Guadalajara has a dynamic restaurant scene and the steakhouse is no exception. Jalisco isn’t particularly famous for thick-cut steaks but it is a good thing we have a lot of transplants from northern Mexican (Sonora has particularly good beef) and others from Argentina.
Sometimes all you want is a thick-cut piece of meat, crispy on the outside and rare in the middle. An old coworker used to say, “Anything less than three fingers is carpaccio” and I think there is some truth to that. I used to work in the Guadalajara restaurant industry and I still know a lot of people that are managing some of the best restaurants for steak in town. These are my favorites.
The Best Steakhouses In Guadalajara Overview
A lot of these restaurants are not on the tourist track and I think that makes them more appealing to visit. I hope you try something new and find a restaurant that you love.
Here is my list of the best Guadalajara steak restaurants.
1. El Bodegón de Ova
Sitting at the top of the list is a recommendation from my friend Carol Wheeler. Carol told me that Ova is the best parrillero (grill master) in Guadalajara and possibly all of Mexico.
This is the best steakhouse in Guadalajara that you probably haven’t heard about. It is a small, casual location in the Lafayette neighborhood that is one block away from the restaurant-heavy Calle López Cotilla.
From the few times that I have been here, I have to agree with her. The steak restaurant is billed as a parilla de Buenos Aires, and those folks know a thing or two about grilled meat.
I am a very inquisitive diner and I love poking my head into the kitchen, or in this case into the grill. It was not a super busy day but they were able to maintain the perfect temperature on a wood-burning grill to produce an exceptional steak.
Now that I am aware of Ova, I have seen him at some major events. His steaks are excellent but I want to see him grill a whole lamb or a whole pig for a festival.
Do yourself a favor and make a reservation here. They have a great wine list and the steaks are the best quality for the best price you will find in Guadalajara.
2. El Fogón del Pibe
The only reason that I know about this restaurant is that I worked with the manager at another restaurant way back in the day. It is in a part of town that isn’t on the tourist track but the clientele is wealthy and they like to eat. As the name would suggest, the menu is an Argentine fusion. The bife de chorizo in the picture is one of the best things that I have eaten this year. This steak is what sent me on a mission to try all the best steak restaurants in Guadalajara.
The bife de chorizo is a ribeye cut of meat. El Fogon del Pibe offers several sizes. My wife and I like to share the large one. I prefer medium rare while she prefers medium. I love that they bring out a hot metal plate to sear some of the fat and finish that medium rare to medium temperature difference.
Matias, my friend that manages the place is a serious wine guy. He holds weekly tastings with his staff and is happy to talk about wine, specifically Argentine wine. He has some great wines by the glass and some special bottles of high-end Malbec.
The steak and the wine list are exceptional but the salad was just ok. I would have liked a vinaigrette with a little more acidity but that is just personal preference.
The kid’s play area is huge and will be packed on the weekend. If you don’t have kids I would probably avoid this place on a Sunday. It gets crazy busy.
3. Baires Chapalita
Baires is our neighborhood Argentine restaurant and they have the best beef cheeks (mollejas) that I have eaten in Guadalajara. The steaks are very good, the wine selection is chosen by wine drinkers and the prices are very affordable when compared with other Guadalajara restaurants.
4. Brick Steakhouse
Brick Steakhouse won an important international award for the quality of its meat selection. I love the fact they take the tray out to the table to show you what you are ordering. I don’t know all the names of every different cut and it helps to see how thick they are and which ones have bones. There are different styles of meat coming from Mexico, the US, Japan, and New Zealand.
We got an excellent salad and excellent kid’s pasta which my picky eater finished. Our server was one of the most educated waiters that I have encountered in a long time. He spoke excellent Spanish and English while knowing every ingredient on the menu. He made some excellent recommendations.
The restaurant is located inside one of the newest business towers in the Country Club neighborhood. There is an office complex that caters to tech firms, a beautiful AC Marriot hotel, and the hottest new food court in Guadalajara. You will see a lot of social capital walking around and probably some armed bodyguards.
5. Il Duomo Restaurant
Il Duomo is not a typical steak restaurant. They are a high-end Italian restaurant that launched one of Guadalajara’s favorite restaurant groups, Grupo Pasta. They have a ribeye steak that is finished tableside on a block of pink salt from the Himalayas and flambéd with grappa and foie gras butter. The whole thing is decadent. It is an amazing experience.
Consider the grilled quail and the risotto to go with your steak.
Il Duomo has a beautiful wine cellar and one of the best selections of wine in Guadalajara. I highly recommend the Abadia Retuerta which is a Spanish blend of mostly tempranillo with some cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot. It is a perfect complement to a spectacular steak.
6. Cortázar Parilla de Autor
Someone here really likes to read and has a vivid imagination. The place is named after one of Argentina’s most treasured writers and is designed as a surrealist fantasy. And the food is bomb too!
7. Asador La Vaca Argentina
This is one of Guadalajara’s treasured institutions. They have locations in all of the major malls but the Pergolas location in the Arcos Vallarta neighborhood is my favorite. The Vaca Argentina restaurant group also owns Sacramonte Restaurant which is a little piece of Guadalajara’s history. The food here is good and consistent.
