24 Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

pv food

If you’re planning a trip to PV, I’m sure you want to know where and what to eat! In this post, I’m going to share my thoughts on the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. I’ve been several times because I have a good friend who lives there. She knows the cuisine inside out so this really helped me put together this massive guide!

Read next: 35 best things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Food in Puerto Vallarta

As a well-renowned tourist city with a large population of expats (mainly American and Canadian), it’s little surprise there are lots of great restaurants in PV including upmarket, international, and vegan ones.

As you’d expect from a city by the sea, there’s an abundance of fresh seafood in Vallarta. I had a lot of tasty fish tacos although I’d say the restaurants in La Paz, Baja California have the edge! But if you only have time for PV during your Mexico trip, you won’t be disappointed by the seafood.

I was happily surprised by the amount of street food in PV serving typical dishes from Jalisco. It may be a touristic city but it hasn’t lost its authenticity in this sense. The prices are as affordable as you’d expect from Mexican street food, so budget travelers will be happy if they’re wondering where to eat in Puerto Vallarta on a budget!

The best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

I’m going to start with some nice, sit-down restaurants where you can have an atmospheric dinner and try delicious Mexican food. If you’re new to Mexico and don’t want to dive head-first into street tacos, these are great options.

If you DO want to dive head-first into street tacos, keep reading! I have plenty coming up for ya…

Note – the main PV neighborhoods are Zona Romantica (Romantic Quarter), Centro, 5 de Diciembre, and Versalles. I’ve noted the areas below.

Mezcal & Sal, Romantic Quarter

Mezcal y sal restaurants puerto vallarta

Mezcal y Sal is an absolute GEM. Not only do they serve some of the most delicious food in Puerto Vallarta, but it’s so beautiful and well-presented. I was stunned by the look of the ceviche with pink juices, salsa verde, avocado, decorative flowers, and sesame seeds… Luckily it also tasted muy rico! The fish was super fresh and the salsas were a perfect marriage of tangy and creamy.

I also got to try the garlic shrimp tlayuda which was as good as it sounds!

But the real highlight? Maybe the cocktails! Have you ever seen anything as decorative as my cocktail in a mini garden surrounded by fairy lights? Thought not!

There are plenty of options for vegans and vegetarians on the menu, and the staff make sure to check if you have any allergies. It’s clear they really care about their customers.

Given the quality and presentation of the food, it’s much more affordable than you’d expect. Mains cost between 200 and 300 pesos which is normal for touristy restaurants in Puerto Vallarta half as nice. I’m sure they could charge double!

Opening times: 6-11pm, closed Tues & Weds.

2024 update – I returned here and sadly it was not as good. The ceviche was not as pretty and my favorite tlayuda flavor was off the menu. A shame!

Gaby’s Restaurant Bar, Centro

Gaby's Restaurant Bar where to eat puerto vallarta mexico
Sampling mole sauce!

The delicious food and ambient setting of Gaby’s Restaurant Bar gives holiday/treat vibes, yet it’s a family-run restaurant with authentic Mexican dishes. It’s the perfect place for a nice dinner or lunch in PV.

The enchiladas with different mole sauces are delicious. I tried the black mole and the pipian verde made with pumpkin seed. Other highly-rated dishes are the coconut shrimp, fish tacos, and chili relleno.

Side note – I visited Gaby’s as the last stop on a Puerto Vallarta food tour so we just had one enchilada each to sample the moles. Don’t worry, the portions are really generous if you order a main dish at Gaby’s!

The rooftop is a nice place to watch sunset with a cocktail. They also offer cooking classes which I think would be a great way to get acquainted with the local cuisine… And eat a lot of it, of course!

Opening times: 1-10pm, closed Sun.

Bonito Kitchen (Asian cuisine), Romantic Quarter

Bonito Kitchen is a beautiful PV restaurant with a garden in the Romantic Quarter (although there’s another branch in the Tules neighborhood). They serve Asian fusion cuisine with many of my favorite staples like bao buns, ramen, kimchi fried rice, and some creative dishes they’ve come up with like pho dumplings!

