Tacos al Pastor at Panchos Takos in Puerto Vallarta

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta – A Neighborhood Guide

Puerto Vallarta, located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, is known for its gorgeous beaches, lively nightlife, and delicious food. With so many restaurants available, from street vendors to high-end restaurants, choosing where to eat in Puerto Vallarta can be overwhelming.

However, the city offers a wide variety of cuisines to satisfy any palate, including traditional Mexican dishes, fresh seafood, and international cuisine. Whether you are looking for a casual bite or a fine dining experience, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from.

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Where to Eat in the Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta has a small town feeling but in actuality, it’s a pretty big city of almost three hundred thousand. To make it easier for visitors to navigate and get around, the city is divided into tourist zones.

Each zone or neighborhood has it’s own distinctive qualities and vibe. Knowing a little about these areas makes booking accommodations, getting around and choosing where to eat in Puerto Vallarta much easier.

To keep it simple, I’ve divided this list of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta by neighborhood. You can read more about Puerto Vallarta’s tourist zones and see similar hotel suggestions in my What’s the Best Area to Stay in Puerto Vallarta.

For convenience, I also created a Google Map of the places on this restaurant list. Once you open it, you can save the map to your own Google account to have in the future by clicking the star at the end of the title.

Note: the restaurant website (if they have one) is highlighted in the paragraphs below. Some restaurant’s hours may change seasonally or they may close temporarily for vacation in low season (end of summer or September).

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta – Marina Zone

Some of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta can be found in the Marina Zone. This area is located just south of the airport and north of the Hotel Zone and encompasses the actual Marina Vallarta and surroundings.

Here, you’ll find more stand alone restaurants and less street food than some of the other neighborhoods. Suggestions of where to eat in Puerto Vallarta starts with a gem right by the airport.

Tacon de Marlin is the go-to place for tacos as soon as you land in Puerto Vallarta. Exit left out of the airport, walk cross the pedestrian bridge and you’re on your way to a fresh fish taco and a cold Pacifico. Perfect arrival!

  • Hours: 7 days a week 10:30am-5:30pm
  • Address: Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio 8106, Villa Las Flores, 48335
  • Phone: 52 322 221 1914
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash only

D’ Santini, located in Marina Vallarta, serves Italian dishes, sandwiches and burgers but in my opinion, it’s the pizza that’s the star of the show. All the pizza is prepared in a woodfire oven and makes one of thinnest, tastiest crusts I’ve ever eaten in my life. So good!

  • Hours: 7 days a week 12pm-12am
  • Address: C. Popa 112-local 2-B, Marina Vallarta, 48335
  • Phone: 52 322 221 3599
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or card

Sonora Prime features steak, steak and more steak or “cortes” in Spanish. Even though this is a chain of restaurants that can be found in some of the bigger cities in Mexico, it’s worth a visit. The upscale vibe is also perfect for a special occasion.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 1pm-12am
  • Address: Av Paseo de la Marina 121, Marina Vallarta, 48335
  • Phone: 52 322 221 3124
  • Dress: dressy casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta – Hotel Zone

The Hotel Zone has no shortage of high end restaurants perfect for special occasions or events. However, for a more casual experience, PV Food Truck Park and Burrico Loco fit the bill. Here’s a few other Puerto Vallarta restaurants to try in the Hotel Zone.

Cervezeria Chapultepec is one of the most fun places to eat in Puerto Vallarta and in the northern part of the Hotel Zone. Opposite the bay side in front of the City Express, the restaurant has great service and a lively, casual atmosphere with tasty affordable tacos, burgers and their own craft beer.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 12pm-1am
  • Address: Avendia, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio
  • Phone: 52 322 154 1533
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

La Asador Vaca Argentina Steak for me is the chef’s kiss for restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. I’m a sucker for all food from Argentina. From the fresh bread served when you sit down to the chimichurri, pasta and the best cortes of steak prepared the Argentina way over a fire – a meal here is first class service and elegance all the way.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 1:30pm-11pm
  • Address: Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio 2468, Fluvial Vallarta, 48312
  • Phone: 52 322 224 0908
  • Dress: dressy casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

La Madalena is a trendy eatery and bar serving up a little bit of everything. The food is just as good as the bar is pretty and the cocktails are out of this world. The restaurant does have a higher energy vibe with a DJ most nights, so if you are looking for a low key experience, this might skip this one that night.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 2pm-12:30am
  • Address: Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio 2025, Zona Hotelera, Las Glorias, 48333
  • Phone: 52 322 135 9982
  • Dress: dressy casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Oregano Caribbean Cuisine is a cozy restaurant in the up and coming Colonia Versalles near the Hotel Zone. I had read really good things about it and tried to eat there the last time I was in Puerto Vallarta in 2022 but there wasn’t a table available. Granted, it’s a small restaurant but if that’s any indication – put it on your PV list. The garlic shrimp looks divine.

