Italian food may well be the most revered in the world, and Guadalajara’s restaurants serve up the real deal. A lot of the city’s hotspots are owned by Italians who have brought age-old family recipes from the motherland. These gastronomic go-tos will make even the most diehard Mexican-food fan think twice about ordering their next enchilada.
This smart spot specialises in food from Italy’s south and is worth the trip out to Tlaquepaque, a popular day-trip destination known for its galleries and ceramics shops. Its signature dish is wild pork: marinated for 48 hours, slow-cooked for another eight and served with parmesan polenta and confit onion. Hungry? We thought so. That’s not to overlook the whole package: from the moment you step through the brick-fronted, vine-draped exterior and clap eyes on the artful plates and on-point interiors, you know this is a restaurant that rises to the occasion.
Well known in the city for its great staff and on-the-pulse chefs, Fatto con Amore prides itself on bona fide Italian fare. The name means “made with love”, and it’s a fitting one. The restaurant features homely red-checked tablecloths and a wood-fired pizza oven. You can explore the menu, but we’ll save you the bother and tell you that the lasagna is the one to go for. Grab a table on the front or back terrace on warm evenings.
Fans of slow food and Tuscan cuisine should head for Osteria 10, based on López Cotilla, which places an emphasis on traditional dishes, even going to the extent of importing the most authentic ingredients from Italy. Stellar dishes include fettuccine manuele (with parmesan, goat’s cheese and toasted pine nuts in a creamy sauce) and ravioli amore mio (three types of mushrooms in ravioli with rocket). Worn-in furniture, wooden beams and wine bottles lining the walls add to the ambience.
The owner of Recco was born in Recco, near Genoa, and moved to England in 1956. From there, he relocated to Mexico to work in a hotel in the capital before being asked to run a restaurant in Guadalajara. Two years later, he married a local, and the rest is history. Arrive here early for breakfast, or wait for the sun to go down and get stuck into the ossobuco milanesa (braised veal shank with soupy saffron risotto).
Established more than 25 years ago, Angelo is located on bustling Calle Santa Mónica, adjacent to Parque Alcalde (go for a walk before dinner if you get here early). The restaurant’s motto is “good conversation always opens with a corkscrew”, so wine lovers are well served here. The interiors are moody and romantic: dimmed lighting, flickering candles, musicians to set the tone… Dress up for the occasion and order a Black Angel – the signature cocktail, concocted from limoncello, orange juice, curaçao and soda water.
All of the 20 varieties of pizza at this vine-wrapped, palatial restaurant – from traditional capricciosa to less-typical fico e prosciutto (with figs, prosciutto and goat’s cheese) – are must-trys, because let’s face it: you can put anything on wood-fired pizza and it will taste good (pineapple excepted). There’s a decent selection of imported and local wines, too, and the location in the smart Minerva Roundabout area (topped by fountains and a statue of Minerva, the Roman god of wisdom), makes it a wise choice for special occasions.
Additional reporting by Joe Varley.