20 BEST Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta to Try in 2024

There are tons of great places to eat in Puerto Vallarta and if you are looking for the best of the best, you have come to the right place as I live in Mexico and I have spent months based in the gorgeous Jalisco seaside town. I am also pretty fortunate in that my boyfriend, Mauro, is Mexican and has spent years in Jalisco so I had something of an “expert” on hand to help me eat my way around the city and discover the very best local spots. 

Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for 2024

In this post, we will take a look at the best places to try traditional Mexican and regional Jalisco fare, as well as internationally acclaimed spots, upscale eateries, and fusion restaurants.

Enjoying a delicious combination plate at Las Cazuelas, El Colorado

Restaurant Las Cazuelas 

Where: Carr a las Palmas 89, 48265 El Colorado

Restaurant Las Cazuelas is a fantastic ranch-style country restaurant in El Colorado, on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta. If you are going to be renting a car in Vallarta, it is well worth making the effort to get to this place, but it also makes a great stopping point en route to San Sebastian del Oeste, Mascota, and the towns and villages of the Sierra Madre mountains. 

The restaurant looks like something out of an old cowboy movie, and there are even stables at the back of the property where real-life vaqueros sporting stetson hats tend to their horses. The entrance is decorated with old wooden wagon wheels, and the murals on the walls depict scenes of life as a ranchero. 

Las Cazuelas are best known among Jaliscans for their carne asada beef that is cooked on hot coals in an open kitchen. Fresh, warm corn and flour tortillas are cooked by two señoras at the restaurant entrance and you can watch and learn as they prepare them.  

The staff are friendly, and they bring you a constant stream of unlimited fresh tortillas. Since the menu is pretty extensive, you might want to consider ordering one of their combination platters which contain small portions of various different types of “comida ranchero” and that way you can try multiple regional specialties. 

Yummy tacos dorados and tamales at El Rincon Mexicano
Yummy tacos dorados and tamales at El Rincon Mexicano, Pitillal

El Rincon Mexicano 

Where: Emiliano Zapata 265a, Centro Pitillal

The most authentic Mexican food in Puerto Vallarta is not found in the tourist restaurants that line the waterfront Malecon but in authentic barrios like El Pitillal. Pitillal is affectionately referred to as “Piti-York” by its local residents because, like New York, there’s always something happening here.

Once upon a time, Pitillal was its own independent village, however, urban expansion has slowly seen it consumed by the ever-growing borders of Vallarta. This area has so far avoided any gentrification and the only people you will find in the streets and restaurants of Pitillal are Mexicans. 

The same rings true of the clientele that dine at charming El Rincon. This unsuspecting eatery is set in a courtyard in the back of a ramshackle building in central Pitillal. 

All of the patrons are locals, and the setting is modest yet charming. Shrines to the Virgin Guadalupe encircle the space and colorful papel picado flutter in the wind. 

The prices are very reasonable here and the portions are more than generous. My recommendation would be the tacos Dorado de pollo – four large, crunchy deep-fried chicken tacos topped with cream and avocado. 

The tamales and the countless varieties of tostadas (sencilla, picadillo, surtido, etc) are also absolutely delicious. 

Enjoying a delicious salad with grilled chicken, pineapple and mango dressing

Natureza 

Where: Francia 137, Versalles, 48310 and C. Popa s/n-Local 1, Marina Vallarta, 48450

Natureza is a Puerto Vallarta health food restaurant with a branch in Versalles and a branch by the waterfront in Marina Vallarta. While the menu mostly focuses on salads, soups, and healthy paninis, clear your mind of any assumption that healthy = boring. 

The salads here are unbelievably tasty and refreshing and are prepared with tropical fruits, locally sourced seasonal vegetables, and homemade dressings. My go-to order is usually the “Ensalada e pollo”. 

