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20 Absolute BEST Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

20 Absolute BEST Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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Without a doubt, one of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta is to enjoy the delicious cuisine from all over the world. Puerto Vallarta is known for its huge selection of top-rated restaurants offering mouth-watering food.

From small taco stands to luxury restaurants on the water, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. There’s every type of food for every budget in this vibrant coastal city!

However, with so many choices, it can be hard to decide exactly where to go – there are hundreds of restaurants to choose from in Puerto Vallarta!

Of course, you could search for hours on TripAdvisor, but there are plenty of places well-off the typical tourist trail you need to try. Places, you won’t find easily online. Bailey and I are lucky in the sense that we’ve spent plenty of time in Puerto Vallarta over the last couple of years, and in that time, we’ve eaten at a ton of restaurants. We’ve found our own “hidden gems”, and even explored suggestions from our local friends.

One of our favorite things about Puerto Vallarta is the food!

So, in this blog, I’ll share my 20 favorite restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, covering all price ranges and many different cuisines. That way, you can eat your way around the city just as we have!

Don’t have time to read the full article? If you’re a seafood lover, you have to try Mariscos Cisneros. This hidden gem has a stand out front if you’re in the mood for a quick fish taco on the go, or you can dine inside where you can relax and enjoy some of the freshest (and most affordable) seafood in Puerto Vallarta.

The BEST Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

1. Maria Baja

Tacos at Maria Baja
The fish tacos at Maria Baja!
  • Location: Just outside the main area of La Zona Romantica. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: 35 MXN for a taco, larger meals start from 135 MXN
  • Come here for: Affordable and fresh seafood
  • Takes reservations: No

Seafood in Puerto Vallarta doesn’t have to be expensive, and Maria Baja is the best example of that. This top-reviewed restaurant is one of my favorites, and just about everyone who visits agrees.

Tucked away off the busy streets of the Romantic Zone, Maria Baja serves some of the best fish tacos in Puerto Vallarta. Fresh, crispy, and delicious!

On top of that, you can pick up a range of cheap eats such as seafood tostadas, burritos, and healthy poke bowls.

A taco at Maria Baja costs around 35 MXN, burritos 135 MXN, and the poke bowl is only 160 MXN! For the quality and taste of the food, these are ridiculously low prices!

This place is the perfect restaurant to kick off this list and a must-visit place to eat in Puerto Vallarta!

2. La Iguana

Two people pose as a couple at La Iguana, Puerto Vallarta
Some photos at sunset before our meal!
  • Location: Up on a hill above Centro. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: 500+ MXN for a main dish
  • Come here for: The views and a lovely fine-dining experience in the famous Casa Kimberly
  • Takes reservations: Yes. You should make a reservation here or you might not get a table.

If you love to enjoy a beautiful meal out while on holiday, then a visit to La Iguana restaurant is a must.

This gorgeous restaurant overlooks Banderas Bay and serves up delicious contemporary Mexican food. It’s a fine-dining experience, and the attention to detail is unmatched by other restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

On top of that, La Iguana is located in the old house of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (Casa Kimberly) – two famous actors you may already know. The restaurant’s architecture is stunning and a must-see attraction all on its own.

The restaurant is tucked away off the busy streets in central Puerto Vallarta, a few blocks back from the Malecon. Reservations are essential at La Iguana and make sure to ask for a table with a view.

Steak at La Iguana Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
The steak was out of this world!

Meals at La Iguana cost around 500+ MXN, and cocktails are around 230 MXN. Although not cheap for Puerto Vallarta standards, you’re guaranteed a delicious meal and fantastic service. They also have an extensive wine list as well as tequila if you fancy trying some amazing tequila while in Puerto Vallarta.

We stuck to cocktails and a bottle of wine when we visited, but other tables around us were ordering some very fancy bottles of tequila.

You can also stay in the same building as the restaurant at the luxurious Casa Kimberly hotel. Unfortunately, there are only nine luxury suites available, so be sure to book in advance!

Note: La Iguana is open to the public for dinner service only from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Only guests of the hotel can dine here for lunch.

