There’s no shortage of great places to eat in Puerto Vallarta. Each unique neighborhood has plenty of choices to please any palate. Unless you have a rental car, most people tend to eat in the area they are staying, so I’ve divided this post into the hotels zones just like in my where to stay in Puerto Vallarta post. Here’s my suggestions about where to eat in Puerto Vallarta and for kicks, some drink suggestions too.
The Marina Area of Puerto Vallarta is located north of the city. Here you’ll find more restaurants and less street food. Around the Marina itself, there are restaurants to suit any palate.
- Sonora Grill steak, steak and more steak. A little bit fancy too
- D’ Santini wood fired pizza made with one of the tastiest crusts I’ve ever had
- El Faro Lighthouse Bar a great place to have a drink and watch the sunset
- Chapultepec Cervezeria good tacos, burgers and beer in a vibrant, fun atmosphere
The Hotel Zone is the area I know the least about. The options here range from stand alone restaurants to restaurants on site in the resorts that dot the area. Since this area has a mall and several shopping centers, there are quite a few chain restaurants that you might recognize from the the states. Here’s a few places on my Hotel Zone wish list.
- Argentina Steak House I love Argentine food and this place looks perfect
- La Madelena looks like a great place for cocktails
- Oh Croissant Pasteleria I met the wife of the baker owner and it gets a 4.8 on Google
Restaurants, tacos and street food are easily found in the downtown area of Puerto Vallarta. I have spent a lot a time at the beach here
- La Bodeguita del Medio my go to place for Cuban food and live music
- Taqueria El Gato great tacos any time of the day
- Rico Mac Taco a little bit of everything and really good quesadillas
- Mangos Beach Club the freshest ceviche and fish tacos
- Gaby’s Restaurant traditional Mexican food and cooking classes
- Barcelona Tapas small plates with a gorgeous view
The Romantic Zone is my favorite neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta. It’s where I’ve spent the most time and once you are there it’s so easy to walk around, you’ll never want to leave. You can find just about any cuisine without having to go too far. Here’s a few of my favorites.
- Café de Olla my go to spot for breakfast or dinner
- Fredy Tucan’s there’s usually a line, but another delicious place for breakfast
- Paris Cafe tiny storefront with the most yummy pastries
- Panchos Takos takos with a k and the best al pastor ever
- The Blue Shrimp fresh seafood on the sand
- Margarita Grill all around great restaurant with a beach vibe
- Pizza Nostra wood fired pizza and tasty desserts
Next to the hotel zone, the South Zone is the area I know the least about. Besides eating at Garza Blanca, a resort just a few miles south of Puerto Vallarta, I’ve been as far as Yelapa with stops in Mismaloya but little else. I’ve heard some good things about restaurants in this corridor and I’m hoping to explore more next trip.
- Blanca Blue located inside of one of PV’s luxury resorts, Blanca Blue has a terrific breakfast buffet and other melas, with a great view
Getting to Know the Food in Puerto Vallarta
One of the best ways to get a taste for the food in Puerto Vallarta and to figure out what you want to eat, is to take a food tour. There are several companies that offer tours that take you to three or four restaurants and introduce you to the typical foods in the area.
Since Puerto Vallarta is located right on the Pacific, fishing and seafood is a big part of life. Here’s just a few of the traditional seafood dishes:
- Filete al ajillo – fish prepared in butter or oil guajillo peppers
- Ceviche – fresh fish “cooked” in lime juice
- Pescado embarazado – fish cooked over charcoal then served on a stick
- Aguachile – a lot like ceviche but is a bit spicier and made with shrimp
The state of Jalisco is also known for some other meatier, non seafood dishes. Tacos, birria and tortas ahogadas are typical Jalisciense dishes. Don’t forget to give them a try too.
What to Drink in Puerto Vallarta
- Tequila – Jalisco is the birthplace of tequila, so while you are in Puerto Vallarta, you should take advantage and book a tequila tasting. If you are a Margarita lover, try a mango, prickly pear or passion fruit marg. For something a little lighter, order a Paloma. The base is a lot like a marg, but has Squirt or another grapefruit soda too.
- Beer – the beer that goes best with sand and sun in Vallarta is Pacifico. You will find it everywhere. Indio (from the Baja peninsula) is a good second choice.
- Racilla – made with the same blue agave that tequila is made from, racilla isn’t aged, so it’s a moonshine of sorts. Proceed with caution.
- Agua fresca – or “fresh water” is made with fruit, water and sugar. So refreshing on a hot Vallarta day. My favorite flavors are watermelon, Jamaica or cucumber.
I hope you find my guide about where to eat in Puerto Vallarta helpful the next time you’re there. Leave me a comment and let me know what’s your favorite restaurant or food in PV. Buen provecho!