The dish consists of a couple of grilled chicken breasts cooked to perfection and marinated with Mediterranean herbs, before being placed on a bed of different greens and served with pineapple slices, cherry tomatoes, parmesan cheese, sprouts, and a delicious homemade sticky mango sauce.  

Natureza is perhaps most famous for its selection of salsas that are placed on the table with every order. When you sit down here, the waiter will bring you a tray filled with 6-7 different salad dressings made in-house. 

The homemade honey mustard, the mint yogurt dressing, and the cucumber mint dressing that is similar to raita are personal favorites. Wash it all down with a homemade smoothie or a pressed juice. You can check their menu online here. 

Birria El Tio Toño 

Where:  Berlín 108, Versalles, 48310 Puerto Vallarta,

If you had to identify the most important “signature” Jaliscan dish that you should try during your time in Puerto Vallarta, it would be birria, and one of the best places to try the specialty is at Birria El Tio Toño on the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta’s Las Glorias/Versalles districts.

Birria is a type of slow-cooked meat stew that can be made with a number of different meats (beef, mutton, etc) but is most commonly made with sheep’s meat. In order to prepare it, meat is marinated with a blend of different spices (usually cumin, cloves, garlic, thyme, oregano, and marjoram), as well as a blend of spicy chipotle, ancho, and guajillo peppers. 

It is then slow-cooked until it is so tender and juicy that it falls apart in your mouth. The soup stock can be quite oily and isnt for everyone, but if you’re not a fan of the idea of leaning over a bowl of steaming hot soup when it’s 104°F out, you can also have birria served in a taco. 

This is the specialty at Birria El Tio Toño and a taco here costs just 25 pesos a piece. Birria El Tio Toño is a very local “no frills” spot that concentrates on serving the very best foods, over aesthetics.  

A busy evening at Cenaduria Tia Anita, Pitillal
A busy evening at Cenaduria Tia Anita, Pitillal

Cenaduria Tia Anita 

Where: #70 Calle Cinco de Mayo, Central El Pitillal

Back in El Pitillal, Cenaduria Tia Anita is another spot to add to your radar if you want to sample hearty Mexican fare and Jalisco delicacies. This humble little eatery is set outside beneath a giant tent and is virtually always full of locals. 

(Sometimes on Friday and Saturday nights, you might have to wait 5-10 minutes or so for a table but rest assured, the food is worth it). Their crispy chicken flautas are delicious, as are their gorditas and tostadas. 

Be sure to order a dessert when you’re finished with your main. You can find traditional Mexican flan on the menu here, but my personal recommendation would be to order a bag of “huesitos”.

These little candies, whose name means “little bones” in Mexican Spanish are made with milk and are only 4 pesos a piece. (They are so moreish that you will probably find yourself ordering 20 or so to take home for later!)

Tucking into delicious tostadas at Cenaduria Tia Anita

Panchos Takos Zona Romantica

Where: Basilio Badillo 162, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata

Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica is one of the most popular tourist neighborhoods in town, as well as one of the biggest LGBTQI+ areas in Latin America, so you would be forgiven for thinking that anything found here could be a tourist trap. However, Panchos Takos definitely doesn’t fit that mold and serves some of the very best el pastor tacos in town. 

The restaurant definitely has some hype around it and can get very busy, so come early if you don’t want to have to wait a while to get a table. Tacos el pastor are made using marinated pork that is cooked on a revolving spit and then topped with pineapple, onion, and cilantro. 

(You usually add your own onion, cilantro, and hot sauces so if you have that “cilantro gene” that makes the herb taste like dish soap to you, you don’t have to add it!) 

If you don’t eat pork, there are other varieties of beef and chicken tacos, as well as delicious chicken quesadillas on the menu. Wash it all down with a lemon margarita. 

Puerto Vallarta Food Park

Where: Food park, Blv, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio No. 2450, sur, 48310

Okay so Puerto Vallarta’s Food Park isn’t exactly a restaurant “per se” but it is worth including on your PV foodie checklist because it still offers one of the best dining experiences that you can have in town. This fun street food style Mercado sees many casual eateries set inside converted industrial containers. 

