From scandalously delicious food as art to simple-but-oh-so-fresh shrimp tacos, Puerto Vallarta is a culinary hotbed.
Next to Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta has one of the best dining scenes in Mexico.
There are literally hundreds of Puerto Vallarta restaurants! Some estimates peg the number at more than 500.
Tucked away up side-streets in the Old Town, along the sculpture-studded Malecon (seaside promenade) and elsewhere in PV, you’ll discover Italian trattorias, taco joints, tapas bars, Mediterranean bistros, Mexican cocinas featuring creative Mexican food – and a host of other eateries serving cuisines from around the world.
In fact, PV’s scrumptious food scene is one of the reasons to choose Puerto Vallarta over Cabo or to pick Puerto Vallarta instead of Cancun, for example, when deciding where to vacay in Mexico.
Visit in mid-November (when the ocean is warmest for swimming), and you’ll catch the annual International Gourmet Festival. Chefs from around the world fly in to work with local restaurants to create deliciously inventive menus.
We’ve visited Puerto Vallarta several times now.
When we go, we make it our mission to track down the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. The food in Puerto Vallarta is one of the reasons we love the place!
Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta – the ultimate list!
Puerto Vallarta: Best restaurants (31 places!)
Best El Centro (Downtown) Puerto Vallarta restaurants
Best Puerto Vallarta restaurants Old Town (i.e. Zona Romantica)
Best Puerto Vallarta beach restaurants
Other best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta
Elsewhere in the Bay of Banderas (Best restaurants in Punta Mita, Bucerias, Nuevo Vallarta, etc.)
It’s no easy task to come up with a list of, say, the 10 best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
In fact, we couldn’t! (We’re happy we whittled it down to the 31 best PV restaurants.)
But if you’re wondering where to eat in Puerto Vallarta, wonder no more.
Here’s the ultimate list of restos dishing up the best food in Puerto Vallarta!
We’ve organized these eateries according to different zones or neighborhoods in PV and elsewhere in the surrounding Bay of Banderas.
El Centro Puerto Vallarta restaurants
“El Centro” is the central or downtown area of Puerto Vallarta.
On the north side of the Rio Cuale (Cuale River), it’s where you find the Malecon, art galleries, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe and many of the best Puerto Vallarta restaurants.
1) Barcelona Tapas
Walk up to the 3rd floor dining room and rooftop terrace, and you arrive at this wine and tapas bar-cum-restaurant, abuzz with a sophisticated Mediterranean vibe.
And talk about restaurants in Puerto Vallarta with a view! The skyline views over the rooftops of PV and Banderas Bay are stunning!
Set in the hills, several blocks up from the north end of the Malecon, Barcelona Tapas has a smart urban feel.
It’s been renovated (with a whole new addition added). So if you haven’t visited since 2018, you’ll find it looks even more spiffy now. (It boasts a new elevator too.)
Go on and dress up a bit – you’ll see young Mexican ladies in short slinky dresses and stiletto heels dining with their handsome dudes. After all, this is one of the top places to eat in Puerto Vallarta.
“Small plates… big tastes” is the theme.
Order 2 or 3 tapas-sized plates each, ideal for sharing, and you’ll be happily sated.
The Angus beef brochette with caramelized red wine onions hits a high note. Other tasty dishes include the spicy garlic shrimp and bacon-wrapped dates with red pepper sauce.
The menu is always being updated, so you might see different dishes when you visit.
For a larger plate, we highly recommend the paella, which is a staple.
We also love the crusty home-made brown bread, which comes with olive oil infused with fresh rosemary herbs. Nice touch: It’s accompanied by a complimentary house-starter of potato salad.
As is fitting for a Spanish restaurant, Barcelona Tapas offers big, bold, beautiful wines by the glass – or go for the sangria (red, or melon with white wine).
Just make sure you leave room for the warm, made-to-order chocolate lava cake for dessert. Served with raspberry sauce and homemade vanilla ice-cream, it’s sinfully delicious!
If lucky, you get complimentary Kahlua and cream on ice when you finish your meal.
