Five restaurants and two snack shacks are open at the Nuevo Vallarta Mayan property. These are Gong (the old Green Break near the golf Pro Shop), Tramonto (the Italian restaurant in the Grand Mayan), Sambas (by the Grand Mayan swimming pool area), Havana Moon (on the beach at the north end of the Mayan Palace pool) and Cafe del Lago (at the south end of the property next to the Mayan Palace). Also, there are two snack shacks and a very accommodating room service. There is one additional restaurant that used to specialize in fish. It is at the southern end of the Mayan Palace swimming pool, which is now under construction and the restaurant is closed. We hear it will ultimately serve the Luxxe guests.
First and important to us, we found that nearly all the restaurants have roughly the same wine list. The one exception was the Havana Moon, where we found a 2002 Wente Cab for 420 pesos or about $32. Not bad for the age and brand. We are from the Livermore area where the wine is produced and knew the bargain it was. Generally, the wines are from Chili, Argentina and Mexico and they were more expensive than the Wente Cab. It should be said that Tramonto's may have a better wine list because it is the most upscale of all the restaurants.
Each restaurant has its benefits. Havana Moon was our favorite because it was on the beach. Great sunsets, out door eating and plenty of options for the grand kids in between courses. Food was good, and we especially liked the Calamari, which was served with a ginger sauce, the slices of Calamari were the thin style and the batter was perfect.
The staff at each restaurant were out to please. Memorable experiences were at the Havana Moon, where we were treated to exceptional service. We had our reception dinner there. El Capitan (Jaimie) arranged our festivities with all the other staff members, put together our menu, created a festive table and baked a wedding cake to our specifications. Delicious, beautiful, comfortable, efficient and memorable.
At Gong, we tried the Black Cod, which was recommended by a member of the Customer Service organization. She said she has had Black Cod in New York, Prague (I believe) and only a few other places throughout the world and highly recommended the Black Cod at Gong. We were not disappointed. Excellent. Plus, to our surprise, we become reacquainted with a waiter we met last year, who was working at the Cafe del Lago one evening. He is a very pleasant person, and turns out to be from Fresno.
Cafe del Lago was great for breakfast. A nice long walk for the appetite, sitting on the deck for relaxation and digestion, followed by a nice long walk back. Our breakfasts at the Cafe del Lago were at least one and a half hours long. The difference between the Cafe del Lago and Samba's buffet breakfast is the variety. More variety at Cafe del Lago. Authentic breakfast food as well. Plus a great view and shade.
Tramonto is a very nice restaurant. We thought the menu was interesting. It is just that we did not fall in love with the food. The staff, however, was very accommodating and caring. In fact all the staff members made a keen effort to please the people they served.
Samba's is fine for lunch or breakfast. It is a bit too hot for us, so we stayed mostly near the ocean. Great food and very attentive staff, though.
The hamburgers at the Mayan Palace and Grand Mayan snack shacks were terrific....again. Too big for one of us to eat, so we split them. Please keep in mind that we are not big eaters, so what may be big for us might not be for others.
There is also a taco shop on the main road near the golf course. We heard great reviews but have not eaten there. Try it out when you play golf. Anyone have any comments they would like to share about this or other places?
The common complaint is the restaurants on the property are too expensive. Well that may be true, but they are more convenient than taking a 4 hour jaunt to Bucerias or Puerto Vallarta. Next time. We had too much to do in too little time. We still had a great experience.
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