They also have tasty desserts (we went with creme brulee – not Asian but undeniably delicious) and a huge range of house cocktails. I went with a Jalisco Martini (mezcal, pineapple, lime, and basil) and my friend went for an unusual apple pie one topped with whipped cream!

Opening times: 5pm-10.30pm daily.

Seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

If you like seafood, you’re going to love the food in Puerto Vallarta. From high-end restaurants serving oysters and ceviche to street stands specializing in cheap and cheerful fish tacos (don’t be put off, it’s safe and delicious!), your budget doesn’t matter.

Don’t miss these seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta…

Mariscos El Guero, Romantic Quarter

This is easily one of the best Puerto Vallarta restaurants based on its quality fish tacos, strong margaritas, lively atmosphere, and amazing street art murals outside! These were commissioned in memory of the late owner who died in 2019, by his wife.

Like the best seafood restaurants, Mariscos El Guero is a lunchtime joint that serves up fresh seafood caught that morning, closing before dinner. The tacos are the star dish with freshly battered fish, shrimp, and marlin.

Other fishes and dishes on the menu include fresh octopus with rice and veggies, fried fish, ceviche, seafood burritos, quesadillas, aguachiles, and cocktails… The savory variety, as well as drinkable cocktails! The margarita was fantastic.

I need to go back and try the flan for dessert because multiple reviews say it’s homemade and the best you’ll ever have!

Opening times: 11am-8pm daily.

Lamara, Versalles

This restaurant is over in the Versailles neighborhood where I was staying at my friend’s place. Although it’s a residential area with few tourist attractions, it’s a pleasant barrio with some of Puerto Vallarta’s best restaurants dotted around the cobbled streets.

Lamara is an amazing seafood restaurant with some of the best ceviche in the city. There’s lots to choose from including raw fish, cooked fish, and even vegan replicas. Fish, shrimp, and tuna are all on the menu. It’s popular with the locals as well as tourists which you know is a good sign.

The portions are really generous and affordable starting from 75 pesos. We got ours to take away and we got SO many tostadas. It was an absolute feast that I was snacking on for the next 2 days!

Everything is well presented with an abundance of creative salsas to choose from. They also do great cocktails. Margs and ceviche, you’re really on vacation now!

Opening times: 12-7pm daily.

Mariscos Cisneros, Romantic Quarter

Mariscos Cisneros seafood

This is another great restaurant in downtown Puerto Vallarta. As well as your classic fish tacos and ceviche tostadas, Mariscos Cisneros some creative, unusual dishes I’d never tried before. With a peaceful courtyard to sit outside, it ticks all the boxes for tasty food and a pleasant dining atmosphere.

I tried the crab enchiladas in a delicious, rich sauce, and the chile relleno taco AKA a large green chili pepper stuffed with seafood and lightly battered, served in a soft corn taco. I’ve had many chile rellenos in my time but usually with meat (or fruit while trying the cuisine in Puebla) rather than seafood. It was bliss!

Whatever you order comes with a trip of house dips: habanero, jalapeno mayo, and three-chili salsa. They were all so good!

Opening times: 11am-8pm, closed Tues.

Marisma Fish Taco, Romantic Quarter

Marisma fish taco

My vegan friend with a corn allergy who can’t eat seafood or tortillas showed me this place… That’s how famous they are, that they were even on her radar! I’m glad that, despite her allergies, she ensured I got to try them. That’s friendship!

Marisma Fish Taco is a casual street food stand with orange stools that you can perch on while you tuck into some of the cheapest food in Puerto Vallarta. You know it’s fresh because you can see the staff grilling and frying fish in front of you.

Dress your tacos up with coleslaw, chopped tomato, onion, and your choice of three salsas… Or all of them! Oh, and not forgetting a tangy dash of lime.

When it comes to fish tacos, grilled fish is obviously healthier but you just can’t beat the signature crunch of a fried fish taco! They also do shrimp tacos, quesadillas, and ceviche tostadas. They’re all around 50 pesos, best washed down with their daily-changing agua frescas (fresh waters).

