Saturday, February 22, 2014

A Taste of the Best: Puerto Vallarta's Café des Artistes

Almost immediately after stepping into the warm, tropical air that greeted me in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, I began to hear word-of-mouth praise about the delicious wonder that is Café des Artistes.  Beyond the praise, there was an insistence from locals to fellow foodies back home that this was the restaurant that I simply could not miss before departing.  Thankfully, as my brilliantly curated itinerary would have it, on my very last night within the captivating sea and sand borders, I was set to have what would be an unforgettable dining experience at this highly regarded hallmark.  I would have my taste of the best.

While the cuisine is always my primary focus, ambiance and décor play major supporting roles in creating stimulating, can’t-get-enough dining experiences that I relish—and long to repeat.  And Café des Artistes’ breathtaking fusion of bold art, elegant interior design (think interiors within interiors), and, oh yes, exquisitely beautiful and scrumptious fare, was the slice of heaven that all the preceding hype had promised.  I was in awe and loving every minute of it.

Room With a View: One of the breathtaking interior spaces

The experience was made all the sweeter by the head of house, owner and creative mastermind, himself, Executive Chef, Thierry Blouet.  A few nights earlier, I had enjoyed the pleasure of meeting Chef Blouet as we were introduced during a magical evening on the beach during the annual Festival Gourmet International kick-off.  When we met again several evenings later, he graciously met my party and gave us a personal tour of his beautiful restaurant in all its glory, including a stop by the busy kitchen to witness the chefs in action.

Once seated in our private dining room, amidst the laughter and chatter, the evening unfolded with course after course of exquisite dishes that gave life to the phrase “food as art.”  Care was given to every detail and personal request—right up to my bespoke Cucumber Mocktail and custom brewed decaf coffee (a must if I had any hope of sleeping that night.  A caffeinated mix-up would have proved nightmarish.)  It was the perfect nightcap to an evening that had more than lived up to its reputation as something truly special. 

Yes, this was Puerto Vallarta.  And this, indeed, was Café des Artistes.

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