I tend to follow food and food follows me and it has always been that way ever since I first put foot on foreign soil. In other words, travel and food are close siblings in my world, not distant relatives.
Photos (food) & text: Renee Blodgett
On a recent trip to Puerto Vallarta, I had an opportunity to taste a variety of dishes from local food trucks and local restaurants. Let’s start with my favorite presentation:
Cevicheria El Guero
They do a great job with basic but delicious tacos, chicken, fish and jalapenos of course, but what they’re most well known for is their ceviche, most notably the mahi-mahi ceviche. They cure many of their ceviche dishes in lime and in this case, also carrot, green pepper and green chili.
Local Taco Stands
Two taco street stands worth call outs include tacos robles, which is a birria taco stand on Constitucion and Emiliano Zapata. This was by far my favorite spot for standard classic tacos — it is a family run taco stand, has been around since 1986 and is still popular today.
There’s the ever so authentic tacos el cuñado on Francisca Rodriguez which first opened in 1968.
Cesar’s Coconut Stand
This corner stand on Aquacate 271 has also been around since 1968 through three generations. It is still a family run business and the coconut milk is oh so fresh.
Tortilleria La Gloria
Here, you’ll discover how tortillas are made at the local tortilla factory right in the center of town on 5 de Febrero.
One of my favorite spots for both atmosphere and food is Gaby’s, a popular Mexican restaurant in town on Mina #252. Attention to detail is one of the things you’ll notice first about this quaint romantic spot where you can dine both inside and out on their beautifully decorated patio.
We did a fun tequila pairing here with their green and dark mole, which is a popular dish in Mexico. mole verde is also common in Mexico, which is also known as “Pipian” or “Pipian Verde” in some places of Mexico, and it can be made with chicken or pork, and you can also add vegetables like green beans, chayotes, nopales, zucchini, and sometimes, even sweet peas. Many cooks add a small amount of corn masa to thicken the sauce. Below, Gaby’s version of both green and dark mole prepared by chef Julio Cesar Castillón Pérez.
Some of the dishes they offer include stuffed avocado with shrimp,mix lettuce and creamy avocado dressing, Tortilla Soup with fresh cotija cheese, aguachile shrimp which is cooked in a spicy cucumber-chili lime sauce, Ceviche Vallarta which they serve with a pico de gallo sauce, mussels dona concha, which is prepared menier sauce in a creamy chile chipotle sauce with rice and veggies,and Veracruz style plantain empanadas, which they fill with black beans, sour cream and topped with both gouda and cotija cheese.
Located in the center of town, this Mexican restaurant makes delicious salads, tamale, meat and fish dishes. Their fish ceviche was scrumptious, made with orange juice, guajillo chili and cilantro mayonnaise. Their chayote salad is made with Mexican oregano-lime dressing and a crumbly cotija cheese, which is very popular in this part of Mexico.
For mains, we tried the pork tamale in a banana leaf wrapper with black beans and tomatillo zucchini, the Oaxacan Wedding Beef Stew with sweet fruit mole and steamed veggies and the Achiote Boneless fish filet with rice and stewed beans.
Xoco Divas Chocolates
This well known artisan chocolate shop along Basillio Badillio has been around for years, but the owners (2 women from Victoria Canada) are retiring soon, so their store location will sadly no longer be around. News on the street has it that she will be showcasing their chocolates at markets periodically however. There are no fillers, it’s all organic and they use 70% Cacao!
Outdoor Dining & Tequila Tasting at the Local Marriott
The Puerto Vallarta Marriott offers outdoor patio dining in their Herb Garden. On a beautiful summer night, it’s such a lovely thing to do.
We tasted a variety of things while we were there, but on our last night, we had a pre-fix menu which included Roasted Beet, field greens, orange segments, goat cheese and caramelized Macadamia Nuts, with a Citrus y Balsamic Vinaigrette to start, followed by a Roasted corn cream Caviar Cuilacoche (cake), followed by a Crab cake with mango sauce, red onions and a chilli sauce, with our main entree being a Filet Mignon with Marrow crushed caramelized onions, foam goat cheese in a demi glace.
They do tequila tasting at La Cava as well, starting with the Casa Magna Tequila Joven which was a young one year old tequila, which we paired with a mozzarella salad. Then came a seafood and avocado dish which we paired with the Casa Magna Tequila Reposado, which had been aged around 9 months in oak. We finished off with the Casa Magna Anejo (aged) tequila, which had been aged in an oak barrel for 4-5 years.
The Blue Shrimp
The Blue Shrimp gets their shrimp, lobster, fish and oysters delivered daily from local fishermen. The restaurant is located on the most popular beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Los Muertos. They offer shrimp served over 30 different ways and the menu also includes authentic Mexican specialties, steaks, salads, soups and more.
The Blue Shrimp was one of the first restaurants in Banderas Bay targeted toward families. It has a fun interior design and also a very mean coconut shrimp which they offered outside at a little food stand.
Aside from the designated stops you make, there are plenty of fun things to take in along the way — food is everywhere on Puerto Vallarta streets, so foodies, beware!!!
Also check out my See, Do & Eat Travel Guide to Puerto Vallarta! Would love to hear about your experiences in Puerto Vallarta or other parts of Mexico in the comments below!
Photos & text: Renee Blodgett