Barcelona Tapas, Puerto Vallarta: Website
2) The Iguana Restaurant & Tequila Bar
Ooh la la! For one of the most romantic restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, take your honey to The Iguana, housed in the iconic Casa Kimberly Boutique Hotel.
Elizabeth Taylor once called the casa home when she lived in Puerto Vallarta – helping to put Puerto Vallarta on the map.
The Academy-award-winning movie The Night of the Iguana (starring Richard Burton and Ava Gardner) was filmed in PV in 1964.
That got the paraparazzis’ attention.
But the news that really made the headlines was Elizabeth Taylor’s presence in town during the shooting and her very public love affair with Richard Burton. (Both Liz and Dick were married to others at the time.)
Anyway, fast forward to the present…
The restaurant is simply stunning and has tasteful reminders, such as vintage photographs, of Taylor’s time spent in PV over the years. The elegant open-air dining area offers amazing views of the city, and mariachis are a nightly event during the high season (November to March).
As for the food, the menu is a perfect blend of traditional Mexican dishes with contemporary culinary influences.
Go for the spicy (but not too spicy!) shrimp diablo, accompanied by a black bean and pineapple salad. Or give the unique ceviche a try – it’s a delectable concoction of scallops, octopus and shrimp, all marinated in a roasted habanero vinaigrette.
The tequila bar boasts some of the finest and rarest tequilas in Mexico, served by very knowledgeable staff who can answer all your questions.
The restaurant is open to hotel guests only during lunchtime but opens to the public for dinner.
The Iguana, Puerto Vallarta: Website
3) Gaby’s Restaurant Bar
When you crave traditional Mexican dishes with a festive ambience, hit Gaby’s. It’s one of the best Mexican restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and a local favorite.
You’ll feel like you’re being welcomed into someone’s home for a bite to eat. The family-owned eatery, which has been in business since 1989, actually started out of what was then their family home.
Today, Gaby’s features several separate seating areas across two floors, including a few romantic balconies. They often have live music in the evenings too.
They’re open all day from breakfast to dinner. And the dishes are always consistent – delicious Mexican cuisine served on colorful traditional artisan plates.
A few standouts? The chile relleno (stuffed poblano pepper) filled with fresh local cheese, homemade salsa and sour cream; sopa de tortilla (tortilla soup); and the savory camarones al tequila (tequila shrimp).
Chowing down on tacos is something you must do in Mexico, and those at Gaby’s are some of the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta. (The shrimp ones are our fave.)
Gaby’s is a family-friendly place – a place you’ll probably want to visit more than once during your stay. Go for breakfast one day, stop by for lunch the next and plan a dinner date for sometime during your trip too!
Gaby’s Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta: Website
4) Café des Artistes
For fine dining in Puerto Vallarta, put award-winning Café des Artistes high up on your list. Very high! We’re talking true artistry in cooking.
Chef and owner Thierry Blouet has created an exquisite fine dining experience at Café des Artistes. It’s become an icon – and one of the top restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for over 30 years!
The restaurant is located a few blocks from the Malecon in a beautifully restored 100-year old building.
Chef Blouet uses fresh local ingredients to create unique dishes that are a perfect mix of French cuisine with Mexican influences.
Try the duck confit taco, the popular prawn-and-pumpkin-flower cream soup (a 29-year tradition) and the tuna tartare served on a salty block.
Want to taste it all? We recommend the Menu Temptation, a well-balanced 5-course tasting menu.
Pair that with carefully selected fine wines.
The extensive wine list includes wines from around the world as well as from some of the finest wine regions of Mexico. You may not know that Mexico produces excellent quality wines that compete with international vineyards.
Dine inside the spacious and elegant dining room or outside in the colorful jungle-inspired courtyard.
The dress code is casual chic. And Café des Artistes only accepts children 8 and older, so the ambience is always refined and romantic.
Reservations are strongly recommended – this place is in high demand by visitors and locals alike.
Café des Artistes, Puerto Vallarta: Website
5) Vitea Oceanfront Bistro
On the Malecon, Vitea is a Mediterranean-style bistro featuring great-value food with an elegant twist.
