If you Google “Xalapa restaurants” as I did recently, you won’t find much solid information in either English or Spanish. Even Frommers.com lists only two restaurants in their online Xalapa guide. Only two, in a city of about 400,000!
Our group has had several discussions on eating out in Xalapa, but the Yahoo Group messages apparently aren’t crawled by search engines. The opportunity to become a primary information source for visitors was too good to pass up, so I went back through the group messages and pulled together everything I could find.
Below is a collection of reviews and recommendations of Xalapa restaurants offered by our members.
JIM MARTIN’S FAVE FOUR
1. La Sopa, in the Callejon Diamante. A laid-back student-artist hangout with some of the best antojitos I’ve ever had (rivaling the old El Farol in downtown Guadalajara). It sometimes has musicians (solo guitarists for example) and is almost always packed both because the food is good and because your wallet won’t be depleted.
2. Cafe Lindo, on Primo Verdad across from the hospital. I had a wonderful comida with pollo frito a la Aguascalientes for the entree (four bucks!).
View from the balcony at La Fonda
photo by Laura Garcia
3. La Fonda, Callejon Diamante at Enriquez, which Let’s Go correctly says has “simply the best food around.” Try for a balcony table upstairs. Within an easy (at most, five-minute) walk from the Cathedral and/or Parque Juarez, i.e. the heart of the centro historico. La Fonda is on the corner of Enriquez, the main street that runs in front of the park (on the south side of the street) and the restaurant (on the north side). It is on the corner of Enriquez and the entrance to Callejon Diamante. You simply can’t miss it. Amazingly, prices there — for the value of the food — are much lower than they would be in any city of comparable size anywhere in the world, given the location!
4. Casona del Beaterio, a couple of blocks off the main drag. An old colonial home converted into a splendid dining experience with big breakfasts and nothing on the menu higher than about $10. To get to the Casona del Beaterio from the corner of Callejon Diamante and Enriquez, head one long block east on Enriquez, cross the street and go south down Primera Verdad about three shorter blocks until you get to Zaragoza. Then turn right and walk one block to the next intersection. It’s catercorner.
The coffee shops along Primero Verdad are also delightful for a late morning or post-siesta cup of altura, good places to read or people watch, especially if you like ogling college students in animated conversations. — Jim M.
recommended by Bret Cohen
Xalapa is loaded with good restaurants, including about six vegetarian restaurants. Here are three delicious veggie restaurants:
(right under the old Xallitic bridge, next to the community washing wells)
Manantial de los Flores
Ursulo Galván 102
Teléfono: (28) 12 45 57
(on the street leading away from Parque Juarez toward where you get the buses to Coatepeque & Xico)
Pino Suárez 13 Zona centro
Teléfono: 01 2288 817 33 15
(on a small street leading down from near Correos (Post Office))
RICH’S EVENING AT IL GIARDINO
I almost hesitate to recommend this restaurant out of fear that it might become a great success and then the owners will sell out at a hefty price and retire. Well for our sake I hope this doesn’t happen. On to the review.
Last night Il Giardino was not crowded, in fact one might say the place was virtually empty. However, it was early evening on a Thursday. Since I plan on returning on other days we’ll see how the crowd develops. One night is not enough to prove anything.
My dinner consisted of salad and pasta with a tasty tomato sauce, washed down by a nice Spanish red wine. My companion had ravioli with fish filling. The total, including four glasses of wine, came to about $35 US. Most of the pasta entrées were in the 6.50 to 8.00 range as I recall. I did not really study the entire menu, since I have found ordering pasta is a good guide to any new Italian restaurant. My pasta definitely passed the test, so I’ll
order other selections in the future with some assurance. I would say the menu offered a good range of standard fare for an Italian restaurant.
Service was excellent and portions ample. There is a large patio area and several small intimate dining areas for small parties. The atmosphere is very pleasant.
Parking may be a problem because you must park on the street. Other than that, I can see no negatives in dining at Il Giardino. — Rich
RECOMMENDATIONS BY JOHN
I like VIPS a lot, which is a kind of fusion food, but they also sell Mexican food (enchiladas, moletes, I might spell this wrong). It’s in the center.
As for a “corner joint,” follow the Calle Hidalgo in the direction of the rail track. When you have passed Parque de los Berros, keep walking and if you see to your right a small car selling Tacos al Pastor, give them a try. (There is an internet cafe nearby.)
Just after Parque de los Berros, there is also a small restaurant selling Japanese food.
I know 1001 more places to eat but have to ask my novia for names.
BTW, I live in el centro. — John Bokma
ROY DUDLEY’S TOP TEN
There are excellent restaurants in Xalapa. Here are some:
La Casona del Beaterio
La Estancia de los Tecajetes
La Casa de Mama