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Nov 2, 2007 07:50 AM

Just Returned from Puerto Vallarta

We go to Puerto Vallarta every few years and happened upon La Palapa the last time we were there by accident. It was just amazing!

So, we had to go back and experience it again -- and of course we had to take in some other recommendations from chowhound...

La Palapa - Initially we were seated in one of the oceanside tables and that was a mistake. Street peddlers kept coming to the table and interrupting our conversation. We finally asked to be moved, since the management didn't intervene. Once inside (well, under the palapa), we were off to fine dining! We started with the roasted tomato mussels. The mussels were some of the largest i've ever eaten and were very tender to be so big. The flavors from the tomato were delightful and the texture was creamy. We asked for extra bread (which is great there btw) to sop up the remainder of the tomato cream.

My dinner companion had the tuna which i found to be OK, and i had the chilean sea bass encrusted with macadamias and over a bed of sauteed leeks in guanabana sauce. Very good. The sauvignon blanc by the glass was very good too and recommended.

Although our food was very good that night, it wasn't great. Although I liked my fish, it definitely wasn't one of the very best fish dishes i have eaten.. And at 320 better be amazing. Our visit 5 years ago was definitely better. I think we'll strike out and try some other places next time. But, i'd definitely advise to go here yourself and give it a try.

We ate at Langostino's the first night. We saw it as we walked Los Muertos beach. We knew it was just a touristy restaurant, but we liked the view and wanted something quick and inexpensive. The food was filling and served its purpose, but nothing to write home about. The service, however, was the worst we received (BY FAR) during the entire trip. We had to continually go after to find our server. He was plain bad. He knew we weren't happy, so he automatically added a 15% gratuity into the bill -- nice.

We ate almost every day at this mexican restaurant right off Los Oltas (right beside the elementary school), but can't remember the name! It was like Olas Nostros or something. Very dependable and good mexican food. Food was fast, fresh, and yummy. We ate there at least once a day. Pepe's, right next door was only open for dinner and late night. It was like a closet with small card tables inside. Tiny. Very good cheap late night fare, however. We would usually have our fill of chicken quesadillas, tortillas, and beers and leave never with a bill over $20.00 for the lot. We were there @ 2:00 a.m. on more than one occasion.

We finally found El Arroyan, but it was not open for lunch. So, we never made it through the doors. Next time. I'll be back next month, so definitely will try.

Went to have lunch at El Dorado on our last day. It is right beside La Palapa. Not many diners when we were seated. Heard from many that it was good, albeit expensive, mexican food. Sat down, ordered margaritas and our lunch. They were right. Food is expensive as the lunch entree i ordered was 155 pesos. Slowly drained the margaritas. 15 minutes passed. 30 minutes passed. 45 minutes passed. We finished our margaritas, left money on the table for them, saw our waiter at the door and said, "Cancel our order. We'd like to eat before our vacation ends". Won't be back there.


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  1. I hope you get to El Arrayan next time--it is a great favorite of ours. I think they open at 6 for dinner, maybe closed only on Tues(I think that is correct)night.

    We have been to El Dorado several times for lunch and don't remember an extremely long wait. We also sit back past the first row of tables to avoid the constant interruption by the vendors. I am never rude to them but feel that after I have said No gracias senor to the same vendor three times, they should get the idea that I don't want to bring a carved wooden elephant home from Mexico.

    1 Reply
    1. re: hot tamale

      best place(out of the way) in PV we found was the red cabbage. try and find it if you can!

    2. I like El Dorado and personally think a bit of a wait for food in Puerto Vallarta to be a plus, last time we drank wine for an hour and just looked at the beach and had a lovely time.
      Right now, my favorite restaurants are Cafe des Artistes, El Panorama and Si Senor. I have the River Cafe and El Arroyan for next time!

      4 Replies
      1. re: bronwen

        La Palapa used to have a sign they put in the sand saying that you didn't want to bothered by vendors.

        1. re: mexivilla

          No sign any longer at La least not the night we were there. Bronwen, i, too, usually don't mind a long wait while on vacation. You're right. Does give time to sit back and enjoy. But we'd prefer that for dinner. With lunch, we have things scheduled before and afterward. Lunch really doesn't need to be a 2 hour adventure. Plus, they never came by in the 45 mins. to offer more chips to nibble on either. It was a tad depressing.

          You're right, hot tamale, about the 6:00 nightly opening of El Arroyan. We're going Friday night at 6:45! My flight gets in at 3:48. i can't wait!

          And just scheduled another trip back Christmas week. We'll have to try Red Cabbage then!

          1. re: kevinabeatty

            While the name is a bit silly, we really enjoyed Daiquiri Dicks. It was a lovely setting on the beach and the food far exceeded my expectations. It was also a pleasure to find Veuve Cliquout for something like $70 a bottle for a treat before dinner. The food was much more serious than the name of the place. Here is a link to their web site ( ). We also liked Joe Jacks Fish Shack for their fried snapper and shrimp aguachile (as well as an incredibly tasty bucket of shrimp). The cocktails are handcrafted with muddled fruit. It was so good, I went there twice.

            I tried El Arrayan and was a bit disappointed. The house special duck carnitas were a bit dry and the prices seemed a bit high.

            I'd highly recommend a trip to Joe Jacks.

            1. re: deesher

              I am ashamed to admit that we have never dined at Dacquiri Dick's because of the name!! It sounds like a bad franchise and does not sound like it is in Mexico. I have read so many sources who rave about it--definitely on our list for next trip. It seems terribly small minded to judge so quickly on a name alone, but we did.