Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular expat destinations in Mexico from folks all around the world, and as a result, is an excellent place to find a fusion of both international cuisine and authentic local Mexican food. My husband and I spent three months living in Puerto Vallarta, and during that time ate out nearly every day so that we could explore the local cuisine and come up with this list of the top restaurants and places to eat in Puerto Vallarta! Provecho! (enjoy)!
I’m going to break it down by neighborhood; downtown Puerto Vallarta (PV for short), and the foodie suburb of Versalles, just a 10-minute drive North of the downtown city center. First I’ll list the top restaurants to eat in Puerto Vallarta, and below I’ll go into more detail for the places we have personally eaten at. Others we haven’t yet tried, but I’ve included them because they’re all rated 4.5 or higher on Google reviews and are also recommended by our local friends and expats.
Puerto Vallarta (along with many other Mexican cities), is unique in that nearly all eateries, restaurants and cafes have outdoor seating, and many even have beautiful rooftop terraces from which to watch the sunset. During our three months eating in Puerto Vallarta, we didn’t even scratch the surface of all the terrific foodie options to choose from! If you have visited or lived in Puerto Vallarta, I’d love to know some of your favorite places to eat!
- Oregano Caribbean Cuisine
- La Gallega (Spanish tapas)
- Miscelanea Cafe
- Apostolos Greek Food (Mykonos Greek Restaurant)
- La Matona (tacos – fun fact: matona means bully in Spanish – probably because the tacos are better than anywhere else, so they’re the bullies of tacos? lol)
- Bonito Kitchen (Asian, ramen, cocktails)
- Natureza Cafe (great for breakfast)
- Organic Select (small grocer selling organic produce and products, seeds, etc.)
- Barra y Leña (Mexican, cocktails)
- Cha (good for breakfast)
- Mexico Latte (good for breakfast)
- Salud Superfood (good for breakfast)
- La Casa de Hugo (Mezcaleria bar)
DOWNTOWN PUERTO VALLARTA
- Makal (authentic regional Mexican cuisine)
- The Iguana Restaurant & Tequila Bar at Casa Kimberly
- Joe Jack’s Fish Shack (casual seafood & bar)
- Bonito Kitchen (Asian, ramen, cocktails)
- Cafe des Artistes (French, beautiful setting, live pianist)
- Xocodiva (Belgium hand-made truffles using local ingredients for the fillings)
- Vegan Ramen Mei
- No Se Nada (Mexican)
- River Cafe
- La Hacienda de Carlota
- Poblano’s Cucina Mexicana
- Playa Detox Health & Juice Bar (Italian vegan / vegetarian)
- Puerto Cafe (coffee)
- The Green Place (vegan)
- La Palapa (Mexican – sit on the beach with your toes in the sand)
Oregano Caribbean Cuisine
Hands down the best Caribbean cuisine in Puerto Vallarta. This place has vibrantly colorful wall art, which is matched by the service of the staff and Chef Graciela, a beautiful woman from Curacao! They even have a pet pot bellied pig named Taco, who roams the premises, his curly tail constantly wagging. Taco lovingly accepts food whilst snorting and nudging your hand with his adorable wet nose. Every time we come into this restaurant, it’s like coming home to family; we hug all the waitstaff, the bartender and the Chef, and they know us by name.
Here’s an adorable video of Taco, their pet pig (whom, by the way, will NEVER become pork on your plate, just for the record. He is purely a mascota (pet) and immensely loved by everyone.)
Right next door to Caribbean Oregano restaurant, is a hidden gem owned by a man from Galicia named Agustin. He will immediately greet you warmly and welcome you inside. They make outstanding cocktails and serve authentic Spanish cuisine from the Galicia region. Be sure to try their tostada con pulpo (octopus toast.) This is one of our favorite Friday night spots to just chill, away from the crowds and feel a bit more like a local.
This adorable cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating and THE BEST COFFEE and specialty drinks. You’ll find healthy food options, such as smoothies and bowls. They also have a location in Sayulita, where we go every weekend for a surf and some beach time.
Apostolos (Restaurante Mykonos Cocina Griega)
Greece holds a very special place in my heart, because Sasha proposed to me on the island of Crete, and we got married there in 2018. We have spent over a month in Greece, both on the island and on the mainland, so our standards for authentic Greek food are high, and Apostolos did not disappoint! Our favorite part of this restaurant is the Chef (Apostolos), who is such a classic Greek man with great hospitality and delicious food. When you need a break from Mexican food and want a taste of Greece, this is the spot!
This is our favorite local spot for delicious, cheap tacos. We visited once on Valentine’s Day and they made a huge matona (like an open faced taco) in the shape of a heart!
Ramen, Asian fusion with excellent cocktails! (Are you starting to notice a trend of delicious cocktails all over Mexico?)
Great coffee (I love their mocha made with a special chocolate sauce made in-house.) Also a good place for sandwiches, especially if you need it for takeaway for a daytime adventure. We picked up some sandwiches for takeaway on the way to the airport to fly to Oaxaca.
DOWNTOWN PUERTO VALLARTA
Makal was one of the foodie highlights of our entire time living in Mexico. Each Wednesday they bring in a rotating chef, who puts together a surprise five-course plated meal. It was absolutely divine. They have creative unique cocktails (including tuba, a fermented coconut milk beverage served with small pieces of apple and cantaloupe). Everything was so flavorful and the portions were perfect.
The Iguana Restaurant & Tequila Bar at Casa Kimberly
Casa Kimberly Hotel is the former home of famous actress, Elizabeth Taylor. The original owners had a daughter named Kimberly, and they never changed the name. This is probably the most beautiful place to eat in Puerto Vallarta with gorgeous views for sunset and a 12-person professional mariachi band to serenade you.
**FUN FACT** – the state of Jalisco (where Puerto Vallarta is located), is the birthplace of mariachi!
Joe Jack’s Fish Shack
Joe Jack’s is far from a “shack”! The owner is originally from the U.S. and brings his love of seafood to this happening place right across from Margaritaville. Delicious cocktails and great fresh seafood with an outdoor upstairs terrace great for people watching!
This is the sister restaurant of the Bonito Kitchen in Versalles, but they’ve got a slightly different menu and only serve ramen on certain days of the week. The location is prime – right on the river (Rio Cuale) across from Gringo Gulch and the local craft markets. The restaurant is part of the Joint Coworking Hotel. One day we rented a private office from the coworking space to attend a FIRE (Financially Independent Retire Early) event, and enjoyed a nice lunch at Bonito Kitchen. Try their pork belly dumplings, and their limonada con mora azul y lavanda (lavender-blueberry lemonade). Everything is made in house, including their specialty coffee and chai beverages.
Cafe de Artistes
This space is romantic and feels as though you’re enveloped by a jungle. The restaurant is enormous and has both indoor and outdoor seating on a layered-leveled patio. Here you’ll experience fine dining cuisine made by an acclaimed chef who studied in both France and Mexico. Enjoy a night of music by a live classical pianist (whom I got to sing with!)
Xocodiva has several locations, perfect for when that chocolate craving hits! These are hand-made chocolate truffles using Belgium chocolate and local ingredients to make the fillings. The maracuya (passion fruit) is my favorite.
Vegan Ramen Mei
Located inside a hip hostel; try their home made ginger lemonade, made from real fresh ginger.
This should give you a good sense of the best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta. I’d love to know some of your favorites!
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