Versalles, Puerto Vallarta Food Tour: Discover The Cuisine Of Puerto Vallarta’s Hottest Neighborhood

Versalles, Puerto Vallarta is the hottest foodie destination in the city. Discover the best restaurants and food experiences in Versalles right here.

Versalles Puerto Vallarta Food Tour

Viva Versalles!

The city of Puerto Vallarta Definitely deserves its reputation as the second gastronomic capital of Mexico, just barely missing out on the top spot, Mexico City. Throughout the city, it’s common to overhear poolside about the city’s favorite restaurants in the Romantic Zone or along the Malecon (beachside boardwalk).

But the newest foodie neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta is Versalles.

I have not misspelled Versalles, that’s the Spanish translation for Versailles, the famous village in France. In fact, all of the streets in this Puerto Vallarta barrio are named after cities in Europe. Versalles, Puerto Vallarta city’s newest hotspot, is located on the east side of the main Highway 200, just south of the city’s hotel zone.

About The Versalles Neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta

A woman sits with two men at a taqueria in the Versalles neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta
Anita Draycott at Barrio Bistro in Versalles, Puerto Vallarta

The Versalles neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta is not a beachfront neighborhood, and there aren’t many hotels here either. Mainly it’s a residential area for middle-class Mexicans. If you’re looking for things to do in Versalles, its main attraction is its gastronomy scene. Situated between the Marina and downtown, Versalles isn’t known so much for all-inclusive resorts and beach access but instead for its fantastic dining options and liveable atmosphere.

Versalles, Puerto Vallarta may not be on the typical tourist radar. Unless you made a trip to Costco, you’ve
probably never heard of the neighborhood, nor, likely, even contemplated exploring the restaurants in Versalles. To be honest, prior to my Puerto Vallarta taco crawl, I hadn’t either.

But the Versalles neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta has become the trendiest hotspot for restaurants of all kinds…from Mexican to Greek to Asian.

As with many cities, lots of up-and-coming young chefs, who can’t afford the rent in the more popular tourist areas, are opting to open their own establishments where the rents are more affordable.

It’s a win/win situation. Entrepreneurial chefs get to do their own thing and patrons get to enjoy stellar food at reasonable rates.

Where To Eat In Versalles, Puerto Vallarta

Always on top of the food scene, Vallarta Food Tours recently added Versalles to their roster of foodie experiences in the city. My husband and I, who have been spending our winters in the Puerto Vallarta area for more than a decade, decided to expand our culinary horizons and joined our guide, Al, for
the Discover Versalles de Noche Dinner Tour included eight stops.

Abulon Antojeria del Mar

Seafood taco on a soft shell surrounded by a drizzle of guacamole
Seafood tacos at Abulon Antojeria del Mar – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

We met at 6 p.m. at Abulón Antojeria del Mar, where fresh seafood stars in a casual patio setting. The atun tostada was a tower of tuna and cucumber cubes spiked with chili mayonnaise and topped with pickled red onion, a wedge of perfectly ripe avocado, and crispy strips of chicharron (fried pork rind)—a winning combo of creamy and crunchy.

Sonorita Olas Altas

A man slicing pineapples in front of a rotisserie at Sonorita Olas Altas taqueria in Versalles, Puerto Vallarta
Sonorita Olas Altas – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

Just up the street from Abulon Antojeria del Mar, Al introduced us to Sonorita Ola Altas. The specialty at Sonorita, as it’s commonly known, is tacos al pastor. Al informed us that tacos al pastor was introduced to Mexico by the Lebanese in the 1940s.

Originally, tacos al pastor were made with lamb, but the Mexican version uses pork that has been marinated in orange juice and adobo chili paste, thinly sliced, and stacked on a vertical rotating spit. It’s then grilled from the outside inwards over charcoal. Juice squeeze from a peeled pineapple and onion on top of the spit adds flavor.

The owners of Sonorita operate a cattle and pig farm in the state of Sonora which is famous for its high-quality meat.

Barrio Bistro

Chef Memo Wulff stands behind a concrete counter topped with traditional Mexican ingredients at Barrio Bistro in Puerto Vallarta
Chef Memo Wulff at Barrio Bistro – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

Memo Wulff was one of the Versalles pioneer chefs when he opened Barrio Bistro about seven years ago. At his restaurant, Barrio Bistro, we learned that chef Memo Wulff’s father was one of the first architects working in Versalles, Puerto Vallarta. He was also well-connected in the movie industry.

Through his Hollywood connections, he invited director John Huston to visit the Vallarta area back in the 1960s when Huston was looking for a location for his movie, Night of the Iguana. The movie starred famous actor Richard Burton and the voluptuous Ava Gardner. The entire city of Puerto Vallarta exploded into a tizzy when the Queen of the Silver Screen, Elizabeth Taylor, arrived to keep an eye on her lover, Burton.

