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. Casa Triskell

    $ | Café

    This mid-size enclave is sure to satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth, particularly those fond of well-crafted french crepes. Try the orange-flavoured...Read More

  • 2. ChocoBanana

    $$ | American

    One of Sayulita's pioneer restaurants has really gotten spiffy, adding tile mosaic accents and generally beautifying its terrace restaurant...Read More

  • 3. El Brujo

    $$ | Mexican

    This newer Bucerías branch of El Brujo is located right on the beach but with the same food and generous portions of the original location in...Read More

  • 4. Frascati

    $$$ | Italian

    La Cruz is slowly becoming more sophisticated (okay, gentrified ), and Frascati combines the Old World and the New: It's friendly and intimate...Read More

  • 5. La Ola Rica

    $$ | International

    One of San Pancho's first upscale restaurants, "The Delicious Wave," has still got it goin'. Small, medium-crust, wood-fired pizzas are just...Read More

  • 6. Tacos on the Street

    $ | Mexican

    This small no-frills restaurant offers what many claim to be the best tacos in all of Banderas Bay, but also the most expensive. The tender...Read More

  • 7. Baja Takeria

    $ | Riviera Nayarit | Mexican

    North of Banderas Bay, in little San Pancho (aka San Francisco), the multitudes rave about the fish and shrimp tacos at Baja Takeria. ...Read More

  • 8. Café de María

    $ | Café

    There are three distinct menus for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In the morning order one of an army of different omelets, a smoothie, or an...Read More

  • 9. Café des Artistes del Mar

    $$$ | International

    A more casual and beachy interpretation of the downtown Puerto Vallarta brand faces the water at the north end of Playa El Anclote. If you sit...Read More

  • 10. Calypso

    $$ | Eclectic

    This second-story restaurant overlooks the town plaza from beneath an enormous palapa roof. Locals rave about the deep-fried calamari served...Read More

  • 11. Cruz'ers

    $$ | Mexican

    A view of the Nayarit mountains backing the yacht harbor is best from the newly named Cruizers, at La Cruz's new Marina Riviera Nayarit. Here...Read More

  • 12. Don Pedro's

    $$ | International

    Sayulita institution Don Pedro's has wonderful pizzas baked in a wood-fire oven, prepared by European-trained chef and co-owner Nicholas Parrillo...Read More

  • 13. La Playa

    $ | Mexican

    The owners of La Ola Rica, just up the street, have opened this more casual lunch spot right on the sand of San Pancho's beach, squeezed between...Read More

  • 14. Mar Plata

    $$$$ | European

    Decor is nonchalant yet sophisticated and so, come to think of it, is the waitstaff. Impressive second-story digs have views of the sea as well...Read More

  • 15. Mark's Bar & Grill

    $$$ | International

    You can dine alone at the polished black-granite bar without feeling too lonely, or catch an important ball game. But seemingly a world away...Read More

  • 16. Panino's

    $$ | Deli

    In Sayulita, Panino's produces good brownies, croissants, and other baked goods just a few steps from the beach. ...Read More

  • 17. Pie in the Sky

    $ | Deli

    Grab a mini-cheesecake, crunchy chocolate cookie, or an infamous mango pie at Pie in the Sky. The store has expanded to Puerto Vallarta and...Read More

  • 18. Sandrina's

    $$ | Mediterranean

    The walls of this veteran, Canadian-owned restaurant and locals' favorite are covered in colorful paintings: portraits and tropical scenes and...Read More

  • 19. Si Hay Olitas

    $ | Mexican

    This simply decorated, open-front restaurant near tiny Sayulita's main plaza is the one most often recommended by locals for dependable Mexican...Read More

  • 20. Sweet Things Bake Shop

    $$ | Café

    On Bucerías's South Side, a dedicated following snaps up the cinnamon rolls at Sweet Things Bake Shop. ...Read More

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