For store-bought food, try the limited selections of either the grocery Porvenir (7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily) on the north side of the plaza or the small ramshackle corner produce and grocery store, La Republica (9 a.m.–2 p.m. and 4–9 p.m. Mon.–Sat.), half a block beyond the northeast plaza corner, past the basketball court. If you’re going to need good fresh produce, best stock up, especially during the winter season, in either Puerto Vallarta or Mascota before departure.
Just about the most reliable of local restaurant choices is Restaurant Lupita (tel. 322/297-2903, 7 a.m.–11 p.m. daily) about four blocks west of the plaza, on the left, along the Puerto Vallarta road out of town. The friendly, motherly owner cooks just what she would be cooking for her family—eggs, hotcakes, or pork chops for desayuno ($2–5) and a four-course comida of soup, rice, guisado (savory meat or chicken stew), and dessert ($4–5). Evenings, you can usually count on her hearty pozole (shredded chicken or pork, over hominy in broth), with chopped onions and cabbage, and crispy totopos (roasted corn tortillas) on the side ($3).
Alternatively, try Restaurant El Fortí and Gallery (tel. 322/297-2856, 9 a.m.–9 p.m. Tues.–Sat.), whose welcoming owner has introduced Italian-Mexican fusion food to San Sebastián. Choices include tomato and vegetable salad ($5), cream of cuitlachoche with red wine ($5), and red pepper and rosemary pasta ($8).
For authentically Italian choices, go to Restaurant Real y Mina (tel. 322/297-2883, 2:30–10:30 p.m. daily except closed on alternate Mon. and Tues.), a block east, past the plaza’s southeast corner, and run by husband-wife team Walter Cappelli and Coco Gil. Here, you can have it all, including homemade breads, pastas, gnocchi, lasagna, and much, much more (about $10, including salad).
Before or after dinner, be sure to stop by town hangout La Barrondila bar (9 a.m.–midnight daily, at the northwest corner of the plaza). Join the locals and select from a dozen tequilas and the raicilla (mescal liquor) of the bartender’s nephew, lined up on the bar. Relax with some dominoes beneath the portico out front, and if hard liquor is not your thing, simply enjoy a cooling Corona and play a tune on their jukebox.