You can find a little something to suit everyone here – from mouthwatering juicy hamburgers to artisanal craft breweries, tacos, tortas, and authentic Italian food. Particular highlights are the carnitas and the fish tacos at Park Grill container, and the pulled pork sandwiches, ribs, and spicy nachos at Marranos. 

PKDO Bar 

Where: Av. Francisco Villa LB, Las Gaviotas, 4932

PKDO bar or “Pekado” bar is a super fun live music spot and an “all you can eat” eatery on the outskirts of Versalles. Despite being in a locale that is popular among a tourist and expat crowd, you will only find locals here. 

Eating at PKDO is a special experience because, on Sundays, live mariachi bands perform to delighted diners while on other days of the week, you can experience live Mexican banda music. The restaurant focuses on “asada” dishes (Mexican barbeque). 

You can enjoy all-you-can-eat plates of carne asada, arrachera, sirloin steak, and pollo a la plancha (grilled seasoned chicken breasts). This is served with delicious flavored rice, cebolla asada, cebolla cambray, frijoles (Mexican beans), and fresh fruits and vegetables.

After you are done eating, you can hang out as long as you want enjoying the “musica en vive” and drinking a couple of cold cervezas. PKDO has an extensive drinks menu but I would recommend going for the “cantarito” cocktails – grapefruit-flavored tequila cocktails that are served in little clay cups with chili tajin around the rim and tamarind candies inside. 

Restaurante Los Patrones

Where: Abasolo # 143 Planta Alta Esq, 5 de Mayo, Centro Pitillal

Restaurante Los Patrones is another El Pitillal institution and a truly local place where you won’t see any other gringos in sight. They are best known for their flavorful tacos which come in a wide variety of different flavors.  

The flor de cabeza (squash blossom), carne asada, and al pastor tacos are particularly scrumptious. Los Patrones has a decades-old “tradition” where if you enjoy your food, you are supposed to get up and ring an old cowbell as you leave. 

As you can imagine with a spot that is so well-loved, there is often a lot of noise here and the bell gets rung an awful lot of times! 

Los Muertos Brewing Pizzeria 

Where: Av. Francisco Villa 524, Olímpica, 48310

If you are looking for a bit of a change from Mexican food, Los Muertos Brewing Pizzeria serves up some excellent wood-fired pizzas and craft beers. This spot is popular among Mexicanos and gringo expats alike but with good reason. 

This is Puerto Vallarta’s first craft brewery and many of their artisanal cervezas are made in the backroom in-house. The pizza menu is extensive and you can also create “DIY” pizzas where you select whatever base and toppings you want, and the pizza will be cooked in a wood-fired oven before your eyes. 

You can find the Los Muertos Brewing Pizzeria menu here. Particularly delicious choices are the “Benito Juarez” pizza, named after the Mexican president who guided the locals through the Mexican Revolution (BBQ sauce, beer-soaked “drunk” onions, chicken, pineapple slices, and jalapeño peppers), and the “Lazaro Cardenas” (former Mexican army officer and president) which is made with grilled chicken, pesto, spinach, onions and goat cheese. 

Wash it all down with a flight of different 1/3s of beers made in-house. 

You will also find a lot of comfort bar snacks on the menu. For example, chicken wings, chicken parm, giant hearty sandwiches, and hamburgers. 

If there is ever a sports match going on (the Superbowl, a boxing match, an international soccer tournament), it will be shown on the big screens here. (And the atmosphere then is particularly fun!) 

The gorgeous wooden and bamboo tones at Mar Y Vino, Puerto Vallarta

Mar Y Vino

Where: Olas Altas 380, Puerto Vallarta 48380, México.