3. Panchos Takos

Al Pastor tacos at Panchos Tacos
Al Pastor tacos at Panchos Tacos!
  • Location: On the street Basilio Badillo in the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: 20 MXN for one taco, around 80 MXN for a whole dish
  • Come here for: Al Pastor tacos with cheese!
  • Takes reservations: No. Expect to wait in line on the street to eat here.

I’ve had a lot of great Al Pastor tacos in my time – including at the first-ever Al Pastor tacos restaurant in Mexico City. However, there is one place in Puerto Vallarta’s Romantic Zone that just about trumps them all.

Panchos Takos (no, “takos” is not a typo, that’s actually the name of the place) is a small taco joint that sells huge Al Pastor tacos. If you’ve ever walked past, you probably noticed the huge line out the door that’s there for a good reason. The tacos are that good.

A taco at Panchos will cost you around 20 MXN, but they’re loaded with meat. In fact, I usually only eat three, and Bailey eats two. So it’s a pretty cheap place to enjoy dinner!

Even if you aren’t staying in the Romantic Zone, Panchos Takos is worth the taxi or Uber ride there. Trust me!

Did you know: Al Pastor tacos are a traditional type of taco in Mexico? They are made with pork that is cooked on a rotating spit (kind of like a donair.) They are usually served in small tortillas with grilled pineapple as well as fresh cilantro and onion. Oh, and a variety of salsas!

4. Martini en Fuego Grill Bar

Martini en Fuego Grill Bar tuna steak
The tuna steak at Martini en Fuego Grill Bar! Photo credit: Martini en Fuego Grill Bar
  • Location: The heart of the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 250 MXN for a main dish
  • Come here for: Creative seafood dishes by a passionate chef
  • Takes reservations: Yes, but they aren’t necessary.

Although you can get cheap seafood in the form of tacos and tostadas, you’ll need to visit a more upscale restaurant if you want bigger plates. One of the best places is Martini en Fuego Grill Bar.

This small restaurant doesn’t have a fancy location, but as you’ll find out with this list, most of the best food in Puerto Vallarta isn’t from the restaurants on the beach.

Martini en Fuego Grill Bar serves up delicious seafood plates at affordable prices. Some of my favorites are the bacon-wrapped shrimp, tuna steak, whole fish, and (if they have it) the lobster special for two.

Another thing I love about this Puerto Vallarta restaurant is the chef/owner! Robert is always around the restaurant making sure your meal is perfect, and his smile is contagious. You can tell he pours his heart and soul into the restaurant, and that shows when the meals come out!

A meal at Martini en Fuego Grill Bar costs around 250 MXN.

5. Tuna Azul

Moutaditos de Atun at Tuna Azul
The Moutaditos de Atun at Tuna Azul!
  • Location: Calle Francisca Rodriguez in the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 200 MXN for a main dish
  • Come here for: A street view without the hassle of being at street-level, and the fresh tuna
  • Takes reservations: No

Another seafood restaurant with delicious food is Tuna Azul. However, I don’t come to Tuna Azul to eat traditional dishes you can find all over Puerto Vallarta. I come for the Moutaditos de Atun.

This specialty dish from Tuna Azul is made of cubed raw tuna and avocado. It’s fresh, healthy, and full of flavor. The portion size is also generous, and you’ll enjoy a nice amount of fresh Mexican tuna. On top of that, their lobster tacos are another favorite of mine.

woman drinking a large margarita at Tuna Azul restaurant in Puerto Vallarta
They have great margaritas too!

Overall, Tuna Azul is a top contender when it comes to the best seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta! Their upstairs location means you can eat your meal in peace in one of the busiest areas of Puerto Vallarta. It’s a people watcher’s dream!

The average cost of a meal at Tuna Azul is 200 MXN.

6. Serranos Meat House

Steak at Serranos in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Doesn’t that steak look go!? Photo credit: Serranos
  • Location: In the Romantic Zone, near the bridge on the Puerto Vallarta Malecon. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: 600 MXN for a steak, around 100 MXN for breakfast
  • Come here for: 
  • Takes reservations: Yes. Not required but I’d recommend making a reservation for dinner just to be safe.

