Food vendors in Guadalajara seem to like to rip off foreign tourists. For example, when trying to get some tacos or a burger or something from a street food vendor, the vendor will tell you not to worry about the price, and when it's time to pay you will get an inflated bill. Be sure to ask for the price before you order. If the vendor tells you not to worry about the price, say "necesito saber" (I need to know). Of course, do this with a smile and you will not be ripped off.
Birria, tortas ahogadas, and chilaquiles are some of the most traditional Tapatío dishes. The food court in the Mercado Libertad is a good place to sample the variety of local specialties.
Birria is a savory stew made of roast chiles, spices and traditionally goat meat, though you will usually be given other meat options like mutton or beef depending on the restaurant. For birria, the restaurants in the Nueve Esquinas area (a few blocks south of Templo San Francisco) are popular and reliably good.
Tortas ahogadas (literally "drowned sandwiches") are elongated sandwiches on birote bread, akin to submarines or po' boys, smothered in a savory chile and tomato sauce. Numerous restaurants in the Centro Histórico specialize in these.
Pozole is a hearty soup of pork and hominy topped with fresh cabbage, radish, onion and cilantro. There are some very good pozole stands in the food court of the Mercado Libertad.
Mollete. Popular for breakfast among locals, this is a French-style roll split and covered with refried beans, then topped with ham or chorizo and cheese and toasted.
Tamales consist of pockets of masa (a starchy dough of corn flour) filled with mole (a sauce or gravy made from any of an infinite combination of chili peppers, spices, and chocolate) and the choice of chicken or pork. Most people make tamales for holidays such as Christmas, the Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Independence Day, or New Year's Day.
Enchiladas are a corn or flour tortilla rolled around and filled with meat, cheese, vegetables and/or potatoes and covered with spicy chile sauce, dressed variously in sour cream and/or cheese.
In addition to traditional Mexican specialties, Tapatíos seem to be especially fond of Italian food—a considerable number of restaurants of that type can be found around Guadalajara. If you miss American fast food, worry not: in addition to the restaurants listed here, Guadalajara has 14 McDonald's outlets.
Centro Histórico and nearby
Birrera Las Nueve EsquinasCristbal Coln 384, Zona CentroPhone: +52 (33) 3613 6260Hours: M-Sa 9:00-22:00, Su 9:00-19:30Well known for its lamb birria, a specialty of Jalisco, this popular place is located in an old part of the Centro Histrico called "Las Nueve Esquinas" (Nine Corners), for its unusual street layout. La ChataCorona 126, Zona CentroPhone: +52 (33) 3613 1315Hours: Daily 7:30-midnightPrice: $60-190Very popular and very crowded. Traditional food the way mom used to make it, or so they say. Needless to say the prices are higher here than in other places serving the same farebut still pretty reasonable. La Fonda de San MiguelDonato Guerra 25, Zona CentroPhone: +52 (33) 3613 0793Hours: M 8:30-18:00, Tu-Sa 8:30-noon, Su 8:30-21:00Price: $120-200The restaurant is housed in an old convent, with most of the seating in the covered courtyard. It is quite picturesque. The fare is traditional Mexican, including standards like chicken in mole poblano, chiles en nogada, etc. Open for lunch and dinner Su-M; lunch only Tu-Sa. La RinconadaMorelos 86, Zona CentroPhone: +52 (33) 3613 9925Price: $70-300Located on the Calle de Morelos pedestrian mall in the Centro Histrico, in a restored 19th-century mansion. Traditional Mexican fare (including breakfast) is served to the tourist crowd, with serenades by strolling mariachis in the evening.
Chapultepec, Minerva, Zapopan, and west of the Centro Histórico
Almacn del BifePlaza Andares 4965, Puerta de Hierro, ZapopanPhone: +52 (33) 3611 2668Hours: Daily 13:00-midnightPrice: $120-800"Beer and wine, our passion" (in translation) is the motto of this Argentinian restaurant in Plaza Andares. In addition, a wide selection of chicken dishes, pastas and a daily seafood special are offered. ChopMxico 2328, Ladrn de GuevaraPhone: +52 (33) 3630 3557Hours: Su-Th 8:00-midnight, F-Sa 8:00-1:00Price: $60-135Lovely deli located midway between Chapultepec and Minerva and owned by a local chain of coffeehouses. Salads, sandwiches and wraps, paninis, calzone and pizza are on the menu, as well as a large selection of breakfasts served daily. Kids' menu. El SacromontePedro Moreno 1398, AmericanaPhone: +52 (33) 3825 5447Hours: M-Sa 13:30-midnight, Su 13:30-18:00The food here is traditional Mexican served a little more artfully for a more well-off clientele. Subdued, violin-centered mariachis play here in the early afternoon. Il Duomode las Amricas 302, Ladrn de GuevaraPhone: +52 (33) 3615 4952Hours: Daily 13:30-midnightCreative Italian cuisine at reasonable prices including pastas, meat dishes and fine wines, served by polite and attentive (but not over-attentive) waitstaff. Kamilos 333Jos Clemente Orozco 333, Santa TeresitaPhone: +52 (33) 3825 7869Hours: Daily 8:00-1:00Unpretentious, traditional Mexican fare reigns supreme hereKamilos' menu goes heavy on meat dishes, which are juicy and delicious. Breakfast served daily. Those who don't speak Spanish well may have trouble with the (intentionally) misspelled words on the menu"camarones" becomes "kamaronez", "quesadilla" is rendered "kezadya", etc. SuehiroLa Paz 1701, AmericanaPhone: +52 (33) 3826 0094Hours: M-Sa 13:30-17:30 and 19:30-23:30, Su 13:00-19:00Laid-back Japanese restaurant whose gargantuan menu encompasses excellently prepared cuisine in the teppanyaki, nabemono, and tempura cooking styles, as well as a huge selection of sushi and sashimi. Quality and service are beyond compare. Outside is a beautifully landscaped garden complete with koi pond. Tacos ProvidenciaRubn Daro 534, Lomas de GuevaraPhone: +52 (33) 3641 6049The tacos this place serves upparticularly the tacos al pastor, the specialty herehave been described as the best in Guadalajara. Quesadillas are also served. TintorettoMxico 2916, Residencial Juan ManuelPhone: +52 (33) 3642 7242Hours: Daily 13:00-1:00Elegant and mouth-wateringand surprisingly reasonably pricedItalo-Argentinian fare featuring a mind-boggling selection of steaks and chops, carpaccios, wood-fired pizzas, salads, pasta dishes, desserts, and fine wines.
Casa FuerteIndependencia 224, Tlaquepaque Centro, TlaquepaquePhone: +52 (33) 3639 6481Hours: Daily noon-20:00An artful and upscale, yet faithful, take on traditional Mexican cuisine served up in an elegant old mansion in historic downtown Tlaquepaque. El ParinCorner of Calles Jurez and Progreso, Tlaquepaque Centro, TlaquepaqueThis central square of Tlaquepaque's historic downtown boasts several restaurants with a bandstand in the center. It's a nice place to sit and have a drink or enjoy a meal, with numerous mariachis who will play for you for a small fee and also public performances that begin at 21:30. TlaquePastaReforma 139, Tlaquepaque Centro, TlaquepaquePhone: +52 (33) 3635 7522Hours: M-Th 17:00-22:00, F-Su 14:00-22:00Located within the Quinta Don Jos Boutique Hotel, a nice mix of cuisines is on offer here, with traditional Tapato dishes rubbing shoulders on the menu with the only Italian specialties available in Tlaquepaque. Great tasting food, attractive setting, and reasonable prices.