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PV opinions on Vista Grill, La Kliff, Xitomates, La Palapa, etc...

We will be visiting the Puerto Vallarta area (styaing in Nuevo Vallarta)and are trying to narrow down our restaurant outings. We plan on going down to PV for a nice dinner and a lunch.

Any opinions on La Kliff vs Vista Grill? The food is just as important as the view to us.

And El Dorado vs La Palapa for lunch (if they are open for lunch that is)?

Also have heard good things about Xitomates, but it is not on the cliff or the beach...

The other factor is that I have to eat wheat/gluten free (Celiac), so the place has to be nice enought for me to make that special request with the chef.


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  1. I have lived in P.V for almost 6 years, and have been a professional chef for 27, although pretty much not working here. Vista Grill would be my choice for dinner, excellent food, very professional service, and an outstanding view. Go just before sunset for cocktails at your table. I suggest making a reservation.
    As for lunch, neither of your choices would be mine. In Centro, just above the main church is a very small place named Esquina do los Caprichos.
    Esq.Miramar 402e Iturbide.
    tel: in P.V. 323 2948319 or 222 0911
    It is very small and very Spanish, in a very non touristic area, above the dome of the main church. No one who lives here talks about it because no one wants it to be overrun with tourists. The prices are very reasonable,and the people speak English although they are Spanish and Mexican.
    For the perfect alfresco lunch, at around 3 or 4, I cant think of a better place.

    1. I would not recommend La Palapa after two very bad experiences there.

      1. Can you elaborate on your experiences at La Palapa?? I was planning to go there for my birthday dinner while in PV in February.

        Any alternate suggestions for a special birthday dinner? Was especially hoping to get lobster...love Caribbean lobster...

        Other places on my list for the week are El Arrayan, Xitomates, Red Cabbage. Really not interested in Continental-style foods as I can get plenty of that here.

        La Palapa looked like the perfect place for a special birthday.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jinx

          It depends on what you're looking for. This atmosphere is nice and clean and kind of like Disney's version of Mexico. It's fun to eat on the beach and if it's just atmosphere, this may be your place. The food is not particularly good and on two occasions, it didn't "agree" with me, if you know what I mean. The menu is pretty boring but average by Vallarta standards.
          I am mildly obsessed with Mexican food and I wouldn't consider La Palapa. I have friends who were staying at an inclusive resort and this was their favorite meal. They came back raving about it.
          I would go back to Xitomates in a heartbeat, just to see what they were up to.

          1. re: Earl Grey

            Check out Aye Carumba...great view and really good food....did I mention great view yet?

        2. I wasn't that impressed with Red Cabbage -- maybe because it came so highly recommended and it turned into such a huge schlep to get there ... and if you've had it up to here with Frida Kahlo images, don't go there. (Is Frida fever going to peak finally?) I had mahi mahi, without much flavour and sitting in a bland butter sauce. On the other hand, a lot of people (including my wife) like this place, so you might, too. I was very impressed with the two dishes I tried at La Palapa, a coconut shrimp appetizer and a very expensive filet mignon in an adobo sauce. (410 pesos! More than some of our lodgings.) Was it Disney or authentico? Without wading into that debate, I'll say that what they did, they did well. And, like so many places in Mexico, the service was very professional - waiters who seemed to really care about their job, and about taking care of you.
          I know you're looking for something high-end, but it's definitely worth another visit to downtown just to go to Planeta Vegetariano. I am not a vegetarian, and I think New Age music shouldn't be played near food, but I got absolutely hooked on this place. It's an all-you-can-eat buffet for about $6.50 (if I remember correctly), but the trays are refreshed frequently and the dishes are so flavourful and creative. You just feel good eating there, period. Anyone out there react the way we did to this place??

          1 Reply
          1. re: mike.s

            I'd have a drink at Vista Grill, but dine elsewhere. View is spectacular. Food is okay, but you can definitely do better. I have consistently been impressed by both service and food at Xitomates. And, they'll accomodate your diet. www.losxitomates.com

          2. >>I wasn't that impressed with Red Cabbage -- maybe because it came so highly recommended and it turned into such a huge schlep to get there

            Funny you should say that...we got totally lost trying to find it (we were driving) and finally gave up and went back to El Arrayan. I am so glad that we did---El Arrayan was our favorite restaurant of the trip. I was a little disappointed that we missed Red Cabbage but perhaps I shouldn't be.

            BTW, we did have my birthday dinner at La Palapa and it was fabulous. We sat on the beach in the sand, fantastic! (not their special "romantic dinner", but many of the tables are actually in the sand) As noted, the service was excellent and so was the food. We both had lobster which was delicious and a tuna appetizer which was excellent as well. I'm glad we were down by the beach, though, as the area under the palapa seemed really hectic and noisy with lots of large parties. It did seem most of the tables for two were on the beach. It was expensive but not much more so than a lobster dinner in NYC (I think we paid about 150 pesos in total, with wine.)

            On a side note we were able to make reservations at La Palapa on OpenTable which was great.

            1. I hope you have not left already, but our favorite is el Arrayan. We went to Xitomates 2 years ago and were not thrilled and have not been back so can't comment on present menu items. Maybe fine now. We LOVED Casa Naranjo, Trio, Barcelona Tapas. Trio is more Mediterranean but definitely uses lots of Mexican influences. We had one lunch at Dorado on the Muertos and decided it might be best just for drinks and watching the beach scene. In fact, we decided that about every beachfront restaurant in which we dined! Have a great trip!

