For breakfast, La Casa de Los Hot Cakes (Basilio Badillo 289, btwn. I. Vallarta and Constitución, tel. 322/222-6272, 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Tues.–Sun., $4–6), skillfully orchestrated by personable travel writer turned restaurateur Memo Barroso, has become a Puerto Vallarta institution. Memo’s only meal is breakfast. Besides bountiful Mexican and North American breakfasts—orange juice or fruit, eggs, toast, and hash browns for about $5—Memo offers an indulgent list of pancakes. Try his nut-topped, peanut butter–filled O. Henry chocolate pancakes, for example. For lighter eaters, vegetarian and less indulgent options are available. Memo’s latest love is coffee. If you’re lucky enough to be near La Casa de Los Hot Cakes at the right time, simply follow your nose to the source of the heavenly aroma of his roasting beans—premium estate-grown only, from Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Veracruz.
Another good spot for breakfast is the airy beachfront terrace of the Hotel Playa Los Arcos restaurant (380 Olas Altas, 7–11:30 a.m. daily, $4–7). Here the ambience—tour boats arriving and leaving, the passing sidewalk scene, the swishing waves, the swaying palms—is half the fun. The other half is the food, either a hearty $7 buffet, or a briskly served à la carte choice of your heart’s desire, from fruit and oatmeal to eggs, bacon, and hash browns.
Shorter on scenery but longer on food and service is Café Tizoc (on Olas Altas, btwn. Rodríguez and Gómez, tel. 322/223-2554, 8 a.m.–11 p.m. daily, $3–5). Here the main event is great hash browns and “slam” breakfasts, introduced by the friendly semiretired headwaiter, who worked for a dozen years at Denny’s in Las Vegas, Nevada. Food and service are so good that you’ll most likely return to try lunch and supper.
The tourist favorite No Name Café (on the Malecón btwn. Galeana and Mina, tel. 322/223-2508, 9 a.m.–midnight daily), two blocks north of the main plaza, is a fine place to start out your north-of-Cuale morning. Choose from many breakfasts ($3–5), including hotcakes, eggs, potatoes, toast, and fruit. Come back for a dinner ($4–12) of soup, salad, ribs, chicken, or fish.
Folks who prefer a more refined traditional Mexican setting go to the longtime Restaurant Las Palomas (at the Malecón corner of Aldama, tel. 322/222-3675, from 8 a.m. daily) three blocks farther north, with plenty of good breakfasts ($4–7).