Those of you who follow us on Instagram know we recently spent a week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. We stayed in a two-story condo that we found through TrustedHousesitters and had a truly amazing trip. One of the best parts of our stay was that we were only a short seven minute walk down the hillside to the beach and the Malecon, a mile-long beachfront boardwalk in Puerto Vallarta. Puerto Vallarta is filled with great restaurants and we happened to stumble upon one of our favorites during a jaunt to the beach early on in the trip. We had heard from some locals that some of the best spots on the beach were operated by restaurants and you could secure a premium location on the sand as long as you ordered a few items. El Dorado restaurant was one of these places and we quickly snagged a spot when we came across it to have a few drinks and grab a bite.
After sufficiently digging our toes into the sand and we ordered some cocktails and settled in. Kacy had a Fresh Kiwi that was made with vodka, kiwi, pear, basil and some yuzu, the prefect drink to cool off from the Mexican sun. I decided to go a different route and ordered the Mezcalita Pasíon. This cocktail (picture below) included mezcal, passion fruit, agave honey, controy (orange liqueur), fresh grapefruit juice and a pineapple garnish. The fruit and sweetness really balanced out the smokiness of the mezcal and made for a delicious drink. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good beachside piña colada or Corona but we quickly realized that this place was taking it up a notch.
As food bloggers tend to do, we quickly got hungry and needed something to snack on while we soaked in the surf. We decided on the seasonal salad and the shrimp and passion fruit ceviche to keep things on the lighter side.
The seasonal salad included mango, kiwi, fresh greens goat cheese, pistachios, and a plum vinaigrette. Just like the drinks, the food almost seemed too good for beach fare. The ceviche was even better, constructed in a circular shape constructed of passion fruit and shrimp ceviche. This dish was possibly the best thing we ate during the whole Puerto Vallarta trip. The combination of the fresh fruit, slightly sweet shrimp, avocado, and lime juice hit all the right notes.
After falling in love with El Dorado during our daytime visit, we decided that we had to go back and get the full dinner experience. The open air dining room shares the same great ocean views as when we were lounging on the beach. Not long after being shown to our table we were greeted with welcome shooters. Kacy is notoriously bad at taking shots, but these were light, fruity and right up her alley. Then we sipped on a Sauvignon Blanc from the Valle de Guadalupe region of Mexico that was crisp and refreshing. Once again, we were off to a great start.
We stuck with our tried-and-true method of ordering multiple appetizers and sharing one entree so we could try more items on the menu. For the appetizers we opted for the red snapper ceviche, lamb taco, and plantain meatball. The ceviche included leche de tigre, red onion, baby corn, habanero and sweet potato crisps. Leche de tigre is one of our favorite ceviche ingredients and made this dish a winner for us.
The lamb taco was almost like a tostada as it was a single corn tortilla topped with an avocado purée, pineapple, mushrooms and the shredded lamb meat in a tomatillo sauce. The meat was quite tender and flavorful, but lost some points for being a taco you had to eat with a fork and knife.
The plantain meatball, however, was one of the stars of the meal. It came as single, comprised of beef, plantain, atop a pepper sauce and chive sour cream topping. The plantain lent a juicy, tender consistency and a unique flavor for a meatball. The pepper sauce was and spicy. It was a filling and very well balanced dish.
Before our entree arrived, we were brought a ginger lime and basil intermezzo to cleanse our palate and get us ready for the rest of the meal. It was a refreshing bite that added another nice touch to the experience. I’m a sucker for any special touches hat come during a meal so this along with our welcome shooter were both duly noted.
We ordered the duck enchilada entree to end our meal, an elevated approach to some of the more common dishes seen in Mexico. The enchiladas were cut into bite-sized pieces and topped with guacamole, queso fresco and covered in a bell pepper and habanero sauce that was just spicy enough without overwhelming the rich flavor of the shredded duck meat.
We were sufficiently stuffed and leaned back in our chairs to enjoy one more long look out onto the ocean before departing the restaurant. If this was the best meal we’d had in Puerto Vallarta, we would have felt incredibly fortunate, but that definitely wasn’t the case.