When non-Mexicans think of the best food cities in Mexico, Guadalajara may not be foremost on many people’s minds. That distinction usually goes to Mexico City or Oaxaca. It’s hard to compete with those two cities when it comes to good food, but Guadalajara should at least be in the conversation.
The capital of Jalisco in western Mexico, Guadalajara is Mexico’s second-largest city. In spite of its size, it doesn’t seem to have quite as much in the way of tourist attractions but where it does shine is in its regional Mexican cuisine. Home to Mexican food favorites like birria and torta ahogada, it’s a must-visit destination for food lovers, much like Oaxaca, Mexico City, Puebla, Merida, and Puerto Vallarta.
We’re fresh off our trip and still buzzing from all the great Mexican food and drink we enjoyed in Guadalajara. If you’re planning a trip to this deliciously gritty city, then check out these 18 Guadalajara restaurants to learn why it should be on every Traveleater’s wish list.
GUADALAJARA RESTAURANTS QUICK LINKS
Going food tripping on your own is always fun, but you can learn more when you go on a guided tour. Check out some of the most popular food-related tours and activities in and around Guadalajara.
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WHAT TRADITIONAL FOODS IS GUADALAJARA, JALISCO KNOWN FOR?
Guadalajara is known for a few regional dishes but its two most famous local food specialties are birria and torta ahogada. Visiting Guadalajara without trying these two iconic dishes would be like going to Oaxaca for the first time and not trying mole!
As a quick primer, listed below are a few of the most important dishes you should look for on your next food trip to Guadalajara.
Birria refers to a type of stew in Mexican cuisine made from spicy goat meat adobo, garlic, cumin, thyme, and bay leaves. The meat is slow-cooked in a pot till tender before being served with handmade corn tortillas, chopped onions, cilantro, lime wedges, refried beans, and one or more salsas. It’s a Mexican food favorite that in recent years has become increasingly popular outside of the country.
Torta refers to a type of sandwich in Mexico. Torta ahogada is a specific type of sandwich that’s popular in Jalisco, especially in Guadalajara. It literally means “drowned sandwich” and refers to a meat-filled submarine sandwich drenched in a tomato- or chili-based sauce.
Carne en su Jugo
Carne en su jugo literally means “meat in its juices”. It refers to a traditional Guadalajara dish of sliced beef steak cooked in its own juices and then mixed with beans and pieces of crispy bacon. Like birria, it’s typically served with corn tortillas, onions, refried beans, cilantro, and salsa.
Pozole refers to a traditional stew in Mexican cuisine made from hominy. It often contains meat – usually pork or chicken – and is usually garnished with shredded cabbage or lettuce, onions, garlic, chili, radish, avocado, lime, and salsa. It’s a popular dish in several Mexican states like Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit, Sinaloa, and Guerrero.
There are three main types of pozole – blanco (white), verde (green), and rojo (red). White pozole is served as is while green and red pozole are served with rich sauces made from green or red ingredients, typically tomatillos, cilantro, and jalapeños for green pozole and different types of red chili peppers for red pozole.
Jericalla is a type of Mexican flan that originated in Guadalajara. Made from eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar, it’s said to have been prepared by nuns for orphaned children staying in the Hospicio Cabañas (now an art museum) in downtown Guadalajara.
Popular in Jalisco and Chihuahua, tejuino is a type of Mexican drink made from fermented corn. It’s made with masa (corn dough) mixed with water and piloncillo (unrefined cane sugar). The mixture is boiled till thick and allowed to ferment slightly before being served cold with lime juice, salt, and lime sorbet.
THE BEST GUADALAJARA RESTAURANTS
Be sure to visit these Guadalajara restaurants for some of the best examples of birria, torta ahogada, jericalla, tejuino, and more. You can click on a link to jump to any section of the guide.
1. Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas
Google “best birria in guadalajara” and this restaurant will surely pop up. Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas is one of the most famous Guadalajara restaurants and a great choice to try this iconic dish.
