There are lots of varying opinions about the PT1911. A good first 1911 is really what you can afford. I personally have the Taurus PT1911 and I enjoy shooting it. The only thing that took getting used to was the figure "8" (dot on top of dot) sights.
The most common complaint about Taurus is their customer service which some feel is below par and very slow.
I might suggest Springfield, perhaps the Milspec 1911A1. You can find them in the $550 range, and Springfield is very well known for good customer service.