It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. But sunset is the time to go – start with a cocktail then stay for dinner.
Chicken parmigiana on a bed of spaghetti, red snapper with a crab crust and braised short ribs – it’s all good.
The flaming coffee isn’t on the menu, but ask and you shall receive.
Vitea, Puerto Vallarta: Website
Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Zona Romantica
The lively Old Town or Zona Romantica (Romantic Zone) is on the south side of the Rio Cuale. You’ll find no end of restos, cafés and bars here – from cheap and charming to high-end.
You simply can’t go wrong dining at a place that’s won the Culinaria Mexicana award three years in a row as one of the 120 top restaurants in all of Mexico. That’s Tintoque!
The restaurant is wonderfully located overlooking the Cuale River in the Zona Romantica. White tablecloths and 5-star service make it a special dinner outing.
As for appealing to your tastebuds, well, Chef Joel Ornelas offers an exceptional dining experience you won’t soon forget. Mexican-meets-the-world is the best way to describe his fusion food – it’s always imaginative and artfully plated.
The menu changes daily, inspired by the chef and the goodies provided by local farmers, depending on what’s in season.
Fresh seafood is the focus, but Ornelas doesn’t ignore meat lovers. The 36-hour-braised short ribs, fried octopus and crispy pork belly always get rave reviews.
And the cheesecake mousse is a sweet way to finish off.
Our advice? Go more than once to discover his new creations!
In short: If we absolutely had to squeeze this list down to the top 10 restaurants in Puerto Vallarta (remember we said how hard that would be), Tintoque would be on it.
Tintoque, Puerto Vallarta: Website
7) River Café
Set on the island (Isla Rio Cuale) in the middle of the Cuale River, the River Café is another fine dining restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. It’s been around for more than 20 years.
If seated outside, dine by candlelight as you listen to birdsong and the sounds of the river.
From the international menu, maybe order grilled octopus to start, then pumpkin risotto with goat cheese, followed by rack of lamb?
If you’re not a big eater, you might want to share, as portion sizes are generous.
Dinner prices are at the higher end of the scale.
Or go for breakfast instead, as the River Café is open for breakfast (and lunch) too. While tucking into your eggs, spot the iguanas in the trees.
River Café, Puerto Vallarta: Website
8) Pancho’s Takos
Here’s an inexpensive can’t-miss spot when you’re craving tacos.
Pancho’s Takos is known for their tacos al pastor – tacos with thin juicy slices of pork shaved off a vertical rotisserie. The mango pineapple salsa adds sweet and spicy flavors.
This is one of the cheapest PV restaurants, and they only take cash.
You’ll probably have to wait a while to get into this hole-in-the-wall. But your tummy will thank you!
Pancho’s Takos, Puerto Vallarta: Website
9) Tre Piatti
Mushroom tortellini? Calamares con alcachofa crujiente (squid with crispy artichoke)? Grilled spiny lobster with caramelized endive?
Say hello to Tre Piatti!
Chef Chanan Kamen and his wife, pastry chef Nathalie Aguirre, are the owners of Tre Piatti – and it’s one of the best Italian restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
Home-made pastas and sauces anchor the food coming out of Tre Piatti’s kitchen.
The menu changes regularly so make sure to ask for the daily specials.
The restaurant has a beautiful interior space, decorated with contemporary artwork. Or sit outdoors in the courtyard among 120-year-old mango trees.
Oh, and if there’s ever a place to not skip dessert, this is it! Fresh pastries and yummy cakes come out of the oven every day.
The warm pumpkin tart is a must! And the lime pie with fresh local limes is heavenly.
Tre Piatti, Puerto Vallarta: Website
10) Fredy’s Tucan
You’ve just woken up and your stomach is growling. Fredy’s Tucan is the fix.
And there’s a reason we think it’s the best place to have breakfast in Puerto Vallarta. You can choose from 70+ dishes, the portions are huge and the food is incredibly delicious!
A favorite haunt for both locals and visitors, there’s often a line-up to get in during the busy winter season.
