The GF and I were in Bucerias/Vallarta last week and had a great time. First time visiting the Riviera Nayarit or Puerto Vallarta for both of us, and this thread had some great pointers and we found some great new ones to add as well!
We stayed in our own casita in Bucerias, just off Lazero Cardenas Av, about 4 blocks south of the town square/flea market area and a block off the beach. We both highly recommend the house and you can reserve it here
. We did a few breakfasts and dinners there but mostly went out and explored Bucerias, as well as PV, Sayulita, Guayabitos and San Pancho. Since we rented a car, this was pretty convenient, but the buses can take you to most of these towns as well.
When we got in Sunday afternoon, we hit the market for supplies (basics like eggs, tequila, coffee, tequila, beer, and tequila). We didn't care for the Mega (which I believe is owned by Wal-Mart/Sam's). There is a CostCo there in PV so you can get better pricing on booze, meats, etc and then hit the little shops for produce etc. We did hit the Ley Supermercado the next day for much better results in meats, cheeses, produce and the like. GF found a tasty Chihuahua cheese made by the Mennonites, since we couldn't find traditional Oaxaca cheese. Also some tasty cochinita de pibil, roasted chicken, chorizo etc to use for late-night taco snacks at the casita.
Ley supermercado, great source for prepared foods, baked goods, produce, cheeses, etc.
We settled in and then walked up to the main square in Bucerias. Taco stands beckoned us on a warm Sunday evening. We sampled from a few, with a big cerveza from the corner store.
Tacos de Cabeza, street vendor on the main square in Bucerias
Cenaduria Dona Lupe, in a food court alley off Av Alfredo Bonfil just up from the square. Tasty sopes and tostadas.
The next day we went into PV and checked out the Malecon and downtown area.
We had tasty coctel de camarones and tostadas de ceviche at this little spot at the top of the Malecon, on the beach side. Can't remember the name, sorry!
The pelicans are not shy!
The starter got us going and we then headed over to the straw market to check out the food options upstairs. There were a variety of cafes, all fairly open-aired and we chose one that just seemed good (more diners than others, maybe). We got some enchiladas en mole, a few beers (which the guy had to go buy and serve in cups since they didn't have them at the cafe, ha!).
House salsa at the Fonda cafe above the straw market - spicy and tasty!
Tortillas made fresh of course
Dinner was at Claudio's Meson Bay
on the beach in Bucerias. Typical open palapa dining, decent drinks and food, nothing worth crowing about. We got salads with our entrees and when we chose our dressings, they brought these to the table:
Meson Bay's version of "bottle service"
Tuesday we drove up the coast to Guayabitos, which has its share of tourists at the beachfront, but not built-up like PV. Many beach palapa restaurants, and when we walked to the end of the beach, we spotted this place and saw many Mexicans so we had to check it out, but not before a snack from a lady's bike-stand grill
Grilled camarones, about 25 pesos for a skewer. Tasty!!!
Restaurante Pineda, at the south end of the Guayabitos beach (the center fronded-roof place)
This Pineda place specialized in Pescado Sarandeado, fish grilled over real wood. They had Dorado, and man was it tasty. Just a simple sauce, salt and chile. But first...
Taquitos de pescado, we got 2 each included with the order of Sarandeado
Coctel de camarones
The Sarandeado "maestro" at work
I believe there may have been 1-2 other "gringos" like us, but mostly Mexican clientele...just the way we like it
We stayed in this night and made tacos de cochonita pibil and a great salad of ripe tomatoes, avocado and cucumber.
Cena en casa
Wednesday we tried the fish tacos spot a block over from our place, everyone calls it just "Fish Tacos" but the name is El Rincon de Ensenada, and it's on Juarez (I think) about 1/2 block off Cardeno Lazerus. Best fish tacos we had on the trip!
El Rincon de Ensenada
Very traditional, with salsa cruda and the spicy mayo sauce.
After that we did a bit of shopping, then stopped at a street cart on Av. Bonfil when we recognized the name:
As I just posted here
, this is the original source for the Chicago/Atlanta restuarants of the same name.
We had great tostadas de ceviche y pulpo, and GF ordered a delicious Caldo de Camaron with a savory, spicy broth. They offered many hot sauces in bottle as well as a bowl of the habanero-laced house salsa...awesome!
Lola runs the cart with her husband Tony
Tostadas de ceviche (left) and pulpo (right) and big cerveza from store across the road
Caldo de Camaron
We decided to try Karen's Place
for dinner that night, which is on the beach connected to Costa Dorada suites. The menu was geared toward non-locals, but the food was very fresh and tasty.
Caesar salad and Tortilla soup, both good but the soup was our favorite
Coconut Shrimp and Seared Ahi Tuna (over fettucini with herbs).
The shrimp was amazing, with freshly-grated coconut in the batter, a tamarind dipping sauce, and tropical fruit couscous. The tuna was very tasty, but a touch heavy on the sea salt.
We got some coconut flan for dessert
Our advice is to sit at one of 4-5 tables below the dining room adjacent to the sand. More private and better view.
