A definitive list of the essential restaurants in Guadalajara across an array of cuisines, neighborhoods, and price points.
Guadalajara is a world-class foodie destination that is still off the beaten path. What makes Guadalajara such a cool place to hang out is the balance of modern and traditional schools of thought, that you encounter every day. You see it in the architecture, how people think, but most importantly, you see it in the food. Some of the best food I have ever tasted comes from a family that has spent 3 generations preparing one, single dish. Then, for your next meal, you eat with a chef that has worked in the top kitchens in Europe and applies those techniques to rare Mexican ingredients.
Guadalajara has spellbinding traditional foods, restaurants representing most of Mexico, and a booming international scene. All of a sudden there is world-class sushi, lots of Korean BBQ, regional seafood, casual Venezuelan, and a uniquely Mexican natural food movement, among many more.
I want to help you find your next great meal and I am trying to throw dozens of options at the wall to see if anything sticks. These are my favorite Guadalajara restaurants to eat and be entertained, and I hope you find one or two that you absolutely love.
When considering all of the dining options available, these are the top Guadalajara restaurant experiences that travelers should consider. There is an element of cultural identity in each of them and the food is guaranteed to be spectacular.
I have been writing this list since 2018 and updating it quarterly. Several of the best restaurants in Guadalajara have had to close. Some of those restaurants have been closed for two years but are still recommended by Lonely Planet and other blogs on page one of a Google search. If you find any errors in my list, I would love to hear about them so that I may keep it up to date. If you have some recommendations, I’d love to hear about them too.
Lastly, this is not a ranking. I want to highlight diversity rather than trying to decide if Alcalde was better than a birrieria that has been around for 70 years. They are both important just different.
A Note About the Pandemic
It is with great sadness and a quixotic sense of optimism that I updated the best restaurants in Guadalajara list to reflect the toll the pandemic has taken on our beloved culinary arts scene. The pandemic hit the restaurant industry hard everywhere and Guadalajara was no exception. Many iconic restaurants had to close. It is estimated that in the State of Jalisco more than 4,500 restaurants have ceased to operate.
We have lost a lot of great restaurants. Ofelia Bistro and Lula Bistro were two of the highest-rated restaurants in Guadalajara. Atomic Thai had barely opened its doors when the rug was pulled out from underneath. Il Diavolo Terranova was an integral part of the Providencia community for over a decade and one of the first restaurants to serve pizzas in a wood-fired oven. Punto Sao Paulo looks a little different without Nativo Taller Gastronómico. Even the humble juice bar in Mercado de Abastos went out of business. All of these great restaurants will be greatly missed.
I humbly ask you to do whatever you can to support your favorite restaurants. Tip well, don’t complain about mask mandates and be kind. A vibrant restaurant scene is a part of what makes Guadalajara such a wonderful place to live and visit.
Calle Lope de Vega 113, Arcos Vallarta, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 1983 7254
It would be a shame to only eat at palReal once. The breakfasts get all the hype but the lunch menu is just as delectable. The real treats are the special events that Chef Fabian Delgado plans with his friends who also happen to be celebrity chefs. It is a chance for people who really love hospitality to get together to throw parties with spectacular food.
There is so much to taste at palReal it is going to take you a few visits to wrap your head around the whole menu. Most people start with breakfast, come back later in the week for lunch and if they are lucky, can reserve an event while they are in town.
palReal is a wonderful place to learn about Mexico and rare Mexican ingredients. You will have to learn to pronounce the names of ingredients that are not in Spanish but in the languages of the native peoples like xoconostle, chilacayota, and encacahuatadas. I particularly enjoy the different mole sauces that are prepared as specials. Many of them are made gluten-free. Recently, I have been ordering the ceviche specials because I am always delightfully surprised by new flavors of a dish I thought I knew really well.
The coffee is some of the best in Mexico. Two of the founding partners have a coffee roasting company that won the best roaster in Mexico award. They serve small-batch coffees from all over Mexico and the servers can describe the characteristics of each coffee like it was a fine wine.
