Puerto Vallarta Dining, Bars and Pubs
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Discover places to eat, local hot spots, bars and pubs in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Puerto Vallarta is a city rich with history and an integral part of that stems from its cuisine. A few hundred years ago, as the city was just beginning, inhabitants didn't have the luxury of dining at four-star restaurants. Residents had to rely on their own knowledge and experience in order to feed their families. Through trial and error, a great number of the recipes that Puerto Vallarta cherishes today were created. Many of those same recipes have been handed down from one relative to the next, for generations. Some families have taken their prized recipes and opened restaurants. Today, many share them with locals and tourists alike.
Today, finding a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta is easy. The only foreseeable problem is which restaurant to choose. There are the typical chains and fast food restaurants such as McDonald's, Subway, Burger King, KFC and Taco Bell, if that's what you're in the mood for. Places like Planet Hollywood and the Hard Rock Café are around for those who want to drink in a familiar environment. There is also a wide variety of international restaurants and bars in the city—German, Italian, American, Asian, South American and Moroccan are just of few of the types you can expect to find. There are also the more regionalized Mexican restaurants and taverns that seem, logically, to be the biggest draw.
Northern Puerto Vallarta North of the downtown area and the Cuale River are a number of popular eateries and taverns. Abadia Basso (on Hildago) is one of the area's most romantic and frequently visited restaurants. The Mezza Luna (also on Hildago) is Vallarta's premier Italian restaurant. If you head a little closer to the downtown area, you're bound to find Chez Elena (on Matamoros); the best time to dine here is in the evening, when the garden is illuminated. On Paseo Diaz Ordaz there are a couple of tasty choices: for burgers and traditional Mexican cuisine in a casual atmosphere, there's Cheeseburger in Paradise; Old-World Italian cuisine can be found at La Dolce Vita. Over on Morelos is Mickey's No Name Café, the areas best BBQ hands down; be prepared for a wait here regardless of when you arrive.
The Downtown Area In the downtown district choices include hip nouveau eateries and small out of the way places. One of the more trendy places to dine is Café des Artistes (on Guadalupe Sanchez). Its combination of French cuisine and original artwork creates a serene atmosphere that is unmatched anywhere else in town. International fare has become quite the trend amongst Puerto Vallarta's restaurant community, and Cafe Maximilian (on Olas Altas) is no exception. Memo's Casa de Hotcakes (on Basilio Badillo) is where virtually everyone in Puerto Vallarta goes for breakfast, so there's always a wait to get in. Vegetarians will enjoy Papaya 3 (on Abasolo) serving only 100% all-natural cuisine. For some truly authentic Mexican cuisine there's only one place to go downtown, Café Olla (on Basilio Badillo). Be prepared for a wait, as it does not accept reservations.
Southern Puerto Vallarta To the south of the downtown area is Olas Altas, also known as “Restaurant Row.” It is the most heavily visited street in south Puerto Vallarta, due mainly to the sheer number of restaurants located there. Some of the eateries in this area include Chianti's, where fresh homemade pasta is always the house specialty. Just down the road, party-goers will find Daiquiri Dick's, renowned for its frozen daiquiris and Sunday brunch. Papaya 3, the vegetarian eatery, has a second location on this street. Another popular stop is Rosie's at Santa Barbara, well known throughout the city for its authentic American-style cuisine. Located just a short walk from Olas Atlas is Café Frankfurt (on Basilio Badillo). The German cuisine and open-air dining experience is what customers come here for.
Banderas Bay Scenic views, spectacular sunsets and an abundance of romantic intentions are what you can expect if dining along the Banderas Bay. Bombo's (on Matamoros) has a beautiful view of the bay and is perfect for those interested in gourmet cuisine and a romantic interlude for two. Spectacular sunsets and jazz music at El Manglar (inside the Hotel Buenaventura) is just what the love doctor ordered. Tropical plants and an impressive waterfall surround you at El Palomar (on Aguacuate). International cuisine with a Mediterranean flare is the specialty of the house at Coco's Tropical (on Olas Altas).
Cuale River Area If you enjoy dining with a view, there are plenty of places to choose from along the Cuale River. Cuiza (on Isla Rio Cuale) is a popular spot for couples, especially those with marriage on their minds. If you enjoy dining in an open-air restaurant that overlooks the river, Caruso's (on Insurgentes) is your best bet. Avid jazz enthusiasts can often be found dining at Le Bistro Jazz (on East Bridge). An enchanting spot for two is Las Brisas (on Calle Aquiles Serdán), a tree-house restaurant that overlooks the “Gringo Gulch.”
One last bit of advice—If you're having a hard time deciding, ask the hotel management where you're staying or one of the local store owners. Do not ask the cabdrivers; many of them get paid to recommend specific restaurants.
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