I don’t often buy steak in Latin America. However, at Serranos Meat House in Puerto Vallarta, you can get yourself an A+ steak that will challenge your favorite place back home.

Serranos understands how visitors enjoy steak and cook them perfectly. My favorite is the 14 oz New York, cooked medium. Although 560 MXN, you really need to pay a little more if you want a good quality steak in Puerto Vallarta. However, there are plenty of other choices, including a 14 oz rib-eye and even a 1 kg (2.2 lb) tomahawk steak!

Although a steak restaurant, Bailey’s favorite dish is the clam chowder, she raves about it, and as a soup connoisseur, that’s saying something!

Breakfast at Serranos, Puerto Vallarta
The pesto omelet is one of their best!

We also love Serranos for breakfast. It’s surprisingly cheap and comparable to other places around town but once again, the food is out of this world! We both always get the pesto omelet with goat cheese. It’s so good!

The average cost of a steak at Serrano’s is 600 MXN and other mains are around 250 MXN. At breakfast, expect to pay around 100 MXN per dish.

7. Los Muertos Brewing

Los Muertos Brewing pizza
If you love pizza, you’ll love Los Muertos Brewing!
  • Location: In the heart of the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 200 MXN for a main dish or pizza
  • Come here for: Pizza and craft beer
  • Takes reservations: Not typically.

Although I love Mexican food, sometimes I just want that sweet taste of home – especially on longer visits. So the best place to go for the pub food you love back home is without a doubt, Los Muertos Brewing.

Not only does this craft brewery serve top-notch craft beer, but the food is amazing. Think huge pizzas, burgers, and even spinach dip! Their specialty is pizza, and my favorite is the “La Patrona.” The combination of sundried tomatoes, goat cheese, spinach, and bacon is a match made in heaven.

Despite the pizzas being as large as the table, they only cost 230 MXN each. One pizza will easily feed two to four people!

As for beer, they have so much to choose from. Great IPA’s, lagers, pilsners and pale ales!

The atmosphere here is relaxed. They have TVs that play sports from around the globe.

Related Read: The only other place I’ve tried comparable pizza in Mexico was while exploring all the best things to do in Sayulita!

8. Margarita Grill

Salad at Margarita Grill
The Cesar salad is amazing but so is the rest of the menu!
  • Location: In the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 250 MXN for a main dish
  • Come here for: A varied menu, live music, and delicious margaritas
  • Takes reservations: No.

Margarita Grill is one of the most lively bars and restaurants in the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta – they have live music almost every night. However, what surprised me the most about Margarita Grill was the quality of the food.

They have a rather general menu made up of classics as well as typical Western food. I love their cheese dip with chorizo. It’s the perfect appetizer to enjoy with a cocktail or beer. If you love pasta, the carbonara is one of the best in Puerto Vallarta, and when I’m after something healthy, I get the prawn or chicken caesar salad.

waiter making guacamole at the Margarita Grill in Puerto Vallarta
At the Margarita Grill, your server will make the guacamole and salsa right in front of you to show how fresh it is!

They also serve spectacular steak, tacos, and burgers. It’s basically a mix of everything, but they don’t skip on quality.

Even if you’re not super hungry, come for the cocktails, beer, salsa, and guacamole (which they make right in front of you!) The salsa is also free if you order main dishes – bonus!

The average cost of a meal at Margarita Grill is 250 MXN.

9. El Santo Taco

A tray of tacos at El Santos Tacos
The best place to share a meal with friends!
  • Location: In the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: 25 MXN for one taco
  • Come here for: Huge taco platters to share with a group
  • Takes reservations: Not usually.

If you’re traveling in a large group or just want to try a variety of tacos, then you should visit El Santo Taco for dinner.

They specialize in all things tacos, from seafood to al pastor. The best part is, they have great deals by combining tacos with beer. In fact, you can get 15 tacos and five beers for around 450 MXN. These combinations start at a ten-taco deal (with four beers) and go all the way up to 30 tacos.

man sitting in el-santo-restaurant-courtyard
You won’t see it from the street, but the courtyard at El Sant is really nice!

When I have friends come to visit Puerto Vallarta, I take them here to drink and enjoy a large plate of different tacos to find their favorite. The restaurant has a beautiful courtyard hidden from the street, so it’s perfect!

