Header image: Francisco Ruano and his blue crab and tiger's milk with hibiscus at Alcalde
Chef Francisco Ruano of Alcalde, winner of the One To Watch Award for Latin America 2016, sponsored by Glenmorangie, shares his favourite eating and drinking spots in his hometown of Guadalajara.
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Lope de Vega 113, 44130 Guadalajara
This place serves the best locally roasted Mexican coffee alongside a menu of informal, flavoursome cooking based on regional products.
Juan Manuel 1406, Santa Teresita, 44600 Guadalajara
Inspired by the famous 1920 film directed by Robert Weine, this little café located in the old town of Santa Teresita is an oasis with excellent coffee and truly the best breakfast in the city. It’s an absolute gem.
São Paulo 1491, Providencia, 44640 Guadalajara
La Docena uses the best ingredients in the country. As the name (meaning ‘a dozen’) suggests, the speciality is oysters – they always have four to six varieties on offer – but you’ll also find wagyu beef, whole fish, giant prawns and vegetables. Everything is lightly grilled and the atmosphere is so inviting it’ll make you want to stay for dessert.
Tortas de la Bicicleta
Calle Mexicaltzingo 19, Mexicaltzingo, 44180 Guadalajara
Two of Guadalajara’s most iconic dishes are tortas ahogadas – literally sandwiches ‘drowned’ in spicy tomato sauce – and birria, a spicy stew. La Bicicleta does its own unique take on the torta, with fresh raw salsa that’s a bit like gazpacho. Be prepared to eat on foot in the middle of the road with a plastic bag for a plate. (Yes, you read that right.)
Tortas del Profe
Calle Andrés Terán 841, Villaseñor, 44600 Guadalajara
If you’re not into raw salsa packed with garlic, you should come to this little corner of Santa Teresita neighbourhood to try the best version of tortas ahogadas. On Saturdays they do a special that consists of a grilled taco filled with fresh cheese and the crunchy bits of the pork that have been accumulating over the course of the week. They call it ‘the special’ and it’s one of the best things you’ll eat in Guadalajara.
Chapultepec 215, Guadalajara, Mexico
Artisanal beer, a tight space, wooden tables and noise, noise, noise – that’s why the name translates as ‘Noisy Cricket’. This is one of my favourite places to listen to alternative rock in a space with artists, designers and other locals.
Birrieria Don David, Mercado Alcalde
Mercado Alcalde, Guadalajara
Set in Alcalde market (where my restaurant takes its name from), this is the place to go for the cleanest version of one of the region’s most emblematic dishes, the birria. They do an oven-baked, marinated goat stew served in its own juices. It’s also a chance to go to the market and try the seasonal produce.
Cantina La Fuente
Calle Pino Suárez 78, Guadalajara
The oldest tavern in the city, located in the first block of the old town, it’s the spot where all the life from the centre comes together. Go in the afternoon when there’s live music and have a beer with a white tequila on the side.
Calle Emeterio Robles Gil 137, Americana, Guadalajara
Red lights, a long wooden bar, animal skin-covered stools, low tables, a selection of classic cocktails – Pigalle is the place to go for a few serious drinks after midnight. Music-wise, you’ll hear everything from John Coltrane to Os Mutantes, then Erin Koray to the Budos Band.
Pare de Sufrir… Tome Mezcal
Calle Argentina 66, Guadalajara
Meaning ‘Stop suffering, drink mezcal,’ owner Pedro Jimenez handpicks a variety of mezcals for customers.. What’s unique is that the selection of distills come from the most unlikely states, like Zacatecas, Jalisco, Michoacan and Durango, so it’s pretty far from the cliché of mezcal being exclusively from Oaxaca. The vibe really picks up later in the night with an eclectic mix of cumbia music and other tunes to dance to while drunk.