To say we ate well in Puerto Vallarta would be an understatement. The access to fresh, authentic Mexican food was a food lover’s dream, and we took full advantage of it during our stay. We didn’t have a bad meal the entire time, but when it comes to what to eat in Puerto Vallarta there were definitely a few standout dishes and experiences.
What to Eat in Puerto Vallarta: Six Essentials You Can’t Miss
The perfect start to a day in Puerto Vallarta, chilaquiles are basically glorified breakfast nachos, and I am here for it. You can get them with rojo or verde sauce (red or green) and served with either eggs or chicken. The toppings vary from place to place, but cotija cheese and raw onion are almost always present. I like mine with rojo, with fried eggs and as many toppings as I can get. We ordered them all around town, but surprisingly our favorite was at a nondescript coffee shop called The Coffee Cup just a short walk from out house.
All The Fruit
Not taking advantage of all the fresh, tropical produce while in Puerto Vallarta would be a crime. In a smoothie, in a parfait or just by itself we had fresh fruit with pretty much every meal. If you’re looking to stay healthy(ish) on your trip, head to Barra Light (located right next door to The Coffee Cup, coincidentally) for made-to-order smoothies, fruit parfaits, salads and more.
Tacos al Pastor
Okay, obviously you’re going to eat tacos in Mexico. You can (and probably should) eat tacos for every meal in Puerto Vallarta. But don’t leave without trying the tacos al pastor at Panchos Takos on the bustling Basilio Badillo street. You will most likely have to wait in line (get there early to shorten the wait). It’s worth it. This is real deal pastor cooked on a trompo, or vertical spit, wrapped in pineapple and bacon. When you put in an order for al pastor, they slice it fresh off the spit then serve it atop warm, corn tortillas with lots of raw onion and cilantro. Oh, and they’re less than a dollar (US) per taco. How can you go wrong? We paired our pastor with cervezas and a shot of tequila, as one should. The other tacos are great here as well, especially the chorizo. But don’t miss the al pastor.
I became absolutely obsessed with ceviche during this trip. The most common version is super simple – fresh shrimp, pico de gallo, lime juice and cilantro. Many feature some sort of pepper for a spicy kick. One of our favorite versions was at Langostino’s Restaurant on the Malecon. The ceviche was served with fresh avocado, tortilla chips and baked tostadas. You can easily make a light and healthy lunch out of a good ceviche (so that you can eat more tacos later of course).
During one of our beachfront dinner’s at La Palapa, Tom ordered the red snapper special. It was fresh from the Pacific and served whole with a generous amount of ranchero sauce. The snapper was delicately filleted and cooked perfectly, each bite melting in the mouth. The ranchero sauce provided a delicious flavor to the dish but did not over-power the freshness of the fish itself. There’s something special about gazing out into the ocean as you taste some of it’s fresh bounty.
No, it’s not technically a food, but I would be remiss not to mention the booze in Puerto Vallarta. A beer and a shot of tequila is the way to go, but I won’t lie and say we didn’t have a few fruity drinks thrown in for good measure. Mexico also produces wine, which we sampled with varying results. We’d love to visit the main wine region, Valle de Guadalupe, someday to further explore Mexican vino.
We left Puerto Vallarta with so many great memories, many of them revolving around great meals like these. But, honestly, no matter where you end up eating in Puerto Vallarta its probably going to be good. Just remember, there’s no such thing as too many tacos.
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