Published on August 23rd, 2016 | by Mark Chesnut0
Where to Eat: 8 Great Restaurants in Guadalajara, Mexico
Mexico’s second-largest city is a delicious place for foodies, with its ever-growing culinary scene that includes everything from traditional Mexican food to super-trendy contemporary cuisine. During my most recent visit to Guadalajara, I sampled mouthwatering dishes at a variety of restaurants, and — with a little help from some locals — came up with this list of some of the greatest restaurants. It’s no wonder Mexico travel enthusiasts are increasingly putting Guadalajara on their itineraries.
What to eat in Guadalajara: Corn tortillas, beans, tacos with various fillings, freshly made breads and fruit drinks are among the tasty reasons to visit this city. Also popular are tortas (sandwiches) — especially the local favorite, torta ahogada (literally, “drowned sandwich”). For a truly authentic experience, you should also try barrio, a semi-spicy Mexican meat stew made with either goat or lamb and slowly cooked with spices. You’ll find recommendations on where to find all of these dishes in the listing below.
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Birrería Las 9 Esquinas: This rather unimposing downtown neighborhood, for some reason, is the city’s hub for restaurants serving birrería, the popular stew. One of the best restaurants for it, according to the owner of a nearby hotel called Casa Alebrijes, is 9 Esquinas, which is located — as the name indicates — at an intersection with nine corners.
Casa Fayette: U.S.-born chef Tyler La Presle oversees the menu at this restaurant, which is located in the stylish boutique hotel of the same name. The eclectic menu includes salads, ribeye and organic chicken, among other dishes.
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Casa Luna: Located in the tourist-popular area called Tlaquepaque, Casa Luna is a lovely venue set in a historic former home. It’s a beautiful place to break up a day of shopping for crafts, as you take a seat in the covered courtyard, amid upscale handmade decor that includes artificial trees. Live music and tasty Mexican food complete the experience.
Hueso: As the name indicates, bones are an important part of this restaurant’s identity. Stylish and hip, this monotone venue, designed by a group called Los Contratistas, is decorated with more than 10,000 bones, and most meals are served around a long, 54-person communal table (they also have private rooms for groups of 10 and six). The menu is overseen by Chef Alonso Cadena, whose staff works from an open kitchen, allowing you to witness the creation of the contemporary cuisine.
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I Latina: Funky, purposely mismatched furniture graces this purposely quirky venue. You’ll eat bread from a tin pail and probably dine from a tin camping plate, but the food is delicious modern Mexican — I especially liked the tuna tacos and the after-dinner digestif, Carajillo. I couldn’t help but wander around the place to take in the full decor, which includes gloriously gaudy curtains, wall murals, chandeliers and pink flamingos, complemented by retro English-language music by the likes of Depeche Mode and Jennifer Lopez. The owners of I Latina have a similarly cool restaurant just down the street: Anita Li (which, cleverly, is the same name spelled backwards).
Lula Bistro: Headed by Chef Darren Walsh, this is the kind of place to come when you have time to linger; the 12-course tasting menu — which features contemporary takes on Mexican and international cuisine — is extensive and deeply satisfying. The bright, fresh decor, high ceilings and lounge-style music add to the casually elegant ambiance.
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NH Collection Guadalajara Centro Historico: The rooftop restaurant at this attractive mid-priced hotel, located in the historic city center, offers perfect photo opportunities with its views of the nearby landmarks. Attractively presented Mexican and international cuisine is featured here for lunch and dinner (including the famed “drowned sandwich” mentioned in the introduction), but the view is what you’ll remember the most.
Solar de las Animas: Opened in 2015 in the town of Tequila (birthplace of the eponymous spirit), this restaurant is part of an elegant new hotel of the same name. Take a seat in the inside courtyard and savor the Mexican cocktails and other specialties; since it’s owned by Jose Cuervo, you know the drinks are good.
More info about Guadalajara: www.visitguadalajara.com