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Exploring the Local Food Scene in Puerto Vallarta

DESTINATION | Published on 01/08/2023
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Are you a food enthusiast with an appetite for adventure? It is no secret that Puerto Vallarta Mexico is a foodie’s paradise. The destination on Mexico’s Pacific coast is well known for its culinary scene, one that includes a wide variety of Puerto Vallarta restaurants serving up diverse cuisines and catering to different budgets.

The best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta range from taco stands on the street corner to gourmet establishments. On your next trip, make it a point to explore the local food scene by including one of more of these Vallarta restaurants and watch how quickly your vacation turns into a delicious endeavor. 

Downtown Vallarta Restaurants

  • Street Food Delights: El Carboncito - There are a number of gourmet Vallarta restaurants in downtown, but El Carboncito is a street food gem not to be missed. Specializing in mouthwatering tacos al pastor cooked over charcoal, this local favorite offers an explosion of flavors in every bite. The tender and flavorful meat, coupled with fresh toppings and salsas, makes for a tantalizing taco experience that will leave you craving more.
  • Mid-Range Marvel: Barracuda - For a true taste of the sea, Barracuda is the place to be. This seafood-centric Puerto Vallarta restaurant serves up an array of fresh catches and meatier delights. From their fresh ceviche to the indulgent Arrachera and Ribs platter, every dish at Barracuda showcases the bounties of surf and turf in a relaxed beachfront setting. Its beach location on the north side of downtown allows you to dig your toes in the sand and your fork into every bite. 
  • Gourmet Delicacies: Café des Artistes - If you're in the mood to treat your taste buds to an exquisite gourmet experience, look no further than Café des Artistes. Situated in a romantic courtyard, this fine-dining Puerto Vallarta restaurant boasts a menu that celebrates the richness of Mexican cuisine with a contemporary twist. From their innovative Charcoal Seared Tuna to the delectable Rock Cornish Hen, every dish is a masterpiece that tells a story. The elegant ambiance and impeccable service make Café des Artistes a top choice for a special night out.

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Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta Old Town

  • Street Food Bliss: Pancho's Takos - In Puerto Vallarta Old Town, street food reigns supreme, and Pancho's Takos is an absolute gem. A favorite among locals and tourists alike, this unassuming taco stand serves up some of the most authentic and delicious tacos in town. Don't miss out on their iconic Pastor tacos, where marinated pork roasted on a spit is topped with fresh pineapple, cilantro, onions, and salsa, all wrapped in a soft tortilla. This humble spot is perfect for a quick and satisfying meal that won't break the bank, but beware: lines can be long at this Puerto Vallarta Mexican restaurant, but it’s well worth the wait.
  • Street Food Heaven: Marisma Fish Taco - There are so many taco stands along the streets of Vallarta that it’s hard to narrow down the best. Marisma, located on the corner of Emiliano Zapata and Naranjo, serves up a delicious selection of seafood tacos on freshly made tortillas. Prepared right before your eyes, these tacos are a mouthwatering option for lunch, but don’t arrive too late because they close around 4 pm. 
  • Mid-Range Magic: Joe Jack's Fish Shack - For a delightful mid-range dining experience in Old Town Puerto Vallarta, Joe Jack's Fish Shack is the place to be. This lively restaurant offers a diverse menu with an emphasis on fresh seafood dishes. Their signature Fish and Chips, bursting with flavor, is a crowd pleaser. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere at Joe Jack's makes it a fantastic spot to enjoy good food and good company.
  • Gourmet Delight: Kaiser Maximilian - Kaiser Maximilian is a charming European-style bistro nestled in Old Town Puerto Vallarta. With a menu inspired by Austrian and German cuisine, this restaurant offers a unique dining experience. From their Schnitzels to their decadent desserts, every dish at Kaiser Maximilian is crafted with love and attention to detail. The cozy and welcoming ambiance adds to the overall enjoyment of the meal.

