Dining out in Vallarta

PUERTO VALLARTA, Mexico -- Puerto Vallarta is known for its international cuisine. Indeed, the offerings are so varied that it's nearly impossible to sample them all (which is great for encouraging repeat visits).

During a recent trip, I sampled several of the best restaurants. Here are some recommendations:

• Archie's Wok (Francisca Rodriguez #130; phone: (011) 52-322 222-0411) offers variations on Asian cuisine in a small restaurant with a pleasant, open-air terrace in back. Sample a Szechuan margarita, with Jose Cuervo Gold tequila, fresh lime juice, Cointreau and tequila aged with serrano and jalapeno peppers.

• Barcelona (corner of Matamoros and 31 de Octubre; phone: (011) 52-322 222-0510) is a rooftop restaurant and tapas bar that serves dishes like spicy sizzling shrimp with garlic and paella. It also has a great view of the water.

• Daiquiri Dick's (Olas Altas #314, Los Muertos; phone: (011) 52-322 222-0566; Web: www.daquiridicks.com) is a lively upscale choice, with outdoor dining on the beach. It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Among the dishes are lobster tacos and filet of snapper rubbed with chiles.

• De Santos (Morelos 771, Centro; phone: (011) 52-322 223-3052; Web: www.desantos.com.mx) is not only a trendy restaurant serving Mediterranean cuisine, it's also one of the hippest bars and lounges in town. The white walls and dramatic lighting create an atmosphere reminiscent of Miami Beach's trendiest establishments.

The club's super-hip rooftop bar and terrace next door provides DJ music as well as live acid jazz and soul music. The club is open from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. -- M.C.

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