El Santos is also family-owned and operated, and I’ve met the entire family during my visits, from grandfather to grandson. It’s a great place to eat and support!

The average price of a taco at El Santos is only 25 MXN.

Related Read: Check out the best things to do in San Pancho!

10. Restaurante Fredy’s Tucan Puerto Vallarta

Eggs at Fredy's Tucan Puerto Vallarta
Yum!
  • Location: The Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 130 MXN for breakfast
  • Come here for: 
  • Takes reservations: 

I’ve mentioned a lot of great restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for dinner, but what about the most important meal of the day?!

Fredy’s Tucan Puerto Vallarta is my favorite breakfast spot in the Romantic Zone. There is one main reason this place usually has a line out the door, and that’s the food.

Not only does this Puerto Vallarta restaurant just get what makes a good breakfast, but they bake a lot of their bread and treats in-house. On top of that, their service is impeccable, making Fredy’s a friendly and fun place to visit.

Fredy's Tucan Puerto Vallarta
Cheers!

The eggs benedict is my favorite – their hollandaise is delicious! But I also come for the two-for-one mimosas!

Fredy’s Tucan Puerto Vallarta is only open from breakfast and lunch until 2:45 pm and on weekends, expect to line up out the door.

The average breakfast meal at Fredy’s Tucan Puerto Vallarta costs 130 MXN.

Hot Tip: Not many restaurants in Puerto Vallarta have air conditioning, but Freddy’s does! So if you want to escape the heat during the hottest part of the day, this could be your place to eat!

11. Archie’s Wok

Fish at Archie's Wok
The mix of mango salad on top of the fish is delicious!
  • Location: The Romantic Zone, just steps from the beach. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 250 MXN per main dish
  • Come here for: Asian fusion cuisine in a quaint restaurant
  • Takes reservations: Yes, but generally not required.

One of the things I love so much about Puerto Vallarta is the diversity of cultures and food. It’s that diversity that brings delicious food from all over the world to this Mexican city. The best example of that is Archie’s Wok.

This upscale restaurant serves cuisine influenced by the flavors of Thailand, the Philippines, and the Pacific Rim. Archie is another chef who gives his all to his restaurant, and that shows whenever I visit. Again, the quality and flavors are outstanding.

So what’s good? Well, if I’m being honest, I love it all, but some must meals you must try are the beef tongue (it’s famous), Singapore-style fish, and the spicy fried noodles.

the brick building covered in vines that is Archie's Wok
Archie’s Wok is a beautiful restaurant, inside and out.

Honeymooners and couples, listen up! Archies is located on a charming street just off the beach and is a beautiful restaurant for a date night.

A meal at Archies Wok costs around 250 MXN.

Related Read: Eating whole-fried fish is also one of the best things to do in Puerto Escondido!

12. Florios

Pizza at Florios Puerto Vallarta
The wood-fired pizza is the best in Puerto Vallarta! Photo credit: Florios
  • Location: Centro. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 350 MXN per main dish
  • Come here for: Wood-fired pizza
  • Takes reservations: Not usually required.

When I really want to spoil myself with a nice dinner close to town, I head to Florios Vallarta. This gorgeous restaurant serves two of my favorite cuisines, Italian and Argentinian. The mix of the two means the menu is full of delights.

Bailey and I always get a wood-fired pizza to share, and then my usual is the fillet mignon. For Bailey, her choice is always homemade ravioli or gnocchi. All three meals are perfect, and I challenge you to find a better combination than pizza, pasta, and steak?! Add a chocolate lava cake, of course!

Florios is on the cheaper side of the up-scale restaurants in Puerto Vallarta but very reasonable for the quality of the food, service, and atmosphere. A meal here costs around 350 MXN.

13. La Dolce Vita

Pasta at La Dolce Vita
The pasta is cheap and fresh!
  • Location: They have three locations; Nueveo Vallarta, Centro, and Romantic Zone.
  • Price range: About 170 MXN for a pasta dish
  • Come here for: Homemade pasta and wine at an affordable price
  • Takes reservations: Yes. Not generally required but could be a good idea if you want to guarantee a seat inside.

