Zarandeado shrimp seafood in Puerto Vallarta

12 Essential Seafood Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

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One of the primary reasons that so many people fall in love with Puerto Vallarta is the food scene. From street tacos to formal dining on the beach, Puerto Vallarta has something for everyone. The best seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta are more diverse than the options in Mazatlan and serve a different variety of seafood than the options in Ensenada.

If you are looking for the best seafood restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, you are in the right place. I have lived in Jalisco since 2009 and I know this section of coast intimately. Puerto Vallarta is a special place and I hope to do justice to a town that I absolutely adore.

Essential Seafood Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

There is seafood everywhere in Puerto Vallarta and it isn’t hard to find a great meal. The biggest question is going to be what kind of seafood restaurant are you looking for depeding on your mood.

I recommend showering off the salt and sand from the beach before sitting down to a nice meal at a fancy restaurant.

And pay attention to the price tag. Puerto Vallarta is one of the more expensive resort destinations in Mexico. We eat at the Campomar location in Guadalajara often. The Campomar restaurant in Puerto Vallarta is more formal and more expensive.

Lastly, try something new. There are different types of seafood in the local waters than someone might have access to in Kansas. When in Mexico, try the Mexican food.

Without further adu, here is my list of the best seafood in Puerto Vallarta.

1. Abulón Antojería del Mar

The Versalles neighborhood has really blossomed into a great culinary corridor. Abulón is the type of restaurant that will draw people out of the Zona Romantica to see another side of Puerto Vallarta.

Abulón Antojería del Mar is a simple restaurant with a covered outdoor patio and no air conditioning. There is a kid’s area with a large trampoline that will keep the little ones entertained for hours while you eat.

What I love the most about Abulón was the balance of price and quality. Everyone in my party loved their food and the check was more than reasonable.

Listen to your server’s recommendations. The passion fruit and coconut shrimp tostadas were a special that we loved. Our group ordered a wide variety of dishes and passed them around. The burrito, the seafood cocktail, the tostadas, and even the kid’s food was all very good.

Make sure to save room for the ice cream sandwiches. We had to order a second round of them they were so good.

If you haven’t been to Versalles yet, make sure to check out the neighborhood. There are a ton of great restaurants.

2. Camarón en Barro

Camarón en Barro is the flavor of old Puerto Vallarta. They are located in the local 5 de diciembre neighborhood, which I think has some of the best food in Puerto Vallarta. The restaurants around here serve a more local and less internationalized version of Mexican seafood.

I think that Camarón en Barro has one of the best classic ground fish ceviches in Puerto Vallarta. They use good ingredients and really love what they do. The servers know the menu and have helpful recommendations.

Camarón en Barro needs to be on your list of the best seafood to try in Puerto Vallarta.

3. Oyster Grill de La Docena

I think that La Docena in Guadalajara is one of the best restaurants in Jalisco. Their location in on the malecón in Downtown Puerto Vallarta is even better. I proposed to my wife at the Guadalajara location but we have celebrated more anniversaries here in Puerto Vallarta.

They have the same exceptional kitchen except the view of the beach sure beats the city view. We almost always run into someone that we know from the Guadalajara restaurants that transferred to the Puerto Vallarta location.

Oyster Grill has a very worldly concept. There are influences from Baja California, Louisiana, Argentina, and even Japan.

As much as I advocate for trying new things, I am a creature of habit at La Docena. I always start with the oysters grilled in butter. Then we move on to the crab tostadas with the spicy seafoam.

Listen to your server. There are great specials that come and go. The huge shrimp are a favorite. There was a cauliflower fried in butter with bonito (fish) flakes. They don’t always have sea scallops but when they do, they are top quality.

The service at Oyster Grill is some of the best in Mexico. I have known several of their managers to be the best in the business. And not just at the coast but at the big locations in Mexico City and Guadalajara. This is a serious hospitality organization.

Give this place a try if you haven’t yet. You won’t regret it.

4. Campomar

Campomar is taking Mexico by storm. The original concept for the restaurant is from Ixtlán del Rio, Nayarit. Nayarit-style cooking is still underground when compared to Sinaloa and Jalisco. I think you are going to enjoy it.

One thing to remember is that much of the food at Campomar is very spicy. They put three salsas on the table that range from spicy to fire sauce. There was even a tostada in an unlabeled plastic wrapper, mixed in the regular tostadas, that was dusted with something very spicy. Ask your server what is spice and what is not.

