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8 Amazing (& Cheap!) Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

8 Amazing (& Cheap!) Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

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The best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta just might be some of my favorite in all of Mexico.

Just thinking back to all of the amazing food we had in Puerto Vallarta makes me want to get back on a flight.

Not to mention the warm weather, the perfect sunsets, and the plethora of craft beer on offer. Puerto Vallarta had some of the best seafood I’ve had in Mexico (until I went to Ensenada that is!) and I couldn’t wait to share all of my finds with you guys.

I was actually really surprised that when I searched for the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, there wasn’t much information out there. 

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. There was definitely plenty of that on our trip to 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

Pretty much every restaurant on this list is a budget-friendly seafood or taco spot.

I wasn’t consciously trying to avoid expensive restaurants, I just find that in Mexico, the best food is served close to the street in small family-style restaurants. That was certainly true in Puerto Vallarta.

My favorite restaurants in Puerto Vallarta usually had a street cart out front where the prep was done and none were too far a walk from the beach. Also, although all of these places are seafood restaurants, most had one or two options for people that don’t love seafood (not many were veggie friendly, though).

1. Tacon Marlin

Honduras 145, 5 de Diciembre

Opening Hours: Daily 10:30am-7:30pm

This was one of the first places we tried in Puerto Vallarta and remains one of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta in my humble opinion.

It’s always one of the first restaurants I go to when I return and its inevitably the last one we head to because it’s delicious and they have a location right across from the airport.

There are a few locations, but the easiest one to get to if you’re staying in the downtown area is located in the 5 de Diciembre neighborhood. It’s mostly a lunch spot and I highly recommend getting here early because the tables fill up quickly, especially on weekends. 

The only thing on the menu is burritos and the best one to start with is the marlin.

It’s smoked marlin wrapped up with a few different sauces and salads inside. It is piping hot and the smoked marlin to salad ratio makes it so that it doesn’t feel like too much (if you’ve had smoked marlin tacos before you know what I’m talking about). 

It’s also 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.

where to eat in puerto vallarta

The outside of Tacon de Marlin

2. Mariscos El Guero

Calle Francisco I. Madero 291, Zona Romántica

Opening Hours: Daily 12-8pm, closed Wednesdays

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.

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

Aguacate 271, Zona Romántica

Opening Hours: Daily 10am-8pm, closed Tuesdays

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 actually 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 which 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

Calle Honduras 215, 5 de Diciembre

Opening Hours: Daily 10:30am-10:30pm, closed Wednesdays

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

Rep. de Chile 167, 5 de Diciembre

Opening Hours: 11am-7:30pm, closed Tuesdays

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

Paraguay 1290, 5 de Diciembre

Opening Hours: Monday & Tuesday 1-10pm, Wednesday-Sunday 12pm-12am

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

Av México 1139, 5 de Diciembre

Opening Hours: 24 hours a day

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. Tacos de 5 Pesos

Calle Honduras 237, 5 de Diciembre

Google seems to believe that this place is called Tacos de 5 Pesos.

While yes, the tacos are only 5 pesos each, I’m pretty sure it has a real name.

In any case, head to this location at any time of day and you will have one of the best plates of food in Puerto Vallarta for about $1 USD. I have been here both in the morning and late at night, so it could very well be a 24-hour sort of place. 

There are three taco options here, but the asada is by far my favorite thing to eat there.

It’s all steamed under a little sheet and it is so incredibly tender. I have tried all three options, two of which are beef and one of which is pork. They were all delicious, but the second time I stopped here for a few tacos, I only had the asada. There are tons of sauces to choose from and a few salad options to put on top of your taco. 

It works slightly differently than most taco stands I’ve been to. You need to order and pay where it says to on the sign. Tell them how many tacos you want and then you pay for them before you get them. The person you pay then gives you a piece of paper with a number on it.

You have to listen out for that number to be called. Once it’s called, you then hand that paper to the cook and tell him which tacos you want. All three types are 5 pesos, so you don’t need to specify when you pay.

It sounds a little bit more confusing than it is. It is a popular spot and the people who run it are very nice. You’ll need a little bit of basic Spanish as they don’t speak English, but even smiling and using your fingers to show how many tacos you want will be enough to get you started. 

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The best restaurants in puerto vallarta, all of the best places to eat when you visit Puerto Vallarta in Mexico! This is mostly the best seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, but I also list some of my favorite tacos in Puerto Vallarta, too!