8. Res Pública
My wife and I love to knock on La Res Publica. The service is horrible but the food is great. There is this Leon Larregui-looking waiter who is always just chilling when you need something but you can’t get his attention. They have done a great job affecting the Argentine ‘me vale madre’ attitude. The one thing that really bothers me is the spicy sauce. We are in Mexico. Spicy food or sauce is expected. When I ask for something spicy to put on my french fries the waiter rolls his eyes and says that they don’t do that here.
But the food is very, very good. It is like a pop-up restaurant that had so much success that they decided to just keep it indefinitely. There is a huge wood-fired grill and a solid grill master. This is where I came to love the beef cheeks (mollejas). The steaks are thick cut and we like to get a big one to share. If you can handle the attitude, this is a place to check out.
The last time I was at La Res Publica I went with the intention of proposing marriage to my wife. I had the ring in my pocket and everything. The service was so bad that I decided to wait another day to propose because I didn’t want to look back in 20 years and celebrate that restaurant. I ended up proposing at La Docena Restaurant the next day which was a little nicer and has better service.
9. La Matera
I really enjoy the Matera and have gotten some great steaks here. I also understand why my wife doesn’t like to go there. The crowd is an older (she says elderly), wealthy demographic that is there to eat and drink heavily. Their unwanted advances can be persistent if you get stuck at the wrong table.
The steaks, in my opinion, are excellent. The guy at the next table over recommended that we order the table-side grill to keep our steak warm while we were eating it. I love ordering a steak medium-rare or rare and letting the grill keep the steak warm and the edges crispy. The rib-eye (bife de chorizo) is exactly what I want in a thick-cut steak.
Order a Fernet Branca and Coke to finish your meal. It is an Italo-Argentine classic.
The venue underneath the restaurant is known to house some of the best nightlife in Guadalajara.
10. El Almacén del Bife
I had heard of this place for a long time but assumed that it was going to be a lot more expensive than it was. It is not cheap by any means but because it is located in Plaza Andares I thought it was going to be even more expensive.
What got our attention was the kid’s play area on the second floor inside. The patio is a place to be seen by high society and the kid’s area is hidden inside.
I really enjoyed their bife de chorizo steak but my kid’s face when he saw his individual pizza made the trip. He loved the small kid’s play area and we could watch him the whole time. He colored, played in the kitchen (a play kitchen), and watched TV which let us
Multiple Locations // Instagram
I added Palominos to the list based on an experience I had at their first restaurant in Mexicali, Baja California. The new location in Distro La Perla was understaffed the day I was there and the service was lacking. The waitstaff didn’t know the menu well and didn’t make good recommendations for portion sizes. I would like to try the Providencia location in Guadalajara because I feel like that is the best location locally.
We got the ojo de rib eye which I wasn’t impressed with. Next time I will order the normal rib eye. The whole time I was asking myself if this was what I had really ordered while thinking about a filet mignon I had eaten the week before.
I know that Palominos is a great brand and people rave about the Providencia location. My wife’s uncle took us to the location in Mexicali which was outstanding. I think that with a little time, the Distro La Perla location will finish its training and have service that corresponds to its price point.
12. La Pastería
Multiple Locations // Instagram
This is another concept by Grupo Pasta that is a little less expensive than Il Duomo.
The picaña is excellent. I love the combination of steak and salad. They use Rational Ovens to cook the meat and the thin slice of fat that characterizes the picaña comes out crunchy. It is a great cut of meat for a really affordable price compared to the rest of the restaurants on this list.
La Pastería has one of the best value-based wine lists in Guadalajara and some nice cocktails
13. Mr. Pampas
Multiple Locations // website
Mr. Pampas is a great restaurant group. I have been eating here regularly since 2008 or 2009. My first experience eating at their restaurants was in Tijuana and I was thrilled to see two locations in Guadalajara.
I have been to Brazil and eaten churrasco in Porto Alegre and São Paulo. Is it the same thing? Well, no, but it is adapted to meet the expectations of the local consumers, and I like the grilled jalapeños.
What I really like is that there is a better selection of exotic meats in Guadalajara than I could find in Los Angeles or San Diego. People in San Diego don’t eat chicken hearts. Sure, everybody loves the picanha but I want to try everything. The portion of beef sweetbreads they cut off the sword was worth the price of admission alone, and they were really good.
The salad bar is beautiful but they wouldn’t let me take pictures. They were really strict about that. I rarely make it to dessert but the bananas and arroz con leche are my favorites when I do make it.
I always get a little nervous eating at the Brazilian barbeque because it is so easy to overeat and feel sick afterward. I am getting better.
Check out Mr. Pampas. I am sure you will enjoy it.
Conclusion: The Best Steakhouses In Guadalajara
I went through a long phase where I didn’t want to go out to steak restaurants because I thought I could cook a better steak at home. And while that is still often true, I will admit that the best steak restaurants in Guadalajara can cook a better steak than I can and know where to source the best ingredients. Writing this article has given me a better appreciation of the classic steak restaurant.
I hope this article leaves you thinking that there are some spectacular steak restaurants in Guadalajara. And this is just the beginning. I still have a bunch of restaurants to visit.
I want you to realize that it is not cheap to eat out at an expensive steakhouse every week. I had to pace myself while writing this article. I might need to spend some time eating street food and tacos before starting the next round of steak houses.
These are the Guadalajara steakhouses that are next on my list:
- Cuerno is a part of Grupo Costeño which also operates Mochomos
- Meet has been throwing parties with celebrity chefs like David Castro Hussong
- Sonora Prime I went a long time ago in Puerto Vallarta but I haven’t been to the Guadalajara locations.