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Sayulita - Good Restaurants... WHERE?

I going back to Sayulita. Last time I went I ate some good food, but I had a really hard time finding certain restaurants. There are almost no street signs in town, and if you don't know where one landmark is, it basically turns into:
"Where is Restaurant XYZ?"
"Turn left at the church and it's two blocks down."
"Where's the church?"
"Turn right two blocks past the book store."
"Where's the bookstore?"
"Cross the foot bridge and it's to the left of the roast chicken place. Not Paco's Roast Chicken... Fernando's Roast Chicken. It doesn't have a sign, but it's the one with two tables out front, not three."

So, the places that I ate at and enjoyed were A Bicyclette, Chocobana, Chile Relleno and Sayulita Fish Taco. There were some other places that were less good and/or memorable. This time I would like to investigate Los Afortunados, Lupe, Tierre Vive and Mangiafuoco. I'd be open to other suggestions for restaurants with one or two good vegetarian dishes on the menu as well. However, I didn't see any of my Want-to-Eat-Ats on my last visit! Is there a map of Sayulita with restaurants marked on it? If not, can anyone give me directions, say, from the main plaza (where Chocobanana is)?

PS- Oddly, Sayulita is not in my guidebook (Rough Guide), while places like Bucerias and Punta de Mita are.

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  1. Not sure if this has everything you're looking for but try http://www.sayulitalife.com/

    1. We are going there in August, any place you can recommend to stay at? Thanks!

      3 Replies
      1. re: dwoodward20

        Sorry but I've never stayed there overnight so I have no first hand knowledge of the accommodations. The website above does have a hotel section with a lot of listings.

        1. re: dwoodward20

          I am an ultra-budget traveler. Last time I stayed at Hotel Diamante, which was fine for the price (one person in a room with a double bed was $35 US per night or so) but the noise generated by the owners and their family in the central courtyard made it virtually impossible to sleep. It was like a family reunion every night. This time I'm trying Petit Hafa. It's a bit more expensive but I prefer the location, and hopefully it will be quieter. I think it only has six rooms, so there probably isn't even space for the owners to get rowdy!

          1. re: dwoodward20

            Petit Hotel d'Hafa is lovely, owned by French people and has a Moroccan decor. Plus free tequila in the rooftop garden!
            Sayulita is tiny so any walk to and from the beach reveals all their restaurants. I recommend Chocobanana for breakfast and Sayulita Fish Tacos. Don Pedros is nice on the beach.

          2. I just spent 5 days in Sayulita. Overall, I don't think I had a single bad meal the entire time I was there - and I'm generally pretty picky. I ate everything from tacos off the street (delicious) to Don Pedro's. Lots of places had very good to excellent tortillas; the guacamole was almost universally excellent (none of that thing soupy stuff you find in other parts of Mexico oftentimes) and the refried pintos were also quite delicious in most places. Here are some of the places I tried:

            Sayulita Fish Taco - The fish tacos were good, but not much better than that. I might return to try other items.

            Sayulita Cafe - I had the Molcajete Azteca which was interesting and quite good. The chile relleno and chicken mole were well thought-of as well, but I didn't try them. Definitely would return.

            Don Pedro's - Supposedly the best food in town. I had their catering for the wedding I was attending, and this was amongst the best catering food I've ever had. Their restaurant food was by all accounts fantastic. Do regret not having gone for dinner - next time!

            Choco Banana - Very popular with the gringos, especially for breakfast. I would skip it, personally, and try some of the more mom-and-pop locally-run places. There were a bunch that were very good.

            La Fiesta - had the al pastor tacos, which were tasty. But not as good as the place just down the street (IIRC, it was towards the main zocalo from La Fiesta, same side of the street, right near the corner, adjacent to a small convenience store) with the outdoor cart. That place was amazing. Outstanding tripa and buche. They brush a bit of meat grease (in a good way) on a tortilla and grill it for a short time before loading it with the meat, onions and salsa.

