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14 Amazing Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

14 Amazing Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

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There are so many amazing restaurants in Puerto Vallarta to discover.

Whether you’re looking for delicious tacos, seafood on the beach, delicious burgers, or something healthy, you can find it all in Puerto Vallarta.

The warm weather, the perfect sunsets, and the plethora of craft beer on offer make Puerto Vallarta special. But it also has some of the best seafood I’ve had in Mexico (except maybe the restaurants in Ensenada and those tacos in Bucerias) and I can’t wait to share all of my favorites with you in this article.

One of my favorite reasons to come to a beach town in Mexico is for fresh seafood. I love a cold ceviche, a spicy fish taco, and trying new-to-me seafood dishes like octopus or aguachile. There is always plenty of that on our trips to Puerto Vallarta and that’s mostly what you’ll find in this list of best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

The majority of the restaurants on this list are either located in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood or the Romantic Zone.

Both are chock full of restaurants and bars and it’s very easy to walk between the two neighborhoods which are connected via the Malecon (boardwalk).

best restaurants in puerto vallarta

The sunsets in Puerto Vallarta were some of the best I’ve ever seen anywhere in the world!

Where to Eat in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is home to some of the best seafood tacos on the Pacific coast. These are the best places in the area to eat well.

Map of the Best Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

1. Tacon de Marlin

Tacon de Marlin is the restaurant that I stop at first and sometimes last when I visit Puerto Vallarta. There is a location right across the street from the airport and you can walk there via a footbridge that crosses the main road.

If you aren’t in the mood for a delicious seafood burrito as soon as you arrive in Mexico, there is also a location in the downtown area in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta.

The main dish on the menu is the restaurants namesake, a tacon de marlin. Tacons are burritos made with large flour tortillas that are packed with smoked marlin as well as cheese, tomatoes, onion, and lettuce.

You can also have it with fish, shrimp, octopus, crab, beef, or chicken. You can also have a combination of two or more of these in one tacon. They are incredibly filling and a whole tacon is almost enough for two people, unless you are really hungry.

marlin burritos from one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

The delicious Tacon de Marlin!

It’s a great option if you’re on your way to the beach – you can get a few of them to go and enjoy them with your feet in the sand.

They cost 135 Pesos (about $7 USD) and the price hasn’t changed in the four years I’ve been coming to this place! Always pay in Pesos, but especially here where they overcharge you (by nearly double the price!) if you pay in USD rather than Pesos.

where to eat in puerto vallarta

The outside of Tacon de Marlin

2. Mariscos El Guero

This is perhaps the most famous mariscos, or seafood restaurant in Puerto Vallarta romantic zone neighborhood. This local food tour company stops here and when you search for seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, this is one of the first ones to come up in Google.

For good reason – they’re churning out fresh ceviche, two types of fish tacos (fried or grilled) plates of whole fish, and plenty of other seafood platter options. 

They also have a fridge full of ice cold beer, which goes perfectly with a few of their grilled shrimp tacos.

2024 Update: I revisited El Guero in December 2022 and it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered. There are better places on this list for both tacos and ceviche, but I still think that the service here is exceptional, the prices unbeatable, and the main plates like the whole fish or the cooked shrimp in the diablo sauce are incredibly good. But if you want fish tacos, this is not one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta for that.

best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

We always tried the ceviche wherever we went in Puerto Vallarta – it’s a unique style that I haven’t seen before elsewhere in Mexico

3. Mariscos Cisneros

If you’re in Puerto Vallarta for long enough, you’ll probably notice that most mariscos restaurants in the city have pretty similar menus, but the preparation and quality can vary greatly.

I only ended up at Mariscos Cisneros because I tried to go to El Guero (above) and it was closed.

I’m SO glad that I stumbled upon Cisneros because the quality of their seafood and the way they cook their fish made it my favorite lunchtime spot in Puerto Vallarta.

The restaurant started out as a simple food cart that now sits outside of the main restaurant and you can still sit here and have your seafood lunch on one of their benches. However, they also have a back patio area if you want to sit outside in a little bit more comfort. 

It continues to be one of our favorite restaurants in Puerto Vallarta thanks to the seafood quality, excellent service, and their octopus quesadilla.

They also make shrimp and fish quesadillas which I highly recommend if you don’t love octopus. 

I’m not usually a huge lover of cheese with seafood, but the flavor was just right. They cooked up the seafood with onions and poblano chilis and served it all with a few different sauces to choose from. 

where to eat in puerto vallarta

The outside of Mariscos Cisneros, a must visit when you’re in Puerto Vallarta (in my humble opinion)

4. Mariscos La Tia

If you’re staying in 5 de Diciembre you can’t miss out on this street stall. It is one of the best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta and as long as you don’t mind incredible street food at an even better price, then you’ll love this place.