Before our trip to Mexico, we had only tried birria served in crunchy tacos. In Guadalajara, you can get them in taco form but it’s best to have them served as a stew with soft corn tortillas, onions, cilantro, and salsa on the side. That way you can taste the broth on its own and assemble the birria tacos yourself.
Most birrierias will offer at least two sizes for the meat portion – small or large. The price difference is often minimal so it’s a good idea to go with the large.
Since we’re on the topic of tacos, if you plan on visiting CDMX, then be sure to check out our article on the tastiest tacos in Mexico City.
As described, you can order birria tacos but it’s more fun to assemble them yourself. Here’s my incredibly tasty goat birria taco with chopped onions, pickled onions, cilantro, salsa verde, and hot chili sauce.
We ate at six birrierias in Jalisco and Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas was arguably our favorite. Their birria de chivo (goat) is so incredibly tasty.
Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas is located just a few blocks south of Guadalajara’s historical center. It was one of the restaurants featured on the Taco Chronicles series on Netflix.
Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas
Address: C/ Galeana 379, Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8AM-9PM, daily
What to Order: Birria
Expect to Spend: MXN 129 (small), MXN 169 (large)
2. Birrieria El Paisano
Located just a stone’s throw from Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas is Birrieria El Paisano, another birria restaurant featured on Taco Chronicles. It’s also one of the better-known Guadalajara restaurants to enjoy birria in the city.
Birrieria El Paisano offers combo deals so for just MXN 130 (about USD 6.35), we each got a small order of birria stew with a quesadilla and a drink. Not bad!
Tasty goat birria taco with cilantro, chopped onions, and a spicy salsa. The birria at Birrieria El Paisano was delicious and comparable to the offerings at Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas. Based on local reviews, the birria here is as traditional as it gets.
These quesadillas were delicious. The cheese was rich, creamy, and gooey and went so well with the much more flavorful birria. We highly recommend getting this combo platter as well as it provides nice contrast in flavor.
Founded in 1930, Birrieria El Paisano is located across the square from Birrieria Las 9 Esquinas. You’ll find around four or more birrierias in this area. Unless I’m mistaken, these two are the most highly rated.
Birrieria El Paisano
Address: C. Leandro Valle 889, Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-5PM, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays)
What to Order: Birria
Expect to Spend: MXN 100 (small), MXN 155 (medium), MXN 180 (large)
3. Birrieria La Victoria
Birrieria La Victoria is a birria restaurant located in the Santa Teresita neighborhood of Guadalajara, right in front of Mercado Santa Tere. Unlike the two previous birrierias which feel a bit more upscale, this is clearly a neighborhood restaurant that caters mostly to locals. And you know how it goes, where the locals eat is exactly where you want to be!
Birrieria La Victoria has been serving up their tasty birria since 1948. People looking for the best Guadalajara restaurants for birria should definitely try this place.
Some online reviewers complain that the portions at Birrieria La Victoria are a bit small. While that may be true, it was also one of the cheaper birrierias we went to so I believe the portions match the price. Either way, their goat birria is delicious and definitely worth trying.
Birrieria La Victoria is listed as “Birrieria 2da Victoria” on Google Maps. I thought that was an odd name for a Guadalajara restaurant until I saw the sign. Ha!
Birrieria La Victoria is located in a much more local part of town so it’s definitely worth going to this restaurant and exploring the area.
Birrieria La Victoria
Address: C. Manuel Acuña 1511, Sta Teresita, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-5PM, daily
What to Order: Birria
Expect to Spend: MXN 90 (small), MXN 100 (large)
4. Tacos Don José
If you enjoy the street food atmosphere like I do, then you’re going to love Tacos Don José. Located in a gritty, working-class neighborhood, it’s a hugely popular birria stand frequented mostly by Guadalajara locals. I arrived around lunchtime and the place was swarmed by hungry locals waiting to get a plate of their tasty birria.
