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24 Must-Visit Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

When planning our trip to Mexico, I googled “best food cities in mexico”. Cities like Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico City, and Guadalajara weren’t surprising but one city popped up on almost every list that I wasn’t expecting – Puerto Vallarta.

Being a resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, I knew about Puerto Vallarta’s beaches but I had no idea it was such a beloved foodie paradise. I was under the impression it was a Club Med type of destination with all-inclusive resorts and little to nothing in the way of interesting food (like Cancun and much of the Riviera Maya).

Sure, Puerto Vallarta has its share of tourist traps, but it also has a wealth of terrific Mexican restaurants that run the gamut from fine dining gourmet restaurants to family-owned eateries to mobile street food vendors. After my first couple of days sampling the local cuisine, it was clear that the food in Puerto Vallarta was anything but boring.

If you travel for food like we do and are looking for the best Puerto Vallarta restaurants to have seriously delicious Mexican food, then you’ve come to the right place.

FOOD IN PUERTO VALLARTA QUICK LINKS

Experiencing the local cuisine on your own is always fun, but you often learn more when you go on a guided tour. Check out some of the most popular food-related tours and activities in Puerto Vallarta.

TOURS

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Ceviche and tacos

THE BEST PUERTO VALLARTA RESTAURANTS

To help organize this list of Puerto Vallarta restaurants, I’ve organized them by location. First-time visitors will probably be spending most of their time in the Zona Romántica area so you can start there.

If you’re a serious food lover and want to go where the locals eat, then you’ll definitely want to check out Versalles, an up-and-coming residential neighborhood with some of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

  1. Zona Romántica
  2. Centro
  3. 5 de Diciembre
  4. Lázaro Cardenas
  5. Versalles
  6. Food Tours

ZONA ROMÁNTICA

Zona Romántica (Romantic Zone) is one of the most popular neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta. Also known as Emiliano Zapata or the Old Town, it’s an LGBTQ-friendly area with plenty of hotels, restaurants, bars, and cafes.

1. Sonorita Olas Altas

Sonorita Olas Altas is a casual restaurant that serves traditional Mexican dishes like tacos, volcanes, alambres, and huaraches. I knew they specialized in tacos al pastor but I asked my server anyway for her recommendations. As expected, she suggested I get the al pastor tacos which she described as being one of the best in Puerto Vallarta. She may have been right.

If you’ve never had them, tacos al pastor is a popular type of taco made from pork grilled on a vertical spit. It’s a cousin of the Lebanese shawarma and Greek gyros, all of which are descendants of the Turkish doner kebab. Pastor tacos arrived in Mexico by way of Lebanese immigrants who moved to the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

I ate at Sonorita Olas Altas twice and on my first visit, they served their tacos on black corn tortillas with chopped onion, cilantro, and pineapple. I had pastor tacos many times in Puerto Vallarta and these were definitely one of my favorites.

Speaking of tacos, if you’re visiting CDMX, then be sure to check out our guide on the best tacos in Mexico City.

Trio of pastor tacos in Puerto Vallarta

I ordered a side of guacamole to go with my pastor tacos. ¡Delicioso!

Bowl of guacamole in Puerto Vallarta

Sonorita Olas Altas is a Travelers’ Choice awardee with a 4.5-star rating on TripAdvisor.

Restaurant exterior of Sonorita Olas Altas in Puerto Vallarta

Sonorita Olas Altas

Address: Pino Suárez 232, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 3-11PM, daily
What to Order: Tacos al pastor
Expect to Spend: MXN 75 for three pastor tacos

2. Marisma Fish Taco

Being a seaside town, there’s no shortage of delicious seafood dishes in Puerto Vallarta. If you want traditional Mexican food, then some of the best seafood dishes you can order are shrimp and fish tacos.

According to my research, the Marisma Fish Taco stand serves some of the very best seafood tacos in Puerto Vallarta. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also huge. The tortillas used for Mexican tacos are typically palm-sized but the tacos at Marisma were as long as my whole hand. Sold for about the same price, these were definitely some of the best-valued tacos I ate in Puerto Vallarta.