They also have a restaurant inside, but the street stall outside is where everything is prepared.

I absolutely loved their aguachile, a spicy shrimp sort of ceviche dish (read more about traditional Mexican food here). It was salty and fresh and served with plenty of avocado and tostadas. 

They also made one of the best octopus tacos I have ever eaten, not only from restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, but from restaurants anywhere in Mexico.

They simply cooked up the legs with a little bit of onion and a few spices and served it in a tortilla which you could then fill with sauces of your choice. It was simple, but really allowed you to enjoy the texture and flavor of the octopus.

best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

The out-of-this-world seafood quesadillas we had at Mariscos Cisneros

5. Mariscos El Jefe

This little food stall is another of the many fantastic places to eat in Puerto Vallarta. 

It’s similar to La Tia in that it is basically a food stand with a small restaurant inside. However, you can just as easily enjoy the fresh seafood streetside.

They have a wide selection including fish tacos, ceviche, grilled and fried fish and shrimp, octopus tacos, and aguachile. 

best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta

Marlin burritos – they were on the menu in most seafood places and even in late-night taco spots! I really love the smoked marlin you find around coastal towns in Mexico.

6. El Barracuda

If you’re looking for a place that’s a little more upscale (while still being incredibly affordable), then you can’t go wrong with Barracuda. Barracuda is one of the most popular restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, so be sure to make a reservation, especially on the weekends.

Several people who live in Puerto Vallarta all told me that this is the best place for a really good seafood meal and they were right.

I have been here now on every single one of my trips to Puerto Vallarta and we usually save it as our last dinner. It’s a nice way to say goodbye to Puerto Vallarta; delicious food, incredible cocktails, all with our toes in the sand.

They serve a lot of their dishes in sizzling pans and my personal favorite is the garlic shrimp. The shrimp are cooked to perfection and that garlic sauce may not be a great option for a first date, but it tastes incredible.

I have also sampled the casserole which has fish, octopus, shrimp, and scallops in a really delicious chili sauce. The octopus with Spanish chorizo also deserves a shoutout if you love spicy food and octopus.

There are tables inside, stools at the bar, and plenty of seating outside along the beach. Just a word of warning, if you are dining on the beach at night, it can get pretty dark out there. There isn’t enough light coming from the restaurant to light up the tables, so if you’re dining later in the evening, try to grab a table inside.

dinner menu at el barracuda in puerto vallarta

The dinner menu at el barracuda in Puerto Vallarta (a few non-seafood things on there!)

7. Rico Mac Taco

I had to add at least one non-seafood restaurant in Puerto Vallarta to the list.

This is one of my favorite late-night spots to eat in Puerto Vallarta. They make one of the most delicious birrias I’ve ever had (it’s made with beef here, not goat like it is in Guadalajara). I had it both in a taco as well as in a burrito and both were absolutely delicious.

Their suadero and pastor tacos were also worth having. They serve beer, cold agua frescas (I especially liked their jamaica), and sodas. If you want to brush up on your tacos, check out this guide to the types of Tacos you’ll find in Mexico.

best tacos in puerto vallarta

The birria tacos at Rico Mac Tacos really stole the show for me when it came to non-seafood options in Puerto Vallarta

8. Marisqueria Los Lirios

I’m not exaggerating when I say this, the ceviche at Los Lirios is the best ceviche I have eaten in Mexico. I also cannot look past having at least one of their shrimp tacos every time I visit (which is at least 2-3 times every time I’m back in PV).

The problem with ceviche in most places in Puerto Vallarta is that they make it the “Vallarta” way, which is to very finely chop up the fish and mix is with tomatoes and cucumbers and onions.

But sometimes you want nice chunks of fish, to really taste the fish, to enjoy the texture of the cured fish. That is exactly what you get with the ceviche en cuadros that is served at Los Lirios.

ceviche from los lirios, the best restaurant in Puerto Vallarta

The amazing ceviche from Los Lirios.

This family-run seafood restaurant is quite literally operating right out of their house.

There are only a few tables outside, so you usually have to wait, but it is well worth it for the quality of not only the ceviche, but the aguachile, the octopus tacos (again, some of the best I’ve ever eaten), and all of the other seafood dishes on the menu.

tacos from los lirios in Puerto Vallarta

The tacos from Los Lirios are also exceptional.

