We have just returned from a wonderful visit to Puerto Vallarta and would love to share our favorites. We have been enjoying this wonderful city for years and love the variety of offerings from taco stands to haute cuisine--certainly something for everyone! We attempt to enjoy mostly regional specialties but don't limit ourselves to those.
We discovered El Arrayan 3(maybe 4?)years ago--what a find for us! Carmen Porras, the charming owner features family recipes that keep us returning at least twice each visit. We love the plantain empanadas with black bean and cheese filling. The salsa negra(chipotle/garlic black salsa)is a perfect match with these and the salsa verde(tomatillos/cilantro)good for a cooling effect. In the past we loved the duck carnitas(duck confit with arrayan-orange sauce)and think it as good as any confit we tasted in France! This visit I loved a new item on the menu--shrimp with chipotle sauce flamed with raicilla on yams. The sweetness of the yams was the perfect foil for the spicy shrimp. The fish filet with axiote sauce was perfectly cooked and the sauce divine. We also loved one of the specials--lamb rib chops with mole also on yams. My favorite was chilies en nogado which I thought could never be better than those I eat at Red Cabbage every year--heavenly and stunning on the plate! We love the atmosphere, decoration and service. The center courtyard is open with the tables surrounding under a tile roof and there is not a bad table in the house.
Trio was new to us this year and another winner. The menu is Mediterranean/Mexican and each dish sounded fabulous. We loved the chili roasted red snapper with cilantro lime sauce--such bright flavors on wonderful fish. Shrimp sauted with garlic, brandy, tomato and chili oil were wonderful. Nice wine list and good wine by the glass. Gorgeous decor and wonderful service.
Barcelonas Tapas is certainly an enigma--a "view" restaurant with wonderful food. Be prepared to climb 70+ steps but the effort is rewarded with a wonderful view of the town and bay. You choose any number of hot and cold tapas and they keep them coming!
Rio Grande is our favorite for BBQ fish and shrimp. It is located on Av. Mexico right across from the Ley grocery store in the south hotel zone. The grill was open to the street at one time and that is what attracted us--the smells of grilling fish was not to be ignored! Good prices and warm service.
Casa Naranjo(Naranjo @ Cardenas)was a first for us this trip. We loved the cool spare but not sparse decor and the open kitchen. Local flavors with a Continental leaning--great appetizers and fish. Sort of off the beaten path, but if one can find Red Cabbage....well, you know!
Vitea makes the best mojitos along the malecon--well, at least best out of the 5 places I tried!! Funkily artsy fun decor and I love that some main dishes can be ordered as half orders. My favorite is the spice glazed red snapper with jicama carrot salad. Great dessert of caramelized pineapple with coconut ice cream.
Picnic makes great hamburgers and BBQ chicken. Nicely done place overlooking Olas Altas and Hank and Conrad of Chilies(NOT US chain)are there helping local owner get it going or keep it going. We loved the grilled burgers. They also serve chicken sanwiches and chicken salad.
So many restaurants, so little time! Some great, some not so great but what a delightful quest to enjoy all this beautiful city has to offer. Hasta el ano proximo!