My mind was completely blown away by the gastronomic scene in Guadalajara. Since I’ve been in Mexico, the restaurants in Guadalajara have served me some of the most mouthwatering food I’ve had anywhere in the country. During my vacation, I dined at a variety of places, and almost without exception, they all lived up to or even above my expectations. The quality of everything I ate, from street food to fine dining, was on par with or maybe even beyond that of many of the restaurants and other establishments I went to in Mexico City.
On the other hand, I feel bound to point out that the food at the vast majority of restaurants in Guadalajara that I dined at was, on average, of greater quality than the service that I received there (not all, but many). Even at some of the more luxury restaurants and hotels that I visited, I encountered service that was a little bit underwhelming. In point of fact, I found the best customer service at establishments that focused more on the local community.
Even while I’d want to claim that it was simply a coincidence or a terrible night, I discovered that situations similar to this one continued occurring to me while I was in Guadalajara, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was cursed.
In conclusion, I think you should go there since the food is good, but you shouldn’t take it personally if you find out that the service could need some work if you discover that it might use some work.
Before you go for your vacation, I strongly suggest that you read this post to find out whether or not you need to purchase travel insurance for Mexico, and that you check out my packing list for Mexico as well. Both of these can be found on my website.
While in Guadalajara don’t miss out on activities that will help immerse yourself with the city (hurry while they’re hot!):
- From Guadalajara: Tequila and Distillery Tour with Tastings
- From Guadalajara: Jose Cuervo Distillery & Tequila Town Tour
- From Guadalajara: Lake Chapala and Ajijic Tour
- Guadalajara: Mexican Charro and Charreada Cultural Tour
- Guadalajara and Tlaquepaque 6-Hour Tour
- 1 My Favorite Guadalajara Restaurants
- 2 Which of these Guadalajara restaurants do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
My Favorite Guadalajara Restaurants
Av. México 2903, Vallarta Nte // 01 33 3615 7400
We went to Alcalde to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and it turned out to be the best possible choice for us. We couldn’t have been happier with our lunch there. This restaurant, which serves upmarket food, is known for its vibrant and even trendy ambiance.
On the menu, you’ll discover a large selection of what I’d call “contemporary Mexican” food, which is a reinterpretation of classic dishes that incorporates modern techniques and ideas.
Some of our personal faves at this establishment were the short rib terrine, the octopus, and the hamachi tiradito.
And since we were commemorating a birthday, we thought it was only fitting to splurge on a spectacular dessert: a chocolate lava cake with a raspberry coulis and whipped cream.
Calle Lope de Vega 113 // 01 33 1983 7254
During one occasion of brunch, we were idly exploring the area when we stumbled into Cafe PalReal. And it is to my great satisfaction that we accomplished. They served us one of the most delectable breakfasts we have ever had during any of our stays in the Guadalajara area. Be sure to get their red chorizo chilaquiles in addition to their huevos rancheros if you go there. I would also recommend eating some of their well-known pancita lonches, which is a sandwich that pays tribute to tortas ahogadas, which are a local specialty among restaurants in Guadalajara and are also known as “drowned sandwiches.”
Calle General Coronado 79 // +52 33 3825 5933
Pig’s Pearls is nearly universally acknowledged as the best restaurant in Guadalajara for burgers. The restaurant gained widespread recognition after being featured in a recent piece by Vice.
With a dizzying array of mouthwatering combinations that are all their own. I would suggest either the bacon pesto burger with caramelized onion or the maple burger, both of which come with bacon-wrapped sirloin or pork, melted cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and a large amount of maple syrup drizzled on top.
Those who are enthusiastic about cheese can try the double queso burger, which has cheese not only on the bun but also within the patty itself.
Pig’s Pearl’s offers a variety of meatless and vegetarian alternatives (I hear the Portobello burger is the best veggie burger in town). If you’re not in the mood for a burger, they also offer salads and appetizers like this roasted bone marrow dish, which you may order if you want something lighter.
Calle Morelos 1984 // 01 33 4444 5737
The bakery at Boulangerie Central gained a lot of notoriety, and it quickly became one of our top choices for breakfast among all of the Guadalajara eateries that we visited. They cooked their bread and croissants fresh every day, and they constructed an entire menu around those two items.
You may expect the bacon or avocado filling in this breakfast sandwich to be the highlight of the dish, but that is not the case. In reality, it’s the crusty brioche bread that’s prepared fresh every day in the kitchen.
If you’re not in the mood for bakery things, they also provide more conventional breakfasts like their beans and eggs, which you may order if you’re in the mood for anything other than baked goods.
Calle Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 2418 // 01 33 2003 0904
Bruna is another fantastic choice for exquisite dining on the Guadalajara restaurant scene, and it was the first place that numerous long-term expats living in the neighborhood suggested to us as a place to dine. Our little party, which consisted of three couples, really adored every single one of their meals.
Bruna also prepares outstanding cocktails, so before you order anything to eat, ask the wait staff for some recommendations on what to drink.
The menu is extensive but does not seem to be overwhelming, and the wait staff is more than ready to assist you in navigating the many options. Throughout the course of the evening, among of our most memorable dishes were the duck in mole sauce and the tostada starter.
as well as the cuisines including octopus.