Birriería La Victoria
Calle Manuel Acuña 1511, Santa Teresita, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 3825 4221
La Victoria is a small piece of Guadalajara history. This place has been serving food since 1948 making one dish and trying to perfect the craft. This particular birria is a favorite of local celebrity chefs like Paco Ruano, Fabian Delgado, and Nico Mejia, and was featured on the birria episode of Las Cronicas del Taco. La Victoria is a local institution and a testament to what Guadalajara was like back in the day. The walls are covered with commemorative editions of the local newspaper as the owners remember what Guadalajara was like when they opened the restaurant.
The most common way to order a birria is in a bowl with broth. You can select the cuts you like or choose a mixed bowl. The most popular cuts are probably the spine and the ribs. If you like a little less fat you can choose a loin cut. The machito is a piece of liver wrapped in tripe and it is absolutely delicious.
These guys catered my son’s baptism and I was blown away by the family’s reaction. The Chilangos all went for seconds saying they had never tasted a birria as delicious as La Victoria. This simple establishment is easily one of the best restaurants in Guadalajara.
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The Best Birria in Guadalajara
Xokol Tortilleria, Molino y Antojería
Calle Ignacio Herrera y Cairo 1392, Santa Teresita, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 1289 4233
There is a building movement of traditional foods and ingredients in Mexico. Small farmers and heirloom ingredients are fighting back against industrialized farming. Xokol prepares heirloom varietal corn tortillas in the morning and operates a world-renowned restaurant in the evening. Both chefs have been lauded as some of the best young chefs in Latin America by the San Pellegrino Young Chef Award.
I used to think about Xokol as the place with the heirloom corn tortillas and that does them a disservice. Yes, these are some of the best tortillas you will ever taste but that is just the beginning of the adventure. Xokol is one of the world’s great restaurants that will introduce you to a number of ingredients you thought you knew but taste way different in the heirloom varietal form.
Chefs Oscar Segundo and Xrysw Ruelas have an ancestral connection with food and agriculture but they have also trained in some of the top kitchens in Mexico. Both of them have an incredibly broad view of what can be done. Plus, they have access to ingredients that most people have never heard of or tasted.
Xokol is kind of a cult favorite in Guadalajara that isn’t in many tourist guides. The restaurant seats less than 25 people in the open space. The kitchen is right in front of you. You will feel the heat from the comal. You will also be talking about the meal for weeks to come.
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Xokol Tortilleria, Molino y Antojería: Go Now
One of Guadalajara’s most treasured restaurants. The original brick-and-mortar location is in Tlaquepaque and the Hacienda is just past the airport on the highway to Chapala. All goat meat, nothing modern. It is awesome to see those huge clay ovens still churning out my favorite local food. Here is a list of some other great birria restaurants.
Calle Manuel López Cotilla 1752, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3615 6401
Allium is a little ahead of the times in Guadalajara. Chef Adolfo Galnares is originally from Mexico City but he studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City and has brought the farm-to-table movement with him to Guadalajara. He is sourcing and growing ingredients that nobody else has, and you can taste the difference.
You can’t find heirloom tomatoes in Mercado de Abastos but Chef Adolfo has friends that are growing the best tomatoes in Jalisco. The cheese platter is a treasure trove of high-end goat, sheep, and cow’s milk cheeses made in Atotonilco, Jalisco. The salads change with the season and are worth the trip alone.
I highly recommend the pork belly in chile poblano sauce and the duck breast in two types of cherry sauce. We also loved the flan de elote dessert. Full bar with a creative cocktail menu.
Also featured in:
Allium Restaurant: Mexican Farm to Table
The sign reads, “Traveler who came to Guadalajara and didn’t come to Chela, didn’t come to Guadalajara”. This humble restaurant hidden inside Mercado de Abastos is iconic and has served some of Mexico’s most famous people. It is decorated with pictures of the matriarch with presidents, musicians, and pillars of industry. And not just your average run-of-the-mill musicians. I’m talking about the one and only Don Vicente Fernandez. Not only is that man one of Mexico’s most treasured recording artists but he knows how to eat. Then there is Emilio Azcárraga, owner of Televisa and backer of one of San Diego’s favorite restaurant groups. These people, pillars of society, know good food and Doña Chela is the godmother of menudo in Guadalajara.
Chef Paco Ruano of Alcalde Restaurant, the 17th best restaurant in Latin America in 2020, has set his Instagram profile picture to himself slurping down a bowl of soup at Doña Chela’s.
