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El Repollo Rojo: It's the food not the location
If you are looking for the usual tourist enchiladas or carnitas, this is not the place to go. If you are looking for the cliff side view of the sunset, this is not the place to go. If, on the other hand, you want the best food experience in all Puerto Vallarta, this is the place to go. Set in a small hole in the wall, in a local neighborhood, you know you are there when you turn the corner, and the bright red store front greets you.
We were there after the high season so it was not at all busy. We had very attentive service, especially after we returned for a second dinner several days later. Kuco, the manager greeted us like family. The interior although small is loaded with eclectic art and celebrity pictures. Also clean and well decorated banos.
The food was incredible, prepared with only the freshest ingredients, so full of flavor and history. Buy the cookbook if you are interested in more of the history and to appreciate the complexity of their signature dishes: Chiles en Nogada, Chiles en Picadillo, & the Mole with Chicken Breast.
Favorite Dish: Our two favorite dishes were the Chiles en Nogada and the Chiles en Picadillo. At first we were hesitant about the Nogada dish being served cold. DON"T BE!! It was WONDERFUL!! When we returned for the second time we wanted to try other menu items but both of us could not do without the Nogada, so we ordered it as our appetizer. The staff split it, so we each had one of the meat and vegetable stuffed chiles with cream sauce and pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top.
The other dish to die for is the Chiles en Picadillo. Savory and so full of flavor. Two plabano chile rellenos stuffed with finely ground beef and pork, vegetable, pine nuts and a list of other ingredients as long as your arm and topped off with sliced carrots and broth from the cooking process. Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.
I read another review where someone criticized the restaurant for using "minute rice" and not real rice. If this person had any culinary experience, they would know that what the chef had used was converted rice which is real rice, it's just been par boiled ahead of time. It has the effect of reducing some of the starch which makes rice sticky. The rice that was served was wonderfully flavored having been cooked in Chicken Stock.
If you are a little adventurous, and want get away from the standard combo plate, this is the place you must try!!! Don't be afraid to give up control to your server, they know what is great.
Oh, did I forget to say, the cost are from $12 to $18 per entree, much better than the River Cafe or it's counterparts on the cliffside. It is cash only though.
El Repollo Rojo: El Repollo Rojo
this is a toughy. the red cabbage has many fine points but has gotten a bit big for its britches. the menu and some of the food is awesome. the service is poor. the atmosphere, if anywhere but in cozy rear room, is aweful. stagnant hot air and lights brighter than the sun. bottom line...i am not sure. may go back but not for a while.
Favorite Dish: guac and salsa great. squash blossom quesadillas are awesome. black mole is awesome. queso rebecca is v. good. carne en su jugo is best around. chiles rellenos had weak, unsalted, unseasoned picadillo filling. they serve minute rice in lieu of real rice...very irritating! bottom line...i just don't know.
RED CABBAGE CAFE
The Red Cabbage Cafe If you have ever read the book "Like Water for Chocolate" then you will recognize the menu. A small, eclectic place with a wonderful owner, Lola who oversees everything and cooks too! Recipes date back to the 1700s so this is truely, the most traditional Mexican food you can find. My favorite, the Chiles en Nogada and the Spinach Salad. Beware! The margaritas have to be THE most potent in all of Puerto Vallarta! Reservations mandatory in high season. A bit difficult to find...located on the river down the street from Los Arbolitos (any taxi driver knows where Los Arbolitos is) Phone 22 30411. If you are coming in high season, be sure and check out the cooking classes! THE RED CABBAGE OFTEN CLOSES FOR THE SUMMER SO BE SURE AND CALL TO SEE IF THEY ARE OPEN.
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