Shrimp and fish tacos with salsa verde in Puerto Vallarta

Aside from the fish and shrimp tacos, I also had the spicy squid tostada. Tostadas are pretty much the same thing as tacos except they’re served on crunchy, deep-fried tortillas.

Spicy squid tostada in Puerto Vallarta

Marisma Fish Taco is also a Travelers’ Choice awardee with a stellar 4.5-star rating on Tripadvisor. It receives high praise from locals and it looks like many food tours stop here.

Marisma Fish Taco stand in Puerto Vallarta

Marisma Fish Taco

Address: Naranjo 320, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 10AM-6PM, daily
What to Order: Fish and shrimp tacos/tostadas
Expect to Spend: About MXN 39 per taco or tostada

3. Pancho’s Takos

Spend enough time in the city and one thing becomes clear, Pancho’s Takos is one the most popular restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. They open at 4PM and if you aren’t in line by around 3:30PM, then be prepared for a long wait. I got in line a little past 3:30 and by the time they opened, the line went down the block. It’s crazy how popular this place is.

Pancho’s Takos serves traditional Mexican cuisine but their standout dish is clearly their tacos al pastor. According to many online reviewers, their pastor tacos are the best in Puerto Vallarta.

Their tacos are delicious and on par with some of the best I had in the city, but the one thing that stood out most for me was how much meat they put on their tacos. These tacos were absolutely overflowing with smokey grilled meat.

Pastor tacos at Pancho's Takos in Puerto Vallarta

Like the previous two places on this list, Pancho’s Takos is a Travelers’ Choice awardee with a near-perfect 4.5-star rating on Tripadvisor.

Outside seating at Pancho's Takos in Puerto Vallarta

Pancho’s Takos

Address: Basilio Badillo 162, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 4PM-12MN, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Al pastor tacos
Expect to Spend: MXN 22 per pastor taco

4. Balam Balam

Balam Balam is one of the best seafood restaurants I visited in Puerto Vallarta. They have a focused menu offering traditional dishes like ceviche, aguachile, tacos, and tostadas. Like Sonorita Olas Altas, they serve their tacos in threes so I went with a trio of fish tacos. They were absolutely delicious.

Fish tacos at Balam Balam in Puerto Vallarta

Balam Balam is one of my favorite restaurants in Puerto Vallarta not just for the food, but for their location. It’s a hidden gem located right by the river, at the far end of Zona Romántica. It’s in a much quieter part of town that isn’t frequented by many tourists.

Balam Balam, a seafood restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Balam Balam

Address: Rivera del Río 177, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 11:30AM-7PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Shrimp or fish tacos
Expect to Spend: MXN 110 for three shrimp or fish tacos

5. Mariscos Cisneros

I went on a food tour in Puerto Vallarta and this humble restaurant was one of our stops. Mariscos Cisneros serves a bevy of fresh seafood dishes like cocteles, burritas, tacos, and quesadillas.

What you’re looking at below is an incredibly delicious soft shell crab enchilada. My god was this good! One of the people on the tour said he’d eaten here several times and everything on their menu was fantastic.

Soft shell crab enchilada in Puerto Vallarta

Here’s our food tour group entering Mariscos Cisneros. Based on that crab enchilada alone, I’d definitely put this seafood restaurant on your itinerary.

Tourists entering Mariscos Cisneros, a seafood restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Mariscos Cisneros

Address: Aguacate 271, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 11AM-8PM, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays)
What to Order: Soft shell crab tacos
Expect to Spend: About MXN 140 per soft shell crab taco

6. Don Chava Taqueria Cantina

Don Chava Taqueria Cantina is a Mexican restaurant that serves traditional dishes like tacos, volcanes, and quesadillas. They also offer margaritas, mezcal, beer, and wine so this is a good place to consider for dinner if you’re looking to knock down a few drinks with your food.

Pictured below is a trio of tasty tacos – pastor, shrimp, and fish.

Trio of tacos at Don Chava in Puerto Vallarta

Don Chava Taqueria Cantina is located in a less busy part of Zona Romántica.

