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Hot Picks: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Diane Sukiennik, Associate Editor, Food and Wine Access
          Michael Reiss, Editor, Food and Wine Access

Photo by Michael Reiss



Something spectacular is happening south of the border. It's a gastronomic explosion of international dimensions that is attracting worldwide attention to the charming town of Puerto Vallarta. Long known for its beaches, this town is now the most culinarily respected location in Mexico outside of Mexico City. So besides world class beaches and typical Mexican fare, there are restaurants of note representing every ethnic and culinary tradition---each raising the bar to outdo the other in ambiance, cuisine and welcoming vibes.

Although the gastronomic scene is available year round, perhaps the best time to visit might be in the month of November, when the Festival Gourmet International celebrates food's primal power to bring people together. Join xenophiles and gourmands from far and wide to enjoy an unsurpassed experience of local gastronomy and flavor during the annual celebration. Many of the world's master chefs come to share their expertise with local talented chefs at the most acclaimed restaurants in the area. Every night they jointly prepare creative delights with customized menus and specialties which are savored at the evening"Chefs and Winemakers Dinners," where creative courses and select wines are featured and presented by the winemakers.

Photo by Michael Reiss


Festival highlights include the EXPO-FORUM, which features cooking classes, specialized food seminars, a gourmet food fair introducing the newest and most creative Epicurean products available, Tequila Madness and much more. This is an event to calendar.


Puerto Vallarta has outstanding retaurants. Here are some "Hot Picks" -"Where to Eat" in Puerto Vallarta!

Hot Picks: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Diane Sukiennik, Associate Editor, Food and Wine Access
          Michael Reiss, Editor, Food and Wine Access

Where to Eat

 

TRIO

Photo by Michael Reiss


Located in a colonial townhouse with an opened courtyard and roof top terrace in the heart of old Vallarta, Trio is a visual and culinary delight. From the masterful skills of two European chefs, Bernhard from Germany and Ulf from Sweden comes Mediteranean-inspired recipes executed with confidence and flair.
Each dish is expertly presented by well trained waitstaff who anticipate your every need. The wine service is is directed by a knowledgeable sommelier who will pair wines with each dish or suggest the right bottle to complement the entire meal. Pastries, including apple strudel, are done to a crisp perfection, no small feat in Puerto Vallarta's sultry climate. In the words of Chef Ulf, this is cuisine prepared with love, and you can taste it!

 

Trio's colonial townhouse with an opened courtyard makes dining a memorable experience.

Photo by Michael Reiss


Favorite Appetizers:

Lebanese salad: baked beet slices & parsley with marinated goat cheese
Warm artichokes and mushrooms with garlic confit, thyme oil and Parmesan


Favorite Entrees:

Pan roasted sea bass with glazed grapes, mashed potatoes, peppered sauerkraut and white pepper sauce.
Paella a la Pepe y Pepo: vegetable rice, curry shrimp, grilled fish and chicken with a three-chile sauce


Favorite Dessert:


Apple Strudel with Vanilla Ice Cream

Trio's food is both delicious and appealing to the eye.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Trio Restaurant Bar Cafe
Guerrero #264, Centro
Tel 52 (322) 222 21 96



CAFE des ARTISTES

Chef Thierry Blouet chats with diners at Cafe des Artistes.

Photo by Michael Reiss

The exterior of Cafe des Artistes is an intriguing white castle nestled in the hills that houses galleries and chic boutiques in Old Vallarta. The interior is sophisticated, modern and architecturally stunning with art at every turn. The garden is lush, romantic, private and thoroughly enchanting. This is the setting for one of Puerto Vallarta's most acclaimed restaurants.

Offering a trilogy of restaurants under one roof, Cafe des Artistes Bistro Gourmet with its a la carte menu, "Thierry Blouet Cocina de Autor Dining Room" offering a creative, prix-fixe menu and the glamorous Constantini Wine Bar with over 120 selections by the glass.

Whichever venue you choose, interior or exterior, your dining experience will be sumptuous, satisfying and will entice all of your senses.

Cafe des Artistes's multilevel enchanted outside garden patio makes dining a magical experience.

