Attention all Foodies: Vallarta is also a culinary paradise!
Vallarta not only has natural beauty and fabulous beaches to entice you; it is fast becoming one of the top gastronomical centers in the country outside Mexico City.
The list of must see restaurants is so long, you will need days to discover them all. Innovative menus, artistic presentation and casual elegance are just a few of the words used when describing Vallarta’s vibrant culinary scene. Twice a year the local restaurateurs celebrate their best with the Gourmet Festival in November and Restaurant Week in May. Whether you are craving world class dining or the best shrimp tacos in town, Vallarta offers it all… See below a list of our favorites:
La Palapa- Elegant tropical gourmet menu, one of the top restaurants in Vallarta. Sunset should not be missed at La Palapa. Dine under a huge beachfront palapa with torches in the sand and live Latin jazz as a backdrop. Also one of the best spots to relax during the day on Los Muertos beach, beautiful lounge chairs and umbrellas with waiters serving food and drink on linen tablecloths while you sunbathe and swim.
El Dorado-Another favorite on Los Muertos beach, next door to La Palapa. Great breakfast and lunch menu, one of the original palapa restaurants in town, popular with the seasonal winter visitors. Pleasant and relaxing happy hour atmosphere for sunset.
The Beach House – next door to El Dorado. Owner previously worked for Four Season Resorts so brings a lot of those high end amenities to his new venture - designer lounge chairs, fluffy beach towels and verbena scented moistened hand cloths. Minimum consumption $130 pesos but easily spent on their excellent menu of salads and sandwiches served in generous portions.
Lindo Mar – Beachfront restaurant in Conchas Chinas, nice Sunday brunch. Great way to start a day at the beach in Conchas Chinas.
Las Palomas – Sunset/happy hour favorite, great for people watching on the Malecon, Marimba and Mariachi music in the evenings, wide selection of typical Mexican cuisine.
Los Xitomates – High end Mexican cuisine with a chic ambience, located in one of the trendiest restaurant areas of Old Town on Morelos street one block north of Galeria Uno. Artistic presentation, great attention to detail by owner and staff.
Vitae – Bistro style restaurant facing the oceanfront brick walkway and park between the Malecon and pedestrian bridge to the beach. Mediterranean twist on veggies, salads, quiche and pastas, menu offers “half” dishes for lower price
Dolce Vita- Owners from Italy, popular eatery for locals, prime location on the Malecon, known for their brick oven pizza and carpaccio, dinner served until 2:00 am.
Barcelona Tapas-Casual ambience with one of the best views in Vallarta, enjoy sharing a variety of Spanish appetizers while drinking fruit drenched Sangria. 3 blocks up the hill from the north end of the Malecon.
Vista Grill – New restaurant from same owners as La Palapa, sophisticated ambience, incredible view of bay and town. Even a visit to the bar for a drink is well worth the view.
El Palomar de los Gonzalez – One of the older family restaurants in town, same fabulous view as Vista Grill, just not as fancy. Be sure to ask for tableside preparation of Cesar Salad and Mexican Coffee. The special coffee drinks are also served in the cozy bar area if just looking for a romantic place for an after dinner drink.
Café Maximiliano's – charming sidewalk café on Olas Altas street specializing in Austrian cuisine with a Mexican twist. Great service, quaint dessert and espresso bar next door
Café des Artistes-French nouveau cuisine, worth the price for the fabulous atmosphere, located on Guadalupe Sanchez downtown. Try the Constantini Piano Bar for martinis and special coffees, ask about the Chef’s Signature prix fixe menu
The River Café- Gourmet cuisine with a Mexican flair, on the Isla Rio Cuale below the south bound bridge, visit the bar for great live lounge music with Beverly and Willow in relaxed riverside setting
Le Bistro-Also located on the Isla Rio Cuale below the north bound bridge, elegant decor with lively jazz ambience.
De Santos-Mediterranean menu, minimalist/contemporary decor, “happening” scene with the hip crowd from Guadalajara, definitely a place to see and be seen in Puerto Vallarta. After midnight, the restaurant bar and roof top lounge become a favorite night spot for local socialites and Mexican celebrities. Located in the trendy Morelos street restaurant area downtown, the street that runs parallel to the Malecon.
Ztai – another “hip” restaurant/club on Morelos street, located next door to De Santos. Gourmet appetizers, specialty martinis. Asian influenced atmosphere with reflection pool and huge open air courtyard with 100 year old trees set in the middle of the Malecon strip.
El Brujo – a favorite with repeat winter visitors featuring the best fish in Vallarta. They also specialize in grilled meats served in a molcahete with grilled panela cheese, hand made salsas and grilled onions. Home style cooking with small dining area and open kitchen but the lines of people waiting for a table say everything; located inland in Old Town on V. Carranza and Naranjo.
Marisma – a trip to Vallarta would not be complete without a shrimp taco from this perennial favorite. Don’t be fooled by the humble exterior of this street stand. It boasts the best ceviche and breaded shrimp tacos you will ever eat. Be sure to try the green salsa. Located inland on B. Badillo and Naranjo, across from El Brujo. Only open in the afternoons.
Café de Olla-Another local favorite, grilled Mexican specialties and twice baked potatoes, located on Basilio Badillo street near Los Muertos beach. Long lines in the winter.
Vegetarian Planet- Delicious salads and main courses served buffet style, featured in “Bon Appetit” magazine, located one block north of the Cathedral of Guadalupe
Nikki Beach – beach club located at the Westin Regina hotel in the Marina. Sexy and trendy, featuring gigantic beds with overstuffed pillows where you can lounge next to the water. Known for their famous Sunday champagne brunch. Vallarta is the newest location for this high end resort club based in Miami, with other locations in the Caribbean and French Riviera Memo’s Pancake House and
Fredy’s Tucan And Memo's Pancake House– if you enjoy eating breakfast, you will love these two restaurants. Both have an excellent selection of pancakes and waffles and are a favorite with locals and repeat visitors. Located just a few blocks apart from each other on B. Badillo in Old Town.