It is a bit unfair to call Cafe des Artistes a Mexican restaurant but it would be grossly unfair to call it anything else. When you take a group of 19 to a restaurant, it is normal to expect a bit of chaos but that did not happen here.
I do not tend to think of resort beach towns as places to go for haute cuisine but I may have to change my mind. I ate in four different restaurants in Puerto Vallarta and they just kept getting better.
The Cafe des Artistes excelled in menu, service, presentation, and ambiance. Had we been in a lot of American restaurants, I might have been embarrassed by the amount of food swapping we did but here it just seemed as if we were temporarily converting this very elegant restaurant (or at least the room where we ate) into a tapas bar, and everything was delicious.
If they wanted to do so, they could probably shut down the food service and run a profitable art gallery. I am not an art expert, and definitely not particularly knowledgeable of Mexican art but they had sculpture which seemed to be ancient Aztec and most impressive to me was a larger than life mural in the room across from ours which could have been by Diego Rivera or Freda Kalo. Masterfully showcasing the artwork were tropical plants, chandeliers, and other hanging glass decorations which all worked together masterfully.
Favorite Dish: I do not recall a favorite dish, perhaps because every dish which I sampled seemed to be better than the one before.
Once you are inside you forget you are in a Restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. The ambiance makes you feel you are in New York, art , music , good food, this is a truly complete experience. I will definitely go back next time I am in PV.
Favorite Dish: Sea Bass definitely
It used to be the best restaurant in town overall, but now it has reduced its quality significantly... It is still good, but the price is too high. They started to make discounts to locals to make it more attractive. The patio is really nice but they need to update it!
Favorite Dish: there is no a special dish I would choose here, because they are all quite good and consistent
Reputed by many as Vallarta's top spot with Star Diamond winner owner/chef Thierry Blouet presenting Mexican and French cuisine since 1990. World renowned, Condé Nast Traveler Magazine 2005 Hot Tables and named by the Nestle Food Group as one of the 80 best restaurants in the world, is formal, very expensive with attentive but unobtrusive service. Many exquisite choices as sea bass herb butter 245p, grilled tuna with tomatillo, glazed tamarind roast duck, filet mignon Camembert, baked osso buco with spinach gnocchi, cream of prawn and pumpkin soup, tuna sashimi salad, escargot with garic mushrooms, eggplant vegetable symphony, fine desserts as apple and pear pecan strudel with caramel ice cream, tropical baba au rhum and chocolate crème brulée. Three course bistro menu 375p or with wine 440p. Dine inside [A/C], in a 50+-year-old garden or outside on hillside [open Nov.-June]. Cocina de Autor dining room built in levels, backed by a flowing waterfall with a ficus tree centerpiece, [closed Sunday and September, manager Polo] with signature 3-5 course menus 590-750p. Number one for many worldwide travelers. City ‘landmark’ with world famous reputation. Splendid list of 400 wines by the glass 65-95p and bottle 200-4500p. Live music many times 8-11pm, as piano or blues in relaxed but elegant Costantini Bar Lounge at entrance. Reservations advised/required. Valet parking. Virtual Vallarta 2007 "Best Gourmet and Wine List." Ask about the chef's open kitchen view cooking classes.
PV Beck's Best
Try my fave spot in PV. Love the place but be prepared for a big bill though his bistro menu is about 350 pesos.
San Francisco, CA./Puerto Vallarta, JAL. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Puerto_Vallarta_OldTown_SouthSide
My Vallarta Restaurant Guide:
Favorite Dish: Anything with chocolate!
"Café des Artistes, “café of artists,” is intended as a double entendre, referring to Chef Blouet’s ability to masterfully blend provincial Mexican flavors with classical French cuisine to create special dishes that are visual as well as epicurean works of art. But the name also indicates the commitment to showcase not only culinary masterpieces of the professional team but to create an environment in which patrons are inspired by the relationship between architecture and landscape." I couldn't have said it better. Dining here is experiencing a work of art, not only in the presentation of the cuisine, but in the service, the atmosphere, the architecture. This restaurant seemed to be nearly close to perfection.
That being said, the atmosphere des not overwhem the ability to have a very good time while enjoying the incredible cuisine! About 15 of us dined here, talked, sipped martinis and generally had a terrific three hour meal.
Favorite Dish: Herer's what I had:
Beef carpaccio with spices on dijon mustard dressing;
Small arugula salad
Grilled tenderloin petals with Camembert cheese and chilpotle chili sauce;crusty paper potato
Chocolate cake “Napoleon” with praline, caramelized hazelnuts and lemon cream; citrus reduction
We approached the restaurant from a little down the hill and were greeted by a turreted building with a kind of European/Moorish feel to it. Inside it has wonderful decor and art with a beautiful garden area. The food is expensive for Mexico, but it is so worth it. If you want to go for a special meal in PV, this is the place to do it. It'll hurt your credit card, but once you have tasted a selection of their food, you'll forgive yourself and realise how foolhardy you were to question if it was worth it! A simply wonderful dining experience.
Favorite Dish: Having only eaten here on one occasion, I feel it'd be unfair to sway you in any one direction - for the record, I had Grilled scallops served with sea foam & endives salad confited fennel, Roasted duck glazed with honey, soy and lemon served with canelone gratin and pumpkin and Bitter chocolate fondant "Montezuma", with a golden leaf & nutmeg ice cream. It was fantastic!
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