Two year-old Marplata is sleepy San Pancho's best restaurant. Named after the riverfront Argentine city, Marplata’s Pan-Euro/Latino menu is courtesy of Belgian chef Amandine Darmstaedter, a longtime Mexico vet. There are both indoor and alfresco dining rooms, a sizable wine menu (strong on New World vintages) and house specials like red-snapper tartare.
Surfer dude Mark Holt and his wife opened the tiny taco joint Sayulita Fish Taco (just off Sayulita’s main plaza) in 2001. Holt serves “Baja”-style tacos: soft tortillas, shredded cabbage, flame-grilled or beer-battered mahimahi, and even mango salsa. There are also hearty burritos and fajitas and a kids' menu of Chihuahuas in a blanket, mini-spaghetti, and quesadillas.
La Laguna was one of the first regional restaurants to open up in Nuevo Vallarta, the resort community just across the Nayarit border from Puerto Vallarta. Set on a lagoon, the restaurant offers waterfront views and a menu filled with most underwater life.
Skip dinner and go straight for dessert, like a chocolate and raspberry heart; martini and three-chocolate mousse; or Moka tarte, at the Café des Artistes del Mar, which opened in 2007 on a waterfront dock on the Punta de Mita peninsula.