The best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta are a varied bunch. You will find something here to suit every budget and palate.
Being close to the sea has its advantages in that Puerto Vallarta boasts an array of exquisite seafood eateries where the dishes are prepared with fresh fish caught earlier that same day.
Puerto Vallarta may be popular among international tourists. However, it is very easy to escape them and find authentic eateries and traditional Jaliscan cuisine.
Best Restaurants in 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, this might
be it. Designed as a rooftop restaurant, Mar y Vino takes you on a paradisical journey that goes way beyond simply having a delicious dinner.
Wooden accents, romantic lights, palm-tree decorations, and an infinity pool make this restaurant a mind-blowing place to catch the sunset. Stop by at golden hour and treat yourself to some good seafood and signature drinks as the sun goes down.
Mar Y Vino is housed inside the chic Hotel Playa Los Arcos. However, it is open for everyone to enjoy, not only the guests.
Perhaps the best part of dining here is the eccentric seating arrangements. Many of the outdoor tables are set right within the crystalline waters of the swimming pool.
The views from this rooftop location are breathtaking. Better yet, the service is great, the cuisine is elevated but the prices are not, and the dishes are prepared with only fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
The restaurant offers lunch and dinner menus with some vegan and vegetarian
options. However, it mainly focuses on traditional Jaliscan seafood options that are prepared with a contemporary twist.
What to Order at Mar Y Vino
If you are stopping by Mar Y Vino for lunch, the ceviches are a good call. The scallop ceviche and the white fish tiradito are particularly good calls.
However, if you don’t have much spice tolerance, be warned that they both have quite a kick! If you prefer, you can ask the waiter to have the dishes prepared with less spice while ordering.
If you are heading here for a sunset dinner, perhaps you would like to try the garlic mahi-mahi fillet or the wood-grilled octopus. The artisanal cocktails prepared by the in-house expert mixologists make a great aperitif.
You can find both classic cocktails and unique innovations that utilize Mexican drinks and alcohol on the menu. The Mezcal Mitre, Cielo Púrpura and the Veneno Celestial are worth adding to your radar.
Mar Y Vino is, without hesitation, one of the best restaurants in the Puerto Vallarta romantic zone. It is worth the journey here, even if you are staying elsewhere in the city.
Keep in mind that this place is very popular. Reservations are highly recommended especially if you would like to be seated at the pool tables.
EL PALOMAR DE LOS GONZÁLEZ
Where: Aguacate 425, Alta Vista, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
If you want to sample traditional Jaliscan food, there is one place that stands out above the rest: El Palomar De Los Gonzalez. After all, nothing can compare to over thirty years of family recipes prepared with soul and local spices.
This beautiful restaurant is nestled on the top of the mountains right in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s downtown. Dining here feels more like you are enjoying a meal in a traditional Mexican home rather than paying to dine out in a restaurant.
The food and the environment are homely and welcoming. From the moment you arrive, you pass beneath a beautiful stone archway, and through stunning gardens complete with a pool and a patio.
The little welcome sign at the entrance reads “my house is your house”. The restaurant is set inside a two-story colonial hacienda house made of stone.
Its architecture and design are arguably as impressive as the food. The house boasts red tile roofs and little balconies where you can sit and enjoy a view of the town and the pacific ocean.
Local art hangs from the walls and vibrant pink tablecloths brighten up the room.
El Palomar de Los González translated Jaliscan seafood recipes into an
international cuisine that will please every palette.
The service is outstanding and the prices are quite affordable. This little restaurant is great for families or romantic date nights.
What to order at El Palomar De Los Gonzalez
The dishes that grace the menu of El Palomar De Los Gonzalez boast rich flavors and fresh ingredients. This is, without hesitation one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
Start with Tere’s Salad. Then, follow it up with some Minionetta shrimp, Yelapa tostadas, or a mariscada if you are in the mood for sharing. The Flambéed bananas are the perfect dish to end up an amazing meal.
MARISCOS 8 TOSTADAS
Where: Quilla s/n Local 28-29, Marina Vallarta, 48335 Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.
Mariscos 8 Tostadas 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.
Mariscos 8 Tostadas has over 50 years of practice in preparing fresh Jaliscan seafood delicacies and Mexican classic dishes. The restaurant is actually set just across the Jalisco-Nayarit border in Nuevo Vallarta.
Here, you dine in a tropical setting right by the sea. This eatery is far from fancy or fine dining.
In fact, part of the charm is that the whole place just looks as if you were eating in a Mercado filled with street-style decorations, hand-painted murals, and vehicle license plates hanging from the aquamarine and yellow walls.
The place is just fun and vibrant altogether but the real reason to come here is for the amazing food. What Mariscos 8 Tostadas lacks in aesthetics, it more than makes up for in food and flavors.