9. La Casa del Ceviche

Another family-run seafood spot that you don’t want to miss (although its easy to with only a small sign). Head up the metal steps to this open-air kitchen and dining area and enjoy some of the most interesting ceviche restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

I ordered the aguachile in salsa verde which was exceptionally delicious. I also had the tuna in the aguachile sauce which may have been even better. 

I also had the tuna ceviche and topped it with their housemade chile-infused soy sauce and the mixed ceviche which was good, but not anywhere near as good as the other three.

I would 100% come back here and try more of their ceviches and re-order the two aguachile dishes. They also make a seriously good limonada (lemonade).

ceviche from one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

Ceviche from La Casa del Ceviche in Puerto Vallarta.

10. Tacos El Moreno

This all-female team is turning out the best late-night tacos in all of Puerto Vallarta.

This is a street stall that is open most days of the week from morning until midnight. They have everything from grilled beef to marinated pork topped with pineapple (the pastor taco!). 

They hand-made all of the corn tortillas to order and you can either have a small taco, a large taco, or a quesadilla.

tacos from el moreno in puerto vallarta

Asada tacos on freshly made tortillas from el Moreno.

If you arrive late at night when they are getting ready to close, they may not have any more corn tortilla dough, so come early enough to enjoy it, the tortillas might be the best thing about this place.

My personal favorite is the asada taco, which is beef that has been grilled to perfection and sliced up into bite-sized pieces.

If you’re feeling extra hungry, you can also sample their birria (slow-cooked beef) and they even have a consomé or beef-soup that they’ve made during the cooking process that is utterly delectable.

11. Balam Balam

The reason you walk to the edges of the Romantic Zone is for the perfectly barbecued whole snapper that they serve at Balam Balam.

They have a few other items on the menu, but their whole snapper is why I’ll be back to this place again and again. For under $15 USD (it depends on the weight) you get a whole grilled fish which is freshly grilled to order. You also get a side of rice, plantains, and salad and as many fresh tortillas as you want to make little fish tacos.

They have beers as well as agua del dia which is usually iced hibiscus tea (called Jamaica). Prices are excellent, quality is top notch, and the family running it couldn’t be nicer.

whole fish grilled on a plate with rice and vegetables on the side.

The whole snapper at Balam Balam is filling and delicious! 

12. Casa 449

For the best breakfast in the Romantic Zone, Casa 449 is a solid option. They have traditional Mexican options like chilaquiles, huevos rancheros, and molletes. They also have other more American style options like eggs Benedict, French toast, fruit and yogurt bowls, avocado toast, and omelettes available. 

They make fresh juices including carrot and orange, pineapple, or green juices. This is the place to come for something healthier to start the day or for a really filling and affordable breakfast.

lobster tacos with three on the plate and cilantro across the top.

The lobster tacos at Tuna Azul is one of the best things on the menu there that I have tried.

13. Tuna Azul

I discovered Tuna Azul after a few people recommended it to me on Instagram.

They are on the second floor of the building that looks over one of the main streets in the Romantic Zone in Puerto Vallarta. While you eat you can look out over all of the happenings below.

Happy hour is a good time to come from around 4 pm to 6 pm when you can get a plate of lobster tacos and a beer for a discounted price (basically the beer is free).

They also have other delicious seafood tacos and a nice tuna ceviche which rivals that of Casa de Ceviche listed above (and theirs is SO good). You can also find coconut shrimp, spicy aguachile, and seafood soup on the menu to name a few of their top quality dishes.

Service is excellent and their cocktails are also expertly made. Although I admit, I am partial to their ice cold Pacificos.

two tacos on a blue plate with a plastic bag over them.

The pastor tacos from El Sabor Jarocho are absolutely delectable!

14. Taqueria El Sabor Jarocho

This little taco stall is across the street from a taco restaurant that did not make this list because the line is always too long and there are too many good tacos in Puerto Vallarta to ever wait in line for some.

So instead of waiting in line, cross the street and have these absolutely delicious pastor tacos that are grilled to perfection and served almost as soon as you order them.

They also have chorizo, beef (asada), and pork (adobada) tacos available. But I really recommend coming here for the exceptional pastor tacos. They might even be the best in Puerto Vallarta (and I’ve eaten a LOT of Pastor tacos!).

Liz Santos

Thursday 18th of January 2024

Didn't see one of my favorites here....Red Cabbage Cafe (El Repollo Rojo), which features selected dishes from different states of Mexico. They have an awesome Mole Oaxaca! It's off the beaten path--check it out!

Wayne

Wednesday 11th of January 2023

Thanks for these Laura! Look forward to checking several of them out next time I am there (march!). But don't you know about Marisma??? If not - definitely try it when you return.