You can sit inside in an air-conditioned area or outside in the garden. (We prefer the garden with lots of greenery.)
The eggs Benedict served on smoked pork loin are a favorite. But there are many other choices on the extensive menu.
How about fluffy pancakes with fresh strawberries and cream?
Or go for waffles with sweet peaches, raisins and cream. (The fruit in Mexico is always so delicious!)
If you’re in a Mexican breakfast mood, the chilaquiles are a hit (you can add chicken and/or eggs).
Fredy’s Tucan: Website
11) Archie’s Wok
Another one of our favorite Puerto Vallarta Old Town restaurants is Archie’s Wok.
Former chef to Hollywood film director John Huston, Archie passed away in 1993 after establishing Archie’s Wok in 1986.
But his widow Cynthia Alpenia, daughter Kiyoki and son Sergio carry on the legacy of this lovely Asian fusion restaurant.
The menu pays tribute to most of the Asian cuisines – lumpia Filipino eggrolls, Cantonese-style cashew chicken, fragrant Cambodian red beef curry simmered with tamarind and coconut milk, and Vietnamese fish wrapped in banana leaves and grilled over charcoal.
Thai classics – like their popular Pad Thai, Thai garlic shrimp with fresh ginger, and beef tongue in Thai coconut sauce with basil – stand out.
The spice-averse will be happy to know that the kitchen goes easy on the heat, letting the delicate flavors shine on their own.
Salad lovers shouldn’t miss the spinach and watercress with caramelized pecans, feta cheese and roasted red pepper, tossed in a refreshing hibiscus flower vinaigrette.
Finish with the delightfully light citrus cloud dessert. (We really shouldn’t have tried splitting this lovely lime concoction…)
Ask to sit in the serene garden courtyard (though the small indoor room is also attractive). On weekends, a harpist plays live classical music, adding to the ambience.
Line-ups outside the door most nights attest to this restaurant’s continuing popularity. Be prepared to wait for a table. (Archie’s doesn’t take reservations.)
Prices are reasonable – another bonus.
Archie’s Wok, Puerto Vallarta: Website
12) Joe Jack’s
Lively. Hip. A local classic. Meet Joe Jack’s!
If you’re looking for some of the best seafood in Puerto Vallarta in a cheerful pub atmosphere, Joe Jack’s fits the bill.
The restaurant has two levels – an air-conditioned Mexican-style cantina bar downstairs (the rock playlist is awesome) and an open-air rooftop dining area upstairs.
Start with a fruit-flavored mojitos (passion fruit perhaps?) or one of their famously potent Mai Tais.
Then dive into a bucket of shrimp or signature house burger, accompanied by a cold brew.
Joe Jack’s, Puerto Vallarta: Website
13) Mariscos Cisneros
Mariscos Cisneros is another great Puerto Vallarta seafood restaurant. Bonus: It’s ridiculously cheap!
The shrimp tacos, ceviche, fresh grilled fish – all are excellent.
By day, it operates as a taco stand outside. At night, it opens up as a simple restaurant.
It’s super casual, so no need to don your fine duds.
Mariscos Cisneros, Puerto Vallarta: Website
14) Kaiser Maximilian
To feel like you’re at a lovely European restaurant, book a table at Kaiser Maximilian.
Austrian chef and owner Andreas Rupprechter named it after Mexico’s former emperor, Maximilian I.
The food pays homage to what Maximilan would love to eat if around today – think wienerschnitzel (breaded pork loin), veal scaloppini with creamed spinach, braised rabbit pappardelle and duck breast with foie gras in a port sauce.
Sitting outside at a table draped in white linen, we almost felt like we were at a sidewalk café in Vienna – though the balmy evening weather happily reminded us, of course, that we were in PV.
Prices are good too.
Kaiser Maximilian, Puerto Vallarta: Website
Did you know there’s a Michelin-star chef in PV at Makal? Well, you do now. He’s Chef Graham Campbell, the youngest person in Scotland to get a coveted Michelin star.
And you’ll just have to try Makal yourself to see how Mexican food under his influence can be one of the most delectable cuisines in the world! The mole sauce, in particular, is said to be sublime.
