Located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta on the riverside of the Río Cuale; River Café features exclusive art décor by local artists and serves exquisite Gourmet Cuisine with a traditional flair. Our philosophy of responsibility, harmony and passion for gastronomy and nature, have positioned us as one of the leaders of regional cuisine. Daytime at River Café boasts tables overlooking a natural scenic atmosphere while during evenings, it invites you to dine by the candlelight and live music.
Chef Angel Morales
A native of Guerrero, Chef Angel Morales entered the culinary world in his youth. Chef Angel arrived in Puerto Vallarta in time for the opening of River Cafe; where his initial training was experimental; motivated to learn and grow, he observed the work of renowned chefs who collaborated at River Cafe. In time, the owners recognized his efforts and financed his studies at the Franco – Mexican Institute of Gastronomy
Franco De Dominicis
Franco De Dominicis was born in a small town in Caracas, Venezuela. At age 11 Chef Franco returned to their native town of Paestum, in southern Italy with his family, a 2,600-year-old town famous for its ancient Greek and Roman archeological ruins, but also for its setting in the second biggest agricultural valley in the country.
Growing up in an Italian family in Paestum, it was only natural for Chef Franco to take to cooking at a very early age. As early as age 3 he would assist his mother making simple things as a cup of tea, by filling the kettle with water and boiling it all on his own. By 7, Chef Franco was a regular in the kitchen with his mother and grandmother and helping with family dinners and gatherings. As a child while living with his grandparents, Chef Franco learned to cultivate the land by hand, stripping the soil and planting trees such as lemons, figs, plums, peaches, tomatoes, oranges, herbs, and more. Chef Franco then was responsible for canning and bottling the fruits of his labor for the summer and winter months. To this day, Chef Franco’s respect and love of fresh ingredients show in his culinary creations in the kitchen.
In his late teens Chef Franco went to train nearby at the Accademia delle Arte Culinarie di Napoli, and later went on to complete apprenticeships in France, Spain, Germany and London.
Chef Franco first served as sous chef in San Lorenzo Restaurant at one of London’s preeminent Italian restaurants, The San Lorenzo Knightsbridge, during which time he had the honor of serving luminaries like Princess Diana, Sophia Loren and Sir Paul McCartney. In the late 1990’s Chef Franco was brought to Los Angeles by the esteemed Drago family to open Il Buco in Beverly Hills where he served as head Chef.
In August of 2000, Franco joined the prestigious Jonathan Club in Downtown Los Angeles as Executive banquet Chef, where he was able to express his creative side and feature an array of European cuisine. After the Jonathan Club, Chef Franco became the Executive Chef at the Wilshire Grand Hotel and in 2004 he became the Executive Chef of Conference and Catering for the University of Southern California.
In the last decade, Chef Franco worked at one of the most notable hotels in Los Angeles, The Biltmore Hotel. From 2005 to 2011, Chef Franco was the Executive Chef of The Biltmore where he oversaw the entire culinary department, including all outlets, banquets and their famous Afternoon High Tea.
In 2011, Chef Franco left The Biltmore Hotel to pursue his dream of opening his very own restaurant and in 2012 he did just that. On a trendy strip of Melrose Ave, Franco on Melrose, a traditional Italian trattoria, opened alongside many of LA’s most esteemed culinary restaurants. With its canopied roof top, garden like indoor setting, Neapolitan menu and an Italian-centric wine list, Franco on Melrose represents the love for food and culture of his native country. Chef Franco’s approach to traditional southern Italian cooking blends seamlessly with a distinctly Californian lifestyle through consistent use of fresh, locally-grown products, and his signature dishes reflect the cuisine of his own Amalfi coast home.
Chef Franco resides in Los Angeles with his new Newfoundland puppy, Prince. In his spare time Chef Franco enjoys the beach, crossfit, hiking, and skiing.