If you are looking for an Instagram-worthy restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, then the acclaimed restaurant Mar Y Vino, set inside the chic Hotel Playa Los Arcos, is likely just what you are looking for. The menu here focuses on seafood dishes using only the freshest catches that are sourced in nearby waters earlier the same day and place a contemporary spin on classic Jaliscan recipes.

You can enjoy sweeping vistas over the Pacific as you dine and the scenery is particularly spectacular if you stop by just before sunset, as the sky is illuminated in hues of pinks and oranges. The decor here is Boho-chic, featuring wooden accents, twinkling fairy lights, and an infinity pool.

Some of the tables are set right within the crystalline waters of the infinity pool. (Although these sought-after spots usually require an advance reservation).

Mar Y Vino serves up some of the most refreshing ceviche in town. The garlic mahi-mahi fillet or the wood-grilled octopus are also good choices if you don’t have much of a spice tolerance. (The ceviche here does have quite a kick!)

El Palomar De Los Gonzalez

Where: Aguacate 425, Alta Vista, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

El Palomar De Los Gonzalez is a wonderful, family-owned restaurant that sits on one of Puerto Vallarta’s many hills, offering gorgeous panoramas of the old town, with the Pacific Ocean glittering in the distance. If you want to try real, authentic Jaliscan food in a central location, this is the place to come to.

The restaurant is set in a historic, two-story hacienda encompassed by stunning gardens, a pool, and a patio.

When you dine here, you feel more like you are eating in a friend’s home, rather than a restaurant, and indeed, the little sign at the entrance reads “My house is your house”. Local art hangs from the walls and vibrant pink tablecloths brighten up the room.

Many of the recipes that grace the menu here have been passed down through the generations of the family that has owned it for more than 30 years. Order the Tere’s Salad to start and then follow up with some Minionetta shrimp, Yelapa tostadas, or a mariscada if you are in the mood for sharing.

The Flambéed bananas are the perfect dessert dish to end up an amazing meal, perhaps accompanied by a carajillo or a strong cup of Mexican coffee.

Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta: Delicious fresh local fish at Mariscos 8 Tostadas
Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta: Delicious fresh local fish at Mariscos 8 Tostadas

Mariscos 8 Tostadas

Where: Quilla s/n Local 28-29, Marina Vallarta, 48335 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

Mariscos 8 Tostadas, in Nuevo Vallarta, started as a very small family-owned eatery in 1969. It was founded by Doña Rosario Covarrubias and Don Jacariscos has quickly become one of the most famous restaurants in town.

Here you can dine in a tropical setting right by the sea in an adorable ramshackle beach shack decorated with papel picado, hand-painted murals, and vehicle license plates from across the Americas.

The place is fun and vibrant but the amazing food is still the main draw. The tuna tostadas just melt in your mouth and the grilled octopus with chipotle is cooked to perfection.

This place is often crowded, however, the service is very fast so you are not waiting long to be served. For a quintessentially Mexican experience, order a michelada – a beer cocktail made by mixing Tecate Rojo with clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.

Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta : glancing out the window from Tintoque, Vallarta
Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta : glancing out the window from Tintoque, Vallarta

Tintoque

Where: Aquiles Serdán 445, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto
Vallarta

When tradition meets innovation, magical things can be created and that is
exactly what happens at Tintoque.

The restaurant is the brainchild of passionate, creative chef Joel Ornelas. Ornelas is Puerto Vallarta born and raised but has traveled all over the world sampling and learning different culinary recipes, before bringing his discoveries back to Jalisco.

The setting at Tintoque is just as spectacular as the food. The restaurant is housed inside a beautiful hacienda-style building where you can dine indoors or al fresco style on the magical terrace surrounded by trees and a small river.

Tintoque’s menu offers regional-inspired dishes with a sophisticated twist influenced by the chef’s personal style and the creative plates here can satisfy even the most demanding foodies.

This is one of a few Puerto Vallarta restaurants that really embraces the farm-to-table concept and Ornelas prides himself on his close relationships with local farmers, markets, and fishermen.

