Some of Our Favorites Have Closed This Year
It’s time to update our list of favorite restaurants. Sadly, many of our favorites have closed during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period last spring. But the village is coming alive again now that the restaurants have opened for dine-in service.
I’ve listed our favorites in no particular order—they’re all favorites for different reasons and we rotate through them every couple of weeks. I’ve included each restaurant’s Tripadvisor link if you want to check their rating. Keep in mind that there are a few new restaurants we haven’t tried yet.
1. Don Pedro’s Restaurant and Bar: (Tripadvisor Rating)
Don Pedro’s is our first choice when we want good food, good wine or Margaritas, excellent service, and a great ocean view. We go there often and recommend this restaurant for people new to Sayulita—you can’t go wrong sitting in the restaurant for dinner, lunch, or breakfast. Once in a while, we rent two of their lounge chairs and a sun umbrella on the beach for a couple of hours while enjoying lunch and drinks near a great part of the bay, perfect for swimming, boogie-boarding, and Stand-up Paddleboarding.
2. Don Juan's Sayulita: (Tripadvisor Rating)
If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican restaurant, good food and drinks at a reasonable price, good service, and a pleasant dining room with good airflow, Don Juan’s is our recommendation. We enjoy the Don Juan’s Salad and Don Juan’s Mahi Mahi so much that we order it almost every time we go there for dinner, one order of each and share the generous portions. Everything else on the menu we’ve tried has been delicious as well. The only downside this time of year when the sun sets earlier, is that we have to drive our golf cart to the restaurant on the Punta Mita highway rather than walking. We haven’t been there for lunch or breakfast but have heard those menus are very good, too.
3. Marcolino Pasta and Vino (Ex Mamma Mia): Tripadvisor Rating
When we’re hungry for Italian food and wine, Marcolino’s is where we go most often. We still refer to it as Mamma Mia since that was its name until recently. Though the name has changed, the delicious food and wonderful service have only gotten better. They expanded the size of the restaurant this summer and added a pizza oven. The pizza is very good, but we still often order our favorites, one Ensalada Rossi which the kitchen splits onto two plates for us to share, and the best Pollo Parmigiana we’ve found. We share one order of the chicken with Fettucine Alfredo as the side dish. Sometimes we change our salad order—their Ensalada Cesar is delicious with slices of fresh Parmesan cheese.
4. Tierra Viva: Tripadvisor Rating
We go to Tierra Viva often, sometimes to watch American Football and have dinner on Sundays, sometimes for dinner on a weekday when it’s less busy, often for the delicious Eggs Benedict at breakfast, and many times we pick up an order to-go and dine on our fancy paper plates at home. The food, drinks, service, and food are always very good. The variety of menu choices is great, so we can enjoy this restaurant often and order something different every time. Their seafood is always very fresh, their sushi good.
5. Achara Thai Restaurant: Tripadvisor Rating
Asian dishes are the flavors that I've missed most living in Mexico, but now we have Achara Thai. This is the restaurant that we order delivery from most often (we always tip 100 pesos for deliveries regardless of the size of the bill—we’re so grateful that some of our restaurants continued to deliver this year). Their Crispy Spring Rolls are our favorite appetizer in Sayulita! Then we usually order Pad Thai (with a side order of their chili oil). The Chicken Satay and Green Papaya Salad are excellent also. Serving it on our fancy paper plates from Costco with a glass of wine, dining in the refreshing jungle breeze that wafts into our garden oasis while Bella, our doxy, waits for a bite of chicken and we listen to the sounds of our barrio makes it a perfect evening.
6. Barracuda: Tripadvisor Rating
When Barracuda was a small taco shop, it was one of our favorite places to go for fish tacos. Once they expanded to a larger, nicer restaurant with a full dinner and bar menu, we were slow to warm up to it, but it’s now one of our new favorites. The food and drinks are very good and the atmosphere and entertainment on “Selfie Street” is an added bonus. We sit in the raised-level restaurant rather than at a street table to distance ourselves from the vendors and others walking by. The Ensalada Palmito was delicious—the kitchen split one order for us, and a half salad was a generous amount. The Molcajete was wonderful and appears to be one of their most popular dishes.
7. Rubens Restaurant: Tripadvisor Rating
We loooove Ruben’s, for sitting at the bar above street level at lunchtime, people watching on “Selfie Street” or for take-out. Our favorites are the Ruben Sandwich with fries or salad, the Turkey, Avocado, Bacon sandwich (unbelievably good!) with fries or salad, and the Ensalada China con Pollo (another opportunity to get my Asian-flavor fix). As a side note, Ruben keeps “Selfie Street” decorated with flags, flowers, and signs—we appreciate the beauty it adds to our downtown area.
8. Si Señor Sayulita: Tripadvisor Rating
Si Señor’s is where we go when we want a nice view of Sayulita bay and the main beach with a more quiet atmosphere, including the sound of the waves lapping on the rocks and a gentle sea breeze. Their guacamole made fresh and to our desired spiciness at the table is delicious.
9. La Isla Beach Club: Tripadvisor Rating
A beachfront open-air restaurant, La Isla is a quiet place to enjoy a view of the ocean. We usually order guacamole or battered, fried shrimp as an appetizer and Mahi Mahi Empanizado—always fresh and well-prepared. The wine is not top quality, but good enough. If you order your Margaritas made with Don Julio Setente tequila, and pay a little extra, they are excellent. Service is sometimes slow, but we go there for the soothing ocean sound and view and we're on Mexico time, so we're in no hurry.
10. Alas Blancas: Tripadvisor Rating
Alas Blancas beachfront restaurant has chairs and umbrellas near the ocean as well as a roped-off dining area with tables. We prefer the roped-off area at this time during the pandemic as it keeps the vendors away from the tables. I enjoy their shrimp tacos and shrimp cocktail. Occasionally they have a pork shank special that is delicious!
11. Mariscos Purillo’s: Tripadvisor Rating
We haven’t tried too many items on the menu at Purillo's because we are stuck on their delicious fried Shrimp Tacos (we order them extra frito, extra crispy) served on the best home-made tortillas in town. The spicy marinated onions are good and hot, just the way we like them, so don’t add too many to your tacos. The Agua de Jamaica is the best we’ve found in town. We have lunch at Purillo’s every week or two, but they are open for breakfast and dinner as well.
Other Restaurants We Enjoy
As you can see, we lean toward restaurants on the beach—it’s one of the best things about living in a beach town. We also gravitate to restaurants with dining rooms and avoid taco stands where there is no running water or bathroom. Plus, wine with our dinner is important. We use some restaurants mostly for their home delivery service. Here are a few that we frequent and enjoy about once a month.
Coco’s Beach Club—Good Fish and Chips with a beach view from upstairs.
Prieto’s—For their delicious carnitas tacos.
El Metro Tortas—For their Milanesa de Pollo Tortas (request canned jalapeños to add)—we order to go and take it to the north beach for a picnic.
La Rustica Sayulita—For their home delivery of pizza and salad.
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