Mexican Food Tonight or Something Else?
Before we branch out to the Puerto Vallarta Marina area, we’re still evaluating restaurants in Old Town, also called the Romantic Zone. We love that we can safely walk to and from our home to any place in this tourist area. The Mexican name for this neighborhood is Colonia Emiliano Zapata, a central area of early Puerto Vallarta. Spanish-style family homes and local businesses are interspersed with new condominiums, art galleries, and restaurants.
With a large number of restaurants serving Mexican food here, the competition is stiff. There are so many good ones, it’s difficult to choose the best, so our choices will change as we try others. But, for now, these are our favorites.
Once a week, we choose a Mexican restaurant. On our next evening out, Jon usually wants an Italian or a good steak place. For our third choice of the week, I often select an Asian or seafood restaurant. By then we have enough leftovers in the freezer for a delicious meal at home while watching the sunset and the world go by from our balcony.
7. Archie's Wok
Archie’s Wok has long been a favorite of ours when we’re craving Asian food. During high season, by the time we arrive at our usual dinner hour of 6:00, the restaurant is packed and there’s a waiting list. They don’t take reservations, so this week we decided to go at 5:00 to get a table and I’m glad we did.
We discovered they have a Light Lunch Menu available from 2:00 to 6:00 PM. For 169 pesos (about $8.00US), you can choose one item from each of the three sections. Jon and I each selected the same items, a Lumpia Filipino Eggroll, Pancit Filipino Pasta Stir-Fried with Vegetables and Mushrooms, and Grilled Beef Skewer Korean Sesame Marinade.
Delicious and a great value! We’ll be going back again soon to try the other options on that “early-bird” menu, especially the Singapore Chicken and Calamari Fried in Light Beer Batter.
8. Joe Jack's Fish Shack
When we’re hungry for fresh seafood served in a fun atmosphere in the heart of Old Town, Joe Jack's Fish Shack is one of our favorites. The service, food, and prices are excellent, so be prepared for this restaurant to be packed during high season. Joe Jack’s serves one of the best fish and chips we’ve had in México. Occasionally we share an iceberg wedge salad when we’re craving the mingled flavors of bacon and blue cheese.
Fried chicken is one of Joe Jack’s specialties when it’s not too busy here in Puerto Vallarta, usually on Thursday and Sunday. A couple of weeks ago, we were lucky enough to arrive on one of their last fried chicken Sundays of this year's low season. We asked for one order with an extra piece of chicken, a total of four pieces split between us. It was more than enough food—each of us had a side of mashed potatoes with gravy, corn on the cob, and coleslaw. We order fried food here in Mexico extra frito, so the chicken came well-fried and crispy. Everything was delicious and satisfied our need for some American food!
We’ve learned that during high season (mid-November through April), we need to make a reservation for Joe Jack’s, especially if we want to sit upstairs at a table next to the railing overlooking the street. It’s always entertaining to watch the action on Basilio Badillo street and across the street at Margarita Grill. People watching while sipping a glass of cold wine or beer is half the fun.
9. Canto del Mar
We’ve dined at several of the beachfront palapa restaurants along the Malecón. After two visits, we decided that Canto del Mar (Song of the Sea) is our favorite, so far. The seafood is fresh and a good value. The Baja-style fish tacos are the best we’ve found on the beach along the south end of the Malecón. (El Barracuda in colonia 5 the de Diciembre also has wonderful fish tacos).
The Gourmet Habafuego habanero ranch salsa our waiter suggested makes the tacos extra tasty. We raved about the delicious spicy flavor and asked where we could buy it. He told us it was a special order from Guadalajara, not sold in stores here, and offered to sell us a bottle. We’re glad we had him add it to our check—it’s delicious on quesadillas, Mexican eggs, salads, and sandwiches.
Canto del Mar is a great place to watch the amazing Bahia de Banderas sunsets. I look forward to another relaxing evening watching the sky change colors while sipping a Cielo Rojo—a clamato-beer mixture that I’ve recently discovered is a refreshing alternative to wine on a warm afternoon.
Check out this New Release!
The pre-order for the Kindle ebook THE INSIDER'S GUIDE TO THE BEST OF MEXICAN HOLIDAYS is live, available wordwide! The release date is 17 December. Order your copy on Amazon.com HERE.
Celebrate life, death, and everything in between!
I’m honored to have two of my stories in this anthology, including the first in the Introduction. I hope you enjoy this book about Christmas in México, Mexican Independence Day, Día de la Virgen de Guadalupe (Celebrations of the Virgin), Día de Muertos, and much more. Thank you to author Carmen Amato for putting this collection together.
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