Top 7 places for Margaritas in Puerto Vallarta

Margaritas are undeniably the most common tequila-based cocktail in the US and worldwide. It’s served shaken, blended and straight up.  So omnipresent in the world of cocktailing that it merits its very own glass. Even though we cannot get enough of this refreshing drink, what do we really know about margarita?  What’s the history behind this famous drink? As with many popular cocktails, the exact origin is not verifiable.  Perhaps because of this fuzziness, many have taken credit for its invention.

Many believe that Francisco Morales created the margarita on July 4, 1942, in a local watering-hole, Tommy’s Place in the El Paso-Juarez area.  The story goes that a bar patron asked Morales to make a magnolia – a drink that he wasn’t familiar with.  Not wanting to appear ignorant, he improvised and whipped up a drink.  The customer absolutely fawned over it and the margarita was born.According to the LA Times, “over the years, several people claimed to have invented the drink; but  Mexico’s official news agency Notimex and many experts say that Morales has the strongest claim. ”
Puerto Vallarta holds the margarita in high regard.  Understanding its place in the pantheon of fabulous cocktails with Mexico’s favorite spirit.  There are plenty of establishments making margaritas.  This is our list of the best:

1) La Playa‘s Jalapeno margarita is among the best in Vallarta.  Mixologist Alex carefully crafts a sweet and spicy mix that will have you hankering for more.   La Playa is located in Old Town next to Lazaro Cardenas Park.

2) Joe Jack’s Fish Shack– Cadillac margarita. Tank, or Tanque, is a gifted bartender whose Texas Cadillac margaritas find few rivals.  These Grand Marnier-laced margaritas pack a punch, but boy do they go down easy. Joe Jack’s Fish Shack is located in Basillo Badillo 212

 

3)Solar– Our favorite dive beach bar has some some amazing cocktails.  Start with a fresh cucumber/jalapeno cocktail with your choice of tequila or mezcal. You won’t regret it!

4) Patio de mi Casa–  With a bohemian ambience that will have you relaxed, Patio de mi Casa pairs up a classic margarita with some jazz in the evenings. Marco knows his way around the bar. Don’t take our word for it. You will not be disappointed!. 

5) La Palapa–  Puerto Vallarta’s oldest elegant beach-front restaurant has an extensive drink menu that will impress just about everyone. With more than 10 flavors including tamarind and cucumber, La Palapa is a spectacular location, day or night.

6) Gaby’s – One of the cutest courtyards in downtown Vallarta, Gaby’s dishes out delicious mole perfectly washed down with a hand-crafted margarita.

7) Cafe de Artistes- Upping the cool quotient, this beautiful and revered restaurant, is well-known for their mezcalinis. Served like martini, mezcalinis are margarita’s favorite cousin.

Many of these margaritas can  found in our Mexology Tour and our Original Downtown food  tours. Remember the old adage: Drink tequila because no good story ever started with drinking milk. SALUD!

Insider’s Guide to Street Tacos in Puerto Vallarta

The taco dates back to the days when Montezuma and the Aztecs ruled Mexico. Tacos’ history is long, rich and a shining bright light in global culinary history.  Aztecs would use corn tortillas as a makeshift spoon, scooping up their food in a delicious rolled up tortilla. For pragmatic reasons, they began wrapping their food in tortillas and tacos -to the delight of billions of people since- were born.

As cities grew and the Spanish invaded, people migrated to find work. Mexico City was the largest city in the world – and is still one of the largest – and attracted people from all over the country. With this massive migration came foods from the different regions. Stands started popping up in street corners, offering speciality tacos from every corner of Mexico. Street carts eventually came about, making it easier for people to enjoy muy rico tacos at affordable prices.

The possibilities are endless, but in the interest of brevity here are some of our favorite classics and fantastic places where you can delight in the all mighty taco.  Some of these are on our Street Taco Tour, Downtown and Taste of Pitillal tours and some others are further north.

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Tacos Asada– the most identifiable and common taco.  Carne Asada is specifically beef, usually skirt steak, flank steak or flap steak, typically topped with grilled onions, beans, and delectable salsas.  Our favorite is Cuñados in Olas Altas by the Pier.  Opening at 10am, this revered stand is also one of the city’s oldest. A close second is Memo Tacos in Aguacate and Basilio Badillo opening at night around 6pm. If you end up in La Cruz, Tacos of the Street are among the best in the bay!

Birria Tacos– Birria is a popular stew hailing from Guadalajara made with marinated goat meat and typically served with cilantro, onions and corn tortillas. The best, and we have tried a bunch, has to be Robles stand in Romantic Zone on Constitution and Cardenas. A favorite in our Original Downtown Tour. Get there before noon because they will sell out!

