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North Banderas Beat - January 16, 2021

Living in a beachfront town invites sunbathing, margarita sipping, water sports, beach strolls and sunsets.

As evening rolls around, the hunt is on for great dining, fabulous music and options to view art, jewelry and treasures for the home.

pg21aDepending on your tastes and mood, the food choices in our area are plentiful.  Recently, I focused on the best taco stands. In this missive, I’m sharing the preferred fine dining preferences of many locals.

Masala

With branches in La Cruz and Bucerias, Julia and Rita’s Masala restaurants are not only beautiful but, in my opinion, the best food option to be found in the area. “I dine in Chicago, New York and all over the world, and have never had such good food,” one diner told me. “The value blows my mind.”

And on Thursday nights in La Cruz, you can enjoy flamenco guitar with maestro Esau.

Culi’s

Described by one customer as “a more casual Masala,” Culi’s in Bucerias in fact has a strong connection with Masala – they share a long line of amazing chefs with four family-owned restaurants in the area and one in Alaska.

“Culi’s is all about great presentation and food and we always feel welcome,” said a diner.  “The ambience, food and great wine list is a trifecta,” said another. “The menu is inspired. The food is consistently well prepared, and the presentation a feast for the senses.”

pg21bMezzogiorno

Judging from the comments, Mezzogiorno’s beachfront restaurant in Bucerias is a firm favorite.

“Their ambience, good food and great wine list is a trifecta.”

“It’s always amazing, and those sunsets!”

“The most beautiful setting.”

Le Bistrot

When a chef recommends a restaurant, you know it has to be good. Chef Amanda told me: “I love Le Bistrot because it’s a delicious French restaurant that keeps it real. As a purist, I love that they stay true to the classic French dishes. Try the onion soup. It’s one of the best I’ve ever had.”

Rissa agreed: “Sandrine has created an amazing place in Le Bistrot. The food is always fabulous. The duck and tuna are my favorites. Where around here can you get escargot and foie gras? There are only a few French restaurants around and this is the best. Great wine list too.”

Mark’s

pg21cMark’s Restaurant in Bucerias was one of the first my hubby and I enjoyed back in 2005, during our first vacation in the area. Said Della: “Valentine’s Day at Mark’s is my favorite. Have done it for many years.”

Karen’s

We also visited and fell in love with Karen Blair and her Karen’s beachfront restaurant. Try her avocado stuffed with shrimp and enjoy the sunsets.

Sandrina’s

My all-time favorite courtyard around the bay is Sandrina’s in Bucerias, which serves Mediterranean and Greek food and has fabulous table settings and great service.

329

I love learning about undiscovered restaurants. My friend Barbara said 329 in Bucerias, kitty corner to Mark’s Grill, is a new fave of hers. “I especially love the chicken brochettes,” she said. “The atmosphere is beautiful and on Friday nights they have music.”

pg21dLa Tequilera

New to La Cruz is La Tequilera and I must admit I haven’t made it there yet. I’m told the views are the best – high up and overlooking the bay. Apparently there are great sunsets, fireworks and outdoor seating. I must go soon.

Reported Steve: “The view is spectacular. The food is great, not to mention the variety of tequilas. Tequila tasting is part of the experience and the friendly servers take good care of you. It’s very reasonably priced. Makes a great evening out for everyone.”

Toscana Mia

An honorable mention is Toscana Mia, recommended by one regular as having “excellent Italian food and wines.”

Aki Samarai

Some diners surveyed for this column recommended Aki Samarai in La Cruz for their sushi and Japanese beer. “Best sushi I ever tried,” said Silvia.

Litibu Grill

A magnificent meal always awaits you at Litibu Grill on Litibu beach in Punta Mita. I call it my happy place. You can go for cocktails on the beach and watch a glorious sunset, or reserve 24 hours in advance for an outdoor dining experience. We usually make our reservation an hour before our meal to laze in the beachfront sofas, enjoying each other’s company as we sip their special cocktail.

Casa Teresa

Finally, Christina said the fanciest high-end restaurant she has ever been to is in Punta Mita. “It’s Casa Teresa and the service is top notch,” she said. “The food is amazing and the atmosphere has me feeling like I stepped into Italy. It’s been a family run business for 20 years. Truly, it’s really a hidden gem.”

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