With so many delicious options available, it can be tricky to know where to start. The salted trout with fresh melon and beetroot make a great appetizer, as do the rolled tortillas drenchefd in mole and chilacayote.

For your main, consier the esquites with portobello mushrooms and truffles, or the lamb stew tamales with Greek yogurt or grilled octopus with chorizo.

Maria Baja

Where: Carr. Costera a Barra de Navidad #496, Alta Vista, 48380 Puerto
Vallarta, Jalisco.

Puerto Vallarta’s Zona Romantica is one of the most popular areas to stay in PV, and is home to a plethora of restaurants serving international fare. One that stands out above the crowd is Maria Baja.

The restaurant is set inside an idyllic blue and white property that is more reminiscent of something that you would expect to see on a Greek island than in Southern Mexico. The menu changes daily and it can be found hand-written on a little chalkboard that sits at the restaurant entrance.

One of the best parts of dining here is the open kitchen concept. The food is cooked right before your eyes behind a wooden counter in the center of the restaurant and it can be fun to see what goes into preparing Mexican seafood dishes.

The various salsas and condiments that you can add to your food here are all prepared in house and you can even buy little jars of them to take home. This makes a wonderful souvenir from your trip to Mexico for the foodies in your life.

Although the menu here changes regularly, the fish cracklings, tamarind tuna tostadas, and aguachiles make a regular appearance and are worth ordering if you see them.

La Guera

Where: Av. Francisco Villa 752, La Vena, 48320 Puerto Vallarta, Jal

La Guera is a charming family-owned “Fonda” restaurant located close to Playa Las Glorias. A Fonda is a homely Mexican tavern that could be likened to an Italian trattoria or a Greek taverna and offers a cosy, homely ambiance.

Here, classic Jaliscan dishes are prepared with an artisanal twist using local ingredients. Everything is served on clay talavera dishes and makes you feel as though you have been invited for lunch at a Mexican home.

The menu boasts a wide range of dishes ranging from birria and tacos dorados to the famous Jaliscan “tortas ahogadas” or “drowned sandwiches”. Torta ahogadas are more common in Guadalajara but are worth a try at least once.

To make them, pork carnitas are stuffed inside crusty bread rolls and then drenched in a ton of spicy tomato salsa. The sandwiches are so drowned that you usually have to eat them with a spoon.

They are actually famous for curing hangovers which might be worth knowing if you have had a heavy night the night before! On Sundays, La Guera serves pozole (A Mexican pork soup that is often eaten at Christmas time).

El Panorama

Where: C. Miramar 689, Centro, 48300 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.

El Panorama is a chic and sophisticated spot, hidden away from view down a narrow cobbled passageway inside La Siesta hotel in downtown Vallarta. As the name suggests, the establishment is known for its panoramic views of the city and the ocean, and makes the perfect setting to enjoy a romantic dinner as the sun goes down.

The restaurant is unique as it is set across four floors, and each one is designed differently from the last. It focusees on an old-fashioned luxe concept of dining. Think of the kind of experiences that you would expect the rich and famous to have in New York in the 1920s and that’s the kind of service you can expect here.

Despite the different decor on each floor, each level boasts grand chandeliers, gold detailing, ceiling domes, floor-to-ceiling crystal windows and plush furnishings, all designed to transport you back in time to a bygone era.

Prices are a little higher here but this is the place to come if you want to treat yourself or you are celebrating a special occasion. Consider ordering the beef fillet with mushroom sauce, or the oysters Rockefeller if you want to try the dishes that the restaurant is best known for.

El Tacon de Marlin

Where: C Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio 8106, Villa Las Flores, 48335

El Tacón de Marlín is street food at its best. This small restaurant just across the street from the airport is loved by locals and tourists alike.

It makes the perfect pit stop after a long flight. The restaurant is inspired by the cuisine of Mazatlan, Sinaloa.