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Fish Tacos– Originally from Ensenada in Baja California, fish tacos have become a staple on any taco list. Our favorite is El Guero on 292 Madero Street in the Romantic Zone. All tacos are freshly made to order.  For those hankering for more fish tacos, don’t miss Joe Jack’s Fish Shack, incredible fish tacos washed down perfectly with a freshly muddled mojito.

Shrimp Tacos– also originated in Baja California in Mexico. Grilled or fried shrimp are used, usually with the same accompaniments as fish tacos: lettuce or cabbage, pico de gallo, avocado and a sour cream or citrus/mayonnaise sauce, all placed on top of a corn or flour tortilla. The best in PV can be found at Mariscos Cisneros on Aguacate and Carranza and Marisma also in the Romantic Zone.

Tacos de Cabeza or head tacos,  are made with a flat punctured metal plate from which steam emerges to cook the head of the cow. One of our favorite vendors on our Street Taco Food Tour is Tacos Don Juan on Aguacate located at 400 Cardenas across from another aforementioned favorite Cisneros. They also serve savory tacos de lengua or tongue tacos.

Barbacoa Tacos is a form of cooking meat that originated in the state of Hidalgo. It generally refers to meats or whole sheep slow-cooked over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with maguey leaves. Although the interpretation is loose, and in the present day (and in some cases) may refer to meat steamed until tender. The best in Vallarta has to be Texcoco by the Stadium on Ecuador and Brasilla. They will be sell out by noon as well.roble-taco

Carnitas Tacos– Carnitas, literally “little meats”, is a dish of Mexican cuisine originating from the state of Michoacán. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender.  There are numerous great ones but the most tender has to be Netos Carnitas in the Pitillal located at 219 Juarez about a block from the square.

Al Pastor – Al Pastor is, in our opinion, the King of the Street Tacos. Pastor is meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie. This was adopted after Lebanese immigrants moved to Mexico and is an adaptation of shawarma. It is only served at night and is especially delicious after a night out on the town. Our favorite on our Street Taco Tour in Vallarta is Carboncito, chiefly because of his use of coal instead of gas. He is located off Avenida Mexico and Paraguay and opens Tues-Sunday 6pm to 3am. Another  one to try is Takos Pakos on Basilio Badillo in Olas Altas.20131020-img_0430

So, let’s rejoice in the birth and subsequent expansion of one of the greatest culinary delights man has known – THE TACO!!!! Provecho!!!

Top 10 Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

What to do in Puerto Vallarta? Where do we start… 

1. The Art of Doing Nothing: Just relax with cold cerveza and enjoy the sunset! Puerto Vallarta is full of places to do this, but our go-to spot is El Solar.

What to do in puerto vallarta2. Deep-sea Fishing: Puerto Vallarta’s Banderas Bay is a world-renowned destination for deep-sea fishing enthusiast. If you’re looking for an exciting Puerto Vallarta activity with a tasty payoff, check out Fishing Rebels.

op activities to do in puerto vallarta3.  Beach Hike: The hour hike from Boca to Las Animas beach lets you burn off those famous Puerto Vallarta tacos and provides breathtaking views. Stretch out the day with a stop for pictures and a cocktail (or two) at the Ocean Grill or the Casitas Maraikas.

4. Take a Food Tour with Vallarta Food Tours! Get acquainted with the local food scene on a 3-hour food tour. From tacos to sweets, this Puerto Vallarta walking tour lets you sample an array of the city’s edible delights. Choose from: Downtown, Pitillal, or our Evening Taco Tour! Book it here.

puerto vallarta food5.  Stroll El Malecón: An iconic Puerto Vallarta activity, a trip to El Malecón is a must! Get some fresh air, catch a sunset and people watch. Don´t miss the Voladores (pole flyers!) that put on quite a show in the afternoon.

top 10 things to do in Puerto Vallarta6. Head to Old Town: Stroll around and do some shopping in the boutique stores of Basilio Badillo and when it gets too hot, stop for a margarita at La Palapa in front of the Muertos Pier. Look for the love door for a great photo!

 

7. Mex-ology Tour: This 3-hour walking tour gets to the spirit of the Mexican cocktail! You’ll sip Mezcal, Tequila, Kahlua, Raicilla and Mexico´s signature beer cocktail – the Michelada! Of course, it’s all paired with some of Puerto Vallarta’s best tacos. Book here.

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8. Whale Watching: From December to March, Humpback whales migrate to Banderas Bay to give birth to their baby calves. Watching these gentle giants leap out of the water and crash back into the sea is one of the most spectacular shows Mother Nature has to offer.

9. View the Bay from the Water: Take a water taxi to the beaches of Yelapa, Animas, Quimito, our favorite stop being Casitas Maraikas for beach and drinks.

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10. Salsa Dancing: Salsa dancing makes for a fun night out with friends! The best places to get down in Puerto Vallarta are La Bodeguita del Medio and J&B Dance Club.

For more insider Puerto Vallarta scoop stay in touch with us on Facebook and check out our blog!