Riviera Nayarit, located less than an hour from Puerto Vallarta, is poised to be a culinary destination this summer with several gastronomic events on the calendar this August and a number of culinary hotspots ranging from a AAA Five Diamond award-winning restaurant to beachfront taco shacks found throughout the area.
Riviera Nayarit’s 6th Annual Punta Mita Beach Festival will be held on August 4-5. The event celebrates sports, gastronomy, mixology, music and more. Festival attendees can enjoy beach activities like surfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, stand up paddle, yoga, windsurf, kayaks, outrigger canoes and kite-surfing, then a variety of cuisine prepared by guest chefs. In the past, special guests of the festival have included professional athletes, DJs, famous Mexican chefs, and mixologists.
Then, just a few days later, The Masters of the Kitchen Culinary Fest takes place August 8 – 11. Overseen by Food Network celebrity chef and Sysco Foods Culinary Sales Consultant Penny Davidi, the 2018 edition of the festival is a celebration of the region’s diverse cuisine, providing visitors the opportunity to sample items at several restaurants strung along the coast and discover some of the world’s best chefs and mixologists.
In addition to events this summer, travelers to Riviera Nayarit can find a variety of culinary destinations in all parts of Riviera Nayarit, including Sayulita, Punta de Mita, and Nuevo Vallarta & Flamingos.
In Sayulita, known for its beaches and surfer town atmosphere, has several informal dining options including eateries like beachfront shacks serving fresh seafood. One of Sayulita’s top choices for dining is El Itacate, a taqueria known for its authentic Mexican options, cooked in front of guests. El Itacate’s menu board also has choices for vegans. Seafood lovers can head to Tierra Viva for fresh fish caught locally, seafood soup, homemade moles and grilled meats. Vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options are available here as well.
Punta de Mita, considered one of the most sophisticated and exclusive areas of Riviera Nayarit, is home to some of Mexico’s top restaurants. Among them is Spice Market at the W Punta de Mita, serving cuisine overseen by Mexican chef Ismael González that takes inspiration from the Southeast Asian street food that French master chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten discovered in his travels. Fusion options that combine Mexican and Asian flavors include chicken samosas with cilantro-infused yogurt, halibut cha ca la Vong, and a vinegar-infused pork Vindaloo.
Punta de Mita is also home to Riviera Nayarit’s only AAA Five Diamond Award dining experience, the Carolina Restaurant at St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, offering modern Mexican cuisine overseen by award-winning chef Jesús Durón.
For family-friendly dining and beach experiences, Nuevo Vallarta & Flamingos on the Bahia de Banderas coast is an ideal option. The resort town is home to popular beaches, hotels and golf courses. Visitors to Nuevo Vallarta & Flamingos will find casual Mexican dining for the whole family or groups of friends at El Barracuda. The eatery is located next to a marina directly in front of the Villa Varadero and Sea Garden. With a menu that leans heavily on fresh sea fare, the bistro offers tacos, inspired ceviches, aguachiles, tostadas and more, all paired with specialty cocktails, draft beers and fine wines.
Additionally, The Nick-San Restaurant at Marival Residences & World Spa, combines the talents of Angel Carbajal and Masayuki Niikura, serving Mexican-Japanese fusion dishes.