However, its most famous dish is a burrito known as “tacon”. This was created right here in Puerto Vallarta by Mr. Alejandro and Mrs. María del Rosario over 20 years ago!

The property is quite minimalistic and it exudes homey vibes at every turn. The interior walls are adorned with blue and white tiles with old pictures hanging from the walls.

The bright orange wooden furniture adds a touch of life and vibrancy to the place. Expect fast-food style service – meals are prepared within a matter of minutes while also being very delicious and affordable.

If you dont fancy the signature “tacon”, the smoked marlin and shrimp tacos are to die for, as are the sea bass and crab, or the unique “fish al pastor” tacos.

Alternatively, you can opt to try one of the huge seafood wraps filled with cheese. The concept enables you to select a type of fish, and select different vegetables, dressings, and additional seafood/meat items to add inside your wrap.

Think of this as the Mexican seafood answer to the Subway sandwich experience!

El Coleguita Mariscos

Where: Calle Popa s/n Local 16 y 17 Condominios Marina del Rey, 48335

El Coleguita Mariscos is a seafood restaurant that sits right by the dock in Marina Vallarta. When you enter, you are usually greeted with a complimentary shot of tequila and some delicious shrimp broth to really whet your appetite.

Their menu offers a wide variety of seafood dishes, salads, and catch of the day fishes prepared only with local and fresh ingredients. The portions are very generous, the prices are beyond fair, and every dish includes fried bananas for dessert and a glass of Kahlua.

The “dead awakener casserole” is one of their most unique dishes that everyone should try at least once. It actually made El Coleguita famous within Mexico and is supposedly “so good it could wake the dead”.

El Mercado Del Mar

Where: San Salvador s/n, 5 de Diciembre, 48350 Puerto Vallarta

El Mercado del Mar (translation: “market of the sea”) is not exactly a restaurant but it is worth including it on this list because it genuinely is one of the best spots in Puerto Vallarta when it comes to fresh seafood. Each morning before sunrise, local fishermen will push their wooden boats out to the warm waters of the Pacific and see what they can catch.

When they come back to shore with their spoils, they bring them to El Mercado Del Mar where they are cooked right in front of you, completely fresh out of the water.

There are over 30 different stalls and chefs here and they all have their own seafood delicacies. Some vendors will be known for preparing a sumptuous seafood soup, others prepare mouthwatering tacos, etc.

The red snapper al achiote is a good choice, as is the buttered fish fillet, the pan-seared tuna, the king-crab tostadas, or the grilled swordfish.

Unfortunately, because the fishermen head out early and come back around mid-morning, many things are sold out by around 2-3pm. Try and come here for an early lunch around midday midday so that you have time to look around the stalls and take photos before choosing exactly where you want to eat.

Like many recommendations on this list, this is a real local place and you will see very few tourists here. As we say in Mexico it is “bueno, bonito y barato”, aka it is good, pretty and cheap!

Patrons sitting around the bar at Mariscos 8 Tostadas, Puerto Vallarta

Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta: final thoughts

I  would like to credit my greed, my expanding waistline, and my Mexican boyfriend’s great suggestions for this article. There are so many great bars and restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and there are new spots opening up constantly.  

I will be back in Puerto Vallarta again in January 2024 so I will be sure to check out some new spots too. If there is anywhere you want me to review, let me know in the comments and I will head there in a couple of weeks.

In the meantime, safe travels and enjoy Mexico! Buen Viaje! Melissa xo 


Melissa Douglas

Melissa Douglas is a British Travel Writer based in Merida, Mexico and the Editor-in-Chief of Mexico Travel Secrets. She has over seven years worth of experience in working in travel media and has travelled to 57 countries, mostly solo. Throughout her career, Melissa has produced written content for several high-profile publications across the globe - including Forbes Travel Guide, the Huffington Post, Rough Guides, and Matador Network.

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