As for drinks, the Mezcal-based cocktails have created as much buzz as the resto’s food.
A new restaurant in Puerto Vallarta (opened in 2021), Makal is contemporary and mod inside, with colorful mural art and an exposed brick wall.
We’ve not yet been to Makal – and we can’t wait to dine here next time we’re in PV!
Makal, Puerto Vallarta: Website
16) No Way Jose
The barman might serenade patrons at any moment. Or you can get whisked off your feet to dance to the live music.
No Way Jose has a great festive atmosphere – and there’s no way you won’t have fun here!
Popular with visitors, this is also a place where the locals eat in Puerto Vallarta for an evening out.
Dishes are mostly Mexican-inspired with a contemporary twist.
The chile en nogales (stuffed pepper) and the pollo en mole (chicken in mole sauce) are some of the house favorites. Portions are plentiful. And the hospitality of the staff is what you’d expect from a true Mexican restaurant.
No Way Jose is also known for its variety of events (like flamenco dance shows) and extensive cocktail menu.
No Way Jose, Puerto Vallarta: Website
17) Hacienda San Angel
We’re not finished yet with the best Old Town Puerto Vallarta restaurants!
This restaurant is housed in Hacienda San Angel, one of the nicest boutique hotels in Puerto Vallarta we’ve stayed at.
And like Café des Artistes (#4), Tintoque (#6), La Leche (#23) and Le Kliff (#26), it hits the mark for an elegant evening out in PV.
You’re seated in the open-air dome of the hotel, where you’re treated to spectacular views of the town and surrounding Banderas Bay.
Listen to charming mariachis serenade you as you dine on stuffed portobello mushrooms or the famous chile poblano, filled with shrimp and lemon risotto.
Oh, and don’t forget to order the coconut creme brulée for dessert!
The servers are classy and knowledgeable, and they’ll help pair wines with your meals if you ask.
Needless to say, you’ll want to get gussied up for the evening – one you’ll remember long after you’ve returned home and shaken the sand out of your suitcase. (We just had to say this!)
Hacienda San Angel Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta: Website
Puerto Vallarta beach restaurants
18) La Palapa
La Palapa has been around for some 60 years now. And it’s one of the most romantic Puerto Vallarta restaurants on the beach (the first PV beach resto too).
The setting is the big draw. Listen to lapping ocean waves as you enjoy white tablecloth service by candlelight.
The best tables are those right in the sand.
Others are sprinkled about under a thatched palapa roof supported by wood columns, encircled by spiraling ropes of white mini-lights.
Classic entrées emphasize seafood dishes like pan-seared red snapper with green asparagus and grilled Pacific shrimp with potato puree and crisp parmesan.
(If you’re salt-sensitive, you may find the kitchen a bit too liberal with the salt though.)
But we love the salads.
Try the fresh spinach, jicama and panela cheese mix – the crispy tortilla bits add a nice crunch, and the citrus and tequila vinaigrette is tangy and flavorful.
And big enough for a main, the appetizer of fresh mussels is served in a deliciously rich chipotle and red pepper cream sauce.
Open throughout the day, La Palapa morphs into one of the classiest beach clubs in Puerto Vallarta too.
Extendable chairs, umbrellas and tables invite you to nosh on the beach while reading a good book or indulging in the pleasant pastime of people watching.
La Palapa, Puerto Vallarta: Website
19) Daiquiri Dick’s
You can never judge a restaurant by its name.
While the name “Daiquiri Dick’s” might sound like a tourist trap, this restaurant is far from it. The food is more creative than the resto’s name implies!
There are many good seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta – and this is one of them.
Blending Mexican, Mediterranean and Asian cuisines, the menu includes grilled giant prawns in lemon butter (served with mashed potatoes), whole broiled fish and shrimp tacos with asparagus and Hollandaise sauce.
We like the option of half-order entrées for the cornmeal-crusted perch and BBQ spareribs.
