A Traveler's Appetite

Where to Find Great Food (and Adventure) in Puerto Vallarta

Fill your beach trip with chiles en nogado to tequila tastings.

By Jayme Lamm October 22, 2019

The new pool at Marriott Puerto Vallarta.

There are two types of people on vacation: Those who plant themselves at their resort and don’t plan on leaving, and those who can’t wait to throw their bags down and start exploring.  

Explorers, keep reading.

Most Puerto Vallarta resorts are all-inclusive, but the Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is not, making it the perfect place to stay when you’re hoping to explore everything the city has to offer.  

The resort sits on a sandy strip between the Sierra Madre Mountains and Banderas Bay with year-round tropical weather and a recently completed $20 million renovation that spans its lobby, guest rooms, and pool.

The Marriott offers great views and amenities, but you'll want to explore town, too.

While hotel guests will be perfectly content having access to paddle boards, kayaks and bikes, a fitness center and lap pool, the beach, and frozen cocktails from the brand new swim-up bar in the infinity pool—it has 180 degree views of the bay and mountains and happens to be the largest pool in Puerto Vallarta—we also highly suggest you set off on some excursions, too.

Puerto Vallarta ranks as the second best city for foodies in Mexico, behind Mexico City, and you should definitely take advantage of the local culinary scene. The Marriott is about an $8 cab ride from the Malecon, a 12-block, mile-long boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta, where you'll find street vendors, food trucks, cheap margaritas, and sunset views. Known as the heart of Puerto Vallarta, this pedestrian friendly waterfront esplanade offers tons of restaurants on the winding path or a few streets up.  

Where to eat in Puerto Vallarta

  • Try a local food tour. Vallarta Eats showcases an intimate dining tour at some of the most secret and authentic local spots.
  • Café Des Artistes has been a staple in Puerto Vallarta for 29 years thanks to its chef Thierry Blouet. Open for dinner only, this exclusive and elegant restaurant boasts an extensive menu defined as French cuisine with Mexican inspiration.
  • The River Café is also dinner only, but it's terrific spot for fine dining near the boardwalk with a well-curated Mexican wine list and cocktails. Try the Nikkei-style tuna ceviche, Saint Germain shrimp, or the veal osso buco. 
  • Los Muertos Brewing is a popular microbrewery offering casual dining with world-class pizza and plenty of craft beer options.
  • Pipi’s is your quintessential touristy Mexican spot slightly off the beaten path. You’ll pay for the mariachi band at your table (a flat fee, not just tips), but you’ll delight in margaritas the size of your hotel pool and sizzling plates served fast. There’s definitely better food in the city, but it’s a must visit for the local scene, large margaritas and tableside guacamole.
  • Gaby’s Restaurant is a local gem owned and operated by chef Julio Cesar Castillion, where his specialties are chiles en nogada and mole dishes. The Caesar salad is also delectable and made tableside. You can also sign up for cooking classes.
  • Devil’s Bar & Grill is cash-only and has just a handful of seats, but you'll find boozing partners, unlimited drink options and specialty shots that may show up without being ordered. 

In between all these inventive food options, be sure to spend some time touring the art galleries downtown, visiting Vallarta Botanical Gardens, taking a swing at Marina Golf Course, walking around the Romantic Zone downtown or shopping the flea market along the river.

Back at the Marriott, you can also schedule a tequila tasting with the resort's own tequilier (tequila sommelier), Audrey Formisano, who will guide your through the history of tequila and a tasting of the Marriott's own special blend. You'll never look at tequila the same.

Filed under
Show Comments