Thursday, November 16, 2006

RIVER CAFE - Puerto Vallarta

While in Puerto Vallarta, I dined at one of the city’s best restaurants – The River Café. This incredible restaurant is ideal for special occasions or when you want to stimulate your taste buds. This evening my dinner companion was my friend, Leo. We choose this picturesque location to celebrate his birthday.

The River Café is located below the bridge along the shores of the Rio Cuale – a mere 500 yards from Bay of Banderas. The bay is between Vallarta and the Pacific Ocean. The river is from the waters off the Sierra Madre Mountains and enters the Bay of Banderas. We were fortunate to dine at 1 of 3 tables in the gazebo (connected to the main dining area by a suspended walk). This amazing table is at the river’s edge.

The restaurant was participating in the 12th Annual Festival Gourmet International. During this festival culinary “magicians” come from around the world, creating special menus at 20+ restaurants in Vallarta. We choose our dinner from the special festival menu, making certain to select courses we had not eaten.

For starters, we chose the Oxtail Ravioli resting in a semi-sweet balsamic vinegar sauce with caramelized leeks and a sprinkling of pepper flakes. The light pasta pillows of oxtail melted in our mouths. Indescribable! We also had the quick Fried Camembert cheese with grilled green apples. The warm cheese and apples were the perfect duet. Both starters made us wonder how it could get any better.

Our main entrees were the Rabbit 2 Ways and Golden Fin Tuna. One piece of rabbit was slowly braised and served with a delicate sauce of wild mushrooms; the second piece was slowly roasted with thin slivers of root vegetables. The rabbit was served with roasted baby carrots, zucchini and leeks all resting on a fluffy bed of mashed potatoes. These airy potatoes had a subtle hint of wasabi. The tuna fillet was perfectly grilled and seasoned with citrus zest. The tuna was accompanied with crisp green beans and the airy mashed potatoes.

For dessert, we had the Grilled Pineapple with homemade coconut ice cream and macadamia nuts. The succulent pieces of warm, fresh pineapple and ice cream created an amazing tropical flavor explosion.

If you happen to choose the River Café for either breakfast or lunch, you may find 2 iguanas in the trees surrounding the restaurant. These iguanas have been “local residents” for years.

The gently flowing river adds to the amazing ambiance and service you will find in this tropical paradise. It is a perfect way to spend a wonderfully relaxing evening enjoying some of the finest cuisine you will find in my favorite Mexican city – Puerto Vallarta!

Mmm, Mmm, Mmm...


$ 10
$$ 20
$$$ 30
$$$$ 40+

+ Stop bothering me!
++ Anyone here?
+++ Stopped when in the area.
++++ As needed and friendly.
+++++ Invisibly perfect!

✦ “One visit too many”
✦✦ “Convince me!”
✦✦✦ “I’ll be back”
✦✦✦✦ “Same table next week!”

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