Located in the Banderas Bay on the west coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most beautiful and romantic destinations in Mexico. Puerto Vallarta is relatively a new town; the first modern settlers arrived in 1851 and it didn’t gained the municipality status until 1935. However, it wasn’t until the early 1960s that Puerto Vallarta became internationally famous when it received simultaneously big Hollywood stars, national celebrities and American intellectuals for the shooting of the film “The Night of the Iguana”.
Today Puerto Vallarta is a destination for tourists from Mexico and all over the world. Its exceptional geography, between the sea and the Sierra Madre Occidental, make it a perfect place to practice aquatic and extreme sports; and its small town feeling and gorgeous sunsets make it a great romantic getaway. We spent a few days in that magical place few months ago and found some great places to grab a bite. Here are our recommendations on where to eat in Puerto Vallarta.
This restaurant in the middle of the old town was our favorite spot for breakfast. The service was friendly and very efficient and the food outstanding. Try the sweet rolls made in-house, our favorites were the blackberry with cream cheese and banana. We also tried the Monterrey omelet filled with cheese, chorizo, and served with a delicious red salsa. This is the best way to start your day in Puerto Vallarta.
Basilio Badillo 245
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
Hours: 8 am – 3 pm
Phone: +52 322 223 0778
Fonda La Marina
When we visit a new place, we always like to go to the local markets to get a real feeling of the people and traditions and Puerto Vallarta wasn’t the exception. We walked along the Cuale river flea market, a very nice market with souvenirs and local arts and crafts, to get to the municipal market. On the second floor of the market we ate at Fonda La Marina, as it had been recommended to us. We immediately fell in love with the place. It is a family owned restaurant that serves delicious food at very low prices. The comida corrida is only 50 pesos and includes soup, main dish (in our case was one of the best moles we’ve tried in Mexico), beans and agua fresca. Try the ceviche or shrimp tostadas, they were also great.
Mercado Municipal Rio Cuale
Agustin Rodriguez s/n, second floor
Centro, Puerto Vallarta
Hours: 8 am – 5 pm
Mariscos El Cólera
Puerto Vallarta is a fishers’ town. Every morning boats go out to sea to get the catch of the day and you can also see locals fishing on the beaches in the evenings. Although there are a lot of good options to get some great seafood, we decided to get off the beaten path and look for something more local. Don’t be fooled by Mariscos El Cólera’s unappealing name, this was one of the best seafood restaurants we’ve visited. We started our meal with a marlin tostada that was perfectly cooked in a tomato sauce, then we tried the shrimp cocktail, and the camarones al coco, deep fried shrimp in a coconut batter and served with mango sauce. We washed it all down with a margarita that was the perfect refreshment for the hot afternoon.
Lázaro Cárdenas 505
Hours: 8 am – 8 pm
Taquería Los Jarochos
While we were in Puerto Vallarta we could not miss eating some street food, and the place every local recommended was Taquería Los Jarochos, just outside of Farmacias Guadalajara. When we arrived there was a line of people waiting for their order, which in Mexico is always a good sign. Two very helpful and friendly young men waited on us and in a few minutes, we were eating a huge mixed burrito (pork, beef, and chorizo) and a gringa de pastor (marinated pork with cheese served in a four tortilla). This is a late night spot where you can stop after going to any of the bars, the way many tourists end their nights in Puerto Vallarta.
Lázaro Cárdenas at the corner with Insurgentes (in front of Farmacias Guadalajara)
Hours: Thursdays – Mondays 6 pm – 4 am
Vendors at the beaches in Mexico can be overwhelming. They would offer you temporary tattoos, massages, crafts, clothing, sunglasses, etc. But it can also be very convenient when they come around offering fruit salads and seafood. At Playa de los Muertos, at the south end of Puerto Vallarta, we ate some delicious marlin and shrimp on a stick from a food vendor. At first we were hesitant because we didn’t know where the products were coming from. But later we found out that the preparation area was a few hundred feet away on the beach. Lime juice, salt and salsa are added to the skewers to make them more appetizing.
Puerto Vallarta’s summers are hot and humid, so we needed something to cool down. We were directed to an heladería that is relatively new in town, around a year, with the promise that we would have some delicious ice cream. Sabores Helados is run by Miguel Martinez, who turned out to be related to the guys who started La Michoacana (the largest ice cream franchise in Mexico), so he knows a thing or two about ice cream and paletas. We tried four different flavors, tiramisu, vanilla, cheesecake, but our favorite was the whiskey with caramel flavor. The paletas looked also delicious. Next time we’ll try them all.
Hours: 12 pm – 10 pm
Phone: +52 322 111-3356
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most romantic destinations in Mexico, and this list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most romantic restaurants in town, La Palapa. This higher end restaurant located on the beach is perfect to have dinner with that special person while watching the sunset and being treated like royalty by the efficient and friendly staff. Dishes here are fine cuisine, but they are delicious. We tried the duck enchiladas, which were a great way to start our dinner, the seafood ravioli and the risotto with seafood cooked in octopus ink. A trip to this beautiful town is not complete without a romantic dinner on the beach.
Hours: 8:30 am – 11:30 pm
Phone: +52 322 222-5225