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

  • 2. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. La Palapa

    $$$ | Zona Romántica | International

    This large, welcoming, thatched-roof eatery is open to the breezes of Playa Los Muertos and filled with wicker-covered chandeliers, art-glass...Read More

  • 8. Le Kliff

    $$$ | Mexican

    You'll find the best views at a series of open-air patios under a huge palapa roof at Le Kliff, south of PV. ...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Porto Bello

    $$$ | Marina Vallarta | Italian

    Yachties, locals, and other return visitors attest that everything on the menu here is good—start with mixed antipasto or fried calamari, and...Read More

  • 12. Rincón de Buenos Aires

    $$$ | Argentine

    Restaurants are a hard sell in all-inclusive-dominated Nuevo Vallarta. This one has managed to survive (it was formerly called La Porteña)....Read More

  • 13. 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

  • 14. Mestizo

    $$$ | El Centro | Mexican

    Vegetarians can dive into squash-blossom soup, a house salad with goat-cheese croutons, and the tangy coconut-mango-ginger salad. Omnivores...Read More

  • 15. Ztai

    $$$ | El Centro | International

    Lounge music emanates from the cool, dark, modern interior and into the appealingly spare outdoor garden shaded by bamboo and fig trees. The...Read More

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