Breakfast at Ketsi, the Beachfront Grill, is an amazing experience on all fronts: the alfresco setting, sumptuous buffet and quick, courteous service. We loved sitting in the breeze on the edge of the round terrace amongst giant manzanilla trees. Iím a light eater this early but the variety is there. You can go the bircher muesli route or embrace the Mexican love of hearty, simple food and start the day with a skirt steak & Ranchero style eggs or a shrimp burrito from the a la carte menu inside.

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They also had an adorable mini buffet dedicated to the small kids - so instead of them destroying the main table and killing it for the grown ups, small children could serve themselves from mini-me silver heated trays with baby scrambled eggs, little boxes of cereal and 6-inch pizzas. ZoŽ was old enough at 6 to be keener on staying with us, but itís something different that I have never seen before in all the places Iíve been. Itís a really nice touch that makes a family really feel right at home. I also loved the price policy for kids. Their bill gets charged according to the childís age, which is fantastic as most high-end hotels around the world hit you with adult prices per head, even though kids eat far less.

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There is another great feature that I have only seen in this particular hotel: a stand-alone self-service coffee bar in the lobby with a lovely big machine. The station is manned but you can pour yourself a mug of percolated coffee and take it away. I loved bringing cappuccinos back to our casita after my run to share with Sheira - a nice way to start the day in your suite without having to formally order through room service.

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This is the Four Seasons - so you can ask for what you want, when you want it. They have a full lunch menu at the pool and two restaurants. Ketsi (where breakfast is also served) and Bahia (Spanish for Ďbayí). The kitchen puts out fresh, summery poolside dishes like shrimp ceviche, lobster Cobb salad and calamari as well as local Mexican classics.

After our non-stop North American tour we enjoyed stopping down awhile, for the first time really, under the thatched roofs on the terrace to take in the spectacular surroundings (we tended to head into town in the late afternoon/early evening). The long mornings just rolled into lunch and we seemed to graze all day by the pool instead of having structured set lunches at the restaurant; itís he perfect spot for it.

Everyone can
order casually and independently all afternoon on a tab. The boys had enchiladas and burritos by the family pool, Zoe loved the cakes and ice cream and I remember that the guacamole never stopped coming. These dishes are the fast food of Mexico and so easy, so in this environments you eat a lot of it.

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This is a great restaurant only 10 minutes away, within the upmarket Punta Mita estate. Itís the perfect place when you arenít up for the 45 minute drive into Puerto Vallarta.

I love it
when a concierge gets it right. He told us to dress casually as the restaurant is right on the beach and that we would love the mood and cuisine. The tables are as close as it gets to the ocean without being in the sand: right at sea level, with only a walkway between. Permanent thatched umbrellas and canopies give it that really open, airy feel that I prefer on holiday.

As always,
we were open to discovery and interested in experiencing Mexican cuisine beyond the usual clichť trifecta of taco/burrito/ enchilada - which is really the same flour, meat, cheese, bean combo over and over again! The BBQ seafood - fish, prawns, lobster and rice - wasnít cheap because of the area, but the meal was delicious, simple and relaxed, which we love.

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EL DORADO| Pulpito Nļ 102, Playa Los Muertos Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico, Puerto Vallarta | + 322 222-4124 | View web site
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This smart, hillside restaurant in Puero Vallarta town with stunning views over Banderas Bay. This restaurant is great for modern, unpretentious gourmet food. I was a little nervous about the cheesy, over-touristed sounding name but the concierge assured me it would be a memorable experience. We wanted something that was away from crowds but not precious, fine dining. Itís also one of the best ways to enjoy Puerto Vallarta Ė from a birds eye view point. To get there you take a taxi up though the winding streets of the Colonia Alta Vista neighbourhood with roads that are quite rough.

Itís worth the climb. The restaurants huge tiled terrace has a sweeping panoramic view of the portís twinkling lights and the dining room, in cream neutrals, is also dominated by district views that flood in through the huge glass window. It was one of those nights where the air is so balmy that just being outside is relaxing .

Although the cuisine is regarded as fine dining, chef Martin Amez Cuiís menu is very contemporary and not Mexican-based. I like gourmet food that is still healthy, as opposed to truffles, creams and super-rich 13-course degustations. Weíre not King Henry the Eighth eaters! So we related to dishes like Artichoke Soup, Beef Carpaccio, Lobster Bisque and Grilled Pear Salad. Itís canít-go-wrong, classic bistro fare: marinated tuna with artichokes, pepper encrusted salmon and chicken breasts.

The atmosphere
is laid back but the food arrives on time, beautifully presented: I like all the benefits of great service without the stuffiness. They bought something simple like chops and chips for Zoe really quickly, as requested.

On the whole I am hesitant about restaurants with the best views because they often compromise in other areas, knowing there will always be more people anyway. I will be just as happy to walk away from a picture-postcard setting if the experience isnít right. But here you do get it all.

The beauty of this restaurant is also the open plan - itís so jarring to slice a world- class view up with cold, steel, window frames but they bring the view inside too. It is just incredible to come up the hill and sit over a glass of wine, watching the giant cruise ships approach and anchor in the bay.

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VISTA GRILL| Pulpito 377 Colonia Alta Vista , Puerto Vallarta | + 52 322 222-3570 | View web site
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This Mediterranean restaurant is one of our favourites in Puerto Vallarta, with an old-fashioned, low lit wooden bar, high ceilings and stone columns. It is run by two European chef-owners who have a passion for hearty, honest food. They also greet you personally; one is on kitchen detail, the other does meet and greet. There is plenty of variety, from iced raw scallops, foie gras and home-made pastas to chunks of fish in lobster sauce, chilli red snapper over lime cilantro and oven roasted rabbit. The chefs take the menu very personally and will be happy to guide you through it. It is a really flavourful and friendly experience in chic decor - so I recommend a visit.

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TRIO | Guerrero 264, Centro 
Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta | + 322 222 2196
 | View web site
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