Le Bistro Jazz Cafe Contemporary & Continental Isla Rio Cuale (at the Insurgentes bridge downtown), Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 222-0283
Puerto Vallarta Restaurant Review:
Le Bistro Jazz Café is among the most elegant restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. The tropical surroundings, combined with great food and service, make for a memorable meal.
SETTING - On the enchanting island in the middle of the Rio Cuale downtown. The island is shaded by huge trees during the day, under which you'll find a wide path lined with charming shops and stalls for browsing. Among them is Le Bistro.
BAR - You'll enter through a French Second Empire-looking bar, probably the most beautiful in town. It's part Paris, part tropics. If you arrive early, have a drink.
FOOD - The menu starts with French crepes (the Chicken & Squash Blossoms being my favorite), a wonderful Wild Duck Paté with Pistachios and Port Wine, and if you like crab cakes, try the Blue Crab Pancake drizzled with a caviar-tasting Sea Urchin foam. For entrees, there are several upscale Mexican dishes such as crab enchiladas, but the stars are the many Chef's suggestions. I can personally recommend the Crusty Beef Filet with a Dijon Mustard Sauce, the Coconut Royal Shrimp tempura style in a Saffron Orange Sauce, and the Phoenician Scallops served with Arugula and Risotto with Squid. The desserts are supposedly first class (the place is somewhat French after all) but I've never had room.
AMBIANCE - With a little luck, you may get one of the tables overlooking the river, but there are no bad seats. The dining room is softly lit and flanked in several places by living thickets of huge bamboo trunks as big as your arm. Live music from the piano area wafts softly through the dining room. It's an atmospheric restaurant in tropical jungle, right in the middle of P.V.
RESERVATIONS - Not a bad idea, especially during high season. Check out their beautiful web site. And their e-brochure shows how stunning this beautiful restaurant really is. Open 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., closed Sunday.
BOTTOM LINE - For a romantic dinner or simply a fine meal in an elegant tropical setting, you can't beat Le Bistro.