A daily fresh sheet offers tasty and well-crafted choices like steamed mussels in a creamy but light Pernod sauce; pan roasted corbina (fish) with spicy yellow mole over soft polenta and cherry tomatoes; and celery, grilled grape and mushroom salad sprinkled with toasted almonds.
A big draw is the modern beachfront setting, which makes dining at this casually elegant restaurant a very pleasant experience.
On the lower outside patio, palm trees with spiraling lights tower over travertine tables, set with silver charger plates.
Try the Margarita Linda, made with smooth Sauza tequila and Cointreau – one of the best Mexican margaritas we’ve tasted, and we’ve tasted many :-).
The restaurant’s private label Napa chardonnay with citrus and lemon zest notes (slightly oaky but not overpowering) is great value.
There’s also a popular deli inside Daiquiri Dick’s, where you can take out freshly-made items like curried chicken salad.
Daiquiri Dick’s, Puerto Vallarta: Website
20) The Blue Shrimp Restaurant
The Blue Shrimp is another one of the best seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
It has two locations, one in Puerto Vallarta and one in Nuevo Vallarta.
The PV location offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and sometimes there’s live music.
Located right off Olas Altas Beach, the spectacular ocean and fiery sunset views will put you in a chill frame of mind. Plus… The Blue Shrimp is fun – and it’s family- and pet-friendly too.
Make sure to ask about the shrimp specialties.
And if you have a real hankering for shrimp, order the shrimp boat. Yes, a shrimp boat!
We don’t know if we should give away the surprise or not. Let’s just say it’s a humongous boat-shaped dish with shrimp done different ways, from bacon-wrapped to coconut-battered – great for sharing.
The crab tacos and fresh catch-of-the-day are always a good idea too.
The Blue Shrimp, Puerto Vallarta: Website
Other best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta
21) Red Cabbage Café
Grab a taxi to take you to Red Cabbage. It’s off the tourist path, in a residential area on the outskirts of the Zona Romantica.
Traditional Mexican food is the name of the game here, dished up in a charmingly Bohemian resto.
Go for the chiles de picadillo – peppers stuffed with ground meat, veggies and pine nuts, covered with a carrot sauce. It’s served with rice and a bean paste.
Our dinner came in at just over $50 USD for two – covering an appetizer (which we shared), two entrées, crème caramel for dessert and a bottle of Italian pinot grigio. Try beating that price back home!
Red Cabbage, Puerto Vallarta: Website
22) Barrio Bistro
Take Mexican fusion food. Crank up the quality. Serve it in a space filled with intriguing Mexican art. And you get Barrio Bistro.
Chef Guillermo Wulff likes to personally explain the chalkboard menu to each table.
The menu changes frequently. But you could be lucky and see that the sweet potato soup with goat cheese and ribbons of beet sauce is available. Or maybe you want to cook your own tuna on a smoking hot stone?
Serving sizes are large, so go hungry.
On Tuesdays, you can bring your own wine, and there’s no corkage fee.
Barrio Bistro, Puerto Vallarta: Website
23) La Leche
It’s well worth heading a short way out of the center of town for the gourmet Puerto Vallarta food experience at La Leche.
Leche means “milk” in Spanish. And the décor is all white on white at La Leche.
The monochromatic design of the white chairs, white bookshelves with white paint pails, white walls and white plates is meant to help you better appreciate the tastes and smell of the food, without being overwhelmed by visual distractions.
(La Leche received the “Best Restaurant Concept” from Travel + Leisure magazine in 2011.)
It’s basically a blank canvas for the real art – the food.
The daily inspirations of chef Alfonso Cadena are behind the ever-changing menu.
Curiosity is what keeps people going again and again to La Leche to discover his new creations. A vegetable soup (served in a large white mug, of course!) might be enhanced with a smudge of sweetened puree beets on one side of the cup’s lip.
Dress up and ditch the beach attire at your hotel. And make reservations, because this is a sought-after restaurant in Puerto Vallarta.
La Leche Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta: Website
This is a hidden gem, in a hilly neighborhood north of downtown PV. Your taxi or Uber driver might even have a bit of a challenge finding this small chef-driven restaurant!
