With its blue waters and sandy beaches, it’s not hard to see why Puerto Vallarta is a tourist hotspot. This Mexican coastal town is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. But with so many people flocking there, how can you make sure your experience stands out? It all comes down to finding authentic local spots to eat. The best restaurants in PV are ones that aren’t listed in every other travel guide—they’re hidden gems where locals go after a long day at work, not places that cater exclusively to tourists. To help you unearth these lesser-known eateries, we asked some locals for their recommendations. They gave us insider details on the top places to eat in Puerto Vallarta if you want something more authentic than what you find on TripAdvisor or Yelp.
Mexican Pozole Soup: This hearty dish is made with pork and hominy, which is a type of corn with a chewy texture. Unlike other corn, hominy is not used as a starch but more like a vegetable. It is a common base for soups and stews in Mexican cuisine. Mexican Pozole is often served with fresh cilantro, avocado, chopped onion, radishes, and lime. Tacos de Barbacoa: Like the pozole, the tacos de barbacoa are another traditional dish that is served in many parts of Mexico. The tacos are made with a type of meat called carne asada that is usually marinated in a chile sauce. The tacos are topped with onions, cilantro, and salsa, along with a side of guacamole for a satisfying meal. Champurrado: This traditional Mexican drink is made with chocolate, masa, and caramel. It is a hot beverage that is sweet, thick, and creamy while also being a bit salty. It is a popular drink during the holiday season when it is often served along with pan de muerto, or Mexican sweet bread.
If you love seafood, this is the place to visit. Oyster Grill of La Docena is a casual patio restaurant where you can enjoy freshly grilled oysters, fish, octopus, and scallops. You can also try their seafood cocktails, like the Michelada, which is a spicy beer cocktail. Another great feature of this restaurant is that they offer drinks made with fresh cucumbers, watermelon, and other seasonal fruits. La Docena is located near the Puerto Vallarta cruise port, so it is perfect for tourists who want to eat somewhere casual. They have a daily happy hour from 2-6pm where you can get two oysters for the price of one. La Docena also serves dinner and has reasonably priced entrées so it’s a great place to go for a casual meal.