I've lived in Puerto Vallarta for nearly 5 years and to me, the resilience and determination of the Mexican people has been nothing short of inspiring.
When Covid 19 hit town and brought tourism and most related businesses to a screeching halt, the lovely citizens here had to get really creative in order to put food on the table for their families. So what do you do when such a disaster hits suddenly? You do what three local amigos did. You put all your energy and resources together and you open up an Argentinian Grill and Tecuin Lounge. Allow me to introduce to you, these three fine gentlemen. Meet Omar Santana, (The Mixologist), Fily Flores, (The Poet and Kitchen Magician), and Pavel Andrik, (The Kaiser of Service). This project was the brainchild, born of the pandemic, and of their desire to start a business that they all loved and were passionate about. They really wanted to provide something special for their friends and the community. The result is their wonderfully unique creation called “3 Al Grill by Tecuin Lounge, located at Calle Universidad del Valle De Atemajac #1487 in Colonia Villas Universidad .
Now, these gentlemen were all born and raised in Puerto Vallarta which raises the question, Why an Argentinian Grill? According to Fily, “because we live in a major port, there are hundreds of places that serve seafood. Mariscos restaurants are on every block. We saw the opportunity to venture into something different and unique that we like, which is grilling and roasting meats.” “We began without shame or fear of what people thought, by working humbly in the tianguis, selling traditional Mexican ferments and drinks.' 'As time went by, we decided to think big.” “Ten months have passed since we started the project in the tianguis (Tecuin Lounge) and we have learned much and have enjoyed it as well.” It was time to go all in.
The word “tecuin” in Nahuatl (indigenous language meaning “soft or sweet tongue”), which, in Spanish, we know as “tejuino” means “beating the heart.” This is a pre-Hispanic drink originating in the Mexican state of Jalisco that is based on fermented corn, sweetened with bread or piloncillo (Mexican brown sugar) and is considered an energy drink. It is one of the most refreshing drinks on the menu and the perfect accompaniment to any one of their delicious dishes. Another traditional drink from Jalisco and Colima is called a “Tuba”. It is made from fermented palm, accompanied with apple or walnut.
Ironically, most of their restaurant experience was working in Chinese restaurants but that experience gave them the basic knowledge and tools to operate their own place. They are passionate about serving people and cooking with top quality ingredients and a lot of love.
One of the most popular dishes that they serve is “La Consentida” or” The Spoiled One”, literally meaning “my favorite ingredients”... A blend of sirloin steak and Argentinian chorizo, grilled to poetic perfection by chef Fily, served with grilled mushrooms and finished with the secret, house garlic aioli on a bed of sauteed potatoes.
When you think of a pulled pork sandwich, the American south or even Jamaica may come to mind with the heavy, sweet BBQ or jerk sauce. Think again. 3 Al Grill serves what has become my absolute favorite. A pulled pork sandwich, seasoned with their special Argentinian blend of herbs and spices with house made barbecue sauce that is unlike any you've tasted. It's light, fresh, and tangy without being overly sweet. Perfecto! They make fantastic lemon pepper, Buffalo, or habanero chicken wings. Crispy and delicious. With every order comes home made chips and salsa, spicy bean dip or cool, guacamole and side dishes such as sauteed or French fried potatoes can be ordered as well.
The restaurant itself is a bright, cheerful and quaint establishment. On one side is the Tecuin Lounge. This is Omar's area of expertise. He will be there serving all of those fantastic beverages and offering music and lively conversation. In the middle is the dining area with it's vintage Mexican photography and rustic décor. Here you will find Pavel, offering fast, friendly and attentive service. On the right is the lively and energetic kitchen, with Fily and Cristian, his friend and the restaurant's other chef, doing their best to fill the barrio with wonderful aromas, wafting from the smoking grill. You can order grilled meats and sausages by the kilo or just individual orders. You can dine in or take out as well. It is important to note that they follow Covid protocol so you can relax and enjoy your meal or beverage.
The three amigos, four including Cristian, love spending spare time hanging out with friends and family, celebrating the result of their hard work. It is obvious that they enjoy life, work and serving their community. Fily said that 3 Al Grill by Tecuin Lounge will always be a friendly, welcoming place, dedicated to giving the best service in town and the best food that your palette can receive. Poetic indeed!
It's only about a 5 minute drive from Avenida Prisciliano Sanchez. Go north on Avenida Mexico, just past the D' Abastos California market and turn right at the Smart Gas station. (Calle Universidad Del Valle de Atemajac) It is the first building on the right. You can't miss it. You will fall in love with the place and I guarantee that you will be back for more very soon.
The hours of operation are 2:00 p.m., to 11:00 p.m., 7 days a week. Their phone number is 322-111-6366 and they can be found on Facebook or Instagram at “3 Al Grill”