Also featured in:
Mercado de Abastos: Guadalajara´s Wholesale Market and Neighborhood
La Panga del Impostor
Calle Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 2189, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3826 2000
This is where the cool kids and the foodies in the know like to hang out. La Panga del Impostor is one part nostalgic trip to a sleepy fishing village and one part chef-driven menu. Chef Antonio De Livier is one of Mexico’s most beloved TV personalities, leading the show Cocineros Mexicanos. He has been all over the country and combines regional cooking with innovative recipes. The birria de almeja is a seafood lover’s take on a classic Tapatio dish. The dried shrimp aguachile with cecina is one of the best dishes that I tried in 2017. And the taco de chicharron prensado with octopus is reason enough to get to know the Panga. The selection of ice cream flavors they have for dessert is a gourmet version of a Mexican childhood.
Maru Toledo’s Rancho El Teuchiteco
Maru Toledo is a cultural anthropologist and author who travels Mexico documenting oral traditions related to culinary history. She has events at her ranch, El Teuchiteco, where she prepares food with a specific theme and gives a talk about the history and cultural significance of the recipes they are serving.
THIS IS NOT A RESTAURANT. Do not drive out here unless you have RSVP’d and paid for the event in advance. You can find more information on her events on the Facebook Page.
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Things to do in Tequila, Jalisco and the Valles Region
Calle Morelos 1196, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara // Intragram
Telephone: 33 1653 1141
RinTinTin is a cult favorite that is kind of under the radar. The owner has one of the best social media presences in Guadalajara and I constantly run into publications of major celebrities like Gael Garcia Bernal and Alan Estrada (Alan X El Mundo) raving about the place. Besides the design and marketing, the food is designed for foodies. Everything is delicious and there is a level of nostalgia in the homemade pop-tarts. The cinnamon rolls are some of the best in the city and the chilaquiles are one of my staples. Oh yeah, and there is seriously good coffee.
I like to think about the Guadalajara food scene before Alcalde and after Alcalde. Chef Paco Ruano put Guadalajara on the map as a destination for Haute Mexican cuisine. He has convinced the locals to try new things and paved the way for a modern foods movement. I love sitting at the kitchen bar to watch all the action. Make sure to try the frijoles puercos appetizer and the arroz con leche dessert which are both world-class.
Chef Francisco Ruano has been making the world take notice of Guadalajara since opening Alcalde in 2013. After training in Puerto Vallarta with Thierry Blouet and later in Denmark with renowned NOMA chef René Redzepi he is back in his hometown winning awards and blowing minds.
Ruano describes his food as simple but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The guy is methodical and each dish has multiple layers; visually stunning, multiple textures, and lingering subtle nuances. Alcalde is a must-see when in Guadalajara. The frijoles puercos appetizer, the duck entree, and the rice pudding dessert are especially decadent. Full bar and reservations are highly recommended.
The hottest thing in seafood these days is Nayarit-style cooking. Campomar Restaurant is ample but there is always a wait. The concept hails from Ixtlán del Río, Nayarit, just outside the State of Jalisco. Our server scoffed when I asked if they use Jugo Maggi or Salad Inglesa in the ceviche responding that their ceviche is all-natural. The seafood options range from classic to exotic. The orange ceviche with shrimp and Bay scallops are exceptional. Another test I have of seafood restaurants is the quality of their bean tacos. I want to see the ingredients and how well they prepare simple food. Campomar is excellent but beware that many of their salsas are professional-level spicy.
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Mariscos Campomar: Cocina Nayarita
Chef Fabian Delgado of palReal fame opened Los Yunaites in the Centenario Market just blocks from where he grew up. A close personal friend and business partner is from the town of San José de Gracia on the far side of Lake Chapala right where the State of Michoacan begins. The area is famous for cheeses and migrant farmworkers who would seasonally travel to the United States. They are affectionately called Los Yunaites.
The name of the restaurant roughly translates to concoctions from the villages. They are looking for unique, gourmet experiences.