Like the previous three birrierias, Tacos Don José offers plates of birria and tacos de birria. Considering the lack of seating, I went with a trio of tacos because they were easier to eat. This was my only time eating birria tacos so I don’t know how the other places make them, but Tacos Don José serves them with a good amount of a Mexican white cheese. They were mild in flavor and added welcome creaminess to the tacos. ¡Muy rico!
Tacos Don José is popular and has limited seating so be prepared to eat while standing or sitting on the curb. Trust me, it’s worth it. Eating tacos de birria on the sidewalk with Guadalajara locals was one of my favorite food experiences in Jalisco. This is what traveling for food is all about!
Tacos Don José
Address: Calle Argentina 595, Americana, 44160 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8:30AM-4:30PM, Mon-Fri / 8:30AM-2:30PM, Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Tacos de birria
Expect to Spend: MXN 19 per taco
5. Super Tortas Ahogadas Rober’s
I went on a food tour in Puerto Vallarta led by a Guadlajara native and he described the torta ahogada as a “sexy Mexican sandwich”. Drenched in a spicy tomato sauce, he’s absolutely right. This is indeed a sexy Mexi-licious sandwich, one that you absolutely need to try while in Guadalajara.
The torta ahogada is too messy to eat with your hands so they give you a spoon to cut it up and scoop up all that delicious chili- and tomato-based sauce. No matter how many sandwiches you’ve enjoyed in your life, I bet you’ve never eaten one with a spoon before! Tucking into a sexy soppy torta ahogada is definitely one of the best things you can do in Guadalajara.
When searching for the best Guadalajara restaurants to try this messy but delicious sandwich, Rober’s often came up. People said they serve some of the best tortas in Guadalajara and they may be right. I tried it at four different restaurants and this one was definitely one of my favorites.
Unlike the other places I visited, Rober’s was the only restaurant that offered different types of meat with their torta. My server offered me different types of meat like pork belly and shoulder but I went with one of my all-time favorites – lengua or pork tongue. My god was this good!
Rober’s is located in a residential neighborhood, about a 25-30 minute walk from Guadalajara Cathedral. It’s a bit of a trek to get there but their tortas are definitely worth it.
Rober’s is also the nicest torta restaurant I went to. I believe tortas ahogadas are regarded mostly as street food. This was the only torta place I went to that was in an actual restaurant.
Address: López Portillo 745, La Perla, 44360 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-4PM, daily
What to Order: Tortas ahogadas
Expect to Spend: MXN 57 per torta
6. Tortas Ahogadas El Principe Heredero
Like Rober’s, El Principe Heredero has been described by many locals as one of the best torta restaurants in Guadalajara. But unlike Rober’s, it’s a true roadside food stand. They have just two or three tables on either side of a humble stand that gets swarmed by locals at lunchtime.
According to locals, El Principe Heredero serves some of the best and most authentic tortas in Guadalajara. They make it with the traditional tomato sauce along with a spicy chili sauce that packs a pretty good punch. In the words of one reviewer, their torta is the “best of Guadalajara!”
This isn’t the type of sandwich you can easily eat while standing so I suggest going before or after lunchtime to get a better chance for a seat. This was definitely one of the busiest Guadalajara restaurants I went to during our trip.
As described, El Principe Heredero is a true roadside food stand. It doesn’t get any more authentic than this!
El Principe Heredero
Address: Epigmenio González 200, Mexicaltzingo, 44180 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-2:30PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Tortas ahogadas
Expect to Spend: MXN 52 per torta
7. Tortas Ahogadas El Profe Jimenez
I don’t have enough experience to speak with authority but this devilish-looking sandwich was one of the best tortas I had in Guadalajara. Like El Principe Heredero, El Profe Jimenez is a humble roadside stall that puts together some of the tastiest sandwiches in the city, not to mention the spiciest!
This torta was every bit as hot and delicious as it looks. I have a high tolerance for spicy food but this one had me sweating more than any other torta I had in Guadalajara. It was so damn good.
Like El Principe Heredero, El Profe Jimenez has limited seating so it may be best to go during off-hours. Either way, the wait is definitely worth it. I absolutely loved their torta.