  • Hours: Wednesday 5pm-10:30pm
  • Address: Aldanaca 130, Versalles, 48310
  • Phone: 52 755 131 1505
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash only

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta – Centro

Deciding where to eat in Puerto Vallarta is a challenge because there’s so many choices but in el Centro, or downtown, it’s even more difficult to choose. Restaurants and street food – which means plenty of tacos – can be found all over.

Located south of the Hotel Zone, you’ll find more affordable, local restaurants mixed in with Puerto Vallarta restaurants that cater to the tourists on the malecón. This area has so many restaurants that shouldn’t be missed – I can’t include them all but start with these recommendations.

Gaby’s is a crowd favorite for traditional Mexican food and other dishes in Puerto Vallarta. The restaurant has a relaxing patio and endless views of the bay. One of their most famous dishes is a Caesar salad prepared tableside.

  • Hours: Mon-Sat 1:30pm-10pm
  • Address: C. Mina 252, Proyecto Escola, Centro, 48300
  • Phone: 52 322 222 0480
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Barcelona Tapas serves Spanish small plates and tapas. They’re known for their sangria, amazing gin and tonics and the perfect paella. Also – from their perch above the city – the views are some of the best in town.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 5pm-12am
  • Address: C. Matamoros 906, Centro, 48300
  • Phone: 52 322 222 0510
  • Dress: business casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

La Cappella serves Italian classics and is one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. And the views are unparalleled. Located in the Bellview Historic Boutique Hotel, the restaurant overlooks the city and has the best view of downtown and the Bay of Banderas. It’s the perfect place for special occasions or a just a splurge. Bonus: they also serve brunch on the weekends.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 9am-3pm reopens 5pm-11pm
  • Address: C. Miramar 363 B, Centro, 48300
  • Phone: 52 322 304 3311
  • Dress: dressy casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Pipi’s is another visitor and expat favorite in el Centro. Specialties include fajitas and margaritas. You really can’t say you’ve been to Puerto Vallarta without having at least one margarita – or several – at Pipi’s.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 1pm-10pm
  • Address: C. Guadalupe Sánchez 804, Centro, 48304
  • Phone: 52 322 223 2767
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Tacos el Gato is a little taco stand near Playa Camarones in el Centro. From their food cart they cook up a wide variety of taco fillings but the el pastor is my favorite. And don’t skip out on the grilled onions and peppers. There is also a new – or new to me – fish taco place (name unknown) in this little collection of taco stands. The breaded shrimp tacos are very tasty.

  • Hours: 6pm-1am every day, closed Tuesday
  • Address: Uruguay SN-C, Puerto Vallarta
  • Phone: 52 755 131 1505
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash only

La Bodeguita del Medio has the best Cuban food in Vallarta. For a solid go-to for dinner, live music and dancing experience or to just hang out and have a mojito – this is the place.

For dinner – I’ve sampled several of the beef and pork main dishes and the salads are delicious, too but it’s the maduros – or sweet plantains – that I love the most. The bartenders and all the staff are wonderful. Be warned – it will get crowded especially on the weekend and in busy season.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 11am-2pm
  • Address: Paseo Díaz Ordaz 858, Centro, 48300
  • Phone: 52 322 223 1585
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta – Romantic Zone

The Romantic Zone – or Old Town – is just south of the Rio Cuale and is my favorite neighborhood in all of Puerto Vallarta. Even though there are now more newer buildings and condos than what I’d like to see, it still feels like a piece of old Mexico in a big city.

It’s also where I’ve spent the most time and because of that, I’ve tried more food in this area than anywhere else. However, since it has the biggest concentration of restaurants and bars than any of the other neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta – I’ve still got a long way to go. These Puerto Vallarta restaurants are just a small list of my favorites.

Café de Olla hands down is my number one, go to spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner in the Romantic Zone and one of the best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta. I can always count on amazing food. And the margaritas are good and strong. If you can, try to score a perfect for people watching small table outside on the sidewalk.

  • Hours: 9am-10:20pm every day, closed Tuesdays
  • Address: Basilio Badillo 168, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380
  • Phone: 52 322 223 1626
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash
Fish at Cafe de Olla Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Where to eat in Puerto Vallarta
Fresh catch of the day at Cafe de Olla

Cuates y Cuetes may look like just another ordinary restaurant in a string of beach side eateries along Los Muertos beach but it’s my favorite go-to for a quick snack, an after swim hang or a nice reliable dinner. With a front row view of Puerto Vallarta’s famous pier, it’s the ideal place to meet up with friends and have a drink – or a few.

