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Mar 5, 2008 03:18 PM

Mexico City vs Guadalajara

I've never gone to either of these cities and I was wondering which has a better selection of food, more variety, better quality etc. I guess this is really for people that live in either city. Are they equally cosmopolitan?

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  1. I haven't had great culinary experiences since I've come to Mexico, but a lot of that has to do with being a vegetarian. Now, I have been to Mexico City and am currently living in Guadalajara, and I would give (almost) anything to be back in Mexico City. Food aside, it's a great city with so much to see and do. You couldn't possibly get bored. I'm dying of boredom here in Guadalajara! Send Cranium!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Jetgirly

      It sounds like you need to learn how to make friends... honestly the best vegetarian cooking I've had in my life has been in Mexico's homes.... granted you have to ignore the use of broths & lard... but people there eat 80% of their meals meatless... I don't know where you are staying but it shouldn't be hard to find a Pension with a real home cook that will prepare the foods common Mexicans actually eat on a daily basis.

      1. re: Eat_Nopal

        I am staying in my own apartment (!), but I have eaten about thirty home-cooked meals made by Mexicans since I got here and about 75% of the lunches and dinners had either red meat, chicken or fish. It could be because I'm living in a very wealthy area- perhaps people have more money to spend on meat? Either way, I think your average tourist is unlikely to eat many home-cooked meals during their trip.

        1. re: Jetgirly

          There is the wealth factor... but also people tend to buy more expensive ingredients for guests (unless they are really comfortable with you)... that is why I suggest staying in a Pension (particularly one catering to Public school students).

      2. re: Jetgirly

        I was trying to decide between Mexico City or Guadalajara, and I think this answered my question in that regard.
        I am also a vegetarian, do you have any tips for a vegetarian going to Mexico City for 5 days?
        I'll probably stay at a hostel, but I'll take suggestions- I would prefer something predictably safe for keeping/leaving electronics in my room. Cost isn't much of an issue, socializing will be more important to me.

        1. re: d34dfish

          Sure. There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants, and many mid-range, modern restaurants will have some vegetarian dishes on the menu. The Veg restaurant we are most familar with is Vegetariano Madero, in Centro. It's very old fashioned. You can get a pleasant complete meal inexpensively. (Haven't been there in a number of years.)
          I've been to 100% Natural, an exceptional chain, but in Oaxaca. If there are any in Mexico city, they are worth seeking out.

          I've read good things about Saks, a local chain, but haven't been there.

          If you are going during Lent, you may find interesting meatless specialties offered, although some have fish.

          (Electronics: best left at home, IMO, especially if you will stay in hostels. But this isn't really a forum for tips on lodging. See the Lonely Planet Thorn Tree or TripAdvisor for that.)

          1. re: d34dfish

            My aunt is vegetarian and lives in Guadalajara. One thing I discovered through her many years ago are tortas de panela - or cheese sandwiches. Panela is a delicious cheese (soft, fresh cheese) and you can sample one at La Texcocana in Mexico City if you are in the city center I had a torta there and it was quite good - I like to add avocado, salt and jalapenos. I could go for one now. You can run a search on La Texcocana here since it's been recommended frequently.

          2. re: Jetgirly

            I understand that food in Mexico City is very rich and it has a great variety of dishes and a wonderful choice of restaurants to go to. However, you can have great food in the Guadalajara area too, you just need to know where to go to.

            Las Nueve Esquinas, El Sacromonte, Dona Guille and a couple of markets like Abastos and Santa Tere are some great choices whee you can find vegetarian options.

            If you get bored in Guadalajara, try going on a day excursion to Teuchitlan. Visit Maru Toledo's restaurant on the way to Guachimontones. She specializes in prehispanic food and is open just on the weekends.

            Not far away from Teuchitlan is Etzatlan, which is a magical place to go to. You will find a "panaderia" that keeps ancient recipes.

            In San Marcos, you can find "La Chulita", and they do fresh Panela and Adobera cheese.

            Not far away from Guadalajara is Tlajomulco de Zuniga. There, are wonderful places to visit there too.

            The food in all of these places is fresh, delicious and authentic.

            1. re: Jetgirly

              Jetgirly, don't know if your still in the region, if you are try to make it to the coast of Nayarit where the small town of San Poncho has a restaurant in the Hotel Cielo Rojo that offers many Vegetarian entree's. The restaurant serves local fish but no chicken or meat. The philosophy is localvore. They make there own yogurt and breads and have an excellent wine and tequila list (mostly lessor know higher quality). The prices are extremely reasonable. The hotel and restaurant are furnished with mexican antiques as well as mid-century design objects.

            2. Its not even close... Mexico City wins hands down.

              1. thanks Eat Nopal. so does Mexico City have lots of non-Mexican restaurants? not that I don't love good Mexican food, but I'm thinking of staying there for a while and I would want some variety. Is there... East Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern food there? I know i'm being a bit lazy by not searching the boards...

                4 Replies
                1. re: phishphood

                  East Asian... check.... great Sushi & Chinese (although not more than a dozen of each of those cuisines). Pretty good Thai... although just a few. I can't remember any Korean or Vietnamese places

                  Indian... has had a hard time in Mexico... as Indian cooking is so similar to Mexican home cooking (with all the lentils, garbanzos etc.,)

                  Middle Eastern... check... big immigrant population from Lebanon, Syria & Iraq that goes back to the Ottoman empire. Look for Tacos Arabes as well as more traditional foods from the Levianth.

                  The other foreign cuisines Mexico does well are Castillian, Spanish Basque, Classic French and Italian.

                  One thing you might have a hard time finding is Mexican... well at least the way people think of Mexican in the States. The cuisine in Mexico (if you are staying away from the Tourist Traps) is highly Specialized & Regional... and probably will not taste that Mexican too you... in Mexico City look for cooking from the following regions:

                  > Oaxaca
                  > Puebla
                  > Hidalgo
                  > Yucatan
                  > Tlaxcala

                  You will also find other States represented like Jalisco & Monterrey but those cooking traditions are more familiar to what you might be used in the U.S.

                  One last thing... if you can find a restaurant that serves specialities from Colima that might be your ticket to East Asian flavors as there is a sizeable population there that descends from the 16th century Filipino slave trade... influences include Coconut Vinegar, Palm Sap liquor, lots of Mangos & Coconuts, Rice etc.,

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    wow thanks so much! now i'm definately going.

                  2. re: phishphood

                    Mexicans really love Indian food, there are 3 Indian restaurants in Mexico City. The ones i go are allways pretty full. Tandoor at Copérnico St in Polanco, good food, not expensive. And Kohinoor in Santa Fe, not at shopping mall, but on a small street next to Ostra. The 3rd restaurant is in Polanco but I haven´t been there, so i cannot say....I don´t think Mexican and Indian food are similar....sorry. I am a ovolactovegetarian...and i have no problem eating in Mexico. Even at El Buen Bife they have an excellent spinach and blue cheese salad, empanadas de elote, alfajores...Look for these dishes: sopa tarasca, molletes naturales with lots of salsa, sopa de flor de calabaza, crepas de huitlacoche, quesadillas de requesón, sopa de hongos, crema de cilantro, torta de huevos con huauzontles, ensalada de nopalitos, tamales de rajas, tacos de cáscara de papa, chayotes al vapor, flan de guayaba, fresh papaya with lime juice, tunas, and yes, queso panela, mmm.

                    1. re: Evaristo

                      *Ojo con los molletes* (be careful of molletes)--they often come with a big smear of *frijolitos refritos*, which are probably made with lard. At least the ones I made this morning were made that way. Delicious, but decidedly not vegetarian.


                  3. I lived for several years in Guadalajara, currently live in Morelia, and am a frequent visitor to Mexico City.

                    The biggest difference between Guadalajara and Mexico City is population. Mexico City is approximately four times bigger than Guadalajara--6 million, more or less, for Guadalajara versus nearly 25 million for Mexico City--and hence has the widely varied population which sustains so many excellent restaurants. Guadalajara is still the provinces, although there is certainly a growing number of sophisticated restaurants there. Guadalajara and Mexico City are definitely not equally cosmopolitan. Mexico City wins that race!

                    I've eaten amazing meals in Guadalajara, but primarily at regional specialty restaurants that do one thing very, very well--be that thing pozole, birria, carne en su jugo, or whatever the specialty might be.

                    I've eaten amazing meals in Mexico City as well, at a much different (and higher) level of cuisine.