            1. I got back on Sunday; it was very much the off-season during my visit. Lupe was closed and it looked like Los Afortunados was too. Rolly's (for breakfast) was also closed. Chocobanana was closed for renovations. I found Mangiafuoco and it looked open but empty and not that appealing. Here's where I did eat:

              THIS TRIP:

              Don Pedro's - Grilled vegetable plate at dinner was great. It's a good choice for breakfast too; I liked the banana-cornmeal pancakes quite a bit. The frittata (also at breakfast) was good but not great.

              Calypso - Recommended by a friend. It was pretty good but a bit overpriced for the complexity/quality of the dishes. I had a big salad and then some pasta.

              Tierra Vive - A good find. It was open but I never saw anyone eating there. However, my "Volcano Salad" was reeeally good. It had mixed lettuces, lots of goat cheese and avocado in a soya-herb dressing.

              (El?) Iguana Azul - The owner was soooo nice and friendly. There are iguanas in the trees behind the restaurant and he let me go out back to watch them be fed. I had a smoothie that was really good (tropical fruit and ginger) and a veggie melt that was also good (though not exactly melted).

              BOTH TRIPS:

              Sayulita Fish Taco - I don't normally eat meat, but I did succumb to their fish tacos on this trip and they were good. At least I got to eat a taco before I left Mexico. Last time I had their veggie bowl; it would have been good but it was really watery for some reason.

              A Bicyclette - My favourite in Sayulita (that I tried). It's over past the trailer park and their French food is sooooo good. The goat cheese salad is amazing and the vegetable charlotte is fantastic. I could eat there every day.

              LAST TRIP ONLY

              Chocobanana - Not bad for breakfasts, and very good for chocolate-dipped bananas!

              Burrito Revolution - Hygiene was beyond questionable. I hear they've tried to clean up their act, but it's easy to say that in the low season. I'd like to see them at work again when they're busy.

              1. I love Sayulita but not as much as Bucerias. Many travels up there from Puerto Vallarta with taking retaurant notes for my guide. I just updated it and have more spots along what has become known as Riviera Nayarit. Punta de Mita nd Bucerias are more dstination spots with young surfers taking over portions of once quiet Sayulita. But I love it all up there, all the way past San Pancho and Rincon, a growing area good for investment.
                San Francisco, CA./Puerto Vallarta, JAL. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Puerto_...

                1. We are going there in August for our honeymoon and are praying Sayulita Cafe is open! We love it. Our other favorite meal there is Tacos al Ivan - I could eat 8 in one sitting, and I am a medium sized girl! For woodward, I recommend looking for privately owned villas. You get a pretty good rate this hot time of year.

                  1. La Fiesta Family Restaurant is the real deal folks. Too many of the above mentioned were packed while muy authentico had three tables. REAL MEXICAN FOOD in a Family Atmosphere-Authentic Mexican Crooner-Cantador- Support this family restaurant.

                    Contact Information
                    Owners: Familia Perez
                    Mexico Telephone: 011-52-329-291-3042 and 3109
                    Address: (Map) Ave Revolucion #10
                    Email: La Fiesta

                    La Fiesta restaurant in Sayulita Mexico

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: takes1toknow1

                      Thank you for such a great meal Senor Perez!

                      Contact Information
                      Owners: Familia Perez
                      Mexico Telephone: 011-52-329-291-3042 and 3109
                      Address: (Map) Ave Revolucion #10
                      Email: La Fiesta

                      "La Fiesta is a family-owned and family run restaurant in Sayulita, Nayarit, Mexico. Opened in 2003 by highly respected Sayulita local, Vicente Perez, La Fiesta has catered to both locals and tourists by providing an excellent atmosphere in which to enjoy excellent food brought to you with excellent service. In other words, La Fiesta in an excellent all around restaurant in Sayulita Mexico.

                      Without a doubt, the gigante "giant" shrimp plate and carne asada "grilled beef" platters are two of the best dishes in town. The shrimp are the biggest in town and are flayed down the middle and cooked in your choice of a variety of authentic methods.

                      The restaurant is located just south of the bridge on the right-hand side of the road as you enter "downtown" Sayulita. Colorful lights decorate the front of the building and menus are presented in stands, just off of the sidewalk. A small gift/souvenir shop with hats and t-shirts is located just inside the building.

