Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - Offering fabulous Asiatic/Latin cuisine in a casually elegant beachfront setting, El Dorado Restaurant, Bar and Beach Club is another not-to-be-missed place to dine during Vallarta Restaurant Week.
In 1961, before bridges spanned the Río Cuale, the late Guillermo Wulff and his wife Nelly Barquet opened the quaint El Dorado as the first restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. One can envision the gringos, many from Southern California, wading across for the opportunity of enjoying good, safe food and drink and hearty laughter among friends. It is difficult now to imagine that once there were very few places to dine, so their journey would be an effort.
This legendary Playa Los Muertos beachfront restaurant has survived and evolved, now an elegant eatery renowned for its Asiatic/Latin cuisine by Executive Chef Alvaro Figuero.
Chandeliers with hundreds of gold metal fish blend beautifully into the brown woven palapa roof. Part of the large dining room has a long tan banquette with throw pillows in turquoise and creamy green, the signature colors of this breezy open-air restaurant.
There is attentive service on the mostly covered beach area great for watching strollers, hawkers, parasailers and sunbathers. A fire pit is stocked with dry wood and set afire after dusk.
From the Restaurant Week 2011 Menu, I chose this starter course, though it would have been sufficient as a main plate:
Fresh Salmon: Char-grilled fillet topped with a spicy dense chimichurri. Alongside is a marvelous mixture of green lettuces and arugula tossed in a lime (limón) vinaigrette. A generous amount of thin, crisp green beans was included, then the salad was finished with a dollop of alfalfa sprouts. The salmon and sauce predominated and were enjoyable with the contrasting citrus perks.
From an extensive list of entrées, I chose:
Sarandeado-style Red Snapper Fillet: Thick portion of fish served over saffron rice, creamy and moist. Fresh asparagus, pencil-thin and cooked al dente to perfection, lay under the fish. Tomato mojo sauce, an uncooked mixture of diced fresh tomatoes, garlic, chile and olive oil, was finely puréed and served around the perimeter of the plate. Paper-thin strips of tomato peel were fried and laid over the dish. Though artistic and unusual, the pieces were edible and crisp.
This night's selected dessert was a Trio of Crème Brûlées:
Ginger: Most subtle of the three, with a light flavoring permeating throughout.
Chocolate Chile: Rich, smooth, deep chocolate burst on the palate with a hint of chile. Many local chefs and shops are employing the joint usage of these two ingredients for a delightful match.
Kahlua: Forward flavor of the liqueur. If someone likes to drink kahlua and cream, this is their dessert. Marvelous.
All three delightful ramekins of custard were beautifully prepared, with the appropriate thin crackled golden top crust.
El Dorado's regluar menu offers other culinary choices ranging from Tequila Shrimp Shooters, Pineapple Mahi Mahi Ceviche, Tortilla Soup, Crab Cakes, Fish Tacos, Fish Chicharrónes with Salsa Mulato, Goat Cheese House Salad and Duck Carnitas to Sashimi and Tartare Tuna Wasabi.
This newly-remodeled fine dining restaurant has stood the test of time and grown. There are three areas for drinks and dining: a large 2nd floor terrace, open to the sun; tables and chairs set on the beach and a large interior dining room with bar and open kitchen.
Take your pick, settle back in comfort and elegance, then astound your taste buds, returning again and again like so many before you.
Open daily from 9 am–2 am for breakfast, lunch and dinner, El Dorado is THE place to spend days in the sun and nights under the stars on Vallarta's world-famous Los Muertos Beach. For more information or to make your reservations, call (322) 222-4124 or visit ElDoradoPV.com.
The author was supplied one choice in each of the 3 courses on the special Restaurant Week menu and this review is in no way connected to his independent restaurant guide, "Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Guide Beck's Best", where write-ups receive no compensation.
Restaurant Week continues through May 31st at some of the most recognized restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. For a list of participating restaurants and Restaurant Week 2011 reviews click HERE.