Thursday afternoon we spent at the beach palapa at Adauto's, which is one of the restaurants at the top end of the Bucerias beachfront. Restaurant and bar with open dining as well as chairs/tables/umbrellas in the sand. Quite a great spot, and our waiter was very good, bringing us buckets of beers (5 for 90 pesos) and grilled tacos de pescado.
Tacos de pescado - Adauto'sDo you notice the recurrent shots of Salsa Huichol in many of these photos? It's the local sauce and quite delicious, made from Cascabel chiles.
Dinner was on recommendation from our neighbor. A spot up on Hwy 200 (the main route through town) at Av Buganvilla (I think).
Mostly gringos here too, and everyone seemed to be ordering fajitas...we went for steak plain and simple.
Food was tasty, great beans (with lard naturally) and we took leftover back to the casita for breakfast fixin's. This is a family-friendly spot for those who need one, complete with a trampoline off the dining room!
Friday we went into PV and explored a bit, did some shopping and hit a few taco stands.
Tacos de Birria a few blocks off Cardenas and Bodillo, in Romantic Zone.
The woman who owns the shop where I bought guayabera shirts recommended a place inland (through the tunnel) and said the chef used to work on the beach area, but found a place of his own and makes awesomely-fresh seafood dishes. We decided to seek it out...it was about 5 miles inland, through the tunnel and fairly close to where the CostCo is located actually.
We were warmly greeted, and only customers at 2pm on a Friday. Lovely garden/atrium area for the tables with a small kitchen.
We were brought tostadas de marlin (seco) as our amuse bouche, but we scarfed them pretty quick so no pic, sorry.
Pescado Mixto al Ajillo - awesome dorado and shrimp, with a savory, Lee & Perrin's-based sauce, along with rice, veggies (very fresh) and a simple salad.
This was THE BEST THING WE ATE ALL WEEK. Aguachile is similar to ceviche, but they steep the broth/juice with chile peppers to spike it. So friggin' good and spicy!!! The lady told us the broth was lime juice, garlic, onion, cucumber, jalapeno and pequin chiles.
He butterflied the shrimp raw and tossed the dish fresh, can you dig it?
With 4 beers and these dishes, it was 247 pesos, about $20 - AWESOME!
Saturday breakfast was at La Cocina de Jorge, a locals spot about a block from us on Av. Abasolo. Jorge was very friendly, great dishes and when the local cops hang there you know it's good!
That's Jorge at the counter
The cop truck where the boys leave their automatic rifles when they dine
Huevos Apporeados (eggs cooked in spicy broth, with dried beef)
Chilequiles con Huevo
Enfrijoladas (GF wanted many dishes and Jorge agreed to bring us a side of this one)
We drove up the coast again to explore both Sayulita and San Pancho. Both are great towns and not too built-up, San Pancho being the smaller town by far.
We stopped and had a late lunch at a palapa bar in San Pancho called La Perla del Mar.
Outdoor grill at La Perla
Beachside dining at La Perla
Pescado Aguachile (not nearly as good as Las Islas)
Best Shrimp Tacos we've had in a long time!
common sight amongst the tables...
La Perla del Mar menu
For a crazy Sat. night we decided to walk the Malecon in PV and hit some street vendors. We started at the spot we had ceviche earlier in the week, since they had a pastor spit going in the front window...which led us on our "tour de pastor" for the evening!
We didn't find any other street food vendors along the Malecon, so walked inland a few blocks toward the church. Many people out and about and many choices for food...
Our Lady of Guadalupe
We stuck with al pastor.
Mr. Taco on Abasolo and Morelos - a great find, and open until 4am on weekends!
Tacos al Pastor at Mr. Taco, with all the trimmings
Taqueria "Los Chones" (the underwear) at Morelos and 31 de Octubre
This spot didn't have a spit, so they did the pastor al planchado, and offered Suadero (beef) and also "longaniza" sausages.
After 5 tacos each, we decided that was enough for the night.
Sunday was a follow-up trip to Sayulita, since a friend told us to try Burrito Revolucion...thank you friend!!!
Menu, complete with spice levels on the 3 sauces and an Obama "cambio" painting
Green was mild jalapeno/tomatillo, red is chipotle, and white is habanero mayo. All great and different.
my smoked marlin burrito - frickin' awesome!
By the time we left, the wait between order and getting food was 40-60 minutes!!!
Oh, and it's cash-only fyi.
Dinner back in Bucerias along Av. Bonfil, Cenaduria Dona Lupe once again, since El Veneno stand was closed down
Tacos Dorados con papas y queso
Monday was our last day there, but enough time to hit one more taco stand! We wanted to go to Tacon de Marlin across the main road from the airport, but it was closed. Tacos Robert was the most popular spot, so that is where we ate.
Tortillas made fresh constantly, and carne asada on the grill (his apron says "mi papa es el mejor cocinero del mundo"
Another six choices for tacos, like carnitas, chicarones, birria, etc.
Tacos de birria y carnitas
Taco de carne asada (loved the beans!)
Traveling entertainer, singing along to his beatbox.
We hated to leave, but had a great time. We wanted to try so many other spots, but there is only so much time and space in our stomachs.