Arrayán
  • 3. Trio

    $$$ | El Centro | International

    Conviviality, hominess, and dedication on the parts of chef-owners Bernhard Güth and Ulf Henriksson have made Trio one of Puerto Vallarta's...Read More

  • 4. Barcelona Tapas

    $$$ | El Centro | Spanish

    One of the few places in town with both good food and an excellent bay view, Barcelona Tapas has traditional Spanish tapas like garlicky roasted...Read More

  • 5. Chez Elena

    $$ | El Centro | Mexican

    Frequented in its heyday by Hollywood luminaries and the who's who of PV, this downtown restaurant still has a loyal following. The casual patio...Read More

  • 6. Comedor de Sra. Heladia

    $ | El Centro | Mexican

    Here you can glimpse the real Old Vallarta. A short but steep walk up from the malecón is this neighborhood dining room, which serves construction...Read More

  • 7. Cueto's

    $$ | El Centro | Seafood

    Teams of engaging waiters, all family members, squeeze past the trio that croons romantic tunes throughout the day to refill beer glasses, remove...Read More

  • 8. El Andariego

    $$ | El Centro | Mexican

    A few blocks past the north end of the malecón is this lively Mexican restaurant. Paintings of the city brighten the walls; at night the lighting...Read More

  • 9. El Campanario

    $ | El Centro | Mexican

    Fans swirl in the air, doors are open to the street, and cheerful oilcloths cover wooden tables at this no-frills spot across from the cathedral...Read More

  • 10. Hacienda San Angel Gourmet

    $$$$ | El Centro | International

    Even non-mariachi fans are bewitched by the harmonious musical meanderings of the 12-piece, stunningly uniformed, brass-and-string band that...Read More

  • 11. La Bodeguita del Medio

    $$ | El Centro | Caribbean

    Near the malecón's north end, this world famous franchise restaurant with a fun-loving atmosphere has a bit of a sea view from its second-floor...Read More

  • 12. La Leche

    $$$$ | Zona Hotelera | International

    If chef Alfonso Cadena weren't so cool (he looks like a refined, former rock star because he is one!), then La Leche's main dining room, an...Read More

  • 13. Mamá Rosa

    $ | El Centro | Mexican

    Locals return over and over for the expansive breakfast buffet (served until 2 pm, but freshest before noon) and, in the evening, for budget...Read More

  • 14. Maria Gallo

    $$$ | El Centro | Mexican

    By day it offers nifty comida corrida : set-priced, three-course menus that change daily. For about five bucks you get a pitcher of freshly...Read More

  • 15. Museo Naval

    $ | El Centro | Café

    Overlooking the bay and boardwalk, Vallarta's snug little maritime museum café is across the way from the main plaza. The coffee bar at the...Read More

  • 16. Paris Café

    $ | El Centro | Deli

    In El Centro at Paris Café, a gruff and eccentric Frenchman who bakes bare-chested is PV's version of Seinfeld's "soup Nazi." ...Read More

  • 17. Pepe's Tacos

    $ | Col. 5 de Diciembre | Mexican

    No longer the best in PV, Pepe's still can't be beat at 5 am, when most sensible taco-makers are asleep. It's an open-door dive across from...Read More

  • 18. Planeta Vegetariano

    $ | El Centro | Vegetarian

    Those who stumble upon this hogless heaven can "pig out" on tasty, meatless carne asada and a selection of main dishes that changes daily...Read More

  • 19. River Cafe

    $$$ | El Centro | International

    At night, candles flicker at white-skirted tables with comfortable cushioned chairs, and tiny white lights sparkle in palm trees surrounding...Read More

  • 20. Tutifruti

    $ | El Centro | Fast Food

    In downtown Vallarta, locals love the quesadillas, shredded beef burritos, and tacos at Tutifruti, where you can also get a sandwich, burger...Read More

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