When I travel to a new destination, I always like to ask for advice and tips from my well-traveled friends who might have been to that place and probe for any suggestions before I get on the plane. And then, upon landing, I try to check those recommendations with my hotel and with locals. When it comes to finding places to eat, I find this type of research to be critical. I asked around for restaurant ideas before on my recent trip to Mexico. Here are my top picks after having spent a week in Puerto Vallarta.
A must visit restaurant in the old town is Trio. The atmosphere is charming, elegant, and warm, and the menu features excellent Italian fare. Admittedly, it is not the place for traditional Mexican cuisine But when you are ready for a break from Mexican food, go here for a wonderful meal. While not formal, I would not call it casual either. I also recommend Vista Grill and Café Des Artiste. Vista Grill is know for, as you could surmise, its amazing views. Ask for a table at the edge of the upstairs terrace. The continental food is very good and the view is even better. Café Des Artiste is also a fine choice, but I would say that while the food is good, the big plus of this restaurant is its setting. Ask for a table upstairs in the outdoor garden area which is stunning. You feel as if you are eating in the jungle.
If you happen to be in the old town on the promenade, La Dolce Vita stands out from a crowd of mostly average and overly-touristy establishment. It features Italian food served family style. I was pleasantly surprised by it. This one is most appropriate for families with kids.
Lastly, at the Garza Blanca Preserve, Resort and Spa (where I stayed), I highly recommend the Bocados STK restaurant up the mountain. It offers exceptional steaks, excellent wine, and a fabulous view to match the fine dining.