What does Sayulita have in the Riviera Nayarit in Mexico that continues to attract us? Located just north of Puerto Vallarta, it is a world away from the “typical” tourist destination.
Is it because it’s a sleepy little fishing village with a laid-back, surfer vibe that satisfies our inner child of being free to explore the ocean, the beach, and the Mexican culture of yesteryear?
Is it a town that defies the temptation to become too commercialized, which in turn would destroy the warmth and charm of a hidden gem?
Is the beach sandy with a long gentle surf with warm clear water?
We believe it is all of the above and that “Sayulita Good Vibes” is truly a state of mind that all visitors experience…and continually draw us in.
Set up a base camp
This article focuses on eating…plain and simple…because almost everything you eat here is fresh, locally sourced, and reasonably priced.
Sayulita is an epicurean delight with exceptional dining options, from “street food” to full gourmet restaurants.
We typically take the road less traveled and find vacation rentals that feature a well-equipped chef’s kitchen.
Once again, Sayulita Life (sayulitalife.com) becomes the reference site. They represent over 400 vacation rental options and often find the “perfect” place.
We love to cook and on this trip we attracted two other like-minded couples to join us. Finding a place to share with three couples pushes the price of more expensive properties into a much more reasonable price range as well.
A cornucopia of fresh ingredients
Sayulita and other surrounding towns have hosted and scheduled many outdoor farmers’ markets that emphasize organic options and offer local fruits and vegetables.
One of our favorite markets was a short drive south of Sayulita at the La Cruz Marina fish market in Banderas Bay, where you can buy fresh fish, shrimp, lobster, oysters, and assorted other seafood, all at great prices.
Fish markets have been a staple in Banderas Bay for generations, in fact, many of the restaurants, personal chefs and caterers in the area shop here for their seafood every day.
Also, the Sunday market features items handcrafted by locals and indigenous tribes in the area… each vendor can only sell what they personally made… now that’s local pride.
Eat IN…The Personal Chef Option
For a special treat, we hired three professional chefs on three different nights to share their talents and delight us with regional cuisine from their respective heritages.
Justifying the decision to hire a personal chef for three couples who love to cook was not difficult considering the alternatives.
Imagine dining in the comfort of your vacation rental, and all you have to do is enjoy the cooking demonstration (if you wish), sip a refreshing beverage, and anticipate fabulous cuisine prepared just for you and your family. . taste preferences.
There is no need to buy the ingredients, prepare them, plate them and, best of all… no clean up. It all happens as if by magic… and for less than the cost of a similar meal at an outdoor restaurant.
You owe it to yourself to try it at least once for a special date or event and you’re all on vacation… so create a memory!
The following are three unique chefs with their own style and specialties…all waiting for your call.
We were introduced to Laura as our housekeeper at “Villa Sol Blau” and told that she is an excellent cook who has prepared meals for numerous guests.
What we discover is that Laura uses family recipes combined with fresh local ingredients and treats her guests like “family” while lavishing the warmth and grace of her heritage… we enjoyed traditional food and Laura’s charming personality… “Mom” I was in the kitchen!
Laura prepared an authentic regional meal consisting of green chile enchiladas and traditional slow-cooked black beans, followed by chile relleno with poblano sauce and Mexican rice, all based on a family recipe. Ella’s flan dessert was, of course, homemade and was as delicate as it was creamy.
Chef Sofia Silva Sanchez
We “found” Chef Sofia on the Sayulita Life site and she also has her own website (sayulitachef.com). After reading the glowing reviews, as well as her extensive menu options, we made a dinner date.
Sofia is a vibrant, effervescent and very personable person and as a chef her wide range of culinary skills extends from traditional Mexican cuisine to menus offering Italian, Indian, Moroccan, vegetarian and vegan options.
Their excellent reputation for desserts is definitely underrated!
The meal began with cucumber cups stuffed with shrimp ceviche, followed by a
organic vegetable salad topped with chipotle dressing. The main course consisted of tender pieces of chicken baked in poblano sauce with Mexican rice and their dessert was homemade Key Lime Pie topped with strawberries and mint.
Chef Daniel is a consummate professional and cooks with flair…he literally lights up the room! You can say… Call!
Daniel owns the “Mexotix” restaurant in the neighboring town of San Pancho, which is a short drive north of Sayulita. He offers his catering and cooking services in Sayulita and we have enjoyed his exceptional “Mexican-Fusion with an Asian twist” style on numerous occasions. (sayulitalife.com/mexotik)
Chef Daniel works with his Sous Chef Juan to create amazing food. He started with sesame-crusted seared tuna served over tostini with cucumber noodles and alfalfa sprouts dressed with a balsamic reduction.
Followed with handmade Empanadas from scratch stuffed with sautéed shrimp in Mexican citrus sauce and melted panela cheese.
With a bit of spark and fire, Daniel sautéed an octopus in an orange reduction with hibiscus and chipotle, served with roasted vegetables and coconut rice… tender and delicious.
Eat IN… Prepare a dining experience yourself
The three couples put on a friendly competition and over the course of three nights it was game! But our first stop was a trip to the La Cruz fish market followed by a visit to a variety of markets in town and one more stop at the excellent fish market just across the bridge into town.
We start with the Team Challenge: Jumbo Blue Shrimp cooked three ways.
A team prepared seared Mahi-Mahi with organic vegetables and avocados.
One team grilled two very large spiny lobsters with lots of melted butter on the side.
One team grilled two sushi-grade yellowtail tuna steaks at about two pounds each.
We all demonstrated our culinary skills, sampled exceptional wines from Chile and Mexico, and most of all, enjoyed the experience.
Creating village cuisine with a cadre of personal chefs, fresh seafood, organic farmers markets, and local vendors offering all the ingredients you need to create unforgettable dining experiences…all in a semi-tropical location…is just so special.
The “good vibes of Sayulita” is truly a state of mind that all visitors experience…and we are continually drawn to it!
Long live Mexico… Long live Sayulita!
After all, what’s the rush… get inspired…
© 2017 Inspired Travel Itineraries with Bob and Janice Kollar