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San Pancho is a coastal surf town in Nayarit, Mexico, just an hour north of Puerto Vallarta. Despite being a small town, with a population of only around 3,000 residents, there is no shortage of restaurants in San Pancho. We spent two weeks in San Pancho – dining out three to four meals per day – and I was blown away by all of the amazing restaurants in San Pancho. From massive burritos for 40 pesos from Loncheria to some of the best tuna tostadas from Barracuda for just a few bucks more, you won’t go hungry at any of the San Pancho restaurants.
San Pancho Mexico (San Francisco) is a culinary hotspot. And if you somehow manage to eat your way through all of San Pancho’s delicious food options, Sayulita is just down the road with a bustling food scene.
So whether you’re looking for a massive bowl of pasta or a fresh seafood, San Pancho offers it at all. After eating my way through the town, I’ve put together a list of the best San Pancho restaurants to add to your travel itinerary.
I have used a 3-scale dollar sign rating to indicate prices.
$ Full meals under $5 USD
$$ Entrees range from $5-10 USD
$$$ – Entrees average $15USD+
Where to eat in San Pancho, Nayarit
1. Maria’s $
Maria’s is a classic spot for when you’re looking for a great brunch! Known for their eggs and pancakes, the food at Maria’s won’t disappoint. They also do a great chilaquiles verde, if you want something a bit more local. Don’t skip out on the fresh squeezed orange juice or the green juice, both served in a massive glass. I recommend splitting one juice for two people!
It gets super busy in the morning, so service can be a bit slow, but the staff there is really great!
What to order: Any of their omelets, berry waffles, chilaquiles, and fresh juice
2. El Gallo $$
If you’re looking for a traditional Mexican breakfast, look no further than El Gallo. With a location a bit away from the main stretch of town, this beautiful outdoor restaurant has an amazing meny of local dishes at super reasonable prices. My personal favorites are their Chilaquiles Verde and their Pepian chicken tacos. Come in the evening to enjoy some live music, dancing, and great mezcal cocktails.
Overall the ambience is great, the staff is friendly, and you can expect some amazing traditional Mexican food at cheap prices.
What to order: Pepian tacos, chilaquiles, pepian enchiladas, zucchini blossom empanada, mango mezcal cocktail
3. Barracuda $$/$$$ (best seafood in San Pancho)
In the three weeks that we spent in Sayulita and San Pacho, we must have eaten at Barracuda as least five times! While everything that we tried on the menu was great, do not miss out on the tuna tostadas. Priced at only 80 pesos each, two of these are enough for a meal itself. Both the raw and seared option are great!
I gave Barracuda two different ratings because the tuna tostadas are super reasonable, but some of their other entrees can be a bit pricier.
What to order: tuna tostadas, fried calamari, aguachiles, seafood molcajete
4. Pizza Punto $
This grab-and-go pizza spot serves up some incredible slices of pizza. And this is coming from a New Yorker so you know they are good. The crust is a bit thicker, almost like focaccia. These square slices go for around 50 pesos a slice.
They close early, to make sure to grab a slice for lunch or an early dinner.
5. Yasmina itzalanyasayan $$ (best vegetarian restaurant in San Pancho)
Enter this beautiful, spacious backyard space and you’ll immediately feel a sense of zen. Before you even ordered, you’ll be presented with a mini cup of the tea of the day, which is always a nice way to the start the meal.
The name of this spot is quite literally impossible for me to pronounce, so we’ll just refer to it as Yasmina’s. Yasmina’s is super vegetarian-friendly, with a number of Thai-influenced dishes.
I think I’ll be dreaming of their spiralized salad for years to come. A delicious salad of zucchini noodles, cucumber, seaweed, asparagus, and pistachios, topped with a wasabi dressing. I am still trying to figure out how to recreate it.
Note: they do not serve any alcohol, but their smoothies and mocktails are delicious.
What to order: Spiralized salad, Mexican pad thai, dumpling salad, yellow curry, potato tacos
6. Bistro Organico Cielo Rojo $$$
This spot is seriously a hidden gem. I think my favorite part is the beautiful ambiance, but the food is just as good! I had this spot on my list since before even arriving in San Pancho. We finally managed to eat here on our very last day in San Pancho, just before leaving for the airport, as we actually spent the night at the attached hotel.
Fun fact: Hotel Cielo Rojo is the oldest hotel in San Pancho.
Bistro Organico is a plant and seafood restaurant open for all three meals of the day.
What to order: pancakes for breakfast, grilled octopus for dinner
7. Arigato $$
We stumbled upon Arigato one evening while taking a post-work walk and it immediately caught our attention. I am by no means a beer snob, but I personally just don’t love a classic pilsner or lager. When I drink beer I want a delicious IPA or sour – typical Brooklyn hipster over here. But Arigato checks all of the boxes for delicious beer, plus amazing hand rolls!
This cozy little spot gets super busy as the night goes on, so I recommend coming early.
What to order: rotating beer on tap (everything is good), spicy tuna hand roll
8. Loncheria $ (one of the cheapest San Pancho restaurants)
We visited Loncheria so many times throughout our stay in San Pancho. Why you may ask? Massive, delicious burritos (and quesadillas) for 40 pesos. Need I say more than $2 burritos? Plus, their fresh juices and smoothies are all amazing. It is fast, casual and perfect for lunch. We often picked up food to go, but it is also a great spot to dine in.