La Dolce Vita is a small restaurant chain with three restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. There is one in Nuevo Vallarta, one in Downtown Puerto Vallarta, and one in the Romantic Zone.

What I love about La Dolce Vita are its affordability and quality. For what you pay, the food is outstanding. The best part is they make some of their pasta in-house, such as the ravioli! As someone with an Italian family, their homemade sauce brought me home for just a few minutes!

On top of that, they have a nice selection of wines and the service is always really good.

We always go to the location in the Romantic Zone, and one of the perks is that it is inside with air conditioning. This is very important when eating a hearty meal like pasta on a hot day!

A meal at La Dolce Vita costs around 170 MXN.

14. Mariscos Cisneros

Enjoying a fish taco at Mariscos Cisneros
The fish tacos are my favorite!
  • Location: In the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: 20 MXN for a taco
  • Come here for: Cheap fish tacos
  • Takes reservations: No.

I’m the type of foodie who loves finding the local places with a large local fanbase. One of those hidden gems is Mariscos Cisneros.

This local seafood restaurant and taco stand is the type of place you come to for a delicious seafood dinner.

The family-owned and operated restaurant has been a staple in the city since the early days and continues to be a favorite. I first visited the taco stand out the front of the restaurant, and now I visit it regularly (like every week when I’m living in Puerto Vallarta) .)

However, if you’re after the larger plates, head inside and order away. If you want something fresh but also different, try the mixed pineapple seafood. It’s a classic dish in this region, and Mariscos Cisneros does it well. It’s basically half a pineapple stuffed with seafood!

group of friends eating at a fish taco stand in Puerto Vallarta
There is a taco stand out the front of Mariscos Cisneros where you can grab a quick taco or burrito.

If you’re in a hurry, grab a seafood burrito from the taco stand – their portions are very generous!

The thing with Mariscos Cisneros is they’re not fancy. But they serve up fresh seafood at prices you won’t find at many other restaurants around Puerto Vallarta.

A typical seafood dish at Mariscos Cisneros costs 200 MXN and a fish taco is 20 MXN.

Related Read: One of the best tours in Puerto Vallarta is a taco food tour where you will visit Mariscos Cisneros!

15. Barcelona Tapas

The paella at Barcelona Tapas
The paella will satisfy any seafood lover! Photo credit: Barcelona Tapas
  • Location: Centro. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 180 MXN for a tapas dish
  • Come here for: Tapas or the seafood paella
  • Takes reservations: Yes, and it is recommended to make a reservation to guarantee a table.

What could be more romantic than sharing tapas above Puerto Vallarta with breathtaking views? Barcelona Tapas is easily one of the most romantic restaurants in Puerto Vallarta – perfect for those honeymooning in Puerto Vallarta.

Barcelona Tapas is a high-end rooftop restaurant that has one of the best views in Puerto Vallarta. On top of that, they serve up some excellent Spanish food and tapas that include their famous seafood paella which comes with more seafood than one can handle.

If you’re visiting with your loved one, order from the tapas menu and try a few different dishes to share. It’s a romantic way to enjoy a meal because you get to experience the food together.

My recommendation is to go at sunset and enjoy that gorgeous sky with your special person or group!

A tapas meal at Barcelona Tapas costs around 180 MXN, and their paella starts at 600 MXN (the seafood is 1,200 MXN!)

16. El Dorado

Meat at El Dorado, Puerto Vallarta
Fine dining on the beach? Yes, please! Photo credit: El Dorado
  • Location: South of the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 500 MXN for a main dish
  • Come here for: A restaurant on the beach with quality food
  • Takes reservations: 

You can’t have a list of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta without mentioning a beachside restaurant. Although I often find the better the location, the worse the food, El Dorado is an exception.

As I mentioned, this place is so close to the beach you can relax with the sand between your toes. The restaurant is located just south of the Romantic Zone.

Coming to El Dorado is about an experience, and I love watching the sunset from the beachside tables.

The main cuisine at El Dorado is seafood, and the choices are endless. I love the seared tuna and shrimp ceviche! Both taste so fresh – like they were caught that day.

