A beach resort city on the Pacific Coast and next to Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta is a culinary hotbed with food for all budgets and tastes. A popular destination for international and domestic travelers, Puerto Vallarta is now one of the three most popular ports in Mexico thanks to its touristic and gastronomic offerings. From traditional tacos to gourmet restaurants, here are the top Puerto Vallarta restaurants to visit.
Decked with a quarry fountain, tropical plants and art pieces by local artists, Trio feels like an art museum on top of a restaurant. Its artful decor aside, with their Mediterranean flavors and Mexican spices, Chef-owners Bernhard Güth and Ulf Henriksson have made Trio one of the best Puerto Vallarta restaurants. Think mains such as roasted rabbit with Italian herbs and red wine, or chili roasted red snapper fillet over ratatouille vegetables.
2. Barcelona Tapas
Located four blocks from the malecón, this tapas bar has the best view of the bay in all of Puerto Vallarta. In 2000, Chef William Carballo converted the roof of his house and opened Barcelona Tapas with just two employees. Today, Barcelona Tapas is one of the most respected restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. Specializing in Spanish dishes, they are best enjoyed in a communal dining style, with two or three tapas per person. Chef Carballo is always updating the menu, so expect something new each time you come!
Makal is a restaurant that brings to life the traditional flavors of Mexico. You might also recognize Chef Graham Campbell from Netflix’s Final Table series! Serving contemporary Mexican cuisine that is both delicious and beautifully plated, the focus here is always on fresh local ingredients. Makal is a great choice for those who want to explore a more Haute approach to Mexican food, yet still sticks to tradition of local cuisine. Complementing the food is an excellent wine and cocktail list, craft beers, and of course, great tequila.
4. Café des Artistes
For fine dining in Puerto Vallarta, award-winning Café des Artistes should be at the top of your list. Chef-owner Thierry Blouet has been delighting foreigners and locals with his elegant Franco-Mexican food for over three decades. The best way to sample what it has to offer is with the five-course tasting menu, complete with amuse bouches and optional wine pairings. Dine inside the elegant dining room or outside in the colorful garden-themed courtyard.
Helmed by Chef Joel Ornelas, the award-winning Tintoque seeks to be a cultural link expressing the culinary journey of the bay, finding flavors and elements that mark each stage in Puerto Vallarta’s history. Overlooking the Cuale River, its atmosphere, five-star service and Mexican-meets-the-world dining experience makes this a special spot. While some seafood dishes are a mainstay, the Creative Menu offers specials that change daily depending on the availability of local ingredients.
6. Maria Baja
For something much more casual and wallet-friendly, Maria Baja serves up amazing tacos and tostadas, made only with the best ingredients. There is a huge variety here, such as seared tuna taco, carnitas taco, crab, and octopus tostada. Pair it with one of their seven homemade salsas and wash it all down with a freshly squeezed lime juice or their basil and pineapple fruit drink.
7. La Palapa
The cuisine of La Palapa is influenced by the ingredients and abundant choices of the local region. Located at Playa Los Muertos, the beach and ocean life is something integral to La Palapa’s identity. Tropical Mexican cuisine sees Mexican coming together with Asian and French elements, bringing you a fresh culinary experience. Try their most popular dishes: tenderloin, beet salad, and coconut shrimp.