Arriving at Cocina 88 feels like disembarking at a hacienda in the middle of the Mexican desert, and many a fantasy could be lived out there. Coincidentally, this is a popular restaurant for loved-up couples, as it’s a tranquil enough ambiance with little background noise. The food carries international flavours in its combinations, with a heavy French presence coming through in such highlights as beef fillet in artichoke sauce with prawns, cream-filled dates and salmon pate canapés served up for private diners and equally for star-studded events and concerts which are held on the premises.
At Lula Bistro, Chef Darren Walsh has implanted in Guadalajara a gourmet and haute cuisine dreamland, with giant-sized plates and bite-sized portions. Mole is squeezed into a sorbet, appetisers are hung on miniature pot plants and coffee is served in mayonnaise jars instead of cups. Distinción Bohemia awarded Walsh the accolade of best chef and best restaurant, with recognition of his risk-taking and contribution to Guadalajaran cuisine. Classic Mexican influences are to be found but hardly recognised in the exciting creations at Lula Bistro.
A restaurant that is personified by a young lady with an emanating air of cool complicity can only equate to a hot place to be in Guadalajara. Anita-Li is not only a happening watering hole in this young and vibrant western Mexican city but a destination for fine and colorful dining. With light and airy French touches using local ingredients: the huitlacoche fondue (corn smut fondue, served with small white toasted bites) and roasted brie cross over with modern Mexican to distinctly European. Staying firmly rooted in the kitsch this inviting Guadalajaran venue hosts an array of wonderful creations.
Anita-Li, Avenida Inglaterra 3100, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 33 3647 4757
If attention is paid to the name of Karne Garibaldi restaurant, then the contents of the menu soon become apparent: meat, and only meat. There is only one main course available at this establishment and it is served in record time. The dish is a meat cooked in its own juices and served with bacon, onion and coriander. A time of 13.5 seconds was established as an international serving record in 1996, and quick service continues to be a point of pride for the restaurant. However, with enough seating space to be able to satisfy everyone for a leisurely meal (once the food is positioned in front of diners), there’s no need to rush the most important part, the eating.
Karne Garibaldi, Garibaldi 1306, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 33 3826 1286
Entre 2 draws on French tradition for inspiration for its dishes. But its name, which translates as ‘between 2’, does not refer to a crossover between French and Mexican dining. It actually stems from the serving philosophy: the starters and dishes on the menu are to be shared between two, to encourage a community spirit. Entre 2 is the creation of a couple of Franco-Mexican friends who have united their passion for fine food and good company in this Guadalajaran restaurant.
Santo Coyote is a multi sensory experience, which offers a unique evening of food and entertainment in Guadalajara, transporting guests to an era of bygone pre-colonialism. Artist Hugo Ayvar created the venue in 1998, and now chef Joaquin Rodriguez creates Mexican-criollo fusion food in an atmosphere of Amerindian revival and a decor of mystical colours and exotic plants. Dance, music and food made at the table liven up experience, all with the aim of creating long-lasting memories for every diner that passes through the restaurant’s doors.
Santo Coyote, Lerdo de Tejada 2379, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 33 3616 8472
Ilatina has an air of coolness and effortless innovation. Tropical tacos, black cod, and rice and coconut cube all feature on the menu, which takes recognisable Mexican concepts and places them in a American-style wine bar. The emphasis here is placed on ‘after-work’ drinks and dinner. Art is also a daily feature, with eclectic paintings and pieces dotted around the dining space, and a penchant for dishing out art recommendations to followers and diners.
Ilatina, Avenida Inglaerra 3128, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 33 3121 5274
Tortas Toño’s speciality is the legendary Jalisco delicacy, the torta ahogada, which means ‘drowned sandwich’. The light but crusty savoury bread roll is crammed full of various pork cuts, cheese and chicken, and then laid in a pool of medium spiced red sauce. This is the best place in Guadalajara for a torta tasting experience; what started as a hole in the wall a few years ago has become a successful and smoothly run restaurant serving up one of the region’s favourite dishes.
Tortas Toño, Tierra de Fuego 3160, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 33 3642 8739
This restaurant represents a Mexican family home, designed for all to enjoy, where great attention is paid to the preferences of the guests. El Patio is a space to eat among family and friends and to feel at home with Mexican classics such as chilaquiles, carlota and beef cuts with seasonal fruits and vegetables. However, while not many Mexican family homes can say that host live mariachi bands, El Patio does, in its gardens, which are a breezy, green haven just outside of central Guadalajara.
El Patio, Independencia Eje, Tlaquepaque, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 33 3635 1108
A proud trait in Mexico is a genuine love for and appreciation of traditional food, which varies from state to state and even from one family to another. But the love and veneration for dishes concocted with local produce and recreated in a way which stays faithful to generations-old recipes is a national characteristic encapsulated by La Chata. Guests can order a Jaliscan platter with chicken cuts, corn tortilla-based bites and Mexican flautas, which are meat-filled rolled corn tortillas.
La Chata, Avenida Ramon Corona 126, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, +52 33 3613 1315