What to Order at Mariscos 8 Tostadas
You’ll be surprised how a cielo rojo (beer mixed with salsas and clam tomato juice) and a ceviche de la casa or a grilled marlin can lift your spirits up! The tuna tostadas just melt in your mouth and the grilled octopus with chipotle is cooked to perfection.
The dishes that you order will be served with accompanying salsas to really help bring out the flavors of the Pacific. This place is often crowded, however, the service is very fast so you are not waiting long to be served.
Where: Aquiles Serdán 445, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto
When tradition meets innovation, magical things can be created. That is
exactly what happens here at Tintoque.
The restaurant is the brainchild of passionate, creative chef Joel Ornelas. Hailing from Puerto Vallarta, Ornelas traveled the world sampling and learning different culinary recipes.
When he completed his adventures, he returned to his roots and opened Tintoque. His view was to be able to narrate his town’s history through an amazing culinary experience.
The setting at Tintoque is just as spectacular as the food. The restaurant is housed inside a beautiful white building made of concrete, stones, and wooden ceilings.
It bears resemblance to a colonial hacienda that has been modernized. The ornate furnishings, elegant tables, and gorgeous azulejos guide you into a magical terrace surrounded by trees and a small river. The setting makes you feel as if you were walking straight into a fairytale.
The menu offers regional-inspired dishes with a sophisticated twist influenced by the chef’s personal style. A blend of flavors, textures, and contemporary
techniques are combined to present the most creative and delicious plates that satisfy even the most demanding foodies.
Ornelas works hand-in-hand with local farmers, markets, and fishermen. It is important to him to assure his customers that all ingredients used are of the highest quality and support local producers.
What to Order at Tintoque
The salted trout with fresh melon and beetroot makes a great starter here. Alternatively, order up a serving of their rolled tortillas in mole Sauce and chilacayote
The esquites with portobello mushrooms and truffles are a spectacular entree. So too, are the lamb stew tamales with Greek yogurt or grilled octopus with chorizo.
For dessert, there is only one choice. The passion fruit cheesecake here is one of the best desserts in Puerto Vallarta – so much so that you may find yourself wanting to come here for dessert alone!
Where: Carr. Costera a Barra de Navidad #496, Alta Vista, 48380 Puerto
Puerto Vallarta’s zona romantica is home to a plethora of restaurants serving international fare, as well as excellent bars and entertainment options. Some of the most iconic buildings and notable tourist sites are located in this region.
While you are in the area, be sure to stop by Maria Baja. This is one of the simplest, yet one of the best restaurants in the romantic zone.
Maria Baja is a charming 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.
It is a good way to see what goes into preparing sumptuous Mexican seafood delicacies. The artsy vibes, fair prices and friendly service have made this place a fan favorite.
The dishes are very much Mexican street-food style. Almost everything is prepared with delicious homemade salsas that are made in house.
If you like, you can even buy little jars of them to take home! This makes a wonderful souvenir from your trip to Mexico! Keep in mind that this place is cash-only.
What to Eat at Maria Baja
The fish cracklings, and the tamarind tuna tostadas are quite popular here. However, the aguachiles are a must-try! Their homemade peanut sauce is wonderful and so are their tropical flavored agua frescas.
Where: Av. Francisco Villa 752, La Vena, 48320 Puerto Vallarta, Jal
La Guera is a charming family-owned restaurant located close to Playa Las Glorias. It offers a very nice and tranquil ambiance that is perfect for enjoying some of the best local gastronomy in town.
Here, classic Jaliscan dishes are prepared with an artisanal twist using local ingredients. Everything is served on native clay dishes and makes you feel as though you have been invited for lunch at a Mexican home.
La Guera is a Fonda. This is a small, homely Mexican tavern that could be compared to an Italian trattoria or a Greek taverna.
It serves a wide range of dishes ranging from birria (slow-roasted goat meat stew) and tacos dorados to the famous “tortas ahogadas”. The latter are pork-filled sandwiches dipped in a lot of spicy salsa!
They are actually famous for curing hangovers which might be worth knowing if you have had a heavy night the night before!
What to Order at La Guera
You should definitely order some birria and a torta ahogada. If you’re not that into spicy food, you can notify your server and they will dip your sandwich in
tomato sauce insteaof spict salsa.
If you happen to drop by on a Sunday, do try their amazing pork and corn soup known as pozole! There are 3 different variations of the soup: green, white and red. They are each made with different salsas and boast different spice levels.
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 in downtown Vallarta. This is, without hesitation one of the best Mexican restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
This four-story restaurant boasts unparalleled panoramic views and is housed inside the classy La Siesta hotel. It is the perfect setting to enjoy a romantic dinner as the sun goes down.
Each level of the restaurant is designed differently. However, the decorations on every floor highlight the best of upscale, historic Vallarta architecture and seemingly transport you back in time to a more sophisticated, bygone era.
