Guests attending the XX Anniversary Festival Gourmet International in Puerto Vallarta in November had the extreme pleasure of participating in the Avant-Garde Progressive Dinners, which included courses at three spectacular restaurants featuring the talent of restaurant chefs and visiting chefs. The dinner we had the pleasure to savor included dishes at The River Cafe, TRIO and Cafe Des Artistes. This was a gastronomique safari style experience that every ‘foodie’ dreams about.


This colorful restaurant filled with paintings and artwork by talented Mexican artists, is located on the rivers edge of the Rio Cuale, and is a very exciting dining venue. Their gourmet cuisine with traditional flair is original and outstanding. The river, live entertainment and the general ambiance of the venue provide a tasteful yet exciting experience for guests. The lamb dinner we enjoyed was unique in preparation and presentation, and was paired perfectly with The River Cafe’s home-made sangria.

River Cafe Lamb Entree

River Cafe Lamb Entree

Chef Roberto Gavino Chavez Oviedo of The River Cafe is from Peru, and has formed a philosophy of responsibility, harmony and passion for his cooking during his 18 year career. Health cuisine concepts are paramount to Chef Roberto. Visiting guest chef Marcos Gabriel Fulceri came to Mexico 14 years ago and is proud to implement his personal touches to the gourmet menu of this beautiful restaurant that has earned a best restaurant in Mexico award. Visit


The TRIO upstairs dining room with it’s beautiful and colorful tile bar is one of my favorite venues in Puerto Vallarto. The ambiance is warm, elegant and upbeat, and the food is always magnificent. They offer dining on the front patio for couples that is private and overlooks the cobble stone street below. The delicious salmon preparation with a Swedish flair presented by the chef team melted like butter in the mouth, and was simply outstanding, as was the beet salad dish. Wines served with this memorable dinner included a red and white wine by Vinas Pijoan.

TRIO Salmon Entree

TRIO Salmon Entree

TRIO Chef Bernhard Guth was born near the Black Forest region of Baden, worked in Italy and New York and now creates a menu in Puerto Vallarta that is described as “Mediteranian Cuisine with Mexican spice.” Ulf Henriksson TRIO chef was born in Kalix, Sweden and invited guest chef Kirstoffer Andersson, chef/co-owner of award winning Jazzkoket restaurant in Sweden, to participate at TRIO during the festival. Visit:


Cafe Des Artistes is located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, and was founded twenty-four years ago. It is one of the most outstanding gourmet restaurants in the world, and the ambiance is pure magic! Per usual Cafe Des Artistes was alive with activity and we were escorted to the rooftop dining patio, which offers views of the lush garden restaurant outdoor patio below.

Guest Chef Carlos Gaytan, chef/owner of Mexique Restaurant in Chicago. Gaytan is the first Mexican chef to get a Michelin Star. He was working in tandem with Thierry Blouet, chef/owner of Cafe Des Artistes to prepare a medley of beautiful and delicious desserts, paired with Monte Xanic wine. Chef Blouet is one of the founders of this festival, and has received countless awards and accolades for his amazing culinary talents.

Cafe des Artistes Dessert

Cafe des Artistes Dessert

Our dessert on the rooftop patio was followed by a stop at the restaurant lounge, where live entertainment created a fun backdrop around the exquisite dessert bar; a bar literally covered with decadent little French desserts to pair with Patron Tequila or Moet & Chandon Champagne. There could not be a sweeter ending to this beautiful progressive dining experience in Puerto Vallarta than was offered by this dynamic duo and their staff. Visit

The 29 restaurants participating in 2014 included Andrea Gourmet, Arrecifes, Boca Dosstk, Bordeaux, Cafe des Artistes, Coco Tropical, El Quincho, Emiliano, Frida, Green Bistro, Kaiser Maximilian, La Casona, La Catrina, La Corona, La Leche, La Palapa, La Patrona, Las Gasitas, Las Pampas, Michel’s, Nicksan, Porto Bello, Punta Arena, Sanzibar, Sea Breeze, The River Cafe, TRIO, Imanta, and Tuna Blanca. Wine and beverage sponsors included Monte Xanic, VINOS Wagner, Ferrer-LCM, Venos Americas, Vinoteca, Moet & Chandon, Patron Tequila, Minerva Ale, Lavazza Coffee, Rougie and S. Pellegrino.

For details on the outstanding gourmet restaurants who participated in the 2014 progressive dinners during the festival please visit:


by Bonnie Carroll