Located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast and surrounded by the beautiful Bay of Banderas, Puerto Vallarta is full of friendly faces and gorgeous beaches. The small city first gained international attention when it became the love nest for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in 1963. Now in 2017, Puerto Vallarta is a top destination for travelers around the world. Full of incredible places to eat, we’ve narrowed down the best places to dine if you’re interested in the less touristy spots and want to chow down like a local.
Photo by: Danasia Fantastic
1. Gaby’s Restaurant
The food at Gaby’s Restaurant will leave you wanting seconds and thirds. Owned and operated by Chef Julio Cesar Castillon Pérez, he sources his ingredients locally from open air markets in the neighborhood. Born and raised in Puerto Vallarta, his fare could not be anymore authentic to this coastal town. Be sure to try his specialty – the Chiles en Nogada. It’s a poblano pepper stuffed with ground meat, bathed with a nut–almond sauce and Oporto pomegranate seeds. It tastes unbelievable and is the national dish of Puerto Vallarta. While there, be sure to request a shot of the local liquor Raicilla—it’s similar to mezcal but it is distilled and made in the Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco area.
2. Street Tacos
Never underestimate the deliciousness of a taco stand on a street corner. Full of flavor and prepared on the spot, taco stands are all over Puerto Vallarta. The tacos taste incredible and allow you to connect with the locals in a very intimate way. They’re also incredibly affordable and are the perfect thing to eat if you’re on a budget. If you’re obsessed with tacos, consider taking The Street Taco Tour —it’s a great way to explore Puerto Vallarta while eating along the way.
3. La Palapa Restaurant
Located along the water in the Playa Los Muertos district, La Palapa is tropical Mexican cuisine at its finest. The restaurant is gorgeous and the food is an interesting mix of Asian and French elements infused with traditional Mexican dishes. La Palapa was the first restaurant to be opened on the beach in Puerto Vallarta in 1958, and has become a big part of the city’s history.
4. La Tintoque Cocina De La Bahia
La Tintoque is the definition of a modern, gourmet experience. Located at the entrance of Marina Vallarta, the restaurant has a muted, yet striking minimalist aesthetic. Chef Joel Ornelas specializes in a creative menu that changes daily. The dishes at La Tintoque are incredibly unique—like their pumpkin and squid salad with carrot puree, curry and sesame vinaigrette. Their cocktails are also just as incredible as their food.
5. Food Park
Food Park offers a ton of variety and endless mouthwatering options. Featuring three food trucks and eight food containers, you can find everything from burritos to sushi, to hamburgers and waffles. Whether you’re in the mood for a glass of red wine or a margarita, Food Park will have everything your stomach desires. The park offers live music and DJ sets on the weekends, making it perfect for a night out on the town.
This article was produced in cooperation with the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board.