Each level boasts gold finishings and detailing, white walls, grand ceiling domes, huge crystal windows, and plush furnishings. On the top two floors, you can dine outside on the terrace.
From up here, you have impressive 360º views over Puerto Vallarta including the pier and the bay of flags. If you thought the experience couldn’t get any better, you are wrong.
El Panorama focuses 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 Hollywood in the 1950s and that’s the kind of service you can expect here.
Here, your food is cooked right at your table by a personal chef. Meanwhile, live pianists perform all night long. El Panorama demonstrates that class never goes out of style.
What to Order at El Panorama
Camarones al tequila are a great appetizer. However, the filet with mushroom sauce and the oysters rockefeller are the best way to really treat yourself. For dessert, order a classic flan and a quintessentially Mexican aperitif such as a Kahlua.
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. What better way to start your culinary journey in Mexico than immediately after arriving in Jalisco?
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. The concept here is fast-food style.
Meals are prepared within a matter of minutes while also being very delicious and affordable. El Tacón de Marlín serves huge seafood wraps filled with cheese.
You can then mix and match the fillings to include different vegetables, dressings, and additional seafood/meat items. Think of it as a more cultured Mexican seafood Subway sandwich experience!
The mouth-watering combination of well-seasoned seafood covered in
melted cheese wrapped around handmade flour tortillas is amazing. This place is
also renowned for its famous refreshing cucumber, pineapple, and passion fruit
waters, their fresh cucumber, and potato salad, and believe it or not, the coffee!
What to order at El Tacón de Marlín
The smoked marlin and shrimp tacos are to die for. However, you can also try mixing them up with sea bass and crab if you’re feeling like trying something different. The fish pastor tacos are also a very unique and exquisite creation!
Where: Calle Popa s/n Local 16 y 17 Condominios Marina del Rey, 48335
When it comes to regional flavors and fiesta, there is no place like El Coleguita to
party like a rockstar, eat like a true local, and be treated just like family. The eatery is situated right on the edge of la Marinas pier.
It is housed within a white-rustic building with red tiles, hanging
flowerpots, and light wood furniture. This is one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, particularly if you are looking to sample Jaliscan delicacies.
As soon as you walk into the restaurant, waiters will welcome you with one (or
two) shots of tequila and some delicious shrimp broth to open up your appetite.
The restaurant has a really friendly and lively environment.
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.
They have a kid’s menu and some vegetarian options, so there is something for everyone. One of the best things about this place is its cocktail menu.
While you are here, you have to try the regional drink “Cantaritos”. This is a very refreshing drink prepared with tequila, citrus fruits, and chili powder served in a clay mug.
What to Order at El Coleguita
Ask for a mixed seafood cocktail and their “dead awakener casserole”. The casserole actually made El Coleguita famous in Mexico!
Their fish fillet baked in the paper is one of the most classic, simple yet tasty Vallarta recipes. You can also order some Empanadas Marlin to share.
El Mercado Del Mar
Where: San Salvador s/n, 5 de Diciembre, 48350 Puerto Vallarta
When it comes to eating like a local in Vallarta there is one place that stands out among the crowd: El Mercado del Mar. No other experience will take you on a gastronomical journey like this one.
Here, only the freshest catches of the day are sold, seasoned, and prepared right in front of your eyes. Getting here takes about 20 to 25 minutes from downtown.
However, shortly after arriving, you will realize it was worth it. Every day, fishermen go out into the ocean before sunrise.
Then, they come back to Vallarta to sell the fish and sea creatures that they have caught so that they can be prepared by cooks right there on the shore at El Mercado Del Mar. If you truly want a taste of the pacific flavors there is no better place than this.
You should try to go as early as possible before they run out of everything. Stop by before midday so that you have time to look around the stalls and take photos before shopping for seafood.
The concept works like a farmer’s market. There are over 30 stalls here and they all offer different kinds of fish and seafood dishes made with different preparation techniques, prices and ingredients.
Some vendors will be known for preparing a sumptuous seafood soup, others prepare mouthwatering tacos, etc. You can go around and try assorted recipes and even buy spices, seafood, and salsas here.
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. This literally means, good, pretty, and cheap.
What to Order at El Mercado Del Mar
Walk around the market and see what takes your fancy. Try ordering the buttered
fish fillet, the pan-seared tuna, the king-crab tostadas, or the grilled swordfish.
The amazing red snapper al achiote is also a good choice. If you don’t want to dine at the marketplace, you can also buy fish here to take home and prepare yourself later at your Airbnb.
Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta: Final Thoughts
Have you visited any of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta on this list? What are your thoughts?
Which would you recommend to other travelers? Which were your favorites?
Have a wonderful time exploring Mexico! Hasta Luego!