Outdoor seating at Don Chava, a taqueria and cantina in Puerto Vallarta

Don Chava Taqueria Cantina

Address: Lázaro Cárdenas 288, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 5PM-12MN, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays)
What to Order: Tacos
Expect to Spend: MXN 25 per taco

7. Figueroa’s

If you live on the west coast and are craving for those huge California-style burritos, then you need to enjoy a meal at Figueroa’s. They offer different types of burritos and other Cal- and Tex-Mex dishes like fajitas, crunchy tacos, and American-style nachos.

Figueroa’s isn’t one of the most authentic Mexican restaurants in Puerto Vallarta but the food is good and they do offer great value for money. This massive burrito set me back just MXN 75 (about USD 3.70)!

Huge California-style burrito in Puerto Vallarta

Here’s an inside look at this burrito. They offer five different types of burritos on their menu with seven meat options. I asked my server for his recommendation and he suggested I get the carne asada (grilled beef).

Inside of a carne asada burrito

Figueroa’s is basically just a counter with sidewalk seating for six to eight people. Hopefully, you don’t have to wait too long to get a seat.

Outdoor seating at Figueroa's, a burrito restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Figueroa’s

Address: Venustiano Carranza 302, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-5PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Burritos
Expect to Spend: About MXN 75 per burrito

8. Tacos de Birria Chanfay

I always have a long list of restaurants I plan on visiting before a trip but sometimes, a restaurant catches my eye that I can’t resist. In Puerto Vallarta, one of those places was Tacos de Birria Chanfay, a super popular street taco stand specializing in birria tacos.

I was walking by one day and couldn’t help but notice the large crowd of Mexican locals gathered around this stand. As I always like to say, no one knows local food better than the locals so I couldn’t resist trying a couple of these tacos myself. I’m happy that I did because their birria tacos are delicious.

Birria refers to a type of Mexican stew made with marinated meat slow-cooked with garlic, cumin, thyme, and bay leaves. It’s traditionally made with goat but it can be made with beef, lamb, or mutton as well. Tacos de Birria Chanfay specializes in birria de res or beef birria tacos. You can enjoy them in two ways – dorado (crunchy) or blando (soft).

Soft and crunchy birria tacos in Puerto Vallarta

This was taken mid-afternoon but visit Tacos de Birria Chanfay around noon and you’ll find it swarmed with hungry locals. If you see a place overflowing with locals, then you know the food will be good.

Tacos de Birria Chanfay stand in Puerto Vallarta

Tacos de Birria Chanfay

Address: Venustiano Carranza 382, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 12:30-3:30PM, 7:30PM-1AM, Mon-Thurs / 12:30-4PM, 7:30PM-1:30AM, Fri-Sat / 12:30-4PM, 7:30PM-1AM, Sun
What to Order: Sherry, tapas
Expect to Spend: About EUR 2 per glass of Sherry, EUR 2 per small plate of tapas

9. La Fina Cocina de Barrio

If you’re looking for a truly lovely fine dining experience, one that’s far removed from the chaos of downtown Puerto Vallarta, then you need to seek out this hidden gem. La Fina is a small family-run restaurant located on the far end of the Romantic Zone, just across the river in an area rarely visited by tourists. They serve modern Mexican food which one reviewer described as “Michelin-quality”.

La Fina offers delicious food in a humble setting. From the looks of it, it seems to be located in a former house that was converted into a restaurant. Because of its casual feel, it isn’t one of the most romantic restaurants in Puerto Vallarta but they do serve some pretty amazing Mexican food. On their menu are familiar Mexican dishes like tacos, flautas, and quesadillas but with a more modern, fine dining twist.

Pictured below is La Fina’s take on the gordita. A gordita is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of masa (corn dough) stuffed with cheese, meat, or other fillings. This one was stuffed with short ribs and served in a burnt sauce with beans, dry cheese, jocoque (Mexican dairy product), truffle oil, and arugula. It was delicious and made for an exceptional dining experience.

I washed this gordita down with local beer but if I remember correctly, they have an extensive wine list and offer plenty of cocktails and craft beer as well.

