Eating in Guadalajara
Guadalajara has several extraordinary restaurants for international and for traditional food. The majority of the fine-dining places are on the west side. The places in the Centro Histórico are regularly bad, excepting La Fonda de San Miguel. Tlaquepaque has some good alternatives, but they all close around 8pm. Local eateries serving good regional food are abundant, particularly in the Centro Histórico.
One of the most popular local dishes is birria (goat, lamb, or pork covered in maguey leaves and roasted). It comes in a tomato-based broth or with the broth on the side. To get it correctly made, go to one of the several birrierías. There are more than 5 in Las Nueve Esquinas neighborhood, downtown; in Tlaquepaque, try Birriería El Sope. Another local preferred is torta ahogada, a sandwich with a pork filling bathed in a tomato sauce. Jalisco-style pozole is chicken-and-hominy soup to which you add lime juice, Mexican oregano, chiles, and onion. Sanborn is a popular national chain of restaurants and coffee shops, you can try it for a quick meal; the traditional dish is enchiladas suizas (enchiladas in cream sauce).
La Chata - Corona 126 South of Juarez. Very famed and very packed. Traditional food the way mom used to make it, or so they say. Needless to say that it is more expensive than other places serving the same fare, but prices are still pretty reasonable. You can view the menu on their website, but it's a bit annoying. You can have a good meal there for $100 pesos.
La Rinconada - 86 Morelos on the Morelos pedestrian mall. Traditional Mexican fare served to the tourist crowd in a restored 19th century mansion. In the evenings you will be serenaded by strolling Mariachis here.
El Sacromonte - Av Pedro Moreno 1398 (at Colonias) The food here is traditional mexican served a little more craftily for a more well off clientele. Subdued old-style violin centered mariachis play here in the early afternoon.
Fonda San Miguel - Donato Guerra No. 25, about 4 blocks W of the Cathedral. The restaurant is housed in an old convent, with most of the seating in the covered courtyard. It is quite picuresque. The fare is traditional mexican, including standars like chicken in mole poblano, chiles en nogada, etc.
Cafes and Bars in Guadalajara
Try to find a bar with a huge collection of Tequilas, and taste a greate blanca, añejo and reposada. Real tequila is not at all like the junk you have had in the USA. It is as high-quality as any single-malt scotch, and perhaps better than most. If you ask for a tequila from Los Altos that is traditional, you will almost surely get something good. Los Altos is the region NE of GDL where the best tequila is made and it brings up images of tradition, patriotism and individualism. It's code for The Good Stuff.
Lobby Bar - The Fiesta Americana hotel's sleek Lobby Bar has live, Monday through Saturday after 8. Av. Aurelio Aceves 225, Guadalajara. (Tel: 33/3818-1400)
La Maestranza - Full of bullfighting memorabilia. (Calle Maestranza 179, Guadalajara Tel: 33/3613-5878)
Cubilete - Has live tropical tunes Wednesday through Saturday after 10. General Río Seco 9, Guadalajara Tel: 33/3613-2096
La Peña Cuicacalli - After 9 PM Tuesday through Sunday, patrons cluster around the small stage at There's rock en español on Tuesday and folk music from Mexico, Latin America, and Spain other nights. Av. Niños Héroes 1988, at Suarez traffic circle, Guadalajara.
La Fuente - The cantina draws business types, intellectuals, and blue-collar workers, all seeking cheap drinks, animated conversation, and live music. Calle Pino Suarez, Guadalajara.