|Subject: Re: Eating in Puerto Vallarta|
I can't imagine traveling in Mexico without enjoying the local cuisine. The depth of dishes in the Mexican culinary tradition (which dates back thousands of years prior to the arrival of the Europeans) is second only to the Chinese in its variety. And believe it or not it isn't all spicy.
On this excursion I suggest taking a few meals away from your all inclusive hotel. Take your time in selecting a restaurant. Look closely through the menu. Observe the cleanliness of the dining rooms. As is the case throughout the world the cleanliness of the front side of the restaurant is a good indicator of how the kitchen is kept. The general rule of thumb for any country which has some degree of water-borne illnesses recommends staying away from uncooked vegetables (such as salads) and raw, unpeeled fruits. This also holds true for uncooked shellfish (oysters, for example). Also, decline ice in your drinks. Cold beer is the usual choice while in Mexico and Negro Modelo would be my recommendation.
Having said this I can tell you that I eat anywhere and everywhere in Mexico. And have been doing so for 30+ years. And I have gotten sick. But I've also experienced food poisoning in the U.S. My point is that a culture's cuisine is just as important a method of learning about that culture as any, and shouldn't be missed. But with a just a few safegurds you should be able to dive right in.
One restaurant I can suggest is the Cafe de Olla located south of the river in the older section of town. There are a few Travelziners who make regular stays in Puerto Vallarta. Hopefully they'll chime in with some other restaurant suggestions.
John in San Diego