Photo by Michael Reiss

Favorite Appetizers:

Tuna fish sashimi salad wrapped on sesame seed with lentil vinaigrette; wasabi foam
Green asparagus, pumpkin seeds and fennel light cream over salmon carpaccio

Favorite Entrees:

Baked ossobuco and lamb chop duo with fine herbs, served with mascarpone polenta and garlic trio
Roasted and glazed duck on ginger and lemon sauce, grilled cactus and broad bean and stuffed Ana Potato


Favorite Desserts:

Chocolate cake “Napoleon” with praline, caramelized hazelnuts and lemon cream; citrus reduction

 

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At Cafe des Artistes every dish has creative flair.

Photo by Michael Reiss

Cafe des Artistes
Guadalupe Sanchez 740, Centro
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Reservations
(322) 22 232 28 / 29





COCO TROPICAL

Photo by Michael Reiss

This is Coco Tropical: beach umbrellas on a terrace facing one of Puerto Vallarta's favorite beaches,which creates the setting for the gourmet European cuisine. This cuisine is created by Swiss Owner Heinz E. Reize, one of the founders of "Vallarta's Festival Gourmet," held each November.

The casual ambiance is a counterpoint to the masterful, refined cuisine prepared with the finest ingredients by a world class hotelier/chef. Relax and enjoy a gourmet experience in the best European tradition under the magic of Puerto Vallarta's tropical skies! Now, that's a winning combination!

Coco Tropical, nestled among the swaying palm trees facing the ocean in its tropical Puerto Vallarta setting, is the place for a romantic gourmet dining experience.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Favorite Appetizers:
Pacific Shrimp Cocktail "Coco Tropical" - Over melon and avocado pearls and delicately covered with brandy cocktail sauce

Strudel Florentine - Sautéed fresh mushrooms, spinach and Mozzarella cheese baked in puff pastry

Favorite Entrees:
Osso Buco Romano with Italian Risotto - Braised Veal Shank in red wine sauce, Risotto and Parmesan cheese

Captain's Table Favorite - Filet of Charcoal-Broiled Fresh Fish, served with aioli sauce


Favorite Desserts:
Grand Mom's Swiss Apple Tart Recipe - Freshly baked, served hot and sugar glazed, with vanilla ice-cream


 

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A varied and interesting menu is concluded by an outstanding desert, "Grand Mom's Swiss Apple Tart Recipe - Freshly baked, served hot and sugar glazed, with vanilla ice-cream."

Photo by Michael Reiss




COCO TROPICAL
Basilio Badillo 101
Los Muertos Beach
South Side, Puerto Vallarta
(322) 222-5485

 


 

EL DORADO

Photo by Michael Reiss

El Dorado is located on one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta. This long standing spot offers oceanfront dining, welcoming ambiance, live music and traditional Mexican cuisine cooked with flair and an eye toward dramatic presentation.
Here is a place to enjoy all of your favorites and be delighted by Executive Chef Guillermo Wulff's interpretation of the classics. Salud!

This is sampling of El Dorado's delicious appetizers including exotic tropical drinks such as Pina Colada.

Photo by Michael Reiss


Favorite Tapas:


Avocado stuffed with Shrimp
Fried Calamaries, bell pepper and tartar sauce



Favorite Large Plates:


Fish filet "El Dorado" style
Shrimps a la diabalo


Favorite Dessert:

Cheesecake

 

El Dorado's setting faces the beach and makes dining a pleasure.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

El Dorado
Pulpito 102, South Side
(322) 222 4124


 

 

BIANCO

Photo by Michael Reiss


Perched on the banks of the Cuale River, this alluring restaurant /lounge, Bianco, entices you to experience their unique blend of progressive European-Mexican cuisine. Owners Carlos Obando and Louis Dorfman welcome guests to their architecturally intriguing space boldly decorated to awaken the senses.

 

The professional staff are at your service suggesting their favorite dishes and proposing compatible wine pairings. Alfresco terrace dining surrounded by lush vegetation and the sound of the rushing river provides a sharp contrast to the cool, chic, intimate interior decor. Once sated, make your way down to the lounge where live music and signature martinis will seduce you to the dance floor for an evening to remember.