El Profe Jimenez
Address: C. Andrés Terán 841, Villaseñor, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8AM-3PM, Wed-Mon (closed Tuesdays)
What to Order: Tortas ahogadas
Expect to Spend: MXN 50 per torta
MORE GUADALAJARA SPECIALTIES
8. Kamilos 333 (best carne en su jugo!)
Google “best carne en su jugo in guadalajara” and two places will dominate the search results – Karne Garibaldi Santa Tere and Kamilos 333. Luckily for us, they’re located right next to each other in the Villaseñor neighborhood of Guadalajara. With tens of thousands of positive reviews on multiple platforms between them, they’re clearly two of the most popular restaurants in Guadalajara.
Go through the reviews and it becomes clear that locals can’t get enough of this beef steak dish cooked in its own juices. The meat is thinly sliced – similar to a Philly cheesesteak – and mixed with beans and crispy fried bacon before being topped with onions and cilantro. Like birria, they serve it to you with handmade corn tortillas and one or more salsas.
Based on local reviews, these are the two best Guadalajara restaurants for carne en su jugo. There was a slightly longer wait at Karne Garibaldi Santa Tere so I went with Kamilos 333, but you really can’t go wrong with either one.
Carne en su jugo is a delicious must-try dish in Guadalajara. The meat isn’t as flavorful as birria but it’s just as enjoyable, especially with the pieces of crispy bacon adding flavor and texture. Don’t miss this!
Both Kamilos 333 and Karne Garibaldi Santa Tere are big, family-style restaurants so you shouldn’t have to wait too long for a table. Karne Garibaldi is that yellowish restaurant on the corner. It took about 15-20 minutes for me to be seated at Kamilos 333.
Address: C. José Clemente Orozco 333, Sta Teresita, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 9AM-10PM, daily
What to Order: Carne en su jugo
Expect to Spend: MXN 145 (small), MXN 155 (large)
9. La Chata
Like the previous two restaurants, La Chata is one of the most popular places to eat in the Guadalajara restaurant scene. They aren’t specialists but they do serve an extensive menu of traditional foods like tortas ahogadas, pollo frito, chiles rellenos, enchiladas, and flautas.
I heard La Chata serves a mean pozole so that’s exactly what I was here to try. I love spicy food so I wanted to try pozole rojo but unfortunately, all they had was pozole blanco. You can get it plain or served with chicken, pork, or a mixture of both.
Pictured below is my delicious bowl of white pozole with chicken. The strips of chicken breast were so incredibly juicy and tender. To eat, you add the various garnishes to your bowl and mix them all together. I suggest trying it with some type of meat to impart more flavor and texture to the dish.
Here’s a closer look at the hominy. If you’ve never had it, it refers to nixtamalized corn or dried corn kernels treated with an alkali like lye.
Open since 1942, La Chata is one of the busiest and most beloved Guadalajara restaurants. There’s always a line of people waiting to get in so I suggest going at off-hours if you can. It’s located in the Historic Center, making it an easy place to have a late lunch or early dinner.
Address: Av. Ramón Corona 126, Zona Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 7AM-12MN, daily
What to Order: Pozole blanco
Expect to Spend: MXN 92 for pozole blanco con pollo
10. Pasteleria Santa Teresita
Pasteleria Santa Teresita is a local pastry shop near Mercado Santa Tere. They sell many different types of Mexican cakes, pastries, and cookies, but I was here to try their jericalla, a regional Guadalajara dessert similar to creme caramel. If you enjoy flan-like desserts, then you need to try this.
Smooth and silky custard desserts exist in many countries like Spain, Portugal, Brazil, and the Philippines. This Guadalajara version is similar to those, except its less syrupy and perhaps more gelatin-like in its consistency. It also has a good punch of cinnamon flavor which I enjoyed.
Pasteleria Santa Teresita doesn’t have any restaurant seating so you can get your jericalla to go and eat it on a nearby bench, which is what I did.
