What makes it special: In the four years since its opening, Alcalde’s star has quickly ascended, winning the One To Watch Award in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 and making a statement on the list in 2017 as Highest New Entry, while in 2019, it moves up the list 17 spots earning the Highest Climber Award. Chef Francisco ‘Paco’ Ruano’s simple, ‘frank’ Mexican cooking in a stylish, welcoming setting in Guadalajara makes diners want to return again and again.
About the chef: Ruano honed his skills on cruise ships in Alaska and the Caribbean before enrolling at the Luis Irizar cooking school in Spain. He went on to work at esteemed restaurants such as Mugaritz and El Celler de Can Roca in Spain and Noma in Denmark, with European cuisine now influencing his cooking at Alcalde, which the chef opened in his home city in 2013.
On the menu: Mexican ingredients dominate Alcalde’s menu, with dishes such as green aguachile with prawn and apple, octopus with recado negro sauce and suckling pig with black mole sauce. The restaurant has options for four- or seven-course tasting menus as well as a simple three-course à la carte, ending in desserts featuring local fruits.
Other ventures: At the beginning of 2017, Ruano unveiled his latest project, Trasfonda, a traditional Mexican restaurant in Guadalajara based on the flavours of the chef’s childhood.
Accolades: Ruano is something of a gastronomic ambassador, having been invited by the Tourism Ministry to cook at the World Economic Forum in 2015 and then joining the Diplomatic Corps of Chefs in 2016 to promote Mexican cuisine.