Often an unknown city to tourists, who tend to flock instead to the gorgeous coastlines and lush, verdant jungles of Southern Mexico, inland Guadalajara
is the second largest city in the country and regularly considered the most traditional. Read on for our guide to the best traditional Mexican eating experiences in Guadalajara.
A veritable Guadalajara institution, and one that the locals love to recommend, is Karne Garibaldi. Famous for having broken the Guinness World Record with their service time of 13.5 seconds, this restaurant is one you have to try while holidaying in the capital of Jalisco. Speed is not the only selling point here though, as the carne en su jugo (a form of meat stew) is both a traditional Jalisco dish and absolutely delicious. Make sure to visit in the day and explore Santa Tere (the neighborhood in which it’s located), an up-and-coming area of Guadalajara.
Address & telephone number: Garibaldi 1306, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3826 1286
El Mercado de Santa Tere
Market, Juice Bar, Mexican, $$$
El Mercado de Santa Tere
Speaking of Santa Tere, lunching at the eponymous market is also one to add to your to-do list when visiting Guadalajara. Nothing is more typical in Mexico than market dining, and it’s not uncommon to be the only foreigner in the entire place as you tuck into deep fried quesadillas or a hearty chile relleno, served with rice, soup, or tortillas. Watch Mexican ladies haggle for chiles and admire the colorfully decorated juice bar and the even more colorful characters that run it. Even if you didn’t fancy eating here, soaking up the buzzing atmosphere makes it worth the trip alone.
Address & telephone number: Mercado de Santa Tere, Calle Juan Álvarez, Guadalajara, Mexico
Birriería de Nueve Esquinas
Birría (goat stew) is a Jalisco specialty dish and one of the best birrierías in the city is Birriería de Nueve Esquinas, located in the fantastically cultural centro histórico of Guadalajara. For those holidaymakers wishing to take advantage of their stay in Guadalajara and branch out from the usual food that can be found back home, this is well worth a visit. Soak up the atmosphere, the colorful decorations, and enjoy the company of the locals at this restaurant. As the old saying goes, “when in Rome…”
Address & telephone number: Cólon 384 on the corner with Galeana, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3613 6260
Steering away from restaurants famed for specific dishes, a more general Mexican option that boasts a menu full of traditional treats is La Chata. This familial restaurant is also popular among the locals and can therefore be very busy at lunchtime. We recommend scheduling your visit with time in mind, perhaps even popping down for a typical Mexican breakfast. Start your day with eggs, chilaquiles, or molletes and be sure to try the refreshing horchata if coffee isn’t your thing.
Address & telephone number: Av. Corona 126, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3613 1315
Santo Coyote is one of the higher end Mexican dining options on our list, featuring on its menu traditional favorites such various mole dishes, chicharrón, and beautifully presented cheese- and meat-filled molcajetes (the mortar of a pestle and mortar). The food really speaks for itself, and showcases all that is great about Mexican cuisine. The place is equally as impressive and expansive; spread over two floors, flooded with ambient mood lighting and dotted with candles, it is a lovely eating experience and one we highly recommend.
Address & telephone number: Lerdo de Tejada 2379, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3343 2266
Tacos el Güero
No list of traditional Mexican restaurants would be complete without a mention of the street food, and anyone who’s visited Guadalajara before will have heard word of the taquiqueso stand just one block away from Avenida Chapultepec. Grab the closest available plastic chair you can find and enjoy this budget-friendly but unmissable foray into the Mexican food world. The undoubtable Tacos el Gero stand-out is the taquiqueso, a 35 peso ($2 US) double tortilla, meat, and cheese extravaganza. Make the most of your money and pile it high with the excellent selection of spicy salsas, guacamole, onions, cilantro and beans they offer.
Address & telephone number: Calle Mexicaltzingo esquina con Marsella, Guadalajara, Mexico
Boasting a menu of classic Mexican dishes with contemporary touches, such as divine chiles en nogada (stuffed chiles bathed in a creamy walnut sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds) and Mexico City style noodle soup. They also have an understandably extensive tequila menu with over 200 brands, as well as various mezcal and wine options. The place itself is beautifully decorated; there is a terrace bar seating option, and the wait staff are attentive and welcoming. Furthermore, the ingredients are, where possible, all locally sourced.
Address & telephone number: Avenida Mexico 2830, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 3640 3440
Tortas Ahogadas Beto’s
We round off the list with a tortas ahogadas, a Guadalajaran classic. The city itself is home to the baguette-based birote style of bread which forms part of the quintessential torta ahogada. Crispy outside and soft inside, they are sandwiches stuffed with carnitas (cuts of pork), prawns, or sometimes even panela cheese, then bathed in a spicy tomato sauce. Do not underestimate the spice of a torta ahogada, but definitely give them a go. For this messy but essential dining experience Tortas Ahogadas Beto’s serves up some of the most typical of the city.
Address & telephone number: Gante 247 on the corner of 5 de Mayo, Guadalajara, Mexico, +52 33 1677 5868