La Palapa does not only sell food; they sell a cultural and culinary experience.
This December, the original restaurant La Palapa celebrates its 60th anniversary. Opening its doors in 1957 under the administration of Rodelinda Perez, she and her husband dreamed of opening the first beachfront restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, Sofia Boettner, director of the department of marketing and public relations, shared with us.
Rodelinda is the older sister of the current owner, Alberto Pérez, who is the youngest of 11 children. In 1987 Alberto took the reins of the business and reimagined the style and concept from a canteen style to a gourmet restaurant by the beach.
The cuisine focuses on ‘Tropical Mexican’ often adding local fruit accents to the dishes. The popular ‘La Palapa Shrimp’ dish is a recipe nearly as old as the restaurant itself. Fresh shrimp are served in a coconut, guanabana and tequila sauce. It’s as delicious as it sounds. Several of the dishes on the menu have hints of mango, apricot, pineapple, habanero-apricot and pineapple-habanero sauces.
Long recognized as one of the best fine-dining restaurants in the city, it is a near-perfect blend of atmosphere, cuisine, service, and value. The impeccable staff is trained not to sell food, but to sell a culinary and cultural experience.
The restaurant is a tropical delight, decorated with exotic plants, coconut paintings, handcrafted furniture made by local workers using local materials and housed under a fabulous palm leaf palapa. Romantically lit with elegant place settings, this is the restaurant to celebrate your most cherished memories.
Owner Alberto Pérez has maintained control and oversight in the design of the menu. Even though he is not the official chef of La Palapa, he creates the dishes and the combinations of flavours. Valuing his team of professional chefs led by Jesús Rodríguez and Emilio Áramburo, Perez keeps a steady hand on La Palapa ensuring its quality and atmosphere remain of the highest standards.
A long-time client who was dining at La Palapa the day of our interview said “The atmosphere here is exciting, it makes me remember many things from my youth and childhood. Now I come with my children, ” he said with nostalgia and joy.
By Daniel Moreno