Discover Jaliscan cuisine through our curated list of essential Mexican restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
The city is known for dishes like grilled red snapper (pargo zarandeado), seafood-stuffed chili peppers, and ceviche made from freshly caught fish and shrimp.
A local specialty is “Pescado a la talla,” a grilled fish dish typically marinated in adobo or achiote. Additionally, being a coastal city, Puerto Vallarta is famed for its varied types of tacos, mainly fish and shrimp tacos.
Known for creating tequila and the Mexican hat dance, Jalisco is also famous for dishes such as Birria – a savory, spicy stew usually made from goat meat or beef.
Another well-known dish is Pozole a traditional soup made with hominy (dried corn kernels), meat, and garnished with shredded lettuce, chili peppers, radish, onion, lime, oregano, and tostadas.
Tortas Ahogadas (drowned sandwiches) are another regional specialty – these are sandwiches filled with crispy pork, then “drowned” in a spicy tomato sauce.
Jalisco is also the home of Chiles en Nogada, stuffed poblano chiles covered in a walnut-based cream sauce, and Carnitas slow-cooked pork that’s typically served with tortillas, beans, rice, and salsa.
Here are our favorite Mexican restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
🗺️ Map of Mexican restaurants in Puerto Vallarta
🪅 Best Mexican restaurants in Puerto Vallarta
La Palapa Restaurant
📍Pulpito 105-3 Col. Emiliano Zapata
💲 from $10 USD
La Palapa is a beachside restaurant in Playa Los Muertos that offers tropical Mexican cuisine combined with Asian and French elements. They have available indoor seating that exudes an elegant tropical ambiance and, at the same time, outside seating, perfect for enjoying the fine sand and ocean breeze.
Just among their best-selling dishes are shrimp, crab enchiladas, coconut shrimp, and lobster. Their fresh seafood is what they boast about, but if seafood is different from your thing, they also have steak and pasta dishes.
They serve from breakfast to dinner; the cheapest menu starts at $2 USD. They also accept cards as a form of payment.
📍Guadalupe Sanchez 804
💲from $4 USD
Pipis is a local Mexican cantina serving for over 50 years. The atmosphere is just as lively and colorful as their dishes — a mariachi band playing live music, surrounded with casual decors. They also have a large seating capacity that can house more than 30 people, but making a reservation is suggested, especially on busy days.
Their menu boasts authentic Mexican cuisine, and fish tacos and fajitas are among their best-sellers. They also have good margaritas that you can pair with your food.
The food here ranges from $1 USD to $10 USD. Bring cash when dining, as they do not currently accept cards.
📍Lazaro Cardenas #506 Col. Emiliano Zapata
💲 from $3 USD
Cenduria Celia is a laid-back Mexican restaurant with a casual and laid-back atmosphere. They both have indoor and outdoor seating, perfect for those who want to relax while having their meal. Many locals and tourists visit the restaurant, so be early if you do not want to wait in long lines.
They serve breakfast on the dinner menu, and among their best-sellers are the pozole and enchiladas de pollo. It is also a must to try their flan for dessert, which is perfect to cap off your meal.
Food prices start at $2 USD, while their drinks are as cheap as $1 USD.
Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana
📍C. Zaragoza 245, Proyecto escola, Centro
💲 from $11 USD
Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana is a famous Mexican restaurant, not just among tourists but also for locals. It has a cozy and comfortable vibe bursting with colorful art installations. And if you get lucky, you can experience a day of dancing and singing.
The restaurant serves the most delicious traditional dishes from all over Mexico. Among their best-sellers are huitlacoche tortillas and agua chiles. They even have salsa and guac that will be prepared right before you, ensuring freshness.
The food here is entirely on the pricier side. They range from $5 USD to $60 USD. But at least a budget of $30 USD will get you a decent meal.
El Dorado Restaurant
📍Púlpito 102, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata
💲 from $6 USD
El Dorado is a seafood restaurant located on one of the most popular beaches in Puerto Vallarta. Their menu comprises the freshest seafood ingredients sourced from the Pacific Ocean. You can easily make reservations to book a table under the roof or on the sandy beach.
As mentioned, El Dorado has an extensive menu of dishes, cocktails, and wine. But among their best-sellers are the Red Snapper Zarandeado and Aguacate Relleno. For your drink, ask the bartender at the bar to come up with a custom drink or try their famous Perla Negra.
The prices of food and drinks at El Dorado start at $6 USD. For payment, they both accept cash and card.
📍Carr. Costera a Barra de Navidad 496, Alta Vista
💲 from $1 USD
Maria Baja is a small hole-and-the-wall Mexican restaurant that has an extensive menu. They only have limited seating, which usually gets packed during the day. And since they do not accept reservations, visit the restaurant early.