Bruna has a wonderful terrace. If the weather is nice, you need to put in a request to be sat outside.
Calle Manuel López Cotilla // 01 33 3615 6401
Allium is so committed to sourcing only locally produced products that they maintain their own own rooftop urban garden. It should come as no surprise that this restaurant has received the highest rating possible on Tripadvisor among those located in Guadalajara.
At Allium, the emphasis is placed on freshly caught seafood that is then cooked in a number of different ways. The crispy pan-fried white snapper that I had for lunch is by far my favorite preparation method.
They have lamb and hog meals in addition to seafood options, in case you’re not in the mood for seafood.
Also, make sure you reserve some space for one of their world-famous desserts, which are as follows:
While most of you know I rarely suggest chains, La Chata came highly recommended by several locals, so we gave it a try. When we found a line of locals at 11 AM on a weekday, I knew the food was going to be good.
The dishes are simple, not pretentious at all, but high-quality, authentic, and local with very generous portions.
And don’t be intimidated by the ever-present line out front. The service here is quick and efficient, and the line tends to move quickly.
This is also one of the best places in town to try the local coffee, café de olla, which is prepared in an earthenware container. My coffee-obsessed friend had La Chata’s coffee several times during our visit and couldn’t find a better version at any other Guadalajara restaurant or even high-end coffee shop.
Tacos de Barbacoa Arturo
Calle Morelos 957 // 01 33 3826 9105
We had every intention of driving by this establishment on the way to brunch; but, as soon as we caught a whiff of what they had cooking, we quickly pulled over and altered our course of action.
This restaurant only offers one thing on its menu, which is barbacoa, which is slow-cooked pork served in a variety of various styles. We went with the tacos durado, which are deep-fried tacos that are packed with barbacoa and then served. Certainly not good for your heart, but it’s mouthwateringly tasty.
In addition to that, you may have their barbacoa in the form of soup or soft tacos. In retrospect, I believe that I would have favored these alternatives more since they wouldn’t have been as weighty as the other choices. Whatever the case may be, the fried tacos appeared like they would be an excellent remedy for a hangover.
La Docena, another restaurant in Guadalajara that places a strong emphasis on seafood, was one of the most enjoyable settings in our opinion. This establishment maintained its vibrant atmosphere all the way up to the moment it shut its doors on Sunday evenings.
The octopus, baby squid, and fish skewers that were cooked to perfection were our favorites.
In the event that you aren’t in the mood for seafood, the burgers and grilled sweetbreads that were brought to our table looked very delicious.
Av. Justo Sierra 1821 // +52 1 669 918 5569
The Piggy Back was another another wonderful brunch spot that we discovered by accident. The music was playing loudly on the bright terrace, and attentive wait staff moved quickly from table to table, delivering exquisite brunch dishes one after the other.
The stack of light and fluffy pancakes that my buddy served me for breakfast was my favorite meal of the day. They were drizzled with honey and topped with strawberry slices.
Nativo Taller Gastronómico
São Paulo 2377, Providencia // 044 33 3186 1477
Nativo Taller is one of my favorite upscale dining experiences available in the Guadalajara restaurant industry. This restaurant delivers classic Mexican food that is prepared to a higher degree and is served in a stunningly modern atmosphere. They paid an unbelievable amount of attention to detail, and their service was the finest I had at all of the luxury restaurants in Guadalajara that I visited.
One of the most popular meals was a tataki of tuna topped with watermelon radish.
… the dish of absolutely delicate octopus that was grilled and served at the table under a dome that was filled with smoke.
The bar menu at Nativo Taller receives the same amount of attention and care as the restaurant’s dinner menu. The wait staff gave insightful matching recommendations without making any attempt to steer customers toward the most expensive items on the menu. Make it a point to begin your dinner with one of their house specialties in the glass.
Taco Fish La Paz
During my wandering exploration of the town on foot one afternoon, I came upon an outside food cart that had a respectable queue of residents waiting to order from it. The patrons eating at the cheap plastic tables that lined the pavement all seemed to be enjoying their meals very well. I was aware that I was in for a pleasant surprise.
Taco Fish La Paz offers seafood tacos that are stuffed to the brim with a variety of seafood alternatives, including fish, shrimp, and octopus, all of which are cooked in a variety of ways. This kind of food may be found at a number of different establishments all across Guadalajara.
After making your way through the line, you’ll have the opportunity to bring your order to a massive toppings station stocked with a variety of salsas and veggies.
The fish tacos that were lightly breaded and fried, topped with spicy green salsa, pickled onions, and coleslaw, were my absolute favorite item on the menu.
Calle Miguel Lerdo de Tejada 2166 // +52 33 3616 4869
Gaspar certainly gives Pig’s Pearls a run for its money, despite the fact that I’m a little reluctant to add a second burger business on my list. One of the locals gave me a recommendation for the location and maintained that it was better than the one that was currently in first place. After dining at this establishment, I cannot deny that Gaspar is on level with, if not superior to, its competition.
My burger with bacon had ground ribeye, crispy bacon, and caramelized onions that were delicious but yet retained their texture. Was it a step up from Pig’s Pearls in any way? You should give each of them a go and then make your decision.