Hold the guacamole un minuto! You’re in Vallarta with an intercontinental dining scene that beats any resort town in Mexico! Chefs from all over the world have come here and stayed to open marvelous restaurants reflecting their countries’ culinary heritages. The visitor to Vallarta can select from Argentine, Asian, Australian, Austrian, Brazilian, Chinese, French, German, Italian, Indian, Japanese and Spanish cuisines served in candlelit castles, beachside palapas, charming gardens, trendy cafes, elegant villas and even family garages. And the familiar from north of the border is never far, with fast food chains and coffee bars abounding.
The extensive variety of eateries around the bay means there’s something for all moods and budgets. One evening, climb up to Barcelona Tapas for a view and paella, sangria and more favorites from Spain. For famous Argentine meats, try Rincón de Buenos Aires in the Marina or La Porteña in Nuevo Vallarta. Take a ride north and feast on Mediterranean food by the ocean at Don Pedro’s in Sayulita or Japanese fare at Pink Bonsai in Punta Mita.
France is represented by a variety of choices, from the crepes at Casa Triskell in Bucerias to the award-winning French food served in three fabulous settings at Café des Artistes. In between, feast at La Petite in the Hotel Zone or Piaf in Nuevo Vallarta. German fare can be savored at Hacienda Alemana, South Side, or Black Forest in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle, while Kaiser Maximilian provides a taste of Austria on Olas Altas.
Italian cuisine is always popular, from Alfredo di Roma at the southern end of Vallarta to La Bella Italia (Flamingos), Mezzogiorno (Bucerias) and Frascati’s (La Cruz) in the north, with La Piazetta (South Side), La Galleria del Gusto (El Centro), Porto Bello (Marina Vallarta) and Angelo’s (Nuevo Vallarta) in between.
Asian eateries are the trend and Vallarta boasts its share. Go south to Bai Sri for Thai-Vietnamese or to Saffron for a taste of India. Thai flavors are downtown at ZTai and Archie’s Wok, while Mark’s (Bucerias) fuses Asian and Mediterranean styles.
But do remember that you are in Mexico and the local specialties shouldn’t be missed! Fabulous Mexican food is served everywhere, from corner stands to stylish bistros. For fine dining, try Agave Grill, El Arrayan, Mestizo, Los Xitomates, Si Señor or Tequila’s downtown and Las Palomas Doradas in Marina Vallarta. Find a casual atmosphere and traditional dishes at La Chata de Guadalajara (El Centro) or Famar’s (Bucerias) or be adventurous and try tacos, pozole or other Mexican specialties wherever it smells good!
In celebration of its wonderful dining diversity, Vallarta hosts a 10-day Gourmet Festival each November when dozens of top-rated establishments invite chefs from around the world to prepare exceptional menus, some of which influence restaurant offerings throughout the year. Also special, for two weeks in May many of these restaurants serve special prix fixe meals, offering everyone a chance to sample the wonderful culinary variety of Vallarta!