Fun history – this stand has been here since 1989 and is run just by one woman. What a legend!

Opening times: 10am-6pm daily.

Maria Baja, Romantic Quarter

This is a new 2024 addition to this post because I just took another trip to PV and fell in love with these divine seafood tacos. They might be the best in town!

Maria Baja is a chilled restaurant in the Romantic Quarter of PV. Although it’s a no-frills spot (beside a noisy main road), there’s nothing basic about the food. My friend and I loved the fish and shrimp tacos but the star dish was the fresh tuna tostadas; the fish was so soft and fresh.

We also tried the fish pastor (recreating popular tacos al pastor, a popular Mexico City street food) but this wasn’t our favorite.

Most tacos cost 50 pesos apart from the poke bowls which cost 200 pesos. The waiter recommended these to us as his favorite dish but we were in the mood for tacos (my eternal mode) so if you try the bowls, let me know how they are in the comments.

Don’t miss the salsas! When you sit down, a rack of about 10 will be placed on your table. They’re varying degrees of spicy with flavors including mango and red fruits. I think sampling them was the highlight of this meal!

Opening times: 10.30am-6pm daily.

Street food restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

Although the restaurants above are all fantastic places to eat in Puerto Vallarta, it’s the Mexican street food that really has my heart! When I first traveled around Mexico in 2019, I was blown away by the wide variety of street food dishes, not to mention the crazy salsas! It’s at least part of the reason I never left.

Also, I like that the street food is so accessible. Travel is a privilege but it doesn’t need to be overly expensive. If you only have $2 for dinner, I got you!

Taqueria El Cunado, Romantic Quarter

Taqueria El Cunado casual restaurant puerto vallarta

During my first day in town, I visited the local gem that is Taqueria El Cunado. As the oldest taco stand in the city, open since 1968, it’s a real institution where locals have been grabbing lunch for years. In even better news, it’s right by the beach!

The tortillas are cooked with the meat to soak up its juices, making every bite SO rich and flavorsome. Make sure to get your tacos ‘con todo’ with beans and fried onion. I’m used to my tacos in Mexico City with cilantro and raw, chopped onion so I enjoyed this different preparation style (especially as I’m a cilantro hater!).

Expect to pay around 30 pesos a taco. It’s not cheap compared to other destinations in Mexico but, for beachside PV, it’s a bargain!

Panchos Takos, Romantic Quarter

It’s nothing fancy but you can’t talk about the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta without mentioning Panchos! This late-night taco joint is open from 4pm but really gets going after 9pm AKA Mexican dinner time.

In busy periods, you might be waiting up to an hour for tacos… Is it worth it? Panchos fans would say yes! The al pastor and bistec tacos are pretty juicy, I can’t lie!

Opening times: 4pm-11.30pm.

Birria Robles , Romantic Quarter

birria street food restuarants puerto vallarta

This is one of my all-time favorite places to eat in Puerto Vallarta! Birria is one of the best Mexican dishes, in my opinion, and actually originates here in the state of Jalisco. So, really, just by enjoying this delicious food, you’re being cultural! 😉

Although other types of meat are now also used to make birria, Birrieria Robles follow the original recipe using rich, succulent goat meat. The trimmings include purple onion, tangy mango salsa, and of course, chili peppers! The flavors all work perfectly together.

This modest Puerto Vallarta restaurant has been serving for 40 years! I hope they don’t stop anytime soon.

Opening times: 7.30am-1pm. Get them before they’re gone!

Tacos de Cabeza el Chulo, Romantic Quarter

Cabeza el Chulo is to locals what Panchos is to tourists: a no-frills, late-night joint serving tacos that people are almost religious about.

If you speak a bit of Spanish, you’ll know that cabeza means head. These tacos indeed come from the head of a cow which is a popular variety in Mexico. Some tourists may not be so enamored with this idea but, the way I see it, it’s less wasteful… And very tasty!

