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Nuevo Vallarta, Grand Mayan - food report


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Nuevo Vallarta, Grand Mayan - food report

susanmaria | | Dec 15, 2007 11:29 AM

I am writing a bit of info on this location and resort due to the difficulty I found in locating info online in preparation for my own trip.

Grand Mayan is a magnificent and truly beautiful resort. It is not an all inclusive, but due to its location you are very limited as to outside dining choices as downtown PV is a $30-$45 round trip taxi ride. If you want Mexican charm, stay in Vallarta. Dont expect to travel to PV every day as it is not a brief jaunt.

The food at the Grand Mayan is ridiculous. A bountiful but standard breakfast buffet is $25 per person and the entire restaurant is buzzing with salespeople warming up their customers for a timeshare presentation. It was very annoying.

All restaurants at the resort seem to be moving towards removing all vestiges of Mexican cooking from menu, and what does remain is bland and not worth eating even before taking into consideration the high prices. One small beach bar still offers ceviche and seafood cocktails. At any price it was not worth eating... however at $20 a lunch plate it was pathetic. Even the wait staff understood the food situation. I don't expect to sit down at a beautiful open air restaurant in Mexico and have an insipid plate of plain unseasoned bruschetta placed on the table. Please bring me some fiery salsa and crisp homestyle chips!

Featured gourmet restaurant is Italian, but so called risotto was not edible, fish was overcooked, sauteed calamari was too chewy to begin to eat. Our table for two with just one shared appetizer two entrees, and one shared dessert was $150. We dont mind paying for excellent food but this was mediocre at best.

After three days of this, we were miserable. We chose this resort as I was recovering from a fractured leg and I knew in advance I would not be able to withstand sightseeing in cobblestoned Puerto Vallarta and the pace of our usual style of vacationing. I never imagined that a Mexican resort would have trouble preparing good quality Mexican food, but it appears that management has caved to demands of timeshare crowd clamoring for mild plain food. It was amusing that one night FOUR different dishes at the Italian grill restaurant had the same 'squid black ink sauce' on them. I am certain that they sold very very few of those dishes that evening.

We were fortunate to meet a Canadian traveler who took us to a local joint called 8 Tostadas Mariscos. It was just a few minute walk from our resort and we ate nearly all our remaining lunches and suppers there! This little restaurant is wonderful.

Tostadas de Ceviche, ummmm... a small crisp corn shell piled with chopped fresh mahi ceviche and covered with sliced avocado and a squeeze of lime. Tosdadas de Marlin made with smoked ceviche was delicious as well.

8 Tostadas is known for its octopus or pulpo but we didnt know this until our third meal when we spied a painted octopus sign with the red slash and circle over it... they were OUT that day! When they do have it... make sure you try one of the combination cocktails that includes the tender pulpo... it is fantastic. The special sauced Ceviche Hector is spicy, citrusy, flavorful, and the half portion offered on the menu is more seafood than one can comfortably eat when paired with a basket of crisp totopos or chips. Scallops or callo are also found locally and are delicious when 'cooked' with lime in the ceviches and seafood cocktails. Cold Mexican beer ($2), delicious fresh fish with lime, crisp tostadas... one doesnt care about the lack of a view. It doesnt get much better. I have attached a photo of our afternoon lunch of a half order of Ceviche Hector and a chico/small Cocteles de Mariscos, and order of guacamole.

The restaurant doesnt offer the ceviches at dinner... but changes to freshly grilled fish and seafood. The seafood soup, Sopa de Mariscos is a very large bowl just filled with seafood... shrimp scallops octopus conch and a large blue crab... the broth was infused with all the seafood goodness. It was the best Sopa de Mariscos I have had on any trip to Mexico in fact.

We were thankful to find this gem at the Nuevo Vallarta marina. I recommend to anyone staying at any of the beautiful but food challenged NV resorts to check this one out.

We left the Grand Mayan and extended our vacation for a few days at the Four Seasons in Punta Mita, which was beyond our expectations and an entirely different trip report... an incredible resort with spectacular food and service. It turned out to be a great vacation after all!