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Puerto Vallarta Restaurants in Versalles

  • Not-So Street Food: Lamara - Lamara is a hidden gem in Versalles, offering a laid-back, yet sophisticated dining experience. With a focus on fresh, this restaurant showcases the diverse flavors of seafood with a modern twist. Their wide variety of ceviches feature flavorful combinations and the freshest ingredients. Lamara is a culinary delight that promises to impress.
  • Mighty Mid-Range: Torio Hand Roll Bar - For sushi enthusiasts, Torio Hand Roll Bar is a must-visit in Versalles. This trendy and innovative eatery offers a unique dining experience, where diners can enjoy hand-rolled sushi made right in front of them. With a creative menu featuring a variety of fresh and delicious ingredients, Torio Handroll Bar is a sushi lover's paradise.
  • Gourmet Puerto Vallarta Restaurant: Bario Bistró - Bario Bistró is a delightful neighborhood restaurant in Versalles, known for its warm and friendly atmosphere. The menu highlights a fusion of Mexican and international flavors, making it a crowd-pleaser for diverse tastes. From their savory dishes to their delectable desserts, Bario Bistró offers a delightful dining experience that captures the essence of Puerto Vallarta's culinary diversity.

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Puerto Vallarta Restaurants in the Hotel Zone

  • Street Food Greatest: The Food Truck Park - The Hotel Zone is not only famous for its stunning beachfront resorts but also for its incredible food truck scene at The Food Truck Park. This vibrant open-air eatery brings together a variety of food trucks, offering everything from traditional Mexican street food to international delights. Whether you're in the mood for tacos, burgers, or seafood, The Food Truck Park has something for everyone.
  • Mid-Range Marvel: La Dolce Vita - For a taste of Italy in the heart of the Hotel Zone, La Dolce Vita is the place to be. This charming trattoria offers a menu bursting with classic Italian flavors, from perfectly cooked pasta dishes to wood-fired pizzas. The cozy ambiance and attentive service create a warm and inviting atmosphere that will make you feel right at home. Whether you're craving a comforting bowl of pasta or a crispy pizza, La Dolce Vita will delight your taste buds.
  • Gourmet Bliss: La Leche - La Leche is a gastronomic powerhouse that has earned a reputation as one of Puerto Vallarta's finest gourmet restaurants. Located of the main avenue, this modern establishment offers a multi-course tasting menu that takes diners on an unforgettable culinary journey. Chef Alfonso Cadena's innovative creations, such as his iconic octopus dish, showcase a perfect blend of textures and flavors. Prepare to be wowed by the artistic presentations and the impeccable attention to detail.

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Restaurants in Marina Vallarta

  • Not Exactly Street Food: Ocho Tostadas - Ocho Tostadas is a seafood lover's paradise in Marina Vallarta. While the marina location isn’t exactly street food, it does have a number of locales, some of which began at small street stands. This vibrant eatery offers an array of fresh and flavorful ceviches, seafood cocktails, and, of course, their namesake tostadas. The laid-back atmosphere adds to the overall dining experience, making it a top choice among Puerto Vallarta restaurants in the Marina.
  • Mid-Range Masterpiece: Mr. Cream Pancakes and Waffles - No list of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta would be complete without adding a fantastic breakfast option. Mr. Cream’s offers up a delectable array of omelettes, eggs Benedict, and of course, pancakes and waffles. The service is great, the location is top notch, and the food is filling. 
  • Gourmet Extravanganza: Sonora Prime - Sonora Prime is one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta if you’re looking for a meaty meal. This upscale restaurant specializes in fine cuts of Sonoran beef, renowned for its exceptional flavor and tenderness. From their perfectly seared ribeye to their perfectly baked brisket, each dish at Sonora Prime is a celebration of premium quality meat cooked to perfection. The restaurant's sophisticated ambiance, impeccable service, and impressive beverage selection make it an ideal choice for a memorable dining experience.

Puerto Vallarta's local food scene is a treasure trove of culinary delights, ranging from street food wonders to gourmet extravaganzas. Each neighborhood offers a unique and authentic dining experience, allowing visitors to explore the rich tapestry of flavors that the city has to offer.

So, the next time you find yourself in this charming coastal town, be sure to embark on a gastronomic adventure at the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and savor their diverse and delectable offerings. Buen provecho!

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