El Dorado has a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu, although I’ve only eaten here for dinner.

You may be wondering what one of the best beachfront restaurants costs to eat at. Well, it’s certainly not cheap, with mains costing around 500 MXN. However, for that, you get a fantastic location, delicious food, and excellent service.

17. Makal

A fancy meal at Makal
The food at Makal looks too good to eat! Photo credit: Makal
  • Location: The Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: The set-course meals are around 800 MXN
  • Come here for: Food prepared by a Michelin Star chef
  • Takes reservations: Yes.

Ever wanted to eat at a restaurant with a Michelin Star chef? Well chef Graham Campbell, the youngest ever Michelin Star chef in Scotland, is the talent behind Makal. The restaurant was also featured on Netflix’s Table series.

Graham’s restaurant takes Mexican cuisine and adds a twist. If you can’t decide what to order, just ask for their seven or ten-course tasting menu. It’s a great way to try a huge range of dishes, and everything is delicious! Or if you want my recommendation – get the chicken with the mole sauce!

On top of well-presented, top-quality food, they also serve the most unique cocktails in Puerto Vallarta. These cocktails are crafted with care, and they taste amazing.

A trip to Makal is undoubtedly a treat. The set course meals cost around 800 MXN! But for the chance to taste the food of a Michelin Star chef, it’s worth it!

18. Hot Mamma’s Whiskey Kitchen

Fried chicken sandwich at Whiskey Kitchen, Puerto Vallarta
Fried chicken sandwiches make me happy! Photo credit Whiskey Kitchen
  • Location: On the outskirts of the Romantic Zone. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 250 MXN for a main dish
  • Come here for: Comfort food – try the mac and cheese!
  • Takes reservations: No 

Did somebody say soul food?

Hot Mamma’s Whiskey Kitchen is my favorite place to go for delicious southern meals. The fried chicken is their specialty, and wow, it tastes incredible.

Cooked perfectly, seasoned right, and served with a side of mac and cheese – how could you go wrong?

One thing about Whisky Kitchen that stands out is the service. The warmth of the hospitality, along with the comfort food, is addictive. I always arrive and leave with a smile.

If you’re missing that food you love back home, Hot Mamma’s Whiskey Kitchen is the restaurant to visit in Puerto Vallarta.

A meal at Hot Mamma’s Whiskey Kitchen costs around 250 MXN.

Related Read: Heading to Sayulita? Check out the best restaurants in Sayulita before you go!

19. Cafe des Artistes

Meal in the garden at Cafe des Artistes
A meal in the garden at Cafe des Artistes! Photo credit: Cafe des Artistes
  • Location: Centro. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 500 MXN for a meal
  • Come here for: A fine dining experience
  • Takes reservations: Required.

For the last 30 years, the elegant Cafe des Artistes has dominated the restaurant scene in Puerto Vallarta. This upscale restaurant is perfect for those looking for a fine dining experience out in Puerto Vallarta.

Set in a quaint house in downtown Puerto Vallarta, Cafe des Artistes is a humble restaurant. Chef/owner, Thierry Blouet leads with her food and has created one of the best dining experiences in the city.

If it’s your first visit, I recommend the “Menu Tentacion,” a five-course menu and a great introduction to the restaurant. If you’d prefer to order off the menu, the fish of the day is always good, as well as the prime rib.

At Cafe de Artistes, expect an elegant dining experience. Reservations at Cafe de Artistes are also a must!

A meal here costs around 500 MXN, with the tasting five-course meals costing 1,390 MXN!

20. La Cappella

The view from a table at La Cappella, Puerto Vallarta
That view!
  • Location: Centro. Google Maps location here.
  • Price range: Around 500 MXN for a main
  • Come here for: Italian food with a view and romantic ambiance
  • Takes reservations: Yes. Reservations are recommended.

Last but certainly not least serves up my overall favorite cuisine, Italian.

Perched just above central Puerto Vallarta overlooking the Our Lady of Guadalupe church, La Cappella has breathtaking views of the ocean and the gorgeous architecture below. La Capella is one of my favorite restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for a romantic dinner out.