Eating at Los Yunaites is like taking a trip to the pueblos without leaving the city. There are country-style, artisanal ingredients, and recipes that people in the city don’t see very often. The cumin-flavored mole is a family recipe from Tequila, Jalisco. The tortillas come from a Mazahua community that grows heirloom varietals. The encotijada with huitlacoche is like an enchilada but with a salty and creamy Cotija cheese sauce rather than a chile sauce. It is typical of the pueblos around, you guessed it, Cotija, Michoacán, the place that’s famous for cheese.
Los Yuntaites is an absolutely quintessential Mexican culinary experience that you have to check out while in the area.
Cenaduria Doña Guille
Calle Jaime Nunó 1032, Mezquitan Country, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3825 6676
Let’s get past the absolutely fabulous retro decor with pink walls and wavy recessed mood lighting. This place is an absolute classic and the food just happens to be some of the best in the city.
I’m kind of a nut about enchiladas and these are like the ones you get in the pueblos. You can watch the ladies frying them up to order. They aren’t made in advance and reheated. The chicken ones are good but I absolutely love the cheese with chopped onion enchiladas. They also happen to serve the best pozole that I know in Guadalajara. I like eating green pozole in Mexico City or white pozole in San Ysidro. The Guadalajara red pozole is a close third.
You can’t leave without getting a tostada with pickled pig’s foot. Ask them to take it off the bone if you are new to eating patita. The aguas frescas are excellent and you will want the liter. Order the big one.
Tikuun Comedor Local
Calle Emeterio Robles Gil 50, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3825 0117
It is refreshing to see young chefs looking at Mexico for their inspiration. Carlos Espinosa is one of Mexico’s most exciting young chefs who just happens to be working in Guadalajara. Tikuun is the sort of place that the chefs love to eat. The food is exciting and adventurous. Expect lots of exotic meats, sauces, and ingredients. The presentation is an Instagrammer’s dream as every last leaf and pedal has been placed exactly where it needs to be. This is independent Mexico. No Corona, no Cuervo, just recipes that may be skipped a generation and got a fancy new presentation. This needs to be on your list of restaurants to visit soon!
Blvrd Puerta de Hierro 4965, Paseo Andares, Zapopan, Jalisco // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3611 4445
This closet turned sushi bar is one of the hottest tickets in the Guadalajara restaurant scene right now. This is not your typical Mexican sushi but the real deal, high-end Japanese-style sushi like you would find in Los Angeles or Mexico City. Nobody in Guadalajara has a selection of exquisite fish that Chef Daisuke Maeda has brought in specifically for this sushi bar. I tend to judge a sushi bar on the quality of their sea urchin and I can say, without a doubt, that is the best sea urchin I have tasted three hours away from the beach. There are only 15 seats at the sushi bar and reservations for more than two people can be hard to get. It is expensive but that is to be expected for the quality and selection.
Old school, Japanese-owned Guadalajara restaurant that is the real deal. It’s part sushi bar, part teppanyaki, and part museum. The place is enormous and will be full on a Sunday afternoon. They have gluten-free soy sauce and if you know your way around a Japanese food menu you will be able to find some great options. Suehiro has excellent service and is one of Guadalajara’s favorite restaurants.
Calle Pedro Moreno 1398, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara // Facebook
Telephone: 33 3825 5447
El Sacromonte is a nostalgic trip through old Mexico. The early 20th-century house that has been converted into a restaurant, and launched a very successful restaurant group, is a time capsule of a foregone era. A piano player in the entrance is the first clue that you are in for something special. The menu reads like a greatest hits album of Mexico’s most famous and historic personalities: Salads named after Dolores del Rio and María Felix, and entrees names after my favorite neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City. Service is impeccable and much of the waitstaff have been there for decades. During chile enogada season this is my go-to restaurant. Full bar available.
Avenida Rubén Darío 534, Lomas de Guevara, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 3641 6049
An absolute Guadalajara classic restaurant. This place always comes up when I ask people what their favorite tacos are. A lot of people talk about how they have memories of coming here with parents and grandparents. Tacos Providencia is more of a high-end tacos shop with waiters decent sized tables. They spend a little extra money and buy good quality meat which they cook corretly. I love that the beef rib tacos are served on the bone. It is a little extra work to take it off the bone but cooking it on the bone adds more flavor.