              1. This is a great thread and I can't wait to try some of these places... I'm also staying in NV, (which from what I've read is lacking in good restaurants) and would love to hear what's good (for nice dinners as well as cheap eats) up in that area as well (to get away from our hotel without going to PV every night), also at Marina Vallarta and up towards Bucerias..? Is there a main road going from NV to PV (and Bucerias) where we will be able to catch the bus?

                2 Replies
                1. re: i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream

                  Yes, the busses run there every 30 minutes and are cheap. I just researched bus schedules to go from PV to Sayulita and might have found some info by just googling. You might try the allvallarta.com board for restaurants up there--I have read reviews of restaurants in NV as well as the marina. There are several Bucerias fans on that board and can answer your questions better than I about that area. Have a great trip!

                  1. re: hot tamale

                    Cool, thanks for the tips, I'll check out that website

                2. Los Xitomates has closed for good now

                  1. As suggested have a drink at Vista Grill don't waste money on mediocre food.

                    El Dorado is less expensive and more mexican (fajitas) type food. La Palapa is more fusion style. They are on opposite sides of the street so you can easily check both out.
                    I would say don't miss La Palapa.

                    One restaurant not mentioned so far is Hacienda San Angel. If you can get a reservation it's probably the most beautiful in PV, has a great view and good food.

                    1. Wow, this is a fun thread, there's a couple of restaurants listed that I want to try out when I'm down in PV the next time...but I have to throw in my 2 bits too!
                      For a Birthday beach party with your toes in the sand, or really any time, I'd head to Epoca (south of the bridge over the Rio Cuale on the Malecon) They're quite casual, but the food is really good (mexican ingredients with a more up to date style, the chef seems pretty talented), and the view of the sunset is dynamite. I heard they were closed for the summer but will open again in the fall. I know people have had fun wedding dinners there, there's tables on the beach, and they make the best mojitos in town (try the coconut mojitos !!!!!)

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: salsagirl

                        I had the worst of many mojitos at Epoca last February and I sampled them up and down the malecon and Muertos. The mint was ground into tiny pieces that all turned dark and floated on top of the drink like pond sludge and the bits that didn't float came up my straw--YUCK!! Best by far was at Vitea where the whole mint leaves were muddled properly. Also at Epoca, husband ordered a fish sandwich for lunch and received a fish CAKE sandwich--hardly the same but when questioned, that was their fish of the day. I ordered shrimp tacos and received a shrimp cocktail--okay, the waitress admitted she misunderstood me and I kept it and enjoyed it. We went there on recommendations from other travel forums and I hope we just hit them on a bad day.

                        1. re: hot tamale

                          hmmm, too bad, sounds like you should have returned your mojito, something doesn't add up. I've had great service and the staff is fun and friendly. I'll be back sitting under the palapas drinking mojitos again this winter, can't wait!

                      2. i went to Vista a couple weeks ago and i have to say the menu doesn't look to bad, but some of the food is bland and lacking flavour.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: namblizzle

                          agave grill has no view but is just very good with great service
                          el arrayan is the same as when it opened, outstanding!
                          robt5265 is right about caprichos and it is so much better than barcelona which people rave about
                          we liked red cabage although it is a bit hard to find
                          boca bento is one of our faves
                          kaiser maximillian is very good
                          we have never been to aye carumba but our friends go every time and say it is wonderful

                          1. re: chefcman

                            i have been to cafe des artistes and liked it a lot. going back next week and we're looking for non-mexican food for dinners, specifically. read about mi rueda, casa naranjo, el arrayan and red cabbage, but they seem to be all oriented in the mexican cusine arena. any other recommendations?

                            1. re: 1foodie1

                              If you want to try one of the small out of the way but very nice non-Mexican restaurants there is Encanto at 518 Aquiles Serdan.

                              1. re: 1foodie1

                                Casa Naranjo is not as Mexican oriented as the others. Great food with more of a Continental leaning but with a Mexican flair. We loved it

                                1. re: 1foodie1

                                  Trio's has very good food, some mexican some not. the same ownership group also has Vitea, right on the malecon near the bridge. it is more casual and the menu is more fusion-y, but both are definitely worthwile, IMO. for lunch, RiverCafe is hard to beat. great setting and well made mexican food. I would second the rec for Adauto's on the beach in Bucerias and would add Ramada Miramar in Mismaloya for good fresh seafood.

                            2. I live in Bucerias, and it is much easier to get here from Nuevo Vallarta than to go all the way into PV. It is a small town, but we have some good restaurants. On the beach, Adauto's (not to be confused with Adriano's). Not on the beach - lots of people like Mark's - a little spendy and pretentious for my taste. Sandrina's is excellent, with a lovely courtyard dining area and Mediterranean food. In PV, I would always choose El Dorado over La Palapa, which is, to my thinking, overpriced and also pretentious. In Mexico, labor prices are (unfortunately for the people who work here) very low. It seems criminal to charge NOB prices paying SOB overhead. Just my 2 cents.

                              1. Last week we had our annual worldwide salesx meeting in PV. We stayed at the Mariott Casa Magna which was fantastic but one night a group of about 15 of us went to The Vista Grill for dinner. To a person, all of agreed that this place was fantastic. The view, the service, the ambiance and of course the food were all phenomenal. Everyone in our party raved about the place so much that on the last night of the meeting 17 more of our group returned.