Subject: Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Recommendations
We've been to Puerto Vallarta many times - one of our very favourite places. For anyone travelling there independently and not on a package tour, I would highly recommend Los Cuatro Vientos Hotel on Matamoros up behind the cathedral. It has a drop dead view of all of Vallarta and is in a Mexican neighbourhood. Prices are very reasonable - last time we were there 2 years ago, a room was $50 U.S. including breakfast (every day except Monday). It's owned by an American lady, Gloria Whiting and gets many returnees.

As far as restaurants, here are my recommendations:

PUERTO VALLARTA RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS

ArchieÝs Wok ˝ Francisca Rodriguez 130 between Avenue Olas Altas and the beach. Originally started by John HustonÝs personal chef, Archie Alpenia and now run by Cindy, his wife and her daughter. Thai coconut fish, barbecue ribs Hoisin, spicy fried Thai noodles. Open Monday-Saturday 2-11PM. Moderate to expensive. Excellent!

Caf╚ de Olla** - try the seafood platter for two (about $25 U.S.) ˝ excellent!! Had it last year. Basilio Badillo 168 a few doors uphill from the Olas Altas corner. Chicken, ribs and steak from the streetfront grill. Always a crowd but doesnÝt take that long to get in and they will bring you a beer while youÝre waiting. Open daily 8am-11pm. Budget to moderate ˝ highly recommended.

The Red Cabbage ˝ owned and operated by Lola Bravo, former manager of Los Cuatro Vientos Hotel ˝ regional, authentic Mexican cuisine. ItÝs a bit out of the way but an excellent little spot.

Restaurant Chez Elena** - located at Los Cuatro Vientos Hotel, Matamoros 520 up on the hill behind the cathedral. Go up for a drink just before sunset to El Nido, which is the rooftop bar. On the way up, ask Gloria to hold a table for you for dinner. The restaurant is among the oldest in Puerto Vallarta and itÝs a lovely spot ˝ very warm and inviting with lots of neighbourhood atmosphere.

PietroÝs ˝ right beside the cathedral ˝ has great pizza and pasta and really good sangria. Very inexpensive but very good.

Caf╚ des Artistes ˝ very romantic and expensive. Candlelit tables, tuxedoed servers, classical music, gourmet international cuisine ˝ 740 Guadalupe Sanchez.

Also recommended ˝ take a whale watching tour if you can, although they will probably be gone by March. We went on a privately arranged one last time and really got close to the whales and were followed by dolphins. They also have a wonderful home tour that you can take ˝ I think itÝs $20 U.S. and the money they make goes to provide cleft palate operations for poor children. Last but not least, take one of the little boats from the main pier at Los Muertos Beach over to Yelapa for the day ˝ itÝs a kind of hippie place where a lot of draft dodgers went years ago and really laid back. You can get a fresh fish lunch on the beach for about $5 US.

Pat