Stuffed gordita at La Fina, one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

La Fina opens at 7PM and only offers dinner service. They’re a Travelers’ Choice awardee and as of this writing, have a perfect 5-star rating on Tripadvisor.

La Fina is a casual restaurant but don’t let its humble facade deceive you. Anyone who’s eaten there will tell you that it truly is one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. Because of its somewhat hidden location, it’s still relatively unknown but don’t expect it to stay that way. To be safe, I suggest making a reservation through their Facebook page.

Exterior of La Fina, one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

La Fina Cocino de Barrio

Address: Atmósfera 149, El Caloso, 48360 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 7-11PM, Wed-Sun (closed Mondays and Tuesdays)
What to Order: Menu changes
Expect to Spend: Around MXN 175 per appetizer, MXN 400 per entree

10. Pulquería Chinga Quedito

Like Mariscos Cisneros, Pulquería Chinga Quedito was one of the stops on our food tour. It’s a hole-in-the-wall type restaurant that offers pulque tastings and traditional Mexican dishes.

Pulque is a traditional alcoholic Mexican beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey (agave) plant. It’s been produced in central Mexico for thousands of years and is known for its cloudy color and sour, yeast-like taste.

Unless I’m mistaken, Pulquería Chinga Quedito offers four different types of pulque, all of which you can try for MXN 150 (about USD 7.35). We tried three on our tour.

Pulque at a bar in Puerto Vallarta

I find traditional Mexican cuisine to be interesting and it doesn’t get any more traditional than these tlacoyos. A tlacoyo is a pre-Hispanic Mexican dish made with masa. Thicker than corn tortillas, it’s shaped like an oval and traditionally stuffed with cheese, beans, chicharron, and other ingredients before being fried or toasted. They were great to nibble on while sipping on our pulques.

Trio of tlacoyos at a pulqueria in Puerto Vallarta

With its colorful facade, Pulquería Chinga Quedito is hard to miss. If you’re interested in trying pulque and traditional Mexican cuisine, then you need to make a stop here.

Colorful exterior of Pulquería Chinga Quedito in Puerto Vallarta

Pulquería Chinga Quedito

Address: Lázaro Cárdenas 494, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 1:30-10PM, Sun, Tue-Thurs / 1:30PM-12MN, Fri-Sat (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Pulque
Expect to Spend: MXN 150 for four tastings

11. Taqueria El Guero Vargas

Like Tacos de Birria Chanfay, I found this taco stand by chance. I was drawn to Taqueria El Guero Vargas by the large crowd of locals enjoying their street tacos. Coincidentally, they also specialize in soft and crunchy birria tacos.

If you like birria, then you need to eat here as well. The prices are cheap, the service is friendly, and the birria tacos are super delicious.

Soft and crunchy birria tacos in Puerto Vallarta

Street tacos are some of the best things you can eat in Mexico. Personally, I can’t get enough of them!

Taqueria El Guero Vargas stand in Puerto Vallarta

Taqueria El Guero Vargas

Address: C. Constitución #285, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8AM-2PM, Thurs-Tue (closed Wednesdays)
What to Order: Birria tacos
Expect to Spend: MXN 18 per taco

12. The Churros Guy

Pro tip, if you’re unsure where to find good food in Mexico, then look for a church. Chances are, you’ll find a few stalls like this one selling amazing street food.

Located just outside Iglesia de la Santa Cruz, this humble stall serves some of the best churros in Puerto Vallarta. It was pointed out to me by our food tour guide. I don’t remember the vendor’s name (Manuel?) but he sets up shop on the corner of Aguacate and Lázaro Cárdenas at 4PM everyday.

Pair of churros in Puerto Vallarta

Here’s the churros guy frying up some of his delicious churros.

Churros stand in Puerto Vallarta

The Churros Guy

Address: Aguacate 216, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata, 48380 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 4-9PM, daily
What to Order: Churros
Expect to Spend: MXN 2.50 per churro

13. Tejuino at Mercado Emiliano Zapata

Tejuino is an iced Mexican drink made from fermented corn. Masa is mixed with water and piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar) and then boiled until thick before being slightly fermented. Served with ice, lime juice, and a pinch of salt, the resulting drink is sweet, tart, and very refreshing.