La Tequila Cocina Mexicana
May be considered a touristy restaurant but that shouldn’t affect your ability to enjoy this place. Besides the vast collection of rare tequilas, the menu includes exotic dishes from across the country. The tlayudas are excellent. On the weekends they sell lamb barbacoa out of a shack behind the restaurant that is top-notch.
Menudería y Carnes Asadas Alfonso
Avenida Mandarina L1, Comercial Abastos, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 1662 5207
I used to live a couple blocks away from Mercado de Abastos when I first moved to Guadalajara in 2009. The market is an excellent place to eat with a wide variety of options and Carnes Asadas and Menuderia Alfonso is a local favorite. When I first started exploring the market I would always skip Alfonso’s place because it was consistantly full and I was kind of timid. One day the host recognized that I was lurking and found me a seat right in front of the tortilla lady and it changed my life. 12 years later the same waitrsses are still working there teaching me about Mexico.
The menudo is exceptions. I started out ordering just the broth while I warmed up to the texture of the intestinal cuts of meat. The carnes asadas are very good. I prefer the lamb but that is a special occasion. Nowadays, I amost always order the machaca con huevos but the lengua en salsa verda, and chiles rellenos are all exceptional. If you don’t want to get a full order of carne asada you can just order a taco or quesadilla.
Mercado de Abastos is the wholesale market and has some of the best produce in this part of Mexico. The recipes are not complex but homestyle made with the finnest ingredients available.
Mochomos is a high-end Mexican steak house from the northern state of Sonora. The restaurant opened in the ultra-luxurious Landmark shopping mall to huge crowds and long waits even though the place is huge. Besides a great steak, this is the place to be seen by the social elite on the weekends. There is a lot of social capital inside the beautifully decorated restaurant.
Avenida de las Américas, Ladrón de Guevara, Guadalajara // Instgram
Telephone: 33 3615 4952
Il Duomo is one of the best restaurats in Guadalajara that tourists never hear about. This restaurant launched a hugely successful restaurant group that has spread to Querétaro, Leon, and Monterrey. The service and the food are both exceptional.
The menu is Italian and the Italian Chamber of Comerce recognized Il Duomo with an Ospitalitá Italiana certificate for promoting authentic Italian food and wine culture. You have got to see their wine seller. This is one of the best places in Guadalajara to drink good wine.
I have enjoyed excellent risottos, suckling pig, quail and a ribeye flamayeed in grappa and foie gras butter.
Birriería las 9 Esquinas
The Plaza de las Nueva Esquinas is not a restaurant but a plaza surrounded by a number of traditional restaurants and cantinas. The plaza is famous for excellent birria and pitayas (cactus fruit). Before there was a fountain in the plaza, there was a watering hole for mules and cantinas for mule drivers. This is where they would both come to drink before and after traveling.
Birrieria de las 9 Esquinas is probably the most photogenic of the restaurants with an art deco exterior and open kitchen with Talavera tiles on the inside.
Next to the Birrieria de la 9 Esquinas is the Pilon de los Arrieros Restaurant. The name is a reference to the history of the plaza. The food at the Pilón de los Arrieros is excellent and the atmosphere is beautifully decorated with local artwork that looks like it was taken from Tlaquepaque.
Blvd Puerta de Hierro 4965, Plaza Andares, Zapopan // Instagram
Telephone: 33 2001 6364
Calle Manuel López Cotilla 1228, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Instagram
Telephone: 33 2715 8899
Carne en su Jugo
Calle José Clemente Orozco 333, Santa Teresita, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 3825 7869
Carne en su jugo is a simple dish that is oftentimes included in the travel guides as a must-see. I think it is a little overrated because of the Guinness book of world records thing. It is satisfying but not life-changing.
The dish is a beef soup with thinly sliced beefsteak that is cooked to retain the braising liquid. The liquid is mixed with a tomatillo (tomate verde) to make the broth. They add bacon, beans, cilantro, and onion just before it is served. The bacon is usually crispy when it hits the table. It is a heavy soup. People from other parts of Mexico joke that Jalisco loves sauce. They drown everything in sauce. Carne en su jugo is more carne than soup. It is heavy. It is like meat drowned in sauce.