What’s unique about the restaurant is its seven different salsas you can eat with your food. They also have some vegan-friendly options, great for people with dietary restrictions. But among their must-try are the fish tacos and Baja fish. They do not have local beers or alcoholic drinks here, but you can order fresh fruit juice.
Food prices here are relatively low. You can get tacos for less than $1 USD and have a full meal for only $4 USD.
OkJose! Restaurante Bar
📍5 de Febrero 260, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata
💲 from $9 USD
They are serving local Mexican and Asian cuisine, OkJose! Restaurante Bar has become a trendy spot in Puerto Vallarta. Many customers return for the ambiance, with live music playing, inside a rustic building. Aside from their extensive menu, they also have a bar where you can enjoy drinks from.
Ensure they get their table-side salsa and guacamole alongside the stuffed Pablano pepper dish. For your drinks, you can try their cucumber tequila margarita.
OkJose! Restaurante is a fine-dining restaurant, so expect prices to be slightly higher. The food here ranges from $9 USD to $47 USD.
Porfirio’s is a Mexican restaurant that has been a go-to among the locals. They are famous for their menu with classic dishes with an upscale twist. But aside from the traditional Mexican fare, they have international dishes on offer too. And with the restaurant’s sophisticated atmosphere, you can enjoy a meal surrounded by lively music.
It is a must that you try their roasted grasshoppers over fresh guacamole for appetizers. You can order their tomahawk ribeye steak for your main dish, which is already served well for two people.
The menu at Porfirio’s starts at $5 USD. They also accept both cash and card for payment.
📍Hidalgo 339, Proyecto escola, Centro
💲 from $3 USD
El Campanario is a local family-run restaurant with a rustic yet colorful ambiance. Lots of people come to dine here because of their food and service. Their menu is packed with dishes from different regions of Mexico, each with a distinct flavor.
If you decide to dine in at El Camapanario, try their shrimp fajitas and Tamales de Pollo y Costilla. They also have good fresh fruit juices to pair with your meal.
Another factor that makes El Campanario famous is its cheap food. You can get a dish here for only $5 USD, while drinks start at less than $3 USD.
📍48315, C. Prisciliano Sánchez 411, Vallarta 500
💲 from $3 USD
Los Molcajetes is a famous hole-in-the-wall taco restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. Lots of locals eat here to enjoy authentic and home-cooked tasting Mexican food. They have large outdoor seating, great for al fresco dining.
Just among their best-sellers are the al pastor and sirloin taco. They also have an open bar to order alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks.
The food here is reasonably cheap, starting from $5 USD and drinks at $3 USD. They currently do not accept card payments, so carry some cash with you.
Xolo: Maiz Agave Chile
📍Malecon, Estacionamiento benito juarez, Local 3, Centro
💲 from $5 USD
Xolo Maiz Agave Chile is a beachside restaurant serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They are famous for their Mexican cuisine and boasting vibrant and colorful ambiance. They have open and indoor seating and live music playing at night.
Just among their best-sellers are the prescado frito and cheese fundido. They also have an extensive drink menu of mezcal and other Mexican spirits.
Food prices range from $8 USD, while drinks start at $5 USD.
📍Av. Ejército Mexicano 154, Guadalupe Victoria
💲 from $3 USD
This cozy cafe and restaurant in downtown Puerto Vallarta offer a spot for a relaxing breakfast or a leisurely brunch. Their menu features a variety of Mexican-inspired dishes, with a mix of international cuisine. But it’s not just the food that makes Mexico Latte stand out; it is because their coffee is famous too.
In Mexico Latte, ensure to take advantage of their locally brewed coffee. It would be best to try their classic take on tamales, fish steak, and mole for your meal.
Their food is reasonably priced, starting at $5 USD. Meanwhile, their drinks start at $3 USD.
Mi Pueblito is a family-owned local restaurant in business for decades. Their menu is packed with a wide variety of Mexican and International dishes. But what makes them famous is their family recipe passed down through generations.
One must-try in Mi Pueblito is beef fajita, covered with mole, refried beans, and salad. Moreover, it would help if you tried their mezcal tasting, where a knowledgeable staff will guide you through their extensive selection.
Mi Pueblito’s prices are a little higher than other local restaurants. The cost of food starts at $6 USD, and they do not accept cards.
📍C. Rodolfo Gómez 127, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata|
💲 from $4 USD
Cafe Bohemio is famous for its outdoor dining spot that creates a laid-back atmosphere for the customers. Aside from their vibrant location, they also have a mariachi band that plays for their customers and even accepts a few requests. Their menu features a variety of dishes, from Mexican to International cuisine.
