Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta

January 19, 2020

Tacos al Pastor

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.

Marina Vallarta

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.

Hotel Zone

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.


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

Cuban food at La Bodeguita del Medio
Vaca frita, moros y cristianos y maduros at La Bodeguita del Medio

Romantic Zone

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.

Breakfast at Cafe de Olla
Breakfast at Cafe de Olla
Pastries at the Paris Cafe Puerto Vallarta
Is it Puerto Vallarta or Paris?
Grilled fish at Cafe de Olla Puerto Vallarta
Grilled fish for dinner at Cafe de Olla

South Zone

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.

Ceviche at Mangos Beach Club Puerto Vallarta
Ceviche at Mangos Beach Club

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.
agua fresca
The many colors of agua fresca
A paloma on the beach in Puerto Vallarta
A Paloma on the beach

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!

Southerner Says logo


  1. Ferny

    I was very excited to read this post, no matter how many times I visit Puerto Vallarta, there is always something new to try.
    Aguachile is my favorite seafood and I loved it in Vallarta, the Lighthouse Bar is my favorite at the Marina always a wonderful place for the sunset!

  2. Southerner Says

    I’m so pleased you approve of my choices! Good Ceviche is my weakness. 🙂 I have more suggestions for the Romantic Zone so I think I’ll write a post just for that area since I’ve spent the most time there. Thanks Ferny!

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