Where are the best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta?

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Fresh, superb food is easy to find in Puerto Vallarta — the town is known both for its exceptional seafood and its overall eclectic mix of restaurants. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best spots to eat in the Mexican coastal town:

1. La Leche. Wear all white and you'll blend right in with the minimalist theme at La Leche (The Milk) located inside Zona Hotelera Norte. The restaurant is a mod-Victorian hybrid with upscale, fresh cuisine. Helmed by chef Alfonso Cadena, the seasonal menu utilizes local ingredients and seafood, and is presented on a chalkboard. Don’t miss the choco-mole dessert with caramelized popcorn ice cream.

2. Aramara at Four Seasons Punta Mita. As the exotic name suggests, this beautifully designed indoor/outdoor restaurant specializes in Asian-themed fine dining made with Mexican sensibilities. Dramatic drapes hang in arches from the ceiling, while a long indoor water sculpture runs right down the middle of the main dining room, almost bisecting the areas in two. Here, it’s not just the cuisine that’s the highlight, but the cocktail and entertainment as well. Most evenings from dusk until close, a Cuban band charms the outdoor bar crowd with a full repertoire of Mexican love songs and Latin rhythms.

3. Café des Artistes. This place rarely fails to come up when Vallarta veterans gush over their favorite restaurants. Housed in a historic residence in Old Vallarta, chef Thierry Blouet’s famed bistro has impressed foodies for almost two decades with a menu that pulls its ingredients from both land and sea. Among the not-to-be-missed items: duck confit chilaquiles and tamarind-lacquered pork belly. When the weather is good, make sure to book a table on the lush, romantic outdoor patio. On weekend evenings, a duo of guitar players may come to serenade you at your table.

4. Ecole de Cuisine Le Fort. While known for its gourmet French-inspired cuisine, this spot in Riviera Nayarit, just north of town, is actually a food school in disguise. Chef Gilles Le Fort teaches the room how to recreate what’s on your plate once you’re back home. Classes are capped at 18, and the first six to RSVP are awarded the task of deciding the menu. Pair your meal with an excellent selection of some 3,000 wines in the cellar.

5. Teatro Limon. Run by an expat couple on a side street of an unassuming north Vallarta neighborhood, Teatro Limon is a small, modest restaurant that has become a hotspot for foodies. Owner and chef Bruce Byng crafts his nightly, all-inclusive menu depending on the tastes of his guests. The result? Wood-fired pizzas, duck prosciutto, trip-tip-wrapped asparagus and sous-vide buffalo. Space is extremely limited — the restaurant doubles as Byng’s home — so reservations are a must.

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