Eating out is a source of pleasure and cheap entertainment in Mexico in general and in Guanajuato in particular. We are always being asked where we recommend visitors eat. The difficulty in answering this question is that for $12.00 USD, you would be able to feed four adults. Americans think that is a cheap to feed one adult. Visiting gringos find it incredible that you can get a good meal in this city for under $4.00.
Most local restaurants in Guanajuato will have something called, El Menu del DÌa, or The Meal of the Day. This will consist, usually, of something from the regular menu that is served for a really cheap price. You get a choice of two soups, vegetable, starch, and meat. Sometimes the drink and dessert is included.
The portions are not anywhere the size of potions in the U.S. but the meal is filling and will satisfy you. One or two restaurants will serve something out-of-the-ordinary for their regular customers. We frequent one place that will give us the ìheads upî when they plan to serve liver (yes, we love liver!). It is not on their regular menu.
In some of the upper-range restaurants in the El Jardin area, their Meal of the Day can be very elegant with American-sized portions. These will be more expensive, around $6.50 per person, but is worth it every now and then. Some of these restaurants have bilingual waiters who can speak a bit of English.
We rarely eat out for any meal other than La Cena (the mid-day meal). We usually take advantage of the meal of the day. Sometimes we order from the menu. So, here are our suggestions of where you can eat, whether you are a visitor or expat in Guanajuato:
Truco 7 ñ When we get a hankering for a good steak, we eat here. We have expat pals who refuse to believe that you can get a good steak anywhere in Mexico. We take exception to that gross misstatement. Truco 7 is a trendily-decorated place that is well worth the time and effort to visit. It is off the beaten path and until you get to know Guanajuato you can ask anyone, ìøDÛnde est· Truco Siete?î and they will more than likely escort you there personally. We normally choose bistec y papas or steak and fries which is accompanied by a small salad, a little guacamole, and bolillos (a French-bread type roll). It is absolutely delicious.
Tapatio ñ This is located across the street from the enormous staircase that leads up to the main building of the University of Guanajuato. This is the place of choice to go for The Meal of the Day. The service is decent but not exceptional. However, it is immensely popular with Mexicans because of the food. You might be able to strike up a conversation or two with your fellow diners if you want. They have an excellent dish called Milanesa de pollo o res. This a piece of chicken breast (or beef) that is pounded into oblivion, resulting in an almost wafer-thin piece of meat. It is then lightly breaded and fried. It is usually served with fries, guacamole, and a small collection of freshly cut vegetables. It is the breading and seasoning of Milanesa that makes it very good.
Casa Valadez ñ This is owned by a very old family here in Guanajuato. My wife used to teach English to one of the members of this family. Casa Valadez is probably the closest thing in this town resembling an international restaurant. It has a bilingual menu and serves some American dishes along with some of the traditional Mexican dishes. If you get it into your head that you want an exceptional hamburger, then you have to eat here. In addition, the service is outstanding! They treat you like they simply adore you and that you made their day for stopping by. They also serve what I think is the best food in town. I have yet to find an exception. The presentation makes you wonder if they have Wolfgang Puck in the back. It is a nice place all around and even has someone who plays the piano during the afternoon meal. Our favorite ìoff-the-menuî dish is a regional dish called Enchilada Mineras.
No place else serves such an exceptional plate of Enchiladas Mineras. If you are in the mood to be pampered and fussed over, go hereóeven for a hamburger.