The publicity buzz about Burton and Liz’s torrid affair, paired with the success of the movie, helped to put Puerto Vallarta on the tourist map.

At Barrio Bistro we were served tortilla soup dressed up with huitlacoche (a mushroom fungus that grows on some strains of corn that is considered to be a delicacy; think Mexican truffle). Paired with the soup was a shot of raicilla, an agave cactus-based alcohol a bit more herbal and aromatic than tequila. The raicilla was served with a slice of orange and sea salt that brought back memories of downing shots of tequila with salt and lime in my college years.

Bar 322

A barista holds a bottle of tequila at Bar 322 in Versalles, Puerto Vallarta
Bartender at Bar 322 – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

Al then steered us to Barra 322, a corner hole in the wall where we sampled a Dasyilirion cocktail made of a collection of unlikely ingredients. This drink is made of mandarin and lime juices, Guinness syrup and sotol, another cactus-based alcohol from Mexico’s Chihuahua state. The plant’s botanical name is Dasyilirion.

Bar 322 offers a plethora of imaginative drinks shaken and stirred by a very hip bartender set to a backdrop of cool jazz.

El Chinelo Grill

A stone dish filled with a pre-Hispanic stew from El Chinelo Grill in the Puerto Vallarta neighborhood of Versalles
Pre-Hispanic stew at El Chinelo Grill – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

The next stop on our tour of the best restaurants in Versalles, Puerto Vallarta took us to El Chinelo Grill. In this family-run eatery, mom, dad, and son preside over just two sidewalk tables.

The specialty at El Chinelo is a pre-Hispanic stew made of pork, sun-dried beef, nopal cactus, avocado, cheese, and onions. The magnificent stew was served in a molcajete (volcanic stone pot) with blue and white corn tortillas.

Al introduced us to owners Luis and Paty and their chef/son Juval who explained some of the culinary and cultural traditions of their home in the Mexican state of Morelos. The restaurant is named after Chinelos,
costumed dancers who perform during Carnival and other festive times in their home state.

Cervaceria Los Cuentos

A hand holding three glasses of beer at Cervezaria Los Cuento taproom in Puerto Vallarta
Cervezaria Los Cuento taproom – Photo credit: Los Cuentos Taproom

Time for a beer. We headed to Cervaceria Los Cuentos, which means “the stories” in Spanish. This microbrewery was launched by a Swiss woman, Alis Weber, who came to Mexico as an anthropologist and decided to stay and become a craft beer maker.

We sampled the three house-made brews—a lager, a tropical IPA, and a rich chocolate
stout. Each beer is named after animals based on Aztec tales such as Atotolin, the leader of all water birds. The labels on the bottles each have a QR code that, when scanned, brings the story of each creature to life.

Churro on the Corner

Chef Jose Luis stands behind Churro Stand 2 in Puerto Vallarta
Jose Luis at Churro Stand 2 – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

By nearly 9 p.m. we ended our Versalles neighborhood food tour on a sweet note. Our last stop was at the corner of Hamburgo and Berlin streets where Jose Luis has been churning our churros (Mexican doughnuts) for about ten years.

How can anything so simple as a strip of dough made of flour and water transmogrify into something so delicious? Luis’s churros emerge from their deep-fried oil bath crisp and surprisingly not greasy. He sprinkles them with cinnamon and sugar, puts them in a paper bag begins a fresh batch for the next customer in line.

More Great Places To Eat in Versalles, Puerto Vallarta

The best restaurants in the Versalles neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta aren’t limited to the incredible selection on a food tour, if you’ve got some time in the city, consider visiting some of these restaurants as well:

  • Bonito Kitchen & Bar for creative cocktails and Asian tapas
  • Cha for barista lattes and avocado on toast at brunch.
  • Puerco de Oro for pork belly tacos
  • Capitan Cajun for a taste of New Orleans

Where To Stay In Versalles Neighborhood

The Versalles real estate market is on fire, and it’s becoming one of the hottest neighborhoods for newcomers to the city. But tucked into the new builds exploding throughout Versalles are some excellent hotels for those who want to avoid the crowds of the Hotel district in favor of something a little more authentic.

The best hotel in Versalles, Puerto Vallarta is Depa Versalles. This beautiful property is just 600 meters from Camarones Beach and 1.2 km from Villa del Mar Beach. With mountain views and easy access to the best things to do in Versalles, Depa Versalles keeps you close to the action while still remaining a quiet area of town.

With a range of studios that include a small kitchenette, Vallartasol Hotel is a great place to stay in Versalles. This hotel has a nice pool and attractive 3-star rooms away from the beach crowds.

El Sunset Hostel is perfect for budget travelers, especially for those looking for a social atmosphere. This hostel is among the most affordable places to stay in Versalles.

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