Opening times: 6.30pm-1am; closed Weds.

Agua de Cebada, Romantic Quarter

After eating all the amazing food in Puerto Vallarta, wash it down with the sweetest, most delicious drinks in town. Agua de Cebada is a street stand serving agua frescas (‘fresh waters’) in flavors like pineapple, passionfruit, and guava. They’ve been around for more than 40 years!

Locate them by finding their colorful buckets on across the street from Mundo de Cristal homeware store. If you can’t decide on a flavor, they’ll give you samples.

Brunch & cafes in Puerto Vallarta

A very important topic! There are lots of great places to eat in Puerto Vallarta for breakfast and brunch. A couple of my favorite breakfast restaurants in Puerto Vallarta are…

Macareno, Romantic Quarter

Macareno restaurant puerto vallarta
Chilaquiles and matcha smoothie

Macareno is a cute, relaxed cafe in the Romantic Quarter with hipster-style brick walls and lots of indoor plants. They serve affordable, delicious Mexican brekkie dishes like chilaquiles, enchiladas, and egg dishes.

The presentation is great and everything looks as colourful and delicious as it tastes. The matcha banana smoothie with coconut was divine. If you’re a coffee snob, there are better places: Macareno don’t do espresso-style coffee, just cafe ola and cold brew. Don’t worry, I have a place for that coming up next…

Opening times: 9am-3.30pm, closed Mondays.

Puerto Cafe, Centro

Puerto Cafe is where you can guarantee an excellent cup of coffee. Just a five-minute walk from the beach, this simple cafe serves the best espresso-based drinks I’ve found in PV. I had the perfect flat white but there’s also cold brew, chai, and the like.

The brunch and lunch dishes are tasty, also! They sell their own beans for you to take home.

Opening times: 8am-7pm (5pm on Sundays).

Miscelanea, Versalles

This is a lovely restaurant in Puerto Vallarta’s Versalles neighborhood, a 10-minute drive from Centro (around 80 pesos by Uber). For chilaquiles this good, I’d say it’s easily worth the journey!

Miscelanea is a clean, minimalistic cafe with lots of plants, natural light, and an overall stylish vibe. Not only is it a cool place to hang out, but the food is just as well presented – and tasty! The French toast, smoothie bowls, and cinnamon rolls are all worth a mention, but I think the chilaquiles are the star dish.

There was an extra reason I loved my chilaquiles here: it was my first serving in 2.5 years after living in Mexico in early 2020, going home to the UK for turbulent world reasons, and getting stuck there for a while. FYI, the UK is a chilaquiles-free zone so I was SO happy to return to Mexico and have them again here!

The coffee is also fab at Miscelenea; I went for an iced latte.

Opening times: 8am-3pm, closed Weds.

Note – if you go down the coast to Sayulita, they have a branch there, too. Read my guide to the best restaurants in Sayulita, and my guide to what to do in Sayulita.

Ono Smoothie Bowls & Cafe, Romantic Quarter

If you’re looking for a light, healthy brunch in PV, ONO is it! They specialize in smoothie bowls and other plant-based dishes like avo toast. I can vouch for the Purple Rain bowl with blueberries, blackberries, acai berries, banana, honey, and blue spirulina, topped with coconut, mango, and granola.

There are several other bowls to choose from, all in the 120-170 peso range, or you can have them as smoothies instead for around 100 pesos.

The only downsides of this Puerto Vallarta restaurant? The coffee’s not great. Also, there’s no table service so you have to line up and, when I visited, I was waiting in line for almost 15 minutes.

Café Versalles 

Cafe versalles

Also unsurprisingly in the Versalles neighborhood, this is another cute cafe for quality food in Puerto Vallarta. Café Versalles is a cute, unassuming spot with a few tables and hearty yet affordable breakfast, brunch, and lunch dishes such as chilaquiles, paninis, bagels, and salmon toast.

Opening times: 8am-6pm, closed Sun.