When dining in Cafe Bohemio, you should get their stuffed pork chop and some lentil soup. Their coffee is a must, but if you like drinking, you can also order cocktails.
Their food is cheap for its price. Drinks start at $4 USD, while food costs $6 USD.
📍Av Fluvial Vallarta 234, Fluvial Vallarta
💲 from $3 USD
Casa Guadalajara is a well-known Mexican restaurant chain that serves traditional Mexican cuisine in a vibrant, colorful, and lively atmosphere. Customers can dine al fresco or indoors at the restaurant with a homey atmosphere. They also have various Mexican art and decorations inside the restaurant, which adds to the atmosphere.
Since Casa Guadalajara is famous for serving traditional Mexican cuisine, it is recommended that you order their best-selling grilled shrimp and carne asada. They also have a combination plate chicken, perfect for group orders.
Food and drinks at Casa Guadalajara start at $3 USD. They do accept cards for payment, but make sure to carry cash with you when visiting.
Los Mariachiles is a popular restaurant known for its delicious and innovative cuisine and lively atmosphere. The interior is brightly colored, with traditional Mexican art and vibrant murals. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, with the outdoor patio being trendy due to its lively and festive atmosphere.
Los Mariachiles’ menu includes a variety of breakfast classics, including the ever-popular chilaquiles and huevos rancheros. The cactus and huitlacoche, a restaurant in particular, are among their best-selling dishes.
The prices at the restaurant are reasonable, and most dishes range from $5 to $20 USD. Meanwhile, the drinks at Los Mariachiles start at $3 USD.
Gaby’s Restaurant Bar
📍C. Mina 252, Proyecto escola, Centro
💲 from $6 USD
Gaby’s Restaurant Bar is a casual yet elegant dining venue in Puerto Vallarta. The restaurant’s interior is decorated in warm tones with classic Mexican decor accents, giving it a cozy and inviting feel. The restaurant also features a spacious outdoor terrace offering a view of the city and the ocean.
It’s known for its fresh and delicious seafood and Mexican cuisine, so order some of its chili relleno and ceviche. You can also try their chicken mole and a few margaritas (especially the mango margarita).
You can indulge in these delectables starting from $6 USD. They also accept the card for payment.
La Capilla de Lupita
📍Av. Las Palmas 215, Parque Las Palmas
💲 from $4 USD
As you enter this cozy establishment, you’ll be greeted with the aroma of traditional Mexican dishes. La Capilla de Lupita is a long-running Puerto Vallarta restaurant. And as previously stated, their menu focuses on classic Mexican dishes with a mix of international options.
The breakfast menu at La Capilla de Lupita is legendary. For a light and hearty meal, try their famous tuna salad. Meanwhile, they make homemade tortillas that go well with guacamole and salsa. Remember to order some freshly squeezed orange juice.
Their food is cheap and affordable, where you can get a dish for as low as $4 USD. However, they do not accept cards as a form of payment, so make sure to bring cash with you.
El Palomar de Los Gonzales
📍Aguacate 425, Alta Vista
💲 from $5 USD
El Palomar de Los Gonzales is a famous seafood restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. It is situated on a building atop a hill, giving customers a great view of the ocean and the city. They also have available seats indoors, surrounded by plants and relaxing music.
One of El Palomar’s best sellers is the seafood platter, perfect for group dinners. They also have the Seared Tuna sandwich as a top pick among their customers, alongside the filete de pescado.
Their drinks start at $5 USD, while food prices range from $7 USD to $20 USD.
📍C. Honduras 127, 5 de Diciembre
💲 from $1 USD
El Carboncito is a small and cozy restaurant specializing in traditional Mexican street food, particularly tacos. The restaurant’s interior is simple, with wooden tables and chairs and colorful murals on the walls. The open kitchen is located at the front of the restaurant, allowing customers to watch as their food is prepared.
If you plan to eat at El Carboncito, you should order their best-selling tacos al pastor. Although they offer an array of tacos, gringas, and tortas, you should take advantage of the Gringas Volcanes.
Food in El Carboncito is cheap and affordable. Almost everything on their menu is worth $1 USD. However, please take note that they only accept cash for payment.
📍Morelos 426, Proyecto escola, Centro,
💲 from $5 USD
Mi Querencia is a Mexican restaurant with a warm and welcoming atmosphere filled with rustic decor. They both have a patio that overlooks the beach and cozy indoor seating. They do not accept reservations, so visit early, especially during busy hours.
One of their best-sellers is the mole, crafted to taste like the original Oaxacan mole. You should also order their salad with shrimp and fresh fruit juice.
The prices of food and drinks here range between $5 USD to $20 USD. They accept cards for payment but only take cash for tips.
