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Puerto Vallarta - how are my picks?

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Hey there. I am headed to PV in a month with six other friends and my partner. Looking for comments on the places I want to try out and some of our plans.

Daiquiri Dicks: Our first night I have made a reservation for the whole group for Daiquiri Dicks. Seems like a good first spot for a group to have a nice meal by the water. Thoughts? I have read good and bad about the place.

Archie's Wok/Boca Bento: Thougth about going to one of these two on Sunday night. which is better? I know they are both pretty different decor wise, but how is the food?

El Arrayan: This sounds like a must and thinking of doing that Monday night.

Mama Delores: I thought the group might need a burger fix at some point and thought about that place. Other suggestions for diner food or cheap easy meals?

La Palapa: I have a plan to take my boyfriend here for the romantic dinner they do on the beach. set menu, and pretty sure that people really like this place.

Barcelona Tapas: I wanted to do a final group dinner here on Friday night before we all take off on a Saturday. thoughts?

So, a couple nights are up in the air and plans can be changed, but wanted feedback. What about places for cheaper authentic mexican fare? i have heard about but curious people's take on the following:
Red Cabbage Café
Fajita Republic
Las Palomas
Agave Grill
Joe Jacks’ Fish Tacos

And are there spots that aren't here that I just MUST try, or MUST take off this list?

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  1. With the exception of Mama Dolores which I haven't been to, you should find all of the other restaurants to be very good. You should note that to get to Barcelona Tapas you have to climb some 70 steps which some find intimidating.
    Usually on the "must try" lists is Cafe des Artistes I think you were wise not to include it. However all of your restaurants are downtown. If the budget can accomodate getting a van and driver for your group there is a new branch of Cafe des Artistes on the beach in Punta de Mita. Going out there for lunch with short detours in Bucerias and La Cruz would give you a tour of the incredible development taking place.
    Similarly closer to PV a visit to the Marina just south of the airport would be a worthwhile visit. A new (this year) branch of La Palapa in the Marina called Tikul is excellent. Of the many restaurants there the other favorite is an Italian restaurant called Porto Bello.
    Can't help with "cheaper authentic mexican fare" but a less expensive Mexican Seafood restaurant that is a personal favorite is Cuetos.
    They say there are some 1500 "restaurants" in PV. So you're choice is really difficult for a short trip.
    To make it more difficult you might want to take a look at the restaurant reviews at http://www.vallartalifestyles-digital...

    1. Daiquiri Dicks: Our first night I have made a reservation for the whole group for Daiquiri Dicks. Seems like a good first spot for a group to have a nice meal by the water. Thoughts? I have read good and bad about the place.

      Big Yes. Lovely spot. Do not know why you heard bad. Charming, upscale, beachfront and wonderful brunch on weekends with live soothing music.

      Archie's Wok/Boca Bento: Thought about going to one of these two on Sunday night. which is better? I know they are both pretty different decor wise, but how is the food?

      Both super. 2 of my faves. Archie's is special in that it is a mix of Chinese, Thai and Filipino, as he was. Family runs this tight top spot where I must go every couple months. Boca is a blend of Asian and Latino, very gourmet and fabulous setting, right near my place on Basilio Badillo.

      El Arrayán: This sounds like a must and thinking of doing that Monday night.

      Right at the top. Say HI to owner Carmen [we love each other] and absorb the traditional recipes from Grandma. Sat night features duo!

      Mama Dolores: I thought the group might need a burger fix at some point and thought about that place.

      Sold and closed. Will be reopening but what food, chef, service, we do not know yet, so this is an unknown. Burger at Back Alley Bistro.

      Other suggestions for diner food or cheap easy meals?

      Joe Jack's, Gilmar, Johnny's Diner, Bolero and Red Cabbage are good choices.

      La Palapa: I have a plan to take my boyfriend here for the romantic dinner they do on the beach. set menu, and pretty sure that people really like this place.

      Top notch, delicious, romantic, torch-lit, run by Alberto Perez [and singer] and yes, his Tikul in Marina is primo, a new fave!

      Barcelona Tapas: I wanted to do a final group dinner here on Friday night before we all take off on a Saturday. thoughts?

      Adore it, great for a sharing group and Bill's little sis Agave Grill. BT is top of the line true Spanish tapas and more and then add in a 4th floor view!

      So, a couple nights are up in the air and plans can be changed, but wanted feedback. What about places for cheaper authentic Mexican fare? I have heard about but curious people's take on the following:
      Red Cabbage Café [above]
      Fajita Republic [moved across the street. His new one is El Barracuda and excellent!]
      Las Palomas [very good for pasta and pizza]
      Agave Grill [above]
      Joe Jacks’ Fish Tacos [above]

      WHERE is River Cafe, my #2 place? Yes, yes, yes and consider sis place Mestizo, yum.

      And are there spots that aren't here that I just MUST try, or MUST take off this list?

      Cafe Roma, Celia's, Cafe Bohemio, Pancho's Takos [sic], Cafe Candela, Ztai and El Brujo. More in my restaurant guide on CafePress.

      Gary
      San Francisco, CA./Puerto Vallarta, JAL.

      3 Replies
      1. re: garyrbeck

        wow! that is awesome information. I appreciate it so much!