Bianco's cool, chic, intimate interior decor encourages guests to linger.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Favorite Appetizers:

Sauteed Foie Gras Mille Feuille with caramelized apples and hazelnuts on arugula salad
Stuffed Fresh Herb Crepes with escargots and green tomatillo with garlic and cilantro broth


Favorite Entrees:

Sea Bass Filet with mushroom and tequilla sauce, arborio rice with huitlacoche and corn


Favorite Dessert:

Special of the Day


 

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Bianco's Lounge is one of Puerto Vallarta's hotest night spots.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Bianco
Insurgentes 109, El Centro
(322) 222 2177



 

 

LA PETITe

Chef/Owner Nacho Cadena of La Petite Restaurant discusses his lifelong passion for food and wine with admiring guests.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

The personal expression of style, tradition, generosity and love from Chef/Owner Nacho Cadena of LaPetite Restaurant is evident in every aspect of his long standing tribute to the French classics.

His renditions are true to form yet fresh and satisfying at every bite. His eclectic wine selection offers superb pairings and Chef Nacho is always willing to accommodate a special menu request or delight his guests with "something new" to keep them coming back for more.


At La Petite Restaurant one can find delights such as "Cucharitas de Mariscos, spoonfuls of seafood in a sauce of white wine, cream and fine herbs."

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Favorite Appetizers:

Cucharitas de Mariscos, spoonfuls of seafood in a sauce of white wine, cream and fine herbs
Escargots a la Brillat-Savarin, served in mushroom caps with garlic and parsley butter

Favorite Entrees:

Filete de Pescado Principe Murat, sauteed in butter with artichokes and potatoes
Canard a L'Orange, the classic duck dish of France


Favorite Desserts:

Soufflé a L'Orange

 

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Every plate is delectable at La Petite Restaurant, under the direction of Chef/Owner Nacho Cadena.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

 

La Petite
Blvd. FCO,Medina Ascencio KM.2.5
Next to Fiesta Americana
(322) 293 0900



BOCA BENTO

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

As you stroll past the wrought iron gate that functions as the only wall between the restaurant and the street and glance into the tranquil interior complete with seated Buddha, you know you have arrived at a unique dining venue. The place is Boca Bento. The interior design, art and music of the pagoda-roofed space all reinforce the Latina-Asiatica cuisine that awaits within.

When you look through the menu and want every item, you only hope its as good as it sounds, and it is. The range of flavors, textures, spices and ethnic influences offered is ambitious and well executed. The flavors are full bodied and uniquely combined to juxtapose the Asian and Latin influences. The spices are used with confidence and competence to remind you of what your taste buds are all about. Boca Bento offers you an original dining concept that stimulates the senses and satisfies the palate.


Boca Bento's serene, yet lively atmosphere brings diners back again and again.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Favorite Appetizers:

Yellowfin Sashimi and Tuna tartar with Arugula, Wasabi foam and Three-Chile Vinaigrette
Smokey Peanut Mole with Sweey Soy Glazed Chicken Wings

Favorite Entrees:

Mu Shu Duck Carnitas served with Mandarin Pancakes, Tomato-Ginger Salsa and Hoisin
Adobo Prawns with Chinese Five Spice Glazed Pineapple, Sticky Rice and Chimichurri Sauce


Favorite Desserts:

Chocolate Temptation with Thyme Sauce, Sake Syrup and a Sesame Gelato

 

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The"Mu Shu Duck Carnitas served with Mandarin Pancakes, Tomato-Ginger Salsa and Hoisin," is an example of Boca Bento's diverse and exotic menu.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Boca Bento
Basilio Badillo 180 South Side
(322) 222 9108

 

 

LA PALAPA

 

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

The seductive sounds of tropical jazz invite you to listen, linger and enjoy the savory cuisine at one of Vallarta's most popular restaurants and beach clubs, La Palapa.

Dine on the sand with the waves gently splashing or under the open air thatched roof hut, all aglow with candles and amber light. Chef Everardo Robles prepares continental favorites using local ingredients and international spices. The scene, sounds, and tastes make for a romantic evening.


The dining room at La Palapa is open-air and faces the beautiful beach front.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

Favorite Appetizers:

Portobello and Shrimp salad with fresh mango, baby mix, arugula, mint and tamarind vinaigrette
Thai Chicken Coconut Soup with mushrooms, bamboo, ginger and lemongrass


Favorite Entrees:

Seared Sea Scallops in Orange Miso Sauce
Local lobster Tail roasted in Ponzu pepper oil and served with a cauliflower puree and Asian pear salad


Favorite Desserts:

 

Profiteroles, puff pastry filled with vanilla ice cream and warm chocolate sauce



 

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Scallops at La Palapa is done to perfection.

Photo by Michael Reiss

 

La Palapa
Pulpito 103, South Side
(322) 222 5225

 

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