Pasteleria Santa Teresita
Address: C. Juan Álvarez 1558, Villaseñor, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 7AM-7:30PM, Mon-Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Jericalla
Expect to Spend: MXN 25 per jericalla
11. Tejuino Marcelino
I had tejuino a few times in Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara and this one was my favorite. Tejuino Marcelino doesn’t serve anything but this fermented corn drink so you know they’re good at it.
Made from fermented corn, water, unrefined cane sugar, salt, lime juice, and lime sorbet, it’s a tangy and sweet drink that’s sure to refresh you after a day of sightseeing under the hot Guadalajara sun. Tejuino Marcelino offers their tejuino in multiple sizes, from small to tub-sized.
Tejuino Marcelino is a small shop about a 20-minute walk from Guadalajara Cathedral.
Address: C. Joaquín Angulo 817, Artesanos, 44200 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 11AM-4PM, daily
What to Order: Tejuino
Expect to Spend: MXN 13 (small), MXN 15 (medium), MXN 25 (large)
OTHER MEXICAN DISHES AND DRINKS
The dishes and drinks served by the restaurants in this section aren’t specific to Jalisco but you’ll definitely want to check them out while in Guadalajara.
12. Tacos de Barbacoa Arthuro
When I think of Mexican breakfast, two dishes usually come to mind – chilaquiles and barbacoa. We didn’t have chilaquiles in Guadalajara but we did have barbacoa, that ridiculously delicious dish of whole lamb or goat slow-cooked in a pit covered with agave leaves.
Barbacoa is enjoyed throughout Mexico in various forms. In northern Mexico, it’s typically made with goat meat (cabrito) or beef head. In the Yucatan Peninsula, it’s made with pork while in central Mexican cities like Guadalajara, it’s usually made with lamb.
From what I understand, barbacoa is a dish usually reserved for breakfast over the weekend but specialty restaurants like Tacos de Barbacoa Arthuro do offer it every day. Many places will serve it in the early morning until only around noon but at Arhturo, you can have it till 5PM almost every day.
Served in corn tortillas, you can enjoy tacos de barbacoa in one of two ways – blando or dorado. Blando means “soft” while dorado refers to tacos that have been lightly toasted till crunchy. I suggest trying them both to see which you prefer. Personally, I prefer dorado but both are delicious.
Google “best barbacoa in guadalajara” and Tacos de Barbacoa Arthuro will surely come up. Judging by its many positive online reviews, it has to be one of the best Guadalajara restaurants for barbacoa.
Tacos de Barbacoa Arthuro
Address: C. Morelos 957, Col Americana, Centro, 44100 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8AM-5PM, Mon-Sat / 8AM-3:30PM, Sun
What to Order: Tacos de barbacoa
Expect to Spend: MXN 16 per taco
13. Tacos Juan Santa Teresita
Tacos Juan rivals Arthuro for some of the best tacos de barbacoa in Guadalajara. Between the two, Tacos Juan seemed to be the more popular restaurant with dozens of hungry breakfast goers waiting patiently for their barbacoa tacos. I had to wait around 20-25 minutes to get this deliciously golden trio of dorado tacos. Trust me, they’re worth the wait.
Like other Mexican tacos, tacos de barbacoa are typically garnished with chopped onions, cilantro, lime juice, and salsa.
Tacos Juan is essentially a roadside stand. They prepare the food outside but they do offer plenty of seating indoors.
Tacos Juan Santa Teresita
Address: C. José Clemente Orozco 465, Sta Teresita, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8AM-2PM, daily
What to Order: Tacos de barbacoa
Expect to Spend: About MXN 15 per taco
14. Ponte Trucha Negro (best seafood tacos!)
If you’re in the mood for seafood, then this is the place to go. According to one local, Ponte Trucha Negro is THE place for seafood in Guadalajara. Luckily for us, we stayed at an AirBnB a block away from this restaurant so we found ourselves here more than once during our trip. Their seafood tacos are so incredibly delicious.