        1. re: garyrbeck

          To Garyrbeck - sorry to correct you but i believe the restaurant is Takos Pancho, not the other way around - and yes, thanks for all the good advice on PV restaurants!!

          1. re: lopo123

            Correcto: Takos Pancho
            Waiter a number of years ago after I asked why they spelled Takos that way, he said that is the way the Americans spell it. I went, oh yeah...only in PV!
            Soon to be fulltime so anyone can contact me year-round after 4/1/10.

        2. anyone else with feedback or thoughts?!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Chargenda

            Hi Chargenda...my favorite food in mexico so far was at Cafe de Olla
            in PV. I haven't had any other food in Mexico that even comes close!
            That good...

            1. re: islameg

              great food there
              we also loved barracuda on the ocean front

          2. I would second the Cuetos idea. It has been one of my favorites for years. I would consider it cheaper authentic Mexican seafood fare. There are two locations. Especially notable are the great seafood casuelas.

            1. did boca bento really close? guess that one is off my list. For good or just for a bit?

              3 Replies
              1. re: Chargenda

                There's a "For Rent" sign so it looks like they have really closed.

                1. re: mexivilla

                  thanks. What about archie's wok? I read someplace they are closed through the end of October. True?

                  1. re: Chargenda

                    Archie's is closed for September. Will open Oct. 1, according to the plan.

              2. I put up food photos of our trip a couple months ago..

                http://www.foodnut.com/tag/puerto-val...

                1. One of my favorite restaurants in PV--besides El Arrayan--has just re-opened. Cafe Candela at 311 Guerrero, about 1/2 block up from Trio. Large patio setting, wood-burning pizza oven, grilled asparagus, beets with goat cheese, great salads. Lovely place to hang out with friends.

                  1. Wanted to thank everyone here for the Rec's will be going at the end of October.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: damonster

                      Whatever anyone says you really should go to Cafe des Artistes, it is wonderful. Also Vitea looking over the beach towards the Rio Cuale is wonderful - mimosas and eggs benedict for breakfast!

                      1. re: bronwen

                        Has anyone heard of Las Almendritas? A friend told me it was phenomenal, but I have been unable to find anything on it. I am wondering if it has closed, or changed names?

                        1. re: reillygrrl

                          If you mean Los Alboritos, it is an expensive tourist trap resting on its laurels from twenty years ago, don't bother. Years ago it was "out of the way, not in a touristic area" , no longer true. There are much better places for what they used to do a good job with, that being traditional Mexican dishes and affordable libation.

                          1. re: robt5265

                            I assume that you are referring to Los Arbolitos. If you are going to rip someones restaurant you should at least get the name right and is is still not in a "touristic" area

                          2. re: reillygrrl

                            Los Almendritos
                            Prolongacíon Avenida México 570
                            Splash Water Park exit off Highway 200
                            Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit.
                            297-1140
                            angelsanchez77@aol.com 2-10pm Closed Sunday.
                            Delightful charming family-run place owned by Ángel and Tatiana Sánchez serving items as delicious chicken Parmesan, avocado stuffed with shrimp, shrimp burger and lobster.
                            From my PV area restaurant guide on cafepress dot com/vallartaguide

                      2. Update on El Arrayan - no so good these days :(

                        -----
                        El Arrayan
                        Allende #344, Puerto Vallarta, JAL 48304, MX

                        1. I have just been reading everyone's opinions of restaurants in PV. My hubby and I are doing a quick one week trip there at the end of April and am looking forward to a very laid back, lots of reading, relaxing vacation. We will be staying in the Marina area and will be doing a lot of cooking in our place however will want to get out for a couple of lunches and dinners. We go to Zihuatanejo every October for a few weeks and usually to Bucerias in the spring. We LOVE the cheap, not fancy, local fare and it looks like there are some listed here. If anyone knows of any others, I would love to hear about them. We want Mexican food. Not Italian or Asian. Plain old "what the locals" eat Mexican. We usually wander around until we see some hole in the wall filled with locals. That practice has never steered us wrong! We will probably do one fancy dinner on our last night and I am thinking of Tikul which people seem to be raving about since it is near where we are staying.

                          Thanks for any additional places we should check out for local, cheap fare.

                          -----
                          Tikul
                          Paseo De La Marina #245, Local #113, Puerto Vallarta, JAL 48380, MX

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: jodymaryk

                            It's sad because it was one of the best restaurants in PV but Tikul closed last summer. I think the closest you will get to "Plain old "what the locals" eat Mexican" in the Marina area is near the entrance. Ocho Tostados and Marisma and across the Hwy from the entrance Las Papas.
                            http://www.ochotostadas.com/
                            http://laspapas.com.mx/papas/index.php
                            There are a lot of restaurants in the Marina so you need to check out their menus to see if anything fits your taste. Other than than that there are a couple of new restaurants in Fluvial one in particular Los Alcatrices has a big Mexican following and Las Adelitas which is pretty good.
                            Other than that Bucerias and downtown PV are your best choices.

                            -----
                            Tikul
                            Paseo De La Marina #245, Local #113, Puerto Vallarta, JAL 48380, MX

                            1. re: jodymaryk

                              Don't miss Tacon de Marlin across the pedestrian bridge over the highway at the entrance to the PV airport. The Marlin / Shrimp combo burrito will blow your mind.