On of the most cherished attractions of almost every tourist destination is the food, and Puerto Vallarta is no exception. As you’d expect, the city has a wide variety of options when it comes to eating. What you wouldn’t expect is the exceptional quality of the food you’re offered here. Vallarta is actually an important culinary destination in itself. A mix of international chefs that have made the city their home town, a long-running gourmet festival, the local Mexican food traditions that are centuries old, plus quality ingredients from sea and land combine into great food, great prices and an ever-expanding list of options.

Puerto Vallarta and the surroundings boast over 400 restaurants and smaller places where you can eat. Seafood is a favorite, plus the local dishes can be interesting to newcomers too. These include dishes that are part of the state of Jalisco’s traditions, especially from the state capital, Guadalajara. The hotels in Vallarta many times offer great restaurants too. Local chefs with their own dishes offer a cosmopolitan flair, mixing local and world flavors into something totally new. You’ll invariably find the local bounty from the Pacific Ocean in delicious seafood and fish dishes.

Don’t forget to enjoy all these interesting dishes with the local drinks too. You’ll find beers for the humble local dishes, wines (mainly from Baja California) for more elegant dishes, and mezcal and tequila for an extra punch. The world-famous Mexican liquor, tequila, is a Jalisco beverage, native of the region and improved with old world distilling techniques. The basis is a local plant, the Blue Agave, that at eight to twelve years old offers a sugar-filled “pineapple,” which is then cooked and mashed to extract the sugary juice that ferments into tequila. You can find tours that can take you to the town of Tequila from Vallarta, and you’ll enjoy a picturesque tour of atown that has been developed as a tourist destination with its own character.

Besides eating the well-known Mexican dishes, use your time in Puerto Vallarta to try something new! The typical local dishes are fun to try. Eat a taco at a street-side stand (look for the ones with most people, then you know they are good), try the dishes in any good Mexican restaurant in town, and then enjoy the newer eclectic creations from the local and international chef in the finer restaurants. The options are immense, and you’ll never run out of new ones when you revisit Puerto Vallarta. Enjoy!

Some local Jalisco dishes:

Carne en su Jugo (Meat in its own juice)
Small pieces of beef with beans and bacon, seasoned with coriander, onion and lime juice.

Albondigas Reales (Royal Meatballs)
Meatballs stuffed with boiled egg, raisins and almonds.

Bote Cocido
Chicken, pig and beef meat broth seasoned with pulque.

A sauce made with ground pumpkin seeds, red chili pepper and spices.

Gorditas (Little Fat Ones)
A thick tortilla of a smaller diameter made with corn dough, filled with cheese, threaded pig meat, beans or mashed potatoes.

Chiles Anchos Rellenos (Wide Stuffed Chili Peppers)
Dried Peppers filled with cheese, pumpkin flowers and battered.

Pico de Gallo (Rooster’s beak)
Pieces of jicama, orange, pineapple with lime juice and ground chili.

Enchiladas Tapatías
Corn tortillas in chili sauce, fried and filled with cheese and onion.

Pollo a la Valentina (Valentina Chicken)
Spicy fried chicken with enchiladas (spicy stuffed deep fried tortillas) with potatoes and carrots.