In The Santa Teresita neighborhood, there is a street called Calle Garibaldi. On Garibaldi Street, there are three or four of the best carne en su jugo restaurants all on the same block. One is a little more corporate, one is a little more country, and the third is humble. They all serve tasty meals but be careful not to eat too much.
Avenida José María Morelos 2122, Arcos Vallarta, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3615 7478
All of a sudden Guadalajara has a solid repertoire of Korean restaurants. I am really starting to rethink my criticisms of the Asian food that is available in Guadalajara restaurants. There are casual options in the market, after-work beer swigging, and all-you-can-eat joints, and there are sophisticated yet casually elegant options to choose from. Restaurante SSAM fits into that sophisticated yet casually elegant category. Inside and out the experience is absolutely enchanting. A beautiful space on tree-lined Calle Morelos, educated and attentive service, and one hell of a kitchen make Restaurante SSAM a name that you need to know.
Casa Morenos GDL
If you don’t know about Venezuelan-style arepas, you don’t know living. Just look at the reviews that this restaurant has on Google Maps. Casa Morenos has quickly grown into hub of the Venezuelan community in Guadalajara. A Reina Pepiada is the classic chicken salad sandwich with avocado. My favorite is called the Influencer which has shredded beef, plantain, white cheese, and avocado. Make sure to order a passion fruit juice to go with it.
Avenida Inglaterra 3128, Vallarta Poniente, Guadalajara \\ Instagram
Telephone: 33 3647 7774
From the time you walk in the door, you realize how important the music is to these people. Whether it is live music or a carefully crafted playlist you will catch yourself grooving all night long. You can tell the owners are well traveled and love to bring back the tackiest treasures from abroad. The ceramic pigs lining the bar, the throw rugs hung on the wall and the stuffed animals (fake?) playfully adorning different rooms makes the restaurant one of a kind.
When it comes to the kitchen, the chef is no-nonsense. These guys were some of the first people in Guadalajara to start using sous-vide and the consistency in their food is tireless. The food is nouveau Mexican with some international flair. The shrimp in green curry is very good, the beef short rib entree is out of this world and I am still trying to find out who makes their desserts because the coconut and choco banana ice creams keep me up at night. Full bar and reservations are highly recommended because everyone knows that these are some of the best Guadalajara restaurants.
Avenida Providencia 2920, Providencia, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 1134 2979
Oaxaca is a long way away from Guadalajara both geographically and culturally. Dainzu makes it feel a little bit closer. It is a longtime favorite local restaurant in an upper-middle class neighborhood.
I am a creature of habit and I dream about tlayudas. The tlayuda with tasajo is very good. The chapulines are fresh and crispy, and for the most part whole. Don’t forget to order a horchata rice water that is garnished with cantelope and nuts.
Avenida de las Américas 1254, Country Club, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 2589 4135
Veneno is a restaurant in the Panoramo food court in the Mil500 tower on Avenida Americas. There are a lot of great retaurants in building but Veneno combines an award winning design concept with a satifying menu. This a really fun place to have dinner.
In 2020, Veneno won best design in the Americas by the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards just in time for the pandemic to ravage the restaurant industry. Thankfully, they survived and today they are absolutely packed. The desing feel like a cross between the Star Wars cantina and the archeological sites in the north of Mexico like Paquimé, Chihuahua.
The menu is high-end ,seasonal Mexican that feels like it has been influenced by the Valle de Guadalupe and the Valle de Parras wine regions in the north.
Mariscos Don Vergas
Avenida Providencia 2880, Providencia, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3822 8885
I have never actually eaten in the restaurant but got in the habit of ordering food to go. The name may be vulgar but the seafood is spectacular. The owner and chef is a protege of famed Pujol chef Enrique Olvera.
Spending a Sunday in Tlaquepaque, dining at El Abajeño, and listening to mariachi is a uniquely Jaliscan experience. The outdoor patio is lush, the tequila flows and all is right in the world. The name Abajeño comes from the people who inhabit the lowlands, as opposed to the highlands of Los Altos de Jalisco.
