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The lure of the sun and sea draws first time visitors to Puerto Vallarta, but it’s the great restaurants that have them coming back time and again. Here – every day in is a culinary adventure.

As a destination Puerto Vallarta has always had a lot to offer; popularly known as a beach resort, its versatility has made it an adventure-travel destination. The region’s geographical diversity offers a variety of natural attractions and outdoor adventures.

Puerto Vallarta has world class chefs, food festivals, street tacos and a variety of venues and cuisines that keeps foodies on their toes. The five star resorts, golf courses, and gourmet restaurants are more than enough to satisfy even the most sophisticated traveler. In addition, most of these hotels have topnotch services offering great amenities.

Secrets Resort Puerto Vallarta
Secrets Resort Puerto Vallarta

Some of the most revered restaurants include:

Vista Grill Restaurant

The Vista Grill sits high above the Zona Romantica and has an incredible view of Banderas Bay and the old town of Vallarta. They have experienced chefs offering delicious contemporary cuisine using local and fresh ingredients. The menu has a diverse selection of incredible appetizers, entrees and desserts. Some of the recommended items would be the lobster bisque, tuna tiradito and beef tenderloin. This is an ideal spot with a modern jazz club feel, a lovely dining room and a multi level terrace providing the right capacity for large groups or a romantic dinner. The flaming Mexican coffee served after dinner is the perfect finish.
Vista Grill Restaurant

View from Vista Grill

River Café  

The River Café is a landmark restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. Located on Rio Cuale Island it’s a perfect spot to have dinner. The bar is well stocked and features some of the best Mexican and international wines as well as plenty of cocktails. They serve a great breakfast with wonderfully fresh baked goods. Some of the popular dishes are the Shrimp Crepe smothered in melting mozzerilla, coconut shrimp and the banana flambé. You can enjoy the exquisite flavours of the international cuisine accompanied by the soft sounds of live jazz in the background and exotic iguanas basking in the natural setting. The warm, artistic environment makes it a perfect place to host a group or special event.

River Cafe Puerto Vallarta
Photo courtesy of River Cafe Facebook


El Arrayan

El Arrayan’s décor is steeped in the country’s customs and traditions, from the art, to the terracotta’s, browns and Mexican pinks surrounding the traditional central patio. This is an authentic little place that features genuine yet unique and authentic Mexican dishes from a variety of areas in the country. Some of the great offerings include the plantain empanadas, all the duck dishes – duck tostadas, duck carnitas (the house specialty) and the duck confit which is paired with a delicious orange sauce. The bar is stocked with an extensive variety of tequilas, which you can sip while listening to soft traditional Mexican music.

If you’re interested in learning more about Mexican cuisine, El Arrayan offers cooking classes run by Chef Diego Sánchez and owner Carmen Porras which also includes lunch.

El Arrayan Puerto Vallarta
Photo courtesy of El Arrayan Facebook

La Palapa

Located at Playa Los Muertos, the beach and ocean life is part of the restaurants identity. You can dine in their shaded dining room or out on the sandy beach. La Palapa features fresh and delicious local ingredients, which are abundantly available in the region. Brunch is really good; particularly the French toast and the crab eggs Benedict, also recommended are the margaritas and guacamole. They’ve combined the tropical Mexican cuisine with Asian and French elements; bringing you a fresh local culinary experience.

La Leche

La Leche is a chic, avant-garde restaurant in the hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta. The restaurant is run father-son team Nacho and Poncho (Alfonso) Cadena. They have two dining areas, both extremely modern with a few Victorian elements. The white minimalist interior, chairs, and fixtures provide a blank canvas for the chef’s colourful culinary innovations. The menu is limited, with a new one appearing on the board every day, depending on the best and freshest products available. The dishes, such as ravioli, fresh-caught tuna tartare, roast duck tacos and mahi mahi, are theatrical and whimsically served in unique vessels providing the diners with a memorable experience.

La Leche Restaurant

La Leche Charcuterie

Kaiser Maximilian

This Old World, European style restaurant is located in the heart of downtown Puerto Vallarta. They serve a rich combination of traditional (Wienerschnitzel) and contemporary European dishes (duck confit) combined with Mexican ingredients. Other popular dishes are the escargots en croute and the beef filet in a Gorgonzola sauce. This is fine bistro dining with a great wine list, extensive selection of desserts and an Espresso Bar. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Kaiser Maximillian gives you the perfect combination of the old and new worlds with white table cloths and European intimacy.

Cocos Kitchen

Prior to opening her own place, Coco Iniguez earned her reputation creating memorable breakfasts in other restaurants. This airy spot manages an intimate feel, coupled with its international cuisine, it’s perfect for a quiet dinner with friends (try the pork enchiladas). The lunch menu has light fare and traditional Mexican options; but it seems the breakfast keeps them coming back, as it’s said to be the best in Puerto Vallarta. There’s a wonderful selection of omelettes, but the almond coated French toast with mascarpone and the delicious churro hot cakes are big favourites.

Coco's Kitchen Puerto Vallarta
photo courtesy of Coco’s Kitchen Facebook

Tips:  For a totally different kind of food experience consider taking a tour with Vallarta Food Tours. For chocolate lovers don’t forget to put XocoDiva on your list.

Do you have any favourite eating spots in Puerto Vallarta?

For more information: Visit Puerto Vallarta’s website.