What to order: Chicken burrito, quesadillas, green juice
9. Cafe Floresta $$
I am so sad that we didn’t discover this incredible cafe until the very end of our time in San Pancho. It’s so crazy because we were staying at an airbnb just 30 seconds away for a bit. But you won’t find Cafe Floresta unless you’re looking for it. I found that many of San Pancho’s gems were hidden a bit off of the main road.
This cafe – which is part of the beautiful Marii Hotel – gives off serious Bali vibes. From the perfect open-air aesthetic and palm tree jungle views, it is so peaceful.
Open from 8am-3pm daily, it is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious breakfast or lunch and get a bit of work done.
On Fridays and Saturdays they also serve dinner, and you won’t want to miss it. My boyfriend still claims that the Birria short rib was one of the best things he ate throughout our entire trip. Safe to say it is one of best San Pancho restaurants (and hotels).
What to order: Avocado toast. Just do it – it is amazing. Homemade kombucha, fresh juice.
10. Burrito Pinata $$
Located within the EntreAmigos community center, Burrito Pinata is perfect for a quick, healthy lunch. Each day they only offer 1 menu option for 100 pesos. It is always vegan, and from what I hear, always delicious! The day we went we enjoyed quinoa beet burgers with a side of crispy potatoes and a fresh juice!
What to order: Set daily menu
11. Dolce Jardin $$
When I say that the portions at Dolce Jardin are big, I truly mean it. All of their entrees are meant to share, with just one pizza or pasta being enough to feed two. Order both and you’re sure to have leftovers! The large pizzas start at 175 pesos, while the pastas start at 150 pesos.
What to order: margarita pizza, pesto pasta, gelato for their shop across the road
12. Ikan $$$
We tried to come here one of our first nights in town and were turned away without a reservation. We learned quickly that this is the type of place to either make a reservation, arrive early, or expect a wait.
Truthfully, you can expect a wait regardless because the service here is painfully slow. But I promise you, it is worth it. Ikan (one of the best San Pancho restaurants) easily serves some of the best shrimp tacos I’ve ever had! My personal favorites are the shrimp tacos, grilled octopus tacos, and octopus tostadas. Tacos are around 70 pesos each, with mains on the pricier end.
What to order: octopus tostada, shrimp and kimchi taco, grilled octopus taco, tomato negroni
13. Kokonati $$
I had to include Kokonati on this list simply because they actually serve a decent matcha latte. The ambiance here is great, with tons of outdoor seating on this lively side street. Perfect for a hot coffee or light lunch. And don’t skip the pastries!
What to order: Matcha latte, pastries
14. Tierra Tropical Beach Club $$$
Tierra Tropical Beach Club is the definition of ~vacation~. Make your along the coast and up the hill from the center of town. After climbing about 15 minutes, you’ll reach this beautiful beachfront beach club. While prices are a bit pricier, they are still reasonable for food and drinks!
If you want to spend the day by the pool, you can book a day pass for $25 USD. Food and drinks aren’t included, but you’ll have access to the pool and beach facilities. When we arrived on a Sunday, we had the place practically to ourselves!
What to order: Guacamole, grilled shrimp salad, negroni, mango mezcalita
15. Cerveceria Artesanal $$
Cerveceria Artesanal is one of my favorite places in San Pancho for a chill night out. This local brewery, which is actually owned by a guy from Portland, Oregon, has the best vibes. The beers and cocktails are great, and the mezcal even better. They serve up some classic bar snacks, including a grilled cheese and fries that had my mouth watering every time I saw one come out.
There is frequently live music, which you can keep up to date on on their social media channels.
What to order: Beer on tap, fries, mezcal
16. Taqueria El Pocas $
Every top San Pancho restaurant list needs a classic, cheap street taco option! Taqueria El Pocas, right by the park, is just that. Go for the simple al pastor tacos for 15 pesos each. Looking for a veggie option? Try the mushroom tacos!
We sadly didn’t try this place until our last night in town, but it is probably for the better as I would have been here every night!
What to order: Al pastor tacos
17. Taqueria Los Arbolitos $
I’m sad to admit that despite being on my “must-try” list for weeks, I never made it to Taqueria los Arbolitos. From what I hear, they serve up some of the best cheap, authentic tacos in town. If you get a chance to visit, let me know what you think!
18. The Dough Joe $$
Craving something sweet to start your day? Look no further than the Dough Joe with their famous donuts. You’ll recognize the tiny cafe by their iconic bright pink walls. They also serve an amazing chai latte (along with some strong wifi) if you’re looking to get some work done).
19. San Pancho Artisanal Market $
Although not a single restaurant, the San Pancho Artisanal Market is a must-visit for great food. It operates once a week on Tuesdays from 10am-2pm. You’ll find a number of stalls serving organic goodies, produce, homemade kombucha and more. We stocked up on a great haul of food for the week, including an amazing bread from a Chilean company.
If you’re looking for something to eat in the moment, there is a sprouts stand serving vegan tacos. The tacos are filled with sprouts, pineapple, avocado, and hot sauce – and they are amazing. They are large and filling, so just one should suffice.
Planning to explore more of Mexico? Here are some articles to check out:
- The Ultimate Tulum Itinerary
- Tulum Solo Travel Guide
- Tulum on a Budget
- Best Tulum Instagram Spots
- 7 Best Restaurants in Tulum, Mexico
- Guanajuato City Guide
- Mexico City Guide
- Best Restaurants in San Miguel de Allende