With 48 years of living dining and enjoying Puerto Vallarta it follows that we know a few good places to indulge in the culinary delights of this tropical paradise.
Those within the ZONA ROMANTICA which is also the place to stay are manifold. Indeed Calle BASILIO BADILLO is also known as CAFÉ ROW. Just on this street alone you could use up a 2weeks vacation dining out every night.
For breakfasts there are TWO great restaurants, namely, El TUCAN (on the corner of Ave. Vallarta and B.B.) as well as the PANCAKE HOUSE which import their own coffee from the state of Chiapas and roast it themselves. Along with the breakfasts they also sell their coffee either in beans or ground. Great if you have a condo type unit to enjoy this with. Two blocks north on Ave. Vallarta towards the river and town center and one block left towards the sea is a French Bakery with not just croissants. Calorie city, but oh so good!
Starting at the bottom of Café Row is the COCO Tropical run by Chef Heinz and one of the only places in Vallarta serving daily OSSOBUCO. Excellent food at reasonable prices and you are looking out at the Los Muertos beach the Waikiki of Banderas Bay.
At the other end of the block is a cyber café popular in the mornings with people waiting for the only Bank on this side of town to open. Another famous eatery is diagonally situated from C. Tropical called Daiquiri Dicks which has been in business for several decades. Excellent service from a well-seasoned staff.
Walking east up B.B. (Café Row) on your right is another famous Café de la OLLA who serve cinnamon laced coffee very popular in Mexico but their Margaritas are jumbo and some of the best anywhere. They close on Tuesday and also be aware that lineups are de riguer during the tourist season. Great food to accompany the Margs.
Moving on up towards the mountains that are the backdrop to ‘old town’ as it is incorrectly known there is nothing on the left as a school occupies the whole block. A couple of doors up from the CAFÉ de la OLLA is a large nicely decorated and spacious eatery (as contrasted to the crowded C. de la OLLA) called Fajitas Republic. Nice décor and a good selection.
Kitty corner from them is Margaritaville a garden type café restaurant again with a good selection and tasty offerings. Lots of space here and a comfy atmosphere. There signs says the best margaritas in town?
Across the street is JOE JACKS FISH Shack. Two floors and great fish n’ chips, not to mention Mojitos. On the north side of the street again two open air, one new one whose name is hard to read and right next door is POLO’s who used to be on Lazaro Cardenas. They were very good there and reasonable so I imagine you will be happy now that they are here.
Next to that is Bruce’s Añejo LIMON. He’s a guy who came down here years ago from Nanaimo, BC and opened a very successful hamburger stand. He then opened a restaurant two blocks over which he later sold, but opened up a high class restaurant in his home. It was hard to find but he managed to attract a discerning crowd and has recently opened up here on CAFÉ ROW. Gourmet food!
Looking to the south side of the street once again there is a new one?? I’ll have to try that one or if you do let me know. Next to that is YARITAS a bakery that opens early and you can’t just walk by this one as the odors are like a magnet. You’ll cancel out your walk along the beach or Malecón if you come back this way.
This brings you to the corner where Freddies TUCAN as which we mentioned earlier is a great breakfast place. Forming the other corner is Carol’s Dress shop which is popular with the tourists and natives as well Carol is a hard working lady who is also the Treasurer of the Navy League where yours truly is the Secretary. We greet visiting navy ships of friendly nations including the Coast Guard service. We also run the Marine Toys for Tots program, distributing thousands of toys to needy youngsters out in the barrios.
Heading east again on Café ROW this next block is mainly shops art galleries a great liquor store but still has several great restaurants, namely; ROBERTO’s, chiefly seafood and a long tradition in Vallarta and La Cruz de Huanacaztle in the next state Nayarit. Next door to him is NACHO DADDYS which they just remodeled again. Good food and live entertainment often. If you’re a sports fan then across the street to STEVE’S BAR where every nook sports a television covering all of the games, fights, that you can name. Hockey fans this is HOME on the south side. AT the corner up from Steves (his real name is NICK) is a new place advertising TACOS, CHIILQUILLAS, QUESIDILLAS, BURRITOS…..You can’t get more Mexican than that.
Across the street again is Lucy’s CUCU Cabana boutique offering treasures from all over Mexico. Indeed they close down during the summer and travel all over Mexico searching out neat objects that will appeal to tourists. A great place to search for gifts for the folks back home. Her partner Gil Givens is a writer and he often writes in the local English papers very humorously.
In the next block there a few small budget restaurants starting with an OXXO which has great coffee and is a typical convenience store open 24hrs a day. There are massage parlors, yoga rooms, and at the end of the block on the left is a Wings Army a chain but above that is the local theatre which is great with unbelievable talent for a resort town, notwithstanding Las Vegas of course. If your schedule permits you should take in a show here. www.actiientertainment.com. I really mean it, there are some great shows here.
Further up the street there is one very notable German restaurant on the right across from the CMQ hospital called Hacienda Alemana
Now that covers just one street in all of Vallarta….. no wonder they call it CAFÉ ROW.
There are many other great restaurants both South and North of Café Row and I’ll cover those with you at another time. In the meantime ‘Buen Aprovecho’…. Bon appetite….. Enjoy.