D’Cortes offers a blend of inventive Peruvian, Spanish and Mexican cuisines in a relaxed atmosphere.
Check out the craft cocktail mix, from blue margaritas to coconut cream martinis.
What to order? Octopus carpaccio, lobster ravioli, lamb ossobuco and the goat cheese and beet salad are fan favorites.
Finish off with the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate mousse.
D’Cortes, Puerto Vallarta: Website
Calling all foodies! ICU has a 9-course culinary tasting menu that doesn’t mess around.
Now, if you can’t do the 9-course menu, there’s also a 5-course tasting menu. Or you can simply order à la carte.
This small modern restaurant is top-notch.
All dishes are beautifully presented – from the squid ink risotto and marlin-stuffed tamale to the guava mousse.
The menu is constantly changing, though, so be open to trying something new.
ICU, Puerto Vallarta: Website
Best restaurants in Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias and elsewhere in the bay
Just because you’re staying in Puerto Vallarta doesn’t mean you won’t be exploring (and eating!) outside the city proper.
Popular haunts for day-trippers, as well as a vacation base, are Nuevo Vallarta (“New” Vallarta), the small beach town of Bucerias and Punta de Mita.
26) Le Kliff
Le Kliff is about a 20-minute drive south of Puerto Vallarta. And it’s one of the absolute best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta with a view!
Crowned with a soaring palapa roof, it sits dramatically right on the edge of a cliff overlooking Banderas Bay.
Go early to watch the sunset splash the sky with brilliant shades of orange, red and mauve.
Start your evening by sipping on their martini pasión, while feasting your eyes on the breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean and listening to the waves crashing below.
The foodie in you will rejoice in the grilled salmon with fresh herbs, served with risotto, caviar and saffron aioli. For dessert, settle on the homemade ice-cream tasting platter if you can’t decide which flavor to get.
This Puerto Vallarta cliff restaurant is definitely one of the priciest on our list, but you won’t regret the splurge.
Reservations are recommended, as weddings and other private events are often held at Le Kliff.
Le Kliff, Puerto Vallarta: Website
27) Karen’s Place
So you’ve just walked the beach in Bucerias – and you’re hungry. Veer off into Karen’s Place.
You can eat in the palapa area, or kick off your flip-flops and sit at a beach table with your feet in the sand.
The owner, Karen Blair, prides herself on offering excellent fresh dishes, with ingredients sourced from the best local produce – all thoughtfully prepared. She also makes sure the service is consistent and friendly.
Pair your meal with amazing cocktails or a wine curated from the varied collection of wines.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Karen’s Place is one of the best restaurants in Bucerias. Try the Florentino Benedict for breakfast and the avocado, shrimp and taco salad for lunch. For dinner, order the scampi al vino blanco, served with hand-made pasta.
This is another place we haven’t personally checked out yet. But we’ve heard everything on the menu is tasty here; those in the know say they love to go back to Karen’s Place when in Bucerias.
Karen’s Place, Bucerias: Website
Sandrina’s offers authentic Mediterranean and Greek specialties in their unique restaurant-cum-boutique, located on the main street in Bucerias, just steps from the beach.
The owners decided to open a boutique inside their restaurant when patrons started asking if they could buy the beautiful plates and serving platters.
Now you can browse the boutique and find some artistic and authentic Mexican souvenirs to bring back home!
The courtyard, filled with flowering trees, is a relaxing place to savor a tasty hummus platter or the generous and delicious seafood soup.
While there, ask about their cooking and art classes.
Sandrina’s, Bucerias: Website
29) Insu Sky Bar
Insu Sky Lounge is TripAdvisor’s #1 restaurant in Nuevo Vallarta. And we couldn’t agree more!
With a prime perch on the rooftop terrace of the Marival Distinct Luxury Residences, it’s open to the public in the evenings.
Their small tapas plates of duck tacos and savory tequila shrimp are perfect for sharing while watching the sun drop over the Pacific Ocean.
Your friendly server can also tell you about the fab house cocktails.