The menu is traditional Mexican fare with plenty of fresh seafood. If you have a hankering for nachos – this is the place. The nightly live music – especially the jazz combo – are just a couple more reasons to visit over and over again.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 8:30am-10:45pm
  • Address: Francisca Rodríguez 101, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380
  • Phone: 52 322 223 2724
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash only
Rolled tacos at Cuates y Cuetes Puerto Vallarta
Rolled tacos and all the toppings

La Piazzetta Italian restaurant serves pasta, pizza and other tasty dishes in the Romantic Zone. Order several things to share but make sure to save room for dessert because their tiramisu is out of this world good. The outside patio is very romantic and is a great spot for a casual date night. I love eating in or ordering a pizza to go.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 4pm-11:40pm
  • Address: C. Rodolfo Gómez 143, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 
  • Phone: 52 322 222 0650
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Panchos Takos spells tacos with a “k”. Okay, so maybe they don’t know how to spell taco 🙂 but trust me, they sure know how to make them. The tacos al pastor are life changing. Kudos for all the mouthwatering salsas that accompany the dishes. Be warned: there’s usually a line here so plan accordingly.

  • Hours: Closed Sunday, Mon-Sat 4pm-12pm
  • Address: Basilio Badillo 162, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 
  • Phone: 52 322 222 1693
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card
Tacos al Pastor
taco al pastor + pacifico at panchos
The meat for tacos al pastor at Pancho's Takos Puerto Vallarta, where to eat in Puerto Vallarta
cooking the pork for Al Pastor

Serrano’s Grill has just about every cut of fresh meat you could imagine. For me, it ends up on the where to eat in Puerto Vallarta because of its tasty burgers but they offer other popular items likes steaks and ribs. Serrano’s is proof you don’t have to leave the Romantic Zone for a nice sit down steak dinner.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 4pm-11pm
  • Address: Púlpito 377, Alta Vista, 48380 
  • Phone: 52 322 355 1422
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta – South Zone

As you travel south out of Puerto Vallarta and down the coastal highway, you’ll find less of a city feel as smaller condo buildings and luxury accommodations start to pop up here and there.

This is the South Zone and the views alone are worth taking a drive out of town. I haven’t been to many restaurants in this area except when I traveled to Mismaloya and Yelapa. You can read more about those visits in my day trips from Puerto Vallarta article. Here’s what I can tell you about the South Zone .

Haciendo de Oro is located inside the Vallarta Botanical Gardens south of the city. (I went on my own but you can book a tour here) I spent an awesome day at the gardens and honestly I didn’t expect much from the restaurant. However, included with your ticket is a complimentary glass of agua de Jamaica.

After a humid trek down to the river, I decided to to cash in my coupon. And I’m glad I did because it was one of the best aguas de Jamaica I’ve ever had.

Once I realized that the restaurant wasn’t just something like you usually find in a tourist venue like this, I decided to order guacamole. It was so refreshing and delicious. The people sitting next to me had shrimp tacos – that were huge – and confirmed that they were just as good as they looked.

  • Hours: Dec-March, 7 days a week 9am-6pm, April-Nov, Mon-Sat 9am-6pm
  • Address: Púlpito 377, Alta Vista, 48380 
  • Phone: 52 322 223 6182
  • Dress: casual
  • Payment: cash or credit card
Guacamole at the restaurant in the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens
Fresh Guac at the Botanical Gardens
Agua de Jamaica at the Botanical Gardens Puerto Vallarta
refreshing Agua de Jamaica

Blanca Blue restaurant is located inside Garza Blanca – a luxury resort located approximated five miles from the Romantic Zone. The property has three restaurants and a raw bar food truck on site. Blanca Blue serves innovative Mexican food on a terrace with ocean views of some of the bluest water in all of Puerto Vallarta. I only had breakfast but makes an excellent stop on route to a south beach day.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 7am-11pm
  • Address: Carretera a Barra de Navidad Km 7.5
  • Phone: 52 322 223 6182
  • Dress: breakfast & lunch-smart casual, dinner-elegant casual per website
  • Payment: cash or credit card

Le Kliff is the one place I see recommended more than any other place in Puerto Vallarta. Is it the food or the unique location balanced on the side of the mountain high above the water? I’m not sure because I haven’t been yet but I hope to find out one day.

  • Hours: 7 days a week 1pm-9pm
  • Address:  Road to Barra de Navidad KM 17.5, between Mismaloya &
  • Boca de Tomatlán 
  • Phone: 52 322 121 4935
  • Dress: casual elegant (per website) no sleeveless shirts, no beach sandals or swimsuits
  • Payment: cash or credit card

How to use the map: click the icon on the upper left hand side to see the map layers. Each layer is a different neighborhood. Once you open a layer, select the restaurant of your choice for more details, photos from Google and the address for directions.

Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

With up and coming neighborhoods and new restaurants in Puerto Vallarta opening all the time, it’s hard choosing where to eat in Puerto Vallarta. My wish list is so long, it will take me forever – or moving to Vallarta permanently – to complete it. What restaurant do you swear by in Puerto Vallarta? Let me know so I can add it. Buen provecho!

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