📍Camichin 131, Zona Romántica, Emiliano Zapata
💲 Starts at $4 USD
Restaurante Pajarit is another long-running small restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. It is known for its fresh seafood dishes and an extensive menu with many seafood options. When dining here, you can experience what it’s like to eat like a local surrounded by earth tones and locally made handmade pottery.
If you are up to trying a Mexican snack, it’s recommended that you try their fish and shrimp tacos. Meanwhile, if you want a heavier meal, order their best-selling baby back ribs.
The food here is reasonably cheap. The price ranges from $1 USD to $18 USD, and a budget of at least $20 USD is enough.
El Callejon Mexicano
📍Av. Paseo de la Marina Sur 214, Marina Vallarta
💲 Starts at $5 USD
El Callejon Mexicano is strategically located near big hotels in Puerto Vallarta. They feature a range of dishes from different parts of Mexico, each expertly crafted to showcase the flavors and ingredients of the region. Inside the restaurant, you will be surrounded by warm lights and earth tones, creating that comfortable and cozy ambiance.
The restaurant is best known for its breakfast menu, including the shrimp omelette, fish tacos, and vanilla iced coffee. But aside from that, they also have a selection of alcohol and spirit that you can choose from.
Food and drink prices start at $5 USD. You can also pay with your card in El Callejon Mexicano.
Restaurante Los Patrones
Los Patrones is a bustling Mexican restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. Its exterior is painted in warm colors, and its interior is light and airy, with high ceilings and plenty of natural light streaming in through large windows. They serve authentic Mexican cuisine based on recipes from various regions of the country.
The menu is extensive, but the flor de calabaza and pastor are two must-order items. You can also try their giant quesadilla, which serves several people. They also have a salsa bar, ideal for your Mexican feast.
A budget of at least $15 USD is enough for one person. Their price starts at $5 USD. However, they currently do not accept a card for payment.
Mama Caguama’s Takos and Bee
📍Calle Peru 1034, Venezuela esq, 5 de Diciembre
💲 from $4 USD
Mama Caguama’s Takos and Bee is another small family-owned business in Puerto Vallarta. They are well-known for their tacos and wings but are also a popular hangout for the town’s residents. Because they are a small restaurant, they only have a few tables available, so arrive early if you want to be seated.
The best-selling dish of Mama Caguama is the al pastor tacos. Another must-try is the fish tacos, perfect with a local beer or freshly made cocktail.
Lots of locals come to visit the restaurant not only for the food but also because of the low prices. Food and drinks start at $4 USD, cheaper than other famous restaurants.
Los Alcatraces de Puerto Vallarta
📍Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio 1808, Olímpica
💲from $4 USD
The atmosphere at Los Alcatraces de Puerto Vallarta gives off a local cantina in Mexico. The indoor seating is spacious and airy, enough to house many diners. You can even glimpse the ocean when seated near their large windows.
Los Alcatraces de Puerto Vallarta would only be complete by trying the restaurant’s signature ceviche. You should also order the Ricos Chilaquiles Verdes Con Huevo and Jugo Verde for your drink.
Prices at Los Alcatraces de Puerto Vallarta are relatively cheap. Their drinks and food start at the cost of $4 USD.
⁉️ FAQ: Mexican food in Puerto Vallarta
What is the most popular food in Puerto Vallarta?
Pescado Zarandeado is a popular seafood dish in Puerto Vallarta. It is grilled fish dish, typically red snapper or sea bass, marinated in a sauce made with chili, garlic, and other spices, then cooked over a wood fire to achieve a savory flavor.
Being a coastal city, it’s no surprise that fresh fish and shellfish are abundant and commonly used in local dishes. Another popular dish is the Ceviche, a new and tangy seafood dish, typically consisting of raw fish marinated in lime juice and served with a colorful medley of tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.
However, Puerto Vallarta also offers a diverse range of non-seafood dishes equally as popular as seafood.
Birria is another popular dish with a hearty and spicy stew made with tender meat (usually goat or beef), slow-cooked with spices and chili peppers to create a mouth-watering aroma. This is often served with tortillas and garnished with onions and cilantro.
In addition, Tortas Ahogadas, a sandwich with a crusty bread roll filled with succulent meat (usually pork) and drowned in a spicy tomato and chili sauce, is also a must-try.
Does Puerto Vallarta have good food?
Absolutely! Puerto Vallarta is renowned for its bold regional flavors and exceptional food quality, and it is even considered the second gastronomic capital of Mexico.
A variety of cuisines are available in the city. In addition to the typical Mexican fare like birria, pozole, and ceviche, there are also tacos and elote that street food vendors sell.
Additionally, some high-end restaurants in the city serve gourmet food and have breathtaking seaside views for those seeking a more expensive dining experience.