Tejuino is commonly consumed in the states of Jalisco and Chihuahua so it’s definitely something you should try while in Puerto Vallarta. You’ll find tejuino stands all over the city but one of the most recommended is the stall at Mercado Emiliano Zapata.

Tejuino in Puerto Vallarta

Look for this tejuino vendor on the corner of Camichín and Lázaro Cárdenas Streets. I don’t know what their hours are but you should find them here during normal business hours. You can enjoy their tejuino in three sizes.

Tejuino seller near Mercado Emiliano Zapata in Puerto Vallarta

Tejuino at Mercado Emiliano Zapata

Address: Corner of Camichín and Lázaro Cárdenas Streets
What to Order: Tejuino
Expect to Spend: MXN 20 per glass of tejuino (medium)

CENTRO

Centro refers to the area just north of Zona Romántica. Like the Romantic Zone, it’s one of the busiest parts of downtown Puerto Vallarta. It’s home to many bars and restaurants (mostly touristy) and the famed malecón or boardwalk.

14. Tuba Vendors on Malecón Puerto Vallarta

If tejuino looks appealing to you, then you should definitely try tuba as well. It’s a refreshing tropical drink made with coconut cream and apple vinegar served with pieces of chopped apples and walnuts.

Like tejuino, tuba is sweet and a bit tart. It’s sweeter than tejuino and complemented nicely by the crunchiness of the fresh apples and walnuts. Walk along the malecón and you’re sure to find one or two vendors selling tuba at any time of the day.

Tuba along the malecon in Puerto Vallarta

I read about a tuba vendor named Manuelito but I didn’t see him the entire time I was in Puerto Vallarta. Perhaps he’s retired? In any case, you can buy a glass of tuba from any vendor along the malecón. I’m sure they’re comparable.

Vendor pouring a glass of tuba in Puerto Vallarta

Tuba Vendors on Malecón Puerto Vallarta

Address: 48300 Centro, 48300 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
What to Order: Tuba
Expect to Spend: MXN 25 per glass of tuba (medium)

5 DE DICIEMBRE

5 de Diciembre refers to the neighborhood just north of Centro. It’s similar in feel though with lots of souvenir shops and better, more local restaurants.

15. Pepe’s Taco

I asked my food tour guide what pastor stand locals liked best and he named two places – Pepe’s Taco and El Carboncito. Locals always know best so like an obedient Traveleater, I went to both of them.

Pepe’s Taco has an extensive menu of food and drinks but what they’re really known for are their pastor tacos. Like my guide said, they’re delicious.

Trio of pastor tacos in Puerto Vallarta

Like many of the restaurants on this list, Pepe’s Taco is a Travelers’ Choice awardee with a near-perfect 4.5-star rating on Tripadvisor.

Exterior of Pepe's Taco restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Pepe’s Taco

Address: C. Honduras 145C, 5 de Diciembre, 48350 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 1PM-6AM, daily
What to Order: Al pastor tacos
Expect to Spend: MXN 22 per pastor taco

16. Tacón de Marlin

Tacón de Marlin is a small shop that specializes in seafood burritas. That’s burritos with an “a”. Based on what I’ve read, burritos and burritas are essentially the same but they can be prepared and served in different ways, depending on where you are in Mexico.

Whatever the exact definition, the most noticeable difference is that burritas are considerably smaller than burritos. They also seem to be folded rather than rolled so they’re flatter and more parcel-like in shape.

In any case, they’re very similar to burritos and are just as delicious. I asked my server for his recommendation and he suggested I get the mixed burrita which is made with a combination of smoked marlin, shrimp, and octopus.

Seafood burrita at Tacon de Marlin in Puerto Vallarta

Tacón de Marlin is located just two doors down from Pepe’s Taco.