Let’s begin with the raw bar. This is where I really came to love sea scallops. They have two or three different types of raw clams plus a selection of oysters. Order the scallops while you are in Mexico. You just can’t get this type of sea scallop in other locations. The Atlantic scallops are different.

I have ordered the zarandeado whole fish, zarandeado octopus, and zandaeado shrimp. Each one is excellent and a little spicier than other zarandeado sauces that I have tried elsewhere.

Don’t forget to try the tacos. The bean tacos are a good way to see how a restaurant takes a simple item and makes it very good. Then, the soft shell crab taco will blow your mind because it is so good. I think it is one of the best tacos in Mexico.

One thing to remember is that Campomar is fancy. This is one of the more expensive restaurants on the list but it is well worth the money because of the quality. The new restaurants that they are building are beautiful. They recently took over a HUGE space at Plaza Andares in Guadalajara that is the size of three big restaurants, and it is full all the time.

5. María Baja

María Baja is a modern, Puerto Vallarta interpretation of the classic Baja California tacos. The restaurant is located in the Alta Vista neighborhood just steps from the Zona Romantica. It is on the highway to Boca de Tomatlán but only three blocks from the main drag of Basilio Badillo and there are even some stair cases leading to the Zona Romantica behind the Kiosko.

If you are driving to the beaches on the southern part of the Banderas Bay, María Baja is a very easy stop along the way. There are four or five parking spaces in front which is kind of rare in this part of Puerto Vallarta.

Each table is set with a wide variety of exotic salsas. Many of the salsas have fruit flavors and go easy on the spicy chile.

This was a taco shop that repetiadly recommonded to me by people in the Puerto Vallarta Facebook group. I thought the tacos were good but I like the Baja California version a little bit more.

6. La Langosta Feliz

When visiting Puerto Vallarta, I recommend getting out of the Zona Romantica and seeing what the local favorite restaurants look like.

La Langosta Feliz is located in the Lázaro Cárdenas neighborhood in a house grown into a three-level restaurant. We sat on the second floor patio and enjoyed the temperature in October. The patio might be a little uncomfortable in the summer during the daytime.

One of the coolest things about ordering seafood at restaurants like this is showing off the fresh catch. The server brings a tray out to the table of what they currently have available.

I have a hard time visualizing the difference between a 1 kilo lobster and a 1.5 kilo lobster looks like. They tell you exactly what each lobster weighs and what it will cost. They also show off some of their more popular dishes like the giant prawns, the whole fish, and brochetas (seafood skewers).

The menu is vast at La Langosta Feliz. We have been several times and barely scratched the surface. Obviosly, the lobster is a specialty. We usually start with a ceviche. Try the classic Puerto Vallarta-style ground fish ceviche. You can’t go wrong.

If you like eating raw seafood, ask the server what is fresh. I ate some big clams that where incredible. The oysters and pata de mulas looked excellent. Ask to see the callo de hacha. I like the bigger ones but only when they are firm and really fresh. They are harvested in Sinaloa and Sonora, and not available all year long.

La Langosta Feliz is a celebration restaurant for us. This is where we went with a big group of friends after our wedding. I think it is a great restaurant to remember special events.

7. Joe Jack’s Fish Shack

What an amazing experience of both food and drink. As you walk in the restaurant you will be greated by a bar with one of the best selections of agave spirits in the state of Jalisco. They have a taisting room upstares where they host some epic events.

See if they have any special edition tequilas by Cascahuin or Fortaleza, or just see what the bartender is recommending at the moment. I think this is the best place in Puerto Vallarta for mezcal, raicilla, and tequila tastings. If you have the time to visit Tequila, Jalisco, you should do it.

I am a huge fan of the whole fish dinner. I order it everywhere and Joe Jack’s has one of the best roasted whole fishes that I have tried. It is oven roasted and served with confit garlic and fresh cilantro. I’m not sure this is a Mexican style or an Asian style but is comes with Mexican rice and beans.

The huachinango red snapper is a local delecacy that fish lovers will enjoy. The smaller huachinangos have a lot of bones but this fish was huge and easy to clean. Don’t forget that the cheek is the best bite of the entire fish.

We ordered Baja fish tacos, a burger, and kids’ food but the star of the show is the roasted whole fish. I dream about eating at Joe Jack’s Fish Shack because of that meal.

8. Ocean Grill

We ate at Ocean Grill on our honeymoon but haven’t been back since. It is not located in Puerto Vallarta but on the cliff of the remote Playa Colomitos just south of Boca de Tomatlan. The restaurant sends a boat to ferry their guests in.

