Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The unique culinary fusion of two European chefs, Bernhard Güth and Ulf Henriksson, makes Trio the only restaurant in town with two well-recognized chef-owners behind the stove. Since its opening in August of 1997, Trio has been one of Puerto Vallarta's favorite dining spots, with a devoted clientele who rave of the Mediterranean haute cuisine.
In 2010, the restaurant proudly received the 5 Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences - as it has every year since 2002. Trio was also voted the "Best Overall" (Puerto Vallarta Restaurant) in Virtual Vallarta's 2009 and 2010 Readers' Choice Awards and was the 2010 winner for "Best Service" as well.
Trio's first floor is air conditioned, with beautiful artwork on al fresco walls. The atmosphere has a Euro modern feel, with stylish trim, huge stone columns and a dozen ceiling fans. A multi-colored curving staircase leads to the rooftop garden, a very pleasant and impressive spot that's perfect for private parties or romantic dinners (in high season.)
Some of our party had never been to Trio, so when we visited during Restaurant Week 2011, they were in for a pleasant surprise. Although they had dined out often in restaurants throughout the greater Puerto Vallarta area, this one had not been visited - until now...
Trio's special Restaurant Week menu is a great representation of the dishes offered nightly.
Starters offered were:
Marinated Seafood Salad: A fine mixture of octopus, calamari, shrimp and mussel over vegetable hummus, with a bite provided by habańero pepper and then served over a thin pesto sauce of fresh basil and minced garlic. The combination worked so well; the seafood tender from marinating.
Grilled Vegetable Antipasti: Splendid array of mushrooms, grilled eggplant and red tomato enlivened by ajillo and accented in the display center with a portion of goat cheese. In addition to being attractive from the presentation's design, the vegetables were tender and flavorful, tugging the diner to the Mediterranean region.
Organic Garden Greens: Six brandy-glazed sautéed chicken livers were arranged around a large mixture of fine local greens tossed in a subtle mustard sauce, then topped with julienned carrots and zucchini. A slightly larger version would be sufficient and satisfying as a main course. This is one terrific salad.
Entrées enticed the guests with each dish sounding better than the one before:Oven-roasted Garlic Sea Bass Fillet: Fork-tender moist fish was topped by minced black olives, laid atop grilled eggplant, tomato and zucchini. A union of flavors proved special and impressive.
Oven-roasted Veal: Slow-roasted meat was very moist, rich and tender, served with many small light basil gnocchi, carrots, tomato and drizzled in Marsala sauce with a base of thin intense pesto and veal jus.
Parmesan-Sweet Pea Risotto: Saffron shrimp and asparagus were served over smooth flavorful risotto and al dente sweet peas [out of their pods]. A masterful Italian creation.
Completing a leisurely and very special meal was this array of desserts:
Apple Strudel: Served warm with vanilla ice cream, the pastry crust was flaky and buttery, the filling very thick, consisting of minced apple, raisins and walnuts. Europeans certainly know how to make the finest desserts and the owners/chefs have passed on their knowledge and experience to their fine staff. It is hard to picture a better strudel: light, slightly sweet massive filling enclosed in a nearly perfect pastry.
Lime-Coconut Sorbet: Very tart with limón, softened by coconut, served quite cold, then vitalized by the mango and strawberry. Refreshing and palate-cleansing.
White and Dark Chocolate Duo: One half of this duo of white and dark chocolate was an intense fudge-cake, rich with the finest chocolate. The other portion was a smooth scoop of white chocolate "mousse", almost a Chantilly cream, all over fresh blackberries, strawberries and blueberries floating in a berry syrup reduction.
It was so beautiful to listen to and watch the "Newbies" as they expounded about course after course, then related glowing reports to Bernhard when he stopped by the table. The food quality, presentation and service is as fine as you will receive in the area, bar none.
After our visit, several guests moved Trio into the Top Five on their list of "Must Visit Puerto Vallarta Restaurants," and wondered if their dining schedule would allow for a second visit during this festival, (though one diner noted Trio's impressive regular menu offers quite a number of temptations to be tasted as well.)
Trio often features live music to enhance your dining experience. On the night of our visit an Andean-style group was playing, one member blowing beautifully on an Andean pan flute, pan pipe or Zampońa. The restaurant also offers catering for private events and is the host of The Duck Festival in late November each year.
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.