Puerto Vallarta locals reveal their favorite spots!
Puerto Vallarta has a huge 'ex-patriot'
community of USA and Canadian citizens who've either
moved here full time or spend at least a few months
here every winter.
Being here so much of the time, they
can REALLY tell you where the best restaurants are,
regardless of what the glossy ads in the tourist magazines
say. This is 'insider information' which will lead you
to excellent dining, some of which is not anywhere near
the 'tourist zone', and therefore considerably lower
There are a few places here where you're likely
to meet a disportionately large number of 'gringos'
who live here year round, and therefore are an excellent
source of information on what to do and where to eat:
Lori's La Escondida is a friendly and casual little neighborhood
sports bar that's not too hard to find and worth looking
for: Next to the Hotel Via del Mar at the corner of
Madero and Jacarandas in Viejo Vallarta, just two blocks
towards the mountains from Insurgentes street. Lots
of TVs and cable/satellite feeds; Ridiculous dice games
and dominos are played here. Also a great place to stop
"off the beaten track" to meet fellow tourists
and local gringo residents who can
answer your questions. Lori runs a great bar with great bartenders, friendly customers,
and cold beer is just 18 lousy pesos. Happy hour 6 to
7 pm daily with two-for-one well drinks., but be sure to visit on Thursdays ("Thirsty Thursday") for 15 peso (approx. one measly dollar) beers all day, and Tuesdays ("Two-Fer Tuesdays") for two-for-one well drinks all day long!
Cuates y Cuetes is
on Los Muertos beach just a few steps from the Los Muertos
Pier and is the beach hang out for many local gringos.
Great sunset congregation spot, with live jazz music
many nights, and a good-sized menu of Mexican favorites.
Tables on the beach as well, and open from breakfast
til late night.
Monchi's Sports Bar: Here's a great little place to escape the heat...Monchis Sports Bar is just a couple blocks from the beach in beautiful "Old Town" Puerto Vallarta. Forget the big-chain tourist joints and sketchy local dive bars and stop in to Monchis for an icy cold Corona or Pacifico , or a cocktail for just 25 pesos (about 2 bucks!). By the way, these aren't pansy 1-ounce coctails...they don't even OWN a jigger...you get a good solid "8-count" pour.
A place where lots of the local gringos come to hang out and share news, you'll find new friends here and get the true scoop on your Puerto Vallarta questions...where to go (and where to avoid), the best restaurants that the typical tourists never even hear about, what's hot and what's not. Find Monchis in "Old Town" on Cardenas just a few doors west of Vallarta Street.
Cafe de Olla on Basilio
Badillo street just east of Olas Altas Street in Viejo
Vallarta. Everybody raves about their twice-baked potatoes,
and their steaks and other cuts of beef are well-regarded.
So popular there is often a line, so get there early
or be prepared to hang out on the street with a cocktail
and chat with your fellow travelers.
Palapa is by far one of the finest restaurants
in town, perhaps even in all of Mexico. Right on the
beach a couple blocks south of the Los Muertos Pier,
with elegant tropical surroundings and an ever-changing
gourmet menu. Expect to have your plate arrive looking
like a piece of art; the presentations are exquisite,
and the food delicious. Not inexpensive, but not over-priced
El Brujo is in old
town, just west of the tunnel on Carranza. Only 6 or
7 tables, so lines often form (always a good indicator
of a good restaurant). Great chicken dishes, tortilla
soup, and huge fajitas. The portions here are large,
the prices fair, and this author has never been disapointed.
Polo is on Madero just a half-block east of
Insurgentes in Viejo Vallarta. The coconut shrimp is
to die for, the seafood chowder unbeatable, and the
shrimp or seafood burritos are perhaps one of the best
deals in town. Friendly service in a colorfull and traditional
atmosphere. Open for lunch and dinner, closed Tuesdays,
Esquina de Caprichos ("Corner
of Wishes") is a couple of blocks UP the mountain
on Iturbide at the corner of Miramar. It's worth the
climb to this 'tapas' restaurant, which has a large
selection of small tapas plates that allow you to sample
a lot of different flavors in one meal. Only 4 or 5
tables in this tiny restaurant.
Espresso Como Pizza at the corner of Vallarta
and Carranza in Viejo Vallarta is an as-yet undiscovered
(to tourists) gem of Italian food. Pizzas baked in a
real brick oven in dozens of creative topping options.
Thick lasagna, interesting pasta dishes, and attentive
De Santos on Juarez
Street in downtown ('El Centro') is well known as a
late-night disco party spot, but also has a fine restaurant.
The Chicken au Crut is one of the best items on the
menu, and the least expensive as well.
Mauricio's is a lunch
and early dinner favorite that is worth the trip to
Ixtapa, a 'suburb' of Puerto Vallarta. Taxi fare will
run you perhaps 100 pesos depending on your starting
point, and it's right at the first speed bump on the
road to Ixtapa. Come hungry because the portions are
big. Surf and Turf is a well prepared steak and a pile
of shrimp prepared to your liking. Your can of beer
will come with a couple shrimp on top to tide you over
till your meal arrives. Everything is around 100 pesos
(less than $10 U.S.) and you'll be treated to roaming
mariachi musicians as well.
Pancake House is pretty much an institution
here, the first restaurant in Puerto Vallarta to specialize
in breakfast and the recognized king. Pancakes of course,
but also waffles, egg dishes, and mexican-style breakfasts.
The real-fresh-squeezed orange juice will make you forget
about having anything out of a carton or can when you
your ONE source for EVERYTHING Puerto Vallarta