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 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. Daiquiri Dick's

    $$$ | Zona Romántica | International

    Locals come repeatedly for breakfast (the homemade orange-almond granola is great), visitors for the good service and consistent Mexican and...Read More

  • 4. Eddie's Place

    $ | Mexican

    This restaurant is an institution among locals and visitors who know that in Nuevo Vallarta there's more than just all-inclusive hotels. Eddie...Read More

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. Mar Etxea

    $ | Spanish

    If it's Spanish tapas and food you're after, this new restaurant (spring 2014) in Nuevo Vallarta will not disappoint. Sample tortilla Española...Read More

  • 9. Sonora al Sur

    $ | Barbecue

    Throw in prime cuts from Mexico's finest meat producing state, Sonora, a chef that has found the secret to grilling perfect BBQ, and very affordable...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. Archie's Wok

    $$ | Zona Romántica | Asian

    Dishes at this extremely popular pan-Asian restaurant include Thai garlic shrimp, pancit (Filipino stir-fry with pasta), and Singapore-style...Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. Café de Olla

    $ | Zona Romántica | Mexican

    Repeat visitors swear by the enchiladas and carne asadas at this earthy restaurant. It's also one of the few places in town where you can get...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Café Napolés

    $ | Centro | Café

    Originally a coffee-and-dessert stop and fashionable hangout for Mascotans, this snug little eatery serves big breakfasts and now main dishes...Read More

  • 18. 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

  • 19. 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

  • 20. 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

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