Cafe La Ventana, Centro

A small but decent place to grab coffee, baked goods, and a quick sandwich, just off the Malecon in Zona Centro. As well as coffee, they do all your classic refreshing frappes. My only complaint about Cafe La Ventana is that everything is served in plastic, even to drink in.

Opening times: 7am-11pm.

Casita & Garden, Romantic Quarter

We spotted this very cute restaurant in Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Quarter which brands itself a ‘wine and sake experience’. Given that it was 10am, we weren’t in the market for either but we popped in for quality cafe in the beautiful garden.

We noticed Casita & Garden is also lively in the evenings with live music playing in the garden. Although we didn’t have a whole meal here, the menu looks great with international cuisine and cheese & meat platters, plus wood-fired pizza on select nights. The reviews are great, especially those mentioning wine and sake-tasting flights!

Vallarta Chocolate Factory, Centro

The history of chocolate in Mexico goes back more than 2,000 years, though it began life as a bitter drinking chocolate made with water. You can still sample it in a similar style, as well as the modern way, with a lot of milk and sugar!

Vallarta Chocolate Factory is a great place to sample all kinds of flavored artisan chocolates. Although I just had a tequila one (which was delish, by the way), I imagine you could spend several hours here working your way through the counter.

Opening times: 10am-8pm (until 5pm on Weds & Sun).

Vegan restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

As I mentioned, I was visiting my vegan friend who lives in PV so I ended up eating some amazing meat-free food, something I’m always game for.

From tacos and other Mexican classics to brunch and international fare, here are a few of the best places for veggies to eat in Puerto Vallarta…

Te Quiero Verde, Romantic Quarter

Te Quiero Verde is THE place to try amazing Mexican tacos, sin carne! They do a fantastic job of recreating the textures and flavors of Mexican tacos (and I’m kinda an expert on the real deal!).

Choose from al pastor (shawarma meat), suadero (pork), alambre (beef with bell pepper and onion), bistec (beef), and milanesca (fried cutlets) made with wheat (Seitan), soya, or veggies. Opt for the ‘meats’ served in tacos (25 pesos), tortas (90 pesos), and gringas (large wheat flour tacos, 60 pesos).

I was amazed by the realistic look and texture of the cheese which apparently is made from potato. It’s well worth the 5 pesos to add it to your meal!

Opening times: 12.30-8.30pm, closed Sundays.

The Green Place, 5 de Diciembre area

The green place

The Green Place is easily one of the best vegan restaurants in Puerto Vallarta with fantastic, hearty, healthy brunch dishes. After the brekkie burrito with tofu scramble and a delicious dipping sauce, I was stuffed for hours! 

Other highly rated dishes are the chilaquiles and pancakes. The iced matcha oat milk latte was incredible. I hate it when matcha is made too sweet and sugary – this was perfect! 

As you can see from the photos, it’s a lovely cafe with beautiful murals. I loved the funky one of Frida Kahlo and a leopard. There’s also a small shop selling jewelry and sustainable products.

Opening times: 9am-9.30pm, closed Sundays.

Veggitalia, Romantic Quarter

Veggitalia serve the best veggie Italian food in Puerto Vallarta. It was the perfect stop when I was craving something healthy. I had the pear and walnut salad with goat’s cheese, but if you want something more indulgent, there’s pizza and pasta (gluten-free available) with gourmet combos like zucchini and gorgonzola.

Don’t miss the tiramisu for dessert!

My friend who is vegan AND gluten-free can vouch highly for this Puerto Vallarta restaurant. What better stamp of approval?

Opening times: 1-11pm (until 9pm on Sun); closed Mon.

Puerto Vallarta food tours

I took an amazing tour with Puerto Vallarta Food Tours which is how I discovered many of the PV restaurants and street food joints mentioned above.

PV Food Tours are run by awesome, knowledgeable locals who know the food scene inside out! We visited a bunch of places and tried SO many different things. I took the Original Downtown Tour but there are plenty of options including a vegan tour, a tour by bike, and one of the Versalles neighborhood. Tours start from $50 and last around 3.5 hours.

2 thoughts on “24 Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *