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Mar 9, 2007 05:36 PM

Favorites in Guadalajara

I'll be in Guadalaja on biz with parents who just happen to be vacationing nearby and want to take them out to dinner at a couple of nice but not stuffy places with great food. Any recommendations are much appreciated.

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  1. Hi...two recommendations for you (I live in Guadalajara, by the way):

    Ma Come No
    Av. Américas #302
    Tel. 3615-4952
    Lovely ambience and marvelous Italian food. The restaurant is best Thursday through Sunday, when smartly dressed Guadalajarans dine at midday (2-5PM) or late in the evening (9PM and after). I'd avoid the restaurant early in the week, when it is occasionally off its best, and I wouldn't go at normal USA supper times (5-9PM), when the 'B' team seems to be on duty, including in the kitchen. The last six or so times I've eaten there the food and service have been extraordinary. Don't miss the salad bar, which I sometimes request alone, as a light lunch. The main course shrimp papardelle, the grilled tuna, the two filet mignon selections, the pasta putanesca, and the mussels with linguini are particular favorites of mine. I've been dining at Ma Come No for more than ten years and am rarely disappointed. The last time I was there for comida (the main meal at midday), the friend who accompanied me ordered chocolate mousse for dessert. Of course she requested two spoons--and oh. my. god. Served in a hard chocolate shell that completely surrounds the mousse, this dessert is fabulous. So is the house special tiramisu. The entire menu is outstanding.

    Prices are moderate by US standards--plan on 250 pesos per person (about $25US) including a drink or two.

    La O
    General San Martín at the corner of José Guadalupe Zuno
    Housed in a 19th Century Guadalajara mansion, this restaurant is charm personified. Dine on the beautiful terrace overlooking the gardens for the maximum experience. The cuisine ranges from Argentine-cut steaks to coconut shrimp. Everything I've eaten at La O has been perfectly prepared and beautifully presented. It's prix fixe: for 130 pesos, you receive an appetizer, the salad bar, and a main course. I've tried these appetizers: scampi (8 large shrimp in garlic butter), squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese, portobello mushroom in four cheese sauce, and asparagus. The salad bar has some very unusual offerings: deep fried spinach leaves (outstanding), tiny individual eggplant parmesan, ensalada caprese, quiche, roasted peppers, and grilled apple slices, etc. I've eaten several main courses: vacío (an Argentine steak, perfectly cooked), a fish, and one of several preparations of filet mignon. Everything has been perfectly prepared and beautifully presented.

    The menu here is prix fixe, but drinks are not included. A word to the wise: drinks here are very expensive. A small soft drink is 22 pesos, bottled water is the same. The alcoholic drinks are gorgeous (the house specializes in martinis), but I'm sure they are quite pricey.

    Are your parents vacationing at Lake Chapala? Email me if you like: I can give you other pointers for Guadalajara.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cristina

      So stuck in Guadalajara a little longer than anticipated and with no guide book, we went online and found this set of posts. We decided on La O. The setting is great, sitting outside an old mansion. I found the salad bar very nice, even by American standards (salad does NOT seem to be something Mexcians in this region enjoy...good luck finding anything other than white iceberg and sliced tomatoes anywhere else)...mixed greens, a few pasta-type salads, snow peas and even some sushi. Then came the appys. I had the fried squash blossoms, which were delicious even if they arrived in a green sauce that had the consistency of cooling candle wax. My wife had the octopus which was good, if a bit chewy. It actually reminded me a bit of something you would find in a Spanish tapas joint.
      For entrees, the wife had the risotto which was made from regular long grain rice (not arborio) in a tomato-based sauce and was pretty good, though different from any other risotto I've ever had. I had the filet (flank steak?) wrapped in proscuitto with a mushroom sauce and mashed potatoes (not mentioned on the menu). The waiter asked if I wanted it 'well-done' twice to which i medium-rare. It did arrive as expected, perfectly cooked. It was sort of a restaurant version of the classic TV dinner. The potatoes were pretty starchy and nothing stood out.

      For dessert we had a chocolate brownie thing with vanilla ice cream. Another decent course. Tasted like something you'd make at home.

      The best part of our meal was the setting, wine (I hadn't had wine in FOREVER - Yes, it is expensive by Mexican standards but having paid twice the $6/glass in NY the week before I didn't mind paying), and not eating tacos. Yes, I loved the tacos in Mexico but I had eaten them for like 8 days straight at this point.

      It was a nice change of pace from what we had been eating for the last 10 days in Mexico and everything was fine, but nothing 'amazing'. I don't think I would go back. If this is the best Guadalajara has to offer, I feel sorry for a city that I otherwise very much enjoyed.

    2. Thanks Cristina. These sound great. I took you up on your offer to email :-)

      1. El Negro seafood - unfortunately, don't have any idea about the address.

        1. Seems like a good place to pose my questions: I will be in Guadalajara in April with a group of five, including two young (5 and 2) kids. So I don't think haute cuisine is for us. At least my wife and I are big "street food" fans, so if there are any good recommendations for authentic, inexpensive places in the centro mercado or the general centro or Tlaquepaque area, please let me know. We would at least like at place the might have a high chair, but beyond that our atmosphere standards are low.

          4 Replies
          1. re: lbidsfood

            Hi...if you type Guadalajara in the search field on this page, you'll find a lot of posts about places to eat in the city. If you still have questions after you read through the posts, let me know--I live in Guadalajara and will try to answer your questions.

            1. re: cristina

              Cristina- Just came home yesterday and have to say THANK YOU for the recommendations. We tried Casa Fuerte in Tlaque. and it was lovely. The food was good, especially the mole enchiladas and best of all there was a trio that sang songs that my parents had not heard in ages. The setting is pretty and perfect for escaping the heat. Later in the week we tried El Patio, just down the same street and it was also nice. My father loved the birria and we were treated to an all-woman maricahi band which definitely livened things up. Also for Ibidsfood- all the restaurants, while nice, were relatively inexpensive. For three adults dinner w/cocktails, and coffee was never more than $40. w/a nice tip. Kids seem to be welcome everywhere.

                1. re: bronwen

                  Agavina Escolastica and Cafe Candela in Zapopan,
                  La I Latina and their other restaurant right next to it

          2. 1st recommendation

            Go to LA CHATA restaurant great mexican food
            and in the night go to Casa el Bariachi you will experince a mexican ambient wit real Mariachi songs.