Store front of Tacón de Marlin in Puerto Vallarta

Tacón de Marlin

Address: C. Honduras 145-Int. E, 5 de Diciembre, 48350 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 10:30AM-5:30PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Seafood burritos
Expect to Spend: About MXN 125 per burrito

17. El Carboncito

As described, my food tour guide cited El Carboncito as one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for pastor tacos. He was right on both counts but especially with this one. El Carboncito’s pastor tacos were among the best tacos I had in Puerto Vallarta. These were seriously delicious.

Pastor tacos in Puerto Vallarta

El Carboncito opens at 7PM and fills up quickly so be sure to arrive early. They stay open till the wee hours of the morning so their tacos make for some pretty amazing drunk food.

El Carboncito taco restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

El Carboncito

Address: C. Honduras 127, 5 de Diciembre, 48350 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 7PM-3:30AM, Tue-Thurs / 7PM-5AM, Fri-Sat / 7PM-12MN, Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Al pastor tacos
Expect to Spend: MXN 15 per pastor taco

LÁZARO CARDENAS

I’m not entirely sure what this neighborhood is called but I believe the area is known as Lázaro Cárdenas. It’s mostly a residential neighborhood that doesn’t offer much in the way of tourist attractions but it is home to what some locals have described as the best tacos de cabeza in Puerto Vallarta.

18. Tacos de Cabeza “Matute”

In Mexico, people often say that the best tacos come out only at night. Open only from 8:30 till 11PM, Tacos de Cabeza “Matute” is definitely a testament to that.

This humble taco stall is basically just a cart that sets up shop in front of the owner’s home. They serve tacos made from different parts of the cow’s head like cheeks, eyes, brain, tongue, and lips. I love offal and what many westerners dismiss as the less desirable parts of the animal so I love tacos made with this type of meat.

Pictured below is a trio of tacos made with beef tongue, eyes, and lips. These amazing tacos were some of the best tacos I had in Puerto Vallarta. Overflowing with meat, onions, and cilantro, they were absolutely delicious.

I enjoyed them all but my favorite was the taco filled with beef eye. It has a unique texture that’s unlike any other type of meat.

Tacos de cabeza in Puerto Vallarta

I arrived at Tacos de Cabeza “Matute” a few minutes before 8:30PM but there was already a small crowd of people waiting to have their tacos. This place is clearly popular with the locals so I suggest arriving early before they run out.

Tacos de Cabeza Matute stand in Puerto Vallarta

Tacos de Cabeza “Matute”

Address: Las Americas 523, Lázaro Cárdenas, 48330 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8:30-11PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Tacos de cabeza
Expect to Spend: About MXN 20 per taco

VERSALLES

I stayed at an AirBnB just north of Versalles, a residential neighborhood about 5.5 km (3.4 miles) north of the Romantic Zone. I didn’t know it at the time but according to my food tour guide, Versalles is an up-and-coming foodie neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, it’s home to so many interesting restaurants that their company even offers a Versalles food tour. How lucky was I??

If you like going to where the locals eat, then you need to explore Versalles. I went only to Mexican restaurants but you’ll find several restaurants here offering different types of cuisine like Portuguese, Italian, and American, just to name a few.

19. Cha’

If you’re looking for a place that serves delicious breakfast in Puerto Vallarta, then make your way to Cha’, a lovely brunch spot in Versalles. They serve beautifully plated breakfast food in a casual but stylish space.

I arrived a few minutes before they opened at 9AM and there was already a small group of people waiting to be seated. Clearly, this place is popular with the locals. When it comes to breakfast, it has to be one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

I had the chilaquiles con mole almendrado. Isn’t it beautiful? Chilaquiles is a popular Mexican breakfast dish made with fried corn tortillas cooked in salsa and topped with cheese and other ingredients. What a delicious way to wake up!

Chilaquiles con mole at Cha' in Puerto Vallarta

As described, Cha’ is popular so it’s best to arrive early. The space isn’t that big so you may have to wait for a table if you arrive later in the day.