                      Since Sr. Perez (pictured) has been a lifelong musician, La Fiesta restaurant was built with acoustics in mind and the stage in the center. If you are fortunate enough, you may even get the pleasure of listing to Vicente sing and play the guitar. Usually his incredibly talented daughter will sing a few songs as well. Plus, you never know who else may show up for a song or too. Feel free to bring your guitar."

                    2. hi all, spent 10 days down there and like jetgirly says, the directions are tough. but on the flip side, the town is so small that if you end up crossing every street (not hard), you will eventually see every single restaurant/cart/stand/vendor. with that said, here are my notes:

                      Chiliwylis (on the left side of the road towards Carricitos, if you leave Gran Plaza by way of the Biciclette corner) had an enormous fish taco served on an oversized tortilla; they also had very good scallop ceviche and tostada.

                      I didn't eat at this place but my group said it wasn't very good

                      Tacos Al Ivan (nightly, right before entering Gran Plaza and diagonally across the street from the Oxxo), the al pastor is their specialty, served with a slice of fresh pineapple; the other selections were good as well

                      Tacorriendo (this place can be reached by going through the small alley between Oxxo and Sayulita Cafe Chile Relleno; also located at "bottom" of gringo hill); this place was probably the best of the taquerias we went to; good carnitas, good lengua, good cabez, good sesos and they used great local tortillas from Tortilleria Sayulita on Revolucion

                      Torta/Juice Shop (on the road towards Carricitos if you leave Gran Plaza by way of L'Espresso corner); next door to a pharmacy, the place had good juices like beet and carrot, and also killer tortas in veg as well as meat versions

                      Tortilleria Sayulita (on Ave. Revolucion) with the best freshmade tortillas; the small ones are oblong, I took 2 kgs back with me to the states!

                      El Cafecito (next to sunset surf shop and chile relleno, close to the primary school) is a semi-hidden place above an arts and crafts shop; only open after 6pm but very cool and different, not very ethnic/rustic

                      Cake Lady
                      she sets up right on the corner of the plaza each night with delicious flan, chocolate flan, orange and tres leches cakes. 15 pesos per slice

                      L'Espresso (right on the plaza) where we had a fancy breakfast (chilaquiles and also huevos divorciados); too fancy, and not that good

                      Tacos from husband/wife team, they set up a block or two from Ivan's and offer a fully-dressed taco (with a tostada on top); their condiments tray is one big circle with trivial pursuit-like divisions; they usually have only beef and pork tacos, but they have nice cebollitas and chiles. I found them at the local rodeo/dance a little bit aways from town one night to where they were doing very well

                      El Cameron (right on the beach, next to Tranquilo Surf Bar) with the signature cutout circle hole in the wall; we had many fish tacos here and some members of my party had chilaquiles for breakfast; probably the best food on the beach; unbeatable ambience but wonky hours

                      Sayulita Chile Relleno (this is the one next to oxxo) where I didn't eat but again, some people from my group had a decent, but not awesome, meal

                      Overall, the town is so small and friendly that you should be able to hit up everything no problem. It was an absolute pleasure to be able to walk around and within 3-4 days, start saying hi to all the locals, and be able to really get around. by the time we were leaving the carnival had just started so there were tons of new places that set up shop just past the footbridge; many new taquerias, and also a pair of fish/shrimp taco vendors that were set up on the bridge near revolucion also. I loved buying produce and tortillas from the small shops in town (get the tortillas from the red coolers, not the blue ones).

                      I would also recommend, if you are driving in from PVR airport to Sayulitas, to stop off at MEGA and get some baseline food and supplies (we rented a villa for our stay) but again, there are plenty of shops/grocers/vendors in town as well to replenish throughout the week.

                      I definitely plan to return to this town again and again!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: bigjeff

                        That was a great review of the choices in my hometown! I will say that Chili Relleno should be given another chance-- the rellenos are very good and the atmo. is good for a romantic dinner. It is the best 'fancy" place in town.
                        Breakfast is great at El Espresso on the corner of the plaza. Chiliquiles are wonderful.
                        Also, cross the bridge and go down the main street ( c. revolucion) . Tacos on the Street is my favorite place in town. Open Wednesday- Sunday for dinner 5-9, it is across from Costa Verde International School.