From casual dining in town and on the beach to wonderful upscale restaurants, you will find it all in Puerto Vallarta. My recent finds and recommendations include:
La Palapa: I had not been to this beach restaurant in the Zona Romantica in over 14 years. When I was back in town, I had to go for another wonderful lunch on the beach to celebrate my birthday. I loved the views of Los Muertos beach and the great food. I enjoyed the seafood ceviche and the seared tuna focaccia sandwich. I highly recommend it when you are in town. They also have a Beach Club where they provide beach chairs, umbrellas and tables for those wanting a fun beach experience. Playa Los Muertos, Pulpita 105 Col. Emiliano Zapata
El Dorado Restaurant & Beach Club: The owners of La Palapa also have El Dorado across the street. It was the former Vista Grill on the Beach. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they feature coastal Mexican cuisine. They also have a Beach Club at El Dorado for those wanting to be on the sand close to the water. Playa Los Muertos, Pulpito 102 Col. Emiliano Zapata.
Hacienda San Angel: At Calle Miramar 336, this boutique hotel has a wonderful rooftop restaurant with amazing views, great food plus an excellent Mariachi band 6 nights a week. I celebrated my birthday with friends on my recent trip. It was a very special evening.
Puerto Cafe: At Calle Morelos 540, this is a fun coffee shop that is well worth the visit when you are exploring the city.
Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana: This is a colorful restaurant serving Mexican specialties for lunch and dinner. They also have music and entertainment on certain evenings. Hidalgo 335, Centro.
The owner of Zumo in San Miguel de Allende, Stewart Haverlack, used to own a spot on the beach in Puerto Vallarta. After I told him I was heading to PV, he gave me a handwritten list of his recommendations of the following spots as some of his favorites in town:
Barcelona Tapas: Located at Calle Matamoros 906, Centro, this restaurant has a focus on tapas and paella.
La Leche: Located just south of the airport in a more contemporary/shopping zone, La Leche gets good reviews. It is a good spot if you are staying in a hotel in that area, near the cruise ship terminal or north in Nuevo Vallarta. You will love the sleek white interior. Zona Hotelera Norte, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio KM 2.5
Cafe Des Artistes: Located at Guadalupe Sanchez 740, this upscale spot has an elegant interior. The menu is a fusion of French and Mexican cuisine with both ala carte and tasting options available. The restaurant also has a sister restaurant, Tuna Blanca on the beach in Punta de Mita, Nayarit, north of Puerto Vallarta. It looks lovely.
TRIO is recommended for upscale Mediterranean cuisine at Guerrero 264, Col. Centro.
Mezzogiorno: Highly recommended is this Italian restaurant located on the beach in Bucerias north of Nuevo Vallarta. Avenida Pacífico 33, corner Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez.
Chicago friends also loved La Leche and the River Cafe on the Isla Rio Cuale/Cuale River Island at #4. It is a fine dining, spot along the river and away from the beach.
I have twice enjoyed the San Miguel Food Tours in San Miguel de Allende, MX. On my last tour, my guide mentioned that they also owed Vallarta Food Tours. So when I found that I was going to be there with friends, I suggested that we try one of their food tasting and cultural walking tours. We chose the Original Downtown Vallarta Food Tour. They offer a number of different group tours as well as private tours. I like trying street food, but am always concerned about food safety. I found that by taking a tour like this that the spots are heavily vetted, which gives me great comfort. It was a great experience! Check out their website and my recommendations in my post Great Casual Dining in Puerto Vallarta.
Those who love tequila and mezcal will enjoy a tasting at the Agave Room in the Zona Romantica at Basilio Badillo 212. Here you can taste a variety of tequilas, mezcals and raicillas, a local agave spirit.