One of my favorite things about visiting Puerto Vallarta is the food! Here are a few of the best Puerto Vallarta restaurants.
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I love traveling, and one of my favorite parts is eating great meals. So on a recent trip to Mexico, we tried to find all the best Puerto Vallarta restaurants! Best of all, the friends we traveled with had been a few times and gave us a head start with some of their favorites. Here are a few of the best!
Puerto Vallarta Restaurants
La Cerveceria Union
First stop: the Malecon! El Malecon is the tourist boardwalk that adjoins the old town, and it’s definitely worth spending an evening here. I shared more about El Malecon here, but while you’re here, there’s a few don’t-miss restaurants. First place to eat: La Cerveceria Union!
La Cerveceria Union has a cool vibe, the kind of place you’d come for drinks and watch the sunset on their covered patio. Their classic margarita is fantastic, but they also have an orange margarita (Margarita Cadillac) if you want to mix it up a bit. As the name implies, they also have a huge beer selection too.
We loved sitting on the patio, slurping oysters and devouring guacamole as we soaked up the last rays of sunlight. For dinner, I got the Baja shrimp tacos and loved them. Definitely try their salsas they serve on the table!
Wander a few blocks inland from El Malecon and you quickly leave the tourist section behind. We headed up the hill to El Arrayan for a specific reason: cricket tacos!
This place was the best authentic Mexican we ate that week: so many surprising regional dishes on the menu, and everything sounded amazing! But first: cricket tacos.
I’m the type of person who will try any food once; why not?! Usually when I don’t like something, it’s because of the texture, so I assumed I wouldn’t love the crispy legs part of the deal. But they were surprisingly good! They’re roasted and salty and crunchy, but without any the feeling of gross bits or legs. Something about eating a bunch of them at once (rather than popping one at a time) made it much more palatable. Plus being inside a tortilla means you’re not looking at them when you eat them, so any weirdness there disappears.
My vote: try them! Surprisingly good, and then you can say you’ve tried crickets.
Practically everything on the menu is good. I had duck carnitas, which was rich and almost like a duck confit in taste. Delicious! Dad got the Chile en Nogada, a regional specialty involving poblano stuffed with beef & pork, drizzled in a ridiculously tasty pecan & ricotta sauce. Also check out their drink menu, all made with fantastic juices. I had an orange mezcalito, similar to a margarita but made with smoky mezcal instead of tequila.
Next stop: the marina! Another restaurant hot spot, and we unintentionally went to two Italian restaurants over here. I’m not sure which was my favorite, so I’ll share both! First one up is Porto Bello.
When you go, try the calamari and bruschetta for appetizers. Those itself could make a meal if you were by yourself, and both tasted so fresh and authentic. Being so close to the ocean, I couldn’t not get linguine frutti di mare, and it was lovely. I will never get tired of pasta and seafood!
Definitely get dessert here: the chocolate crepes are perfect; rich and not too sweet, filled with Bailey’s mousse and topped with ice cream.
La Terrazza di Roma
Italian option two: La Terrazza di Roma. This one has seating that hangs over the marina, giving an extra bit of breeze.The front of the menu sums it up pretty well for me: “Italian cuisine is the combination of two arts: the art of cooking, and the art of eating.” Yes, please!
Definitely try the arancini here (fried rice balls). I went with gamberi alla siciliana, or shrimp in a Sicilian tomato sauce over angel hair. I practically licked the plate! (Again, pasta plus seafood is my idea of heaven on earth.) Everything was delicious here, so go crazy with the menu.
Finally, two restaurants right off the main road. On my first night in town, we headed to Asador. It’s an Argentinian steakhouse, and here’s what you should know about it:
First, the portions are ENORMOUS. Dad ordered steak medallions, thinking that would be a small portion, and I think he ended up with more steak than everyone else at the table. Don’t forget to order sides, especially the mushrooms!
Second, they do a lot of flaming coffee dessert drinks. It’s a whole production and very fun to watch, so save room for dessert! I had a chocolate creme brulee for dessert and loved it – I’m always game for twists on the classics.
I may have saved the best of the Puerto Vallarta restaurants for last. From the outside, La Madelena wouldn’t have struck me as my favorite meal of the trip: its massive entrance with a giant screen playing music videos taking up one whole wall doesn’t scream fine dining to me. We even referred to this place as “the TV place,” prompting me to ask why it was so important to try it. But believe me, it’s worth it!
First off, the drinks. They have a dedicated gin and tonic menu, complete with a cart that came over and made whatever you ordered table side. I was all over that, and after agonizing over which one to try, I went with a grapefruit and rosemary gin & tonic, It came in a beautiful oversized wine glass (the Portuguese way of serving g&t’s, I think) with a sprig of rosemary that had been burnt to give a lovely smoky effect to the drink. It was perfect, adding a little citrus and herbal flavor to a really good gin and tonic.
The menu is extensive, and everything was unbelievably good. I got the tuna, and it was some of the best seared tuna I’ve ever tasted. The steaks here where also phenomenal, and I tried the best creamed spinach I’ve ever had!
If that’s not enough, the desserts are killer. Served in fun wheeled carts on your table, they’re meant to be shared. Which we did not realize so our table was swimming in dessert carts! They had churros, ice cream (complete with cones!), cake, and my personal favorite, platanos fritos (bananas fried with sugar). I almost wish I’d eaten less of my dinner to eat more dessert!
How do you find great meals when you travel? Word of mouth, travel sites, blogs? Let me know in the comments below!