On top of that, the food is delicious and stays true to classic Italian with dishes such as giant shrimp scampi, fettuccine Alfredo, and chicken piccata. There are also great options for seafood and steak lovers including lobster, catch of the day, and rib-eye steak!

When it comes to a romantic dinner, the violinists that often play at the restaurant, create the most romantic atmosphere. Oh, and the service is that of a 5-star restaurant.

A meal at La Capella costs around 500 MXN.

Important Info about visiting Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

two women sitting in La Iguana Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta with a view of the city
What a beautiful restaurant in Puerto Vallarta!
  • You should tip – Tipping is customary in Mexico. Employees rely on your tips to make a living as their hourly wage is very low. We always leave a minimum of 20%. You can usually enter a tip on the card machine, however, we’ve been told many times that servers prefer their tips in cash to ensure they actually get it that day instead of waiting for the restaurant management to organize tip out.
  • Not all restaurants accept cards – Be sure to carry cash in case your chosen restaurant does not have a card (debit/credit) machine. While most restaurants in Puerto Vallarta do take card these days, not all do.
  • Some restaurants require reservations – Especially during peak times over Christmas and Easter, you better make a reservation to ensure you can eat at your chosen restaurant. The fancier restaurants prefer for you to make reservations too.
  • Be aware of dress codes – Some fancy restaurants have “dress codes”. This is something to check before you go. For example, La Iguana requires men to have their shoulders covered (no tanks.)
  • Consider planning your trip during “Restaurant Week”Restaurant Week in Puerto Vallarta is an annual event that occurs in September and October (it is usually a couple of weeks, not just one week.) During this time, you can get special 3-course meals at select restaurants around the city for a discounted price! When we were there in 2021, we could get a three-course meal at many restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for the same price as we would pay just for one main dish.
  • The best restaurants are mostly located in central Puerto Vallarta – The Romantic Zone (La Zona Romantica) and Centro are where you will find almost all of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. Skip all the westernized restaurants owned by hotels in the hotel zones, and head into the heart of the city where you can visit the top-rated restaurants! If you rent a car in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll have the freedom to go to whichever restaurant you like!

Other Activities to do While You’re in Puerto Vallarta

Daniel and Bailey on an ATV on the El Eden ATV Adventure in Puerto Vallarta
ATV tours are so much fun!
Seeing whales this close is surreal!!

There’s a good reason why Dan and I keep coming back to Puerto Vallarta and it’s not just for the amazing food! There are a ton of fun activites from cruising around on an ATV tour to strolling down the Malecon (boardwalk), you’ve got plenty to sink your teeth into outside of the fantastic restaurants. Here are a few of our personal favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta:

  • Enjoy a swashbuckling show on a pirate ship – Ahoy landlubbers! Ever wanted to live out your dream of being a pirate, sailing across the seven seas? Or maybe you’ve got a little one who is swinging around their imaginary cutlass like a pro? This pirate ship cruise includes a dinner fit for a pirate king with cannons, fireworks, and all kinds of jolly entertainment to boot!
  • Explore the jungle on an ATV tour – One of my all-time favorite activities in Puerto Vallarta was going on an ATV tour. Dan and I went on this half-day Jorullo Bridge ATV experience that takes you to some of the most scenic natural spots in the area, as well as over the longest suspension bridge in Latin America!
  • Go whale watching – Going whale watching in Puerto Vallarta is a pretty popular activity (and a favorite of mine!). Not only is it one of the best places to see humpback whales, but you might even see grey or blue whales too. This 4-hour whale-watching tour is ideal for those on a budget but is also capped at just 12 passengers per tour!

Where to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

woman relaxing at a rooftop pool in Puerto Vallarta
I loved staying in Puerto Vallarta!

There are TONS of great hotels in Puerto Vallarta – no matter your budget or preferences. From luxurious budget resorts to cozy boutique hotels, deciding where to stay in Puerto Vallarta is super exciting, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite spots with you!

Oasis Hostel – $

Who said you couldn’t live the dream on a budget? The Oasis Hostel offers both dorms and private rooms, which all have air conditioning with traditional Mexican decor. It’s around 5 km (3 mi) to get downtown, but that’s really easy with a taxi, or you can also rent a bike straight from the hostel.