Ponte Trucha Negro offers a wide variety of seafood dishes prepared in a number of ways like fish ceviche, octopus tortas, and grilled oysters, but looking at their menu, shrimp is clearly a specialty. On one visit, we had three different types of shrimp tacos and one fish taco. They were all delicious but this taco negro with black beans and shrimp on a wheat tortilla was out-of-this-world good.
I believe this is what they call the presidente, a pressed shrimp and cheese taco in a corn tortilla.
Pictured below is the taco ajo, a fillet of fish seasoned with garlic and served in a corn tortilla.
This one tastes very similar to the president. They call it chuza and it’s made with shrimp and cheese served in a wheat tortilla.
Located in the Sta Teresita neighborhood, Ponte Trucha Negro is clearly one of the best Guadalajara restaurants for seafood. Go here if you ever have a hankering for seafood tacos, grilled octopus, and anything made with shrimp in Guadalajara.
Ponte Trucha Negro
Address: C. Ignacio Ramírez 646, Sta Teresita, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 10:30AM-6PM, Mon-Thurs / 10:30AM-6:30PM, Fri-Sun
What to Order: Seafood
Expect to Spend: Varies per dish
15. Pastes Mineria
If you have a craving for flaky, meat-filled pastries in Guadalajara, then head over to Pastes Mineria, home to one of the best pastes in Guadalajara.
The paste is a type of Mexican pastry derived from the Cornish pasty. It originated in Hidalgo and dates back to the miners of Cornwall, England who worked in Mexican mines during the 19th century. They introduced the Cornish pasty to the region which was adapted and modified through the years to become the paste Mexicans know and love today.
Pastes Mineria offers several types of savory and sweet pastes filled with a variety of ingredients like papas con carne (potatoes with meat), champiñones con queso (mushrooms with cheese), and mole rojo (red mole).
Here’s an inside look at the filling of my delicious papa con carne paste. This is a hefty pastry and might be big enough for lunch for some people. It was flaky and loaded with meat and potatoes.
Pastes Mineria is a great place to try this delicious Mexican pastry in Guadalajara. You’ll find pastes sold at many shops in downtown Guadalajara but based on what I’ve read, this place is one of the best. It’s also much cheaper compared to the more polished-looking chains in the Historic Center.
Address: Av. de las Américas 136 A, Ladrón de Guevara, Ladron De Guevara, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 8AM-8PM, Mon-Fri / 8AM-3PM, Sat (closed Sundays)
What to Order: Paste
Expect to Spend: MXN 25 per paste
16. Nieves de Garrafa Chapalita
Walk around central Mexican cities like Guadalajara and Guanajuato and you’ll find nieves de garrafa shops everywhere. I don’t know exactly where it originated from but nieves de garrafa refers to a type of hand-churned Mexican ice cream named after the big wooden bucket it’s traditionally made in (garrafa).
Nieves de garrafa is often prepared mechanically these days but it’s traditionally made by mixing fruit, sugar, and water or milk in a steel tub. The tub is lined with ice and salt and placed in the wooden bucket where its churned by hand. The result is a light and creamy ice cream that isn’t excessively sweet.
This highly addictive Mexican ice cream is available at many shops but according to many locals, one of the best is Nieves de Garrafa Chapalita. They offer many different flavors from the standard to the unconventional.
I asked my server for recommendations and he suggested I get the mamey (sapodilla or chico) and tequila. They were delicious and went so well together! We’ve tried their Bailey’s and red velvet cheesecake and those were superb as well.
This Nieves de Garrafa Chapalita branch is located across the street from Karne Garibaldi Santa Tere and Kamilos 333, making it a great place to have dessert after a heavy meal of carne en su jugo.
Nieves de Garrafa Chapalita
Address: Calle Garibaldi 1325, Sta Teresita, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 10AM-9PM, daily
What to Order: Ice cream
Expect to Spend: About MXN 20-35 per cup (depending on size)
17. La Michoacana
La Michoacana is a hugely popular chain of ice cream shops that sells many types of ice cream, gelato, popsicles, and drinks. Their nieves are delicious but I highly recommend trying their agua de horchata rosa as well. It’s a variation of horchata turned a bright neon pink, usually with strawberries or strawberry ice cream. It’s delicious and incredibly refreshing.