Insu Sky Bar, Nuevo Vallarta: Website
30) Hector’s Kitchen
Looking for the best restaurant in Punta Mita for fine dining? Hector’s Kitchen doesn’t disappoint.
Chef Hector Leyva, a staple and celebrity chef in the Punta Mita culinary scene, opened his dining establishment after spending several years heading up the kitchens of some of the 5-star resorts in the area.
His vision is to bring all of Mexico’s flavors to the table – and mix it up with fresh local ingredients and inspirations from his international travels. It’s fun to watch the staff whip up their magic in the open kitchen!
Select the chef’s tasting menu for a full-flavor gourmet dining experience.
Or try the short rib rolls in red curry to start, followed by lobster fettuccini (prepared to perfection). And don’t forget to end with the Oaxacan chocolate mousse – simply decadent!
You can hire Chef Hector for a private in-villa cooking experience, and he also caters special occasions.
Ask about their fish market tour and cooking classes too.
Hector’s Kitchen, Punta Mita: Website
31) Makai Restaurant
Punta Mita may bust the bank, depending on where you stay – the Four Seasons Punta Mita, anyone?
But Makai Restaurant won’t.
Connected to the WildMex surf shop, this unassuming open-air roadside resto quells hunger with super fresh sashimi with grapefruit, crazy huge crabmeat burgers, tuna tostadas drizzled with Ponzu sauce and other tasty eats.
Food-wise, Makai gives the Punta Mita hotel restaurants a serious run for their money.
Makai Restaurant, Puerto Vallarta: Website
That’s a wrap for the best Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, restaurants!
For a culinary adventure, Puerto Vallarta offers a huge range of wonderful bites to eat – at all price points.
Bon appetit! Or rather, buen provecho – since the local language is Spanish, right?
Experience more of the food in Mexico!
Riviera Maya | Oh, you’ll drool over the food served at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya restaurants. This all-inclusive is one of the best in Mexico!
Mexico City | Check out the charming Cafe Tacuba in a colonial building – one of the most traditional restaurants in the city. (The female servers even wear starched white caps and aprons!)
Los Cabos | In Cabo, do yourself a favor and eat at the beautiful farm-to-table Flora Farms restaurant.
Our top travel tips and resources
Here are our favorite travel resources:
Hotels: Booking.com is great for scoring a “wow” hotel – or at least a decent one. (We especially like their flexible cancellation policy!)
Vacation homes, condos and rentals: We prefer and use Vrbo (Vacation Rentals by Owner).
Tours: For the best local food, walking and other guided tours plus skip-the-line tickets to attractions, check out GetYourGuide and Viator.
Car rental: Renting a car is often one of the best ways to explore off the beaten path. Discover Cars searches car rental companies so you get the best rates.
Travel insurance: World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities, as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
Vaccines and meds: We follow CDC travel guidelines to see what medications and vaccines are needed for trips. You can get vaccines at your pharmacy, travel medical clinic or doctor’s office.
Travel gear: See our travel shop to find the best luggage, accessories and other travel gear. (We suggest these comfy travel sandals for city walking, the beach and kicking about.)
Need more help planning your trip? Check out our travel tips and resources guide for airline booking tips, ways to save money, how to find great hotels and other crazy useful trip planning info.
Pssst! If you make a booking or purchase through our site, we may earn a small commission (at no cost to you). Thanks!
Share the love of food, and pin this to Pinterest!
We were hosted as media guests at some of these restaurants, so we could check out the Puerto Vallarta dining scene. The verbal dishing here (oh, bad pun!) is our own, however.
Photo credits: 23, 24, 25, 50 © Janice and George Mucalov, SandInMySuitcase | 1 La Palapa | Remaining images courtesy the respective PV restaurants
About the authors
Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George Mucalov are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents. See About.
Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews, insanely useful travel tips and more!
Wednesday 5th of January 2022
Thank you! Amazing list. You nailed exactly what we are looking for. Heading to PV in March 2022!! We will for sure book some of these restaurants. Cheers!
Janice and George
Wednesday 5th of January 2022
Glad to be of help! PV has an amazing dining scene. No fear your taste buds will be bored. Buen provecho!