Rooms here are super affordable, starting at just $19 USD including breakfast! Whether you’re backpacking through Puerto Vallarta or prefer to spend your money on experiences over accommodation, this is a great choice. You can book your space on either Hostelworld or Booking.com.

Posada de Roger – $

Another superb budget choice is the Hotel Posada de Roger that’s right in the heart of the Romantic Zone. All rooms here have AC, and they even have an outdoor pool that gets tons of sun. If you fancy making up some packed lunches, they also have a shared kitchen which is free for guests to use. No wonder it’s our go-to place to stay in Puerto Vallarta!

A one-night stay here at Posada de Roger starts at $64 USD per night, but it is pretty popular, so I’d recommend making your reservation in advance on Booking.com. You can always cancel the stay for free if you change your mind, so it’s a win-win!

Amapas Apartments Puerto Vallarta – $$

The Amapas Apartments in Puerto Vallarta are a series of adult-only, self-contained apartments, located in my favorite area of town – the Romantic Zone. It’s really close to the beach, restaurants, as well as tons of shopping and nightlife options. They even have a pool, with all rooms being air-conditioned too!

With one and two-bedroom apartments available, a stay here typically starts around $96 USD per night, which I think is a great deal considering the size of the apartment and its location! This is another really popular spot though, so don’t forget to book your stay online in advance.

Hilton Vallarta Riviera – $$$

The Hilton Vallarta Riviera is one of the best resorts in town – it’s all-inclusive, so you’re free to have plenty of peaceful downtime. They also have 7 restaurants, a private beach, a pool, a spa, and a gym. Rooms have super comfy beds and can include a terrace, balcony, and a private jetted tub overlooking the ocean! There’s evening entertainment and a kid’s club to keep the little ones happy

Rooms here at the Hilton Vallarta Riviera average around $350-$650 USD per night, but you can often get a good deal (on the lower end of that range) if you book in advance.

Note: For more options, you can also browse all the hotels in Puerto Vallarta here!

Renting a Car in Mexico

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while driving around Mexico
A rental car means freedom to go to the beach whenever you want!

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car. 

I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2023, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically. 

I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too. 

Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit. 

Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper! 

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel from Destinationless Travel at a restaurant in Puerto Vallarta
Thanks for reading!

As you can see, there are so many great restaurants in Puerto Vallarta ranging in price and style. This list touches on some of the most expensive restaurants in Puerto Vallarta but also the cheapest.

In fact, you’ll find a restaurant on this list for every budget and occasion – whether it be a quick bit to eat or an anniversary!

Thanks so much for reading! I hope you’ve got a great list of restaurants to visit when you arrive in Puerto Vallarta. If you loved this blog, then be sure to check out some of our other Mexico blogs, such as:

Best things to do in Mexico

Skydiving in Puerto Vallarta – everything you need to know

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Fishing Charter in Puerto Vallarta +Our Top Choice

BEST day trips from Puerto Vallarta

Tim

Monday 6th of May 2024

I Live in Puerto Vallarta for 18 years in the Romantic Zone so I agree with every one of your recommendations with 1 exception. Panchos Takos is a total waste of time. Every night I see lines of people waiting 1 hour in some cases for what? I just do not get the extra wow that someone gets from that place versus what they could get at one of the many other taco places....a different sauce perhaps maybe but I do not think that is worth the hour in line. Thanks

Destinationless Travel

Tuesday 7th of May 2024

Hey Tim,

Thanks so much for saying that!

I do love how they pile on the meat and cheese. Many other Al pastor taco places only use a little bit of meat.

Thanks Daniel

Brandy

Thursday 30th of June 2022

Thank you for this article! It was very helpful & I can't wait to try some of your recommendations!

Billie Baird

Monday 24th of January 2022

Love your ‘Best Restaurants’ article for Puerto Vallarta! You cover the points and add interesting factoids to boot. AND let’s put the cost into perspective. Fine dining here is super affordable, thanks in no small part to your tireless research! PV has been home for almost a year now, and I still do the Snoopy twirl way too often (usually while watching our sunsets). Come back soon!