I had agua de horchata rosa from their branch along Colonia Americana but La Michoacana has over a dozen outlets throughout Guadalajara.
Address: Many branches
Operating Hours: Varies per branch
What to Order: Agua de horchata rosa
Expect to Spend: MXN 18 (small)
Mexico City is tough to beat when it comes to fine dining restaurants but Guadalajara is no slouch either. Its most famous restaurant is probably Restaurante Alcalde, last seen at number 32 on the list of the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America.
Many traveling gourmands know about Alcalde but if you want to have dinner at one of the best restaurants in the city, one that’s not as well-known in the Guadalajara restaurant scene, then you need to go to Xokol, a tiny restaurant in the gritty Sta. Teresita neighborhood. This hidden gem serves creative delicious food and has to be one of the best Guadalajara restaurants you’ve never heard of.
Unlike many fine dining restaurants, Xokol doesn’t have a tasting menu but they do change their offerings every two weeks or so. Pictured below is their tamal de cangrejo y mole de pixtle. If my Spanish is correct, that translates to crab tamale and pixtle mole. I believe pixtle refers to the seed of the mamey or sapodilla fruit.
This is what the inside of the tamale looks like. That brownish-orange sauce was redolent with crab flavor. It was so damn good.
For our second dish, we had we they call this taco ceremonial mazahua. Based on my research, the Mazahuas are an indigenous people living mostly in northwestern Mexico state and in small parts of Michoacán and Querétaro. It’s safe to assume that the stamp on the tortilla has something to do with Mazahua culture.
If I remember correctly, this tasty taco was filled with mostly non-meat ingredients. It had some type of green leafy vegetable and a mix of different beans. I guess these are local ingredients commonly used in Mazahua cooking.
As delicious as the previous two starters were, this main dish was clearly the star of tonight’s meal. What you’re looking at is molleja de res con lentejas y tocino, or beef sweetbreads with lentils and bacon.
Garnished with avocado and baby cilantro, this was easily our favorite dish from this fantastic meal. Seriously, we were wide-eyed from the very first bite. The beef sweetbreads had a taste and texture reminiscent of perfectly cooked lobster meat! Wow!
Xokol is a small restaurant in the Sta Teresita neighborhood. You’d never think to find a restaurant of this caliber in a neighborhood like this so we feel very fortunate to have found this place.
As good as the food was, what made the experience even more special was the service. We enjoyed some of the best service at any Guadalajara restaurant, and to top it off, our meal amounted to just MXN 600 (about USD 30) with drinks (non-alcoholic)!
Xokol is truly a hidden gem and a restaurant you need to visit in Guadalajara.
Address: C. Ignacio Herrera y Cairo 1392, Sta Teresita, 44600 Guadalajara, Jal.
Operating Hours: 6-11PM, Tue-Sat (closed Sun-Mon)
Expect to Spend: About MXN 600-800 for two people with drinks
To help you navigate to these Guadalajara restaurants, I’ve pinned them all on the map below. It includes many other restaurants we had on our list but couldn’t get to. Click on the link for an interactive version of the map.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON THE FOOD IN GUADALAJARA
We’re fans of the Taco Chronicles series on Netflix so we considered going to Café palReal. It’s a popular breakfast spot helmed by Chef Fabian Delgado, one of the experts featured on the show. We don’t eat breakfast often so we didn’t wind up going, but if you’re looking for a good brunch place in Guadalajara, then Café palReal is one to consider. It’s located in the Arcos Vallarta neighborhood.
With that, I’ll conclude this article and hope that it leads you to some truly memorable Mexican food in Guadalajara. With so many interesting regional dishes to experience, Guadalajara is without a doubt one of the best food cities in Mexico. You should definitely add it to your Mexico itinerary along with Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, Morelia, Merida, and Puerto Vallarta.
Thanks for reading and have an amazing time food tripping in Guadalajara!
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