I have been lucky enough to spend the best part of 6 weeks in Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita over the last few years. With it being such a popular destination to visit from San Francisco, I am frequently asked for recommendations of places to eat and drink, so I’ve decided to throw together my top PV eating spots. And to make life easier when on vacation, I have pinned all my favorite places on this map.
People often ask me whether they should visit PV OR Sayulita. In an ideal world, I would say both! They each offer something different, and are totally doable in a 5 day trip. Sayulita is a chilled out, vibrant beach town, no all-inclusive hotels to be found. Conversely PV is the place to go if you want to lie by a pool and have someone serve you “free” booze all day. Of course there’s more to the town than resorts, but if Sayulita is more your speed, check out this blog post with my top tips.
For those venturing off-resort in PV you won’t go wrong with any of the following…
When You Want To Eat Tacos For Days
You can literally eat tacos for days in PV. Al Pastor and Birria (stewed meat, typically goat and served in a fried shell) are the local favorites and some places are better than others. The best taco places in my opinion are the “eat on the street” style spots. Here are my top 4:
- Panchos Takos
- There is always, always a line, even if you arrive before opening. It moves fast and is worth the wait. Al Pastor tacos and Coronarita for the win. Great salsa selection too!
- El Carboncito
- This is my favorite food truck in PV which is only open in the evening. The guys working there are awesome – on one rather stormy night they ran across to the bar across the street to buy us beer while it was pouring with rain. Try the al pastor gringas – tacos with cheese.
- Great hole in the wall spot that we enjoyed lunch at many times as it was right round the corner from our AirBnB. A ton of tacos and a beer for less than $5. Where do I sign?
- Birria Chanfay
- Delicious birria tacos dorrados in the romantic zone.
Turns out that I don’t have many photos of tacos, probably because I’m always too busy trying to stop meat juice from running down my arms while so gracefully stuffing my face.
When You’re Not Feeling Very Adventurous
For those that aren’t feeling quite adventurous enough to eat street tacos, there are a few good spots that cater to a more international audience. Expect tableside guacamole, fajitas and margaritas the size of your face.
- Some of the best tableside guacamole you’ll find in PV. And it’s free providing you’re ordering mains!
- Si Senor
- There are now two of these – one on the beach and one up the hill. I’ve only visited the “garden” version. Great strawberry margaritas and guacamole.
- La Palapa
- If you’re going to spend the additional $ to eat dinner on the beach, this is the place to do it. It’s also a great spot to post up on the beach and drink 17 beers + shots of tequila on a Sunday afternoon. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything!
When You Can’t Take Any More Tacos
After spending upwards of 3 weeks in Mexico, one really does need to eat something other than tacos. So in the event you also need a taco break, I’ve got you covered with these not so Mexican centric restaurants:
- Memo’s Pancake House
- Pancakes that rival iHop. The awful photo doesn’t do it justice. And if you’re a die hard Mexcian food lover and still want to eat beans and salsa for breakfast (like my darling dining companion), they have some seriously tasty local options!
- Salud Super Food
- Love, love, LOVE this place. At a certain point in time you really need a green smoothie to wash down all that taco meat. And when that time comes, look no further than Salud Super Food. Yummy yogurt & granola breakfasts, filling rice bowls for lunch and I’ve heard the veggie burger is one of the best around!
- Derby City Burgers
- After indulging in one too many margaritas and only a burger will do, this place has got your back.
When You Actually Get Dressed For Dinner
Although we rarely put on make up / a collared shirt while vacationing in Mexico, occasionally it is nice to dress up. Both of these spots are perfect for celebrating birthdays and anniversaries or just the fact you’re on vacation!
- La Traviata
- This rooftop Italian joint is potentially my favorite place in PV. Not because the food is necessarily anything to write home about, but because we’ve never had anything but a fantastic experience every time we’ve visited. The bucket sized 1/2 price glasses of wine served during happy hour as the sunsets over the ocean may have something to do with it too!
- Cafe des Artistes
- If you feel like getting fancytown while in PV, look no further. One of the best tasting menus we’ve experienced anywhere in the world. Paired with delicious Mexican wines and for a price that felt like daylight robbery. Sipping martinis at the piano was a pretty perfect way to end our evening.
If you have any top spots not listed above, I’d love to hear from you. Now please excuse me while I go and book my next flight to Puerto Vallarta!