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Everything from curb-side taco stands to 5-star, world class cuisine is here in Puerto Vallarta

The Puerto Vallarta Dining Scene Overview


Puerto Vallarta has the most exceptional dining scene of any resort town in Mexico!

Over 250 restaurants serve cuisine from around the world, in addition to fresh seafood and regional dishes. Chefs from France, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, and Argentina have come for visits and stayed to open restaurants. In celebration of this diversity, Vallarta's culinary community hosts a 2-week-long Gourmet Dining Festival each November.


Dining is not limited to high-end options -- there are plenty of small, family-owned restaurants, local Mexican kitchens, and vegetarian cafes. Vallarta also has branches of the world food-and-fun chains: Hard Rock Cafe, Outback Steakhouse, and even Hooters. If you get a hankering for ‘something familiar’, then these are for you. However, don’t think that ‘Mexican Food’ means ‘spicy’…there are TONS of non-chili-enriched choices for every palate.


Of the inexpensive local spots, one long-standing favorite for light meals and fresh fruit drinks is Tutifruti, Morelos 552 (tel. 322/222-1068). It's open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 8pm. No credit cards. El Planeta Vegetariano, Iturbide 270, just down from the main church (tel. 322/222-3073), serves an inexpensive, bountiful, and delicious vegetarian buffet, which changes for breakfast and lunch/dinner. It's open Monday through Saturday. Breakfast ($3.50) is served from 8 to 11am; the lunch and dinner buffets ($5.50) are served from 11:30am to 10pm; no credit cards. A second location with the same prices and hours of service is now in Marina Vallarta tel. 322/209-0555, located in Marina del Rey, local L-4.


Marina Vallarta--Contrary to conventional travel wisdom, most of the best restaurants in the Marina are in hotels. Especially notable are Andrea (fine Italian cuisine), at Velas Vallarta, and Garibaldi (exceptional seafood), on the beachfront of the Westin Regina Resort. Other choices are along the boardwalk bordering the marina yacht harbor. A notable stop is the Café Max, next to the Vallarta Adventures offices in Condominiums Marina Golf, Local 11 (tel. 322/221-0362). It serves excellent coffee and espresso drinks, plus pastries and light snacks. Open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 1pm, and 4pm to 10:30pm.


Downtown--A great choice for lunch is La Mejor Opción, Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez 230 (tel. 322/222-2355), where the home-style dishes have a gourmet flair, and chef-owner Gabriela Almada makes everyone feel special. The daily special of soup, salad, and entree runs around $10. Open Monday through Friday from 1 to 5pm for lunch, and Monday through Saturday from 5 to 10pm. No credit cards.

South of the Rio Cuale to Olas Altas--South of the river is the densest restaurant area, where you'll find the street Basilio Badillo, nicknamed "Restaurant Row." A second main dining drag has emerged along Calle Olas Altas, with a variety of cuisines and price categories. Cafes and espresso bars, generally open from 7am to midnight, line its wide sidewalks.


Jungle Restaurants--One of the unique attractions of Puerto Vallarta is its "jungle restaurants," south of town toward Mismaloya. They offer open-air dining in a tropical setting by the sea or beside a mountain river. The many varieties of "jungle" and "tropical" tours include a stop for swimming and lunch. If you travel on your own, a taxi is the best transportation -- the restaurants are quite a distance from the main highway. Taxis are usually waiting for return patrons.


The most recommendable of the jungle restaurants is the ecologically sensitive El Nogalito (tel./fax 322/221-5225). Located beside a clear jungle stream, the exceptionally clean, beautifully landscaped ranch serves lunch, beverages, and snacks on a shady, relaxing terrace. Several hiking routes depart from the grounds, and the restaurant provides a guide (whom you tip) to point out the native plants, birds, and wildlife. It's much closer to town than the other jungle restaurants: To find it, travel to Punta Negra, about 8km (5 miles) south of downtown Puerto Vallarta. A well-marked sign points up Calzada del Cedro, a dirt road, to the ranch. It's open daily from noon to 5:30pm. No credit cards.


Just past Boca de Tomatlán, at Highway 200 Km 20, is Chico's Paradise (tel. 322/223-6005; chicosp@prodigy.net.mx). It offers spectacular views of massive rocks -- some marked with petroglyphs -- and the surrounding jungle and mountains. There are natural pools and waterfalls for swimming, plus a small mercado selling pricey trinkets. The menu features excellent seafood as well as Mexican dishes. The quality is quite good, and the portions are generous, although prices are higher than in town -- remember, you're paying for the setting. Open daily from 10am to 6pm. No credit cards.

Puerto Vallarta Mexico is  home to some of the finest dining in the WORLD. No kidding, Puerto Vallarta's restaurants have been featured repeatedly in the most prestigeous culinary publications, and for good reason...the fine dining in Puerto Vallarta is WORLD CLASS! Some of Puerto Vallarta's best restaurants aren't on the normal 'tourist track', but that shouldn't keep you from finding them thanks to local residents who share their secrets with you! Puerto Vallarta Mexico's nightlife, filled with clubs, discos, and till-dawn cocktail bars will keep you out till the sun rises again, if you like.


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