Mexicans love seafood but La Docena is taking that love to a whole new level. Chef Tomas Bermudez is well-traveled and has fused his travels into a new type of Mexican seafood restaurant. With a little bit of Baja California, a little bit of Louisiana, and a touch of molecular gastronomy, La Docena has broken the mold of traditional Mexican seafood joints. Recently listed as one of the best restaurants in Latin America, La Docena has expanded into Mexico City and opened a high-end sushi bar that is unlike anything else in the city. Make sure to try the grilled oysters in clarified butter, grilled young octopus, and something from their live seafood bar. Full bar available with some special wines from Baja California.
Tacos Los Alteños
Avenida Tepeyac 1207, Chapalita Sur, Zapopan, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 3121 6712
Tacos los Alteños is one of the best tacos shops in Guadalajara. It is an absolute insititution and full all the time. Except for holidays. They are famous for closing shop on both government and Catholic holidays.
The count is on the honor system. Ask for what you want and tell the cashier how many you ate.
Tacos de pastor are some of the most popular tacos. There is bistek, chorizo, lengua, carnaza, cachete and a few of the exotics like ojo and sesos. They also operate an aguas frescas business or you can get coke products.
Calle Independencia 211, Centro, San Pedro Tlaquepaque, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 1592 2061
Casa Luna is easily one of the most beautiful restaurants in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Region. The restaurant is located in Tlaquepaque but you would have a hard time knowing where Guadalajara ends and Tlaquepaque begins. You know this is Tlaquepaque because of the folk art decorations in the historic mansion. The entire place is very Instagram friendly.
Classic Mexican fare is served. This is one of my favorite places to enjoy chile en nogada.
Calle General Coronado 79, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3825 5933
Growing up in San Diego we are spoiled with great burgers. Finding a good hamburger in Guadalajara can be a challenge. Thankfully there’s Pig’s Pearls. The burgers are on the smaller side but that lets you order a salad and a bone marrow appetizer. I am partial to the lamb burger and the bacon maple syrup burger and can never decide which to order. Beer and wine only but they have a great selection of local microbreweries.
Ponte Trucha Negro
Calle Ignacio Ramírez 646, Santa Teresita, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 3826 0316
Ponte Trucha Negro is another classic Guadalajara restauant serving a unique style of seafood
While most of the attention goes to Taco Fish La Paz, and I agree they have a good taco, the award for the BEST fish taco goes to The Happy Fish. The Happy Fish has a little bigger menu and I always seem to order those tacos/tostadas that they don’t have at Fish Taco La Paz. The other difference is the salsa bar. At both restaurants, the tacos are served dry and you decide how you want to dress them. The salsa bar at The Happy Fish has more options and is in better condition. Both Taco Fish La Paz and The Happy Fish are great options that have been around forever, but I recommend The Happy Fish just a little bit more.
Avenida Chapultepec Sur 693, Colonia Moderna, Guadalajara // Instagram
Telephone: 33 3333 4033
The owner of Rio Viejo is the patriarch of one of Guadalajara’s premier restaurant families. He knows the business inside and out and the service and food will delight even the most discerning guests. These people know how to eat well and treat their customers right. I have driven to random corners of Mexico to eat in local restaurants they recommended. I believe in their vision and love taking my mom to dine at Rio Viejo for special occasions.
Momotabi Mochi Market
Avenida Vallarta 1090, Colonia Americana, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Facebook
Telephone: 33 1006 3622
Avenida Pablo Neruda 3180, Providencia, Guadalajara, Jalisco // Instagram
Telephone: 33 1591 0391
About the Author
I feel uniquely qualified to write this article because I have been living here for so long. All of the top Google searches are bloggers who parachute in for a long weekend and try to summarize the Guadalajara restaurant scene having eaten at these restaurants only once. I have lived in Guadalajara for ten years of which I have spent five years working in Guadalajara restaurants. The contacts that I have made give me a unique perspective about restaurants that are opening and why others are closing.
Restaurateurs typically know how to eat well because that is their industry and they need to know the market. Their employees have gone on to work in other kitchens and dining rooms, their purveyors supply other restaurants and everybody talks.
This list is based on my personal experiences but it is highly influenced by the conversations that I have with people within the local industry as well as national and international guests. My wife and I love to eat out and try everything new. I am using this blog as a way to document the things that I love and think that you might like too. These are my favorite Guadalajara restaurants.