Exterior of Cha', a popular breakfast restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Cha’

Address: Hamburgo 148a, Versalles, 48310 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-4PM, Tue-Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Chilaquiles con mole almendrado
Expect to Spend: MXN 140 for the chilaquiles con mole almendrado

20. El Puerco de Oro

El Puerco de Oro was my favorite restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. I enjoyed it so much that I wound up eating here three times because I wanted to taste everything on their menu. In fact, when I was chatting with my food tour guide about Versalles, he specifically mentioned this place. Little did he know that I had already eaten here twice!

El Puerco de Oro is a humble restaurant in a tiny space with just four tables. Their specialty dish is deep-fried pork belly served in tacos, quesadillas, or in tortas (weekends only).

Both tacos below are pork belly tacos but one was served with salsa verde. This simple but delicious meal is one of the best I’ve had so far in Mexico. It was so good!

Pork belly tacos in Puerto Vallarta

On my next visit, I had the pork belly quesadilla. It was every bit as delicious as the tacos.

Pork belly quesadilla in Puerto Vallarta

On Saturdays and Sundays, El Puerco de Oro serves these tortas filled with pork belly and beans smothered in a red tomato sauce. My food tour guide described it as a “sexy sandwich” that’s reminiscent of Guadalajara’s famed dish – tortas ahogadas.

According to my guide, they do run out of this so it’s best to arrive early over the weekend if you want to try it.

Torta made with pork belly in Puerto Vallarta

El Puerco de Oro may be small and unassuming but it has to be one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

Exterior of El Puerco de Oro in Puerto Vallarta

El Puerco de Oro

Address: C. España 325 D, Versalles, 48310 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-3PM, Tue-Fri / 9AM-4PM, Sat-Sun (closed Mondays)
What to Order: Pork belly tacos/quesadillas
Expect to Spend: MXN 22 per taco, MXN 50 per quesadilla

21. Lamara

If you like ceviche and aguachile, then you need to visit Lamara. Like Cha’, it’s a local favorite that’s busy at almost any time of the day.

Lamara offers many different types of ceviche and aguachile. I didn’t know what to get so I wound up going with what seemed like house specialties based on their names – Lamara aguachile and Vallarta ceviche.

Pictured below is the Vallarta ceviche, a type of ceviche made with tilapia, cucumber, onion, cilantro, wild carrot, and serrano pepper.

Vallarta ceviche at Lamara in Versalles

This is the Lamara aguachile made with shrimp, onion, cucumber, cilantro, and house salsa. Aquachile is a very similar dish to ceviche except it’s made with shrimp instead of fish. It also differs in its marinade ingredients and marinating time.

Lamara aguachile in Puerto Vallarta

Regardless of what type of ceviche or aguachile you order, they’ll serve it with these crunchy tostadas and three types of salsa.

NOTE: This is what these dishes looked like when served in the “Eat & Go” section of the restaurant. You’ll see what I mean below but the presentation of these dishes may be different if you get seated in the main dining area of Lamara.

Ceviche on tostada at Lamara in Puerto Vallarta

As described, Lamara is hugely popular with the locals so you can expect a line at almost any time of the day. I didn’t feel like waiting for a table in the main dining room so I enjoyed my meal in their “Eat & Go” section located at the side of the restaurant.

People waiting to get a table at Lamara in Puerto Vallarta

Luckily for me, they had this side section used mainly for takeaways. They have a few counter seats here so if you don’t mind the dropoff in ambiance, then you can order and enjoy your meal here. The presentation may be different but at least I didn’t have to wait long for my food.

Considering how popular it is with locals, Lamara has to be one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for ceviche and aguachile.

Eat & Go section at Lamara in Puerto Vallarta

Lamara

Address: Hamburgo 108, Versalles, 48310 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 12NN-7PM, daily
What to Order: Ceviche, aguachile
Expect to Spend: Around MXN 85 for aguachile, MXN 65 for ceviche

22. Tacos El Flako

I’m a big fan of tacos de cabeza so I was happy to find this street taco stall in the Versalles neighborhood. Like Tacos de Cabeza “Matute”, they serve tacos made from different parts of the cow’s head.

Pictured below are tacos made with beef cheeks, lips, eyes, and surtido, which is a mixture of different cabeza meats. They weren’t quite as loaded as the tacos at “Matute” but they were also very good.