This is not the sort of restaurant that you can just show up to. Reservations are not essential because there are only a few tables. Children are not allowed so it is going to be a few more years before we make it back.

Ocean Grill is a wonderful special occasion restaurant because of the planning that goes into getting a table. Just finding parking in Boca de Tomatlan could take some time on a busy weekend.

The food at Ocean Grill was wonderful but the view is what makes the place special. I have been to Playa Colomitos several times and sometimes it is very pretty and sometimes it is not.

I think that Playa Colomitos is a like that Instagram vs. Reality meme. If you can catch it without too many people and the light is right, it is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. During the high season when there isn’t an inch of space left on the beach, Playa Colomitos isn’t a great beach.

Try to get a reservation during the week as opposed to the weekend, if you can.

9. La Palapa

La Palapa is absolutely iconic Puerto Vallarta institution. Their eggs benidict with crab is one of the most celebrated dishes in Puerto Vallarta.

The boardwalk on the south side of the Cuale River is very different from the boardwalk on the north side of the river. Over here, it is just some planks of wood struck together on the sand. The tables at La Palapa are literally on the sand of Los Muertos Beacch just steps from the pier.

I think the view at La Palapa is one of the most iconic pictures of Puerto Vallarta and even the state of Jalisco.

La Palapa is one of the more expensive options for eating seafood in Puerto Vallarta. Even though the tables are on the sand, the service is very formal and the restaurant is elegant. Many tourists will be wearing beach gear but the Mexican families will be dressed up for a nice dinner.

You can’t go wrong ordering the grilled octopus and the La Palapa shrimp. Both the beet salad and the peach salad are wonderful.

Another thing to keep in mind is that La Palapa is both a breakfast restaurant and a dinner restaurant. You can find excellent seafood in Puerto Vallarta any time of day.

10. Mariscos La Tía

Mariscos La Tía is another longtime Puerto Vallarta seafood icon. There are a couple of locations but they both serve great food. Just choose the one that is closer to your location. The 5 de Febrero location is three blocks from Camarones Beach and Maricos La Tía 2 is close to the Marina and the airport.

The first thing that comes to mind when eating at a general seafood restaurant like La Tía is ceviche tostadas and cocktails but don’t forget to look at the prepared food section. The shrimp burrity in the flour tortilla is wonderful.

The fish filet cooked in butter or garlic butter got my kids to eat fish which is a challenge. They have excellent quality products and they are busy.

If you are looking for a great local seafood restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, give La Tía a chance.

11. 8 Tostadas

I can’t believe that I couldn’t find one picture of 8 Tostadas. I have eaten at 3 different locations and love this place but when I was going through my pics I came up with nothing.

That doesn’t matter. 8 Tostadas is a Puerto Vallarta institution that generations of locals and tourists treasure. The original restaurant is located in the 5 de Febrero neighborhood behind the Unidad Deportiva stadium and sports fields. This is just a few blocks away from the Puerto Vallarta seafood market.

The owner, Jacinto Macedo, operated a street food cart for years but it got so popular he had to find a larger space.

I know 8 Tostadas for their ceviches. There are classic, Puerto Vallarta-style ground fish tostadas but there are also exotic ceviches with the trio of salsas negras (Salsa Maggi, Worcestershire Salsa Inglesa, and Soy Sauce).

You can expect to get a great tostada at any of their locations but try to visit the original. Food just tastes better in the 5 de Febrero neighborhood.

12. Camarones Embarazados Best Seafood in Puerto Vallarta

You can find pescado and camarones embarazados at just about any beach with in Puerto Vallarta. It is one of the most famous traditional foods from the state of Jalisco.

I waited years to try them thinking it was a tourist trap. I was sorely mistaken. They are excellent.

The vendors would walk around the beach early in the day but when people realized how delicious they were, there was a line standing in front of the grill buying them as quickly as they were made.

Pay attention to what the locals are eating. There are some surprises that you might enjoy.

📍Address: Every beach in Puerto Vallarta

Final Thoughts: Essential Seafood Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is a special place. To hear how travelers treasure their time in the jungle paradise, reminds me of how people talk about Hawaii. One of the most memerable parts of traveling is to try new food.

The seafood in Puerto Vallarta is a good mixture of local and touristy options. The touristy options are often fancy restaurants that the locals don’t eat at often but use to celebrate big events.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the best seafood in Puerto Vallarta and get a chance ot visit some of my favorite restaurants in the state of Jalisco.

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