Tacos de cabeza in Puerto Vallarta

If you’re in the Versalles neighborhood and want to try tacos de cabeza, then Tacos El Flako is the place to go.

Tacos El Flako stand in Puerto Vallarta

Tacos El Flako

Address: Calle Havre 244, Versalles, 48310 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 4:30PM-12MN
What to Order: Tacos de cabeza
Expect to Spend: MXN 15 per taco

23. Cevichería Juan Tiburón

Cevichería Juan Tiburón is a Mexican seafood restaurant located just beyond the Versalles area. It’s a casual restaurant in a residential neighborhood that serves different types of seafood dishes like ceviche, aguachile, tostadas, burritas, and cocteles.

I made the trek to this restaurant after reading their excellent reviews. In the words of one reviewer: “I love this place, I come all the way from Zona Romantica to have lunch here.” If he makes the trip all the way from downtown Puerto Vallarta then it must be good!

Pictured below is the shrimp burrita. They call their burritas tiburones. Tiburón is in the restaurant’s name so I figured it must be one of their specialties. It was delicious.

Shrimp burrita at a seafood restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

Like many of the restaurants recommended in this Puerto Vallarta food guide, Cevichería Juan Tiburón is a Travelers’ Choice awardee. As of this writing, they maintain a perfect 5-star rating on Tripadvisor. I’d say that definitely makes them worth a visit!

Cevicheria Juan Tiburon in Puerto Vallarta

Cevichería Juan Tiburón

Address: Viena 131, Valentín Gómez Farias, 48320 Puerto Vallarta, Jal.
Operating Hours: 12NN-9:30PM, daily
What to Order: Seafood
Expect to Spend: Varies

FOOD TOURS

Going on food tours is one of our favorite things to do on trips. I enjoy doing all the research and finding the best places to eat on my own but sometimes, it’s nice to have a local show you around. Simply put, no one knows the food in Puerto Vallarta better than a local so what better way to experience it than by going on a guided food tour?

24. Mex-ology Tour

There are many food tours to choose from in Puerto Vallarta. I wanted to learn more about Mexican drinks and cocktails so I went on this tacos and tequila tour with Vallarta Food Tours, the number one tour provider in Puerto Vallarta on Tripadvisor.

This Mex-ology tour is a 4-hour eating and drinking binge that treated me to tasty Mexican dishes and drinks like tlacoyos, raicilla, pulque, mezcal, paloma, and of course, tacos. If that sounds good to you, then you can book this tour on Get Your Guide.

Fish taco from a restaurant in the Romantic Zone

A refreshing margarita to wash down that tasty fish taco. You’ll get about five food tastings and six alcoholic beverages on this tour.

Check out my article on this Puerto Vallarta food tour for more pictures and information. It includes information on other popular food tours they offer in Puerto Vallarta as well like their original downtown food tour and a taco evening tour.

Margarita at a bar in the Romantic Zone

Mex-ology Tour

Length of Tour: 4 hrs
Cost: USD 85 per person

LOCATION MAP

To help you find these restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, I’ve pinned them all on this map. Click on the link for an interactive version of the map. You’ll find a few more restaurants on the map that weren’t included in this Puerto Vallarta food guide.

Map with pins

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE FOOD IN PUERTO VALLARTA

I didn’t go but I read about this terrific fine dining restaurant in the Romantic zone called Makal. It features Michelin Star Chef Graham Campbell, a Scottish chef who once made an appearance on The Final Table on Netflix. He’s known for being the youngest chef in Scotland to receive a Michelin Star.

Based on online reviews, Makal features an eclectic and impressive menu of modern Mexican dishes. If you’re looking for a truly special and romantic dinner in Puerto Vallarta, then you may want to book a table at Makal. Our food tour guide pointed it out to me as well and referred to it as one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

With that, I’ll conclude this restaurant guide and hope that it gives you plenty of ideas on which restaurants and street food stalls to visit in Puerto Vallarta. If you have any questions, then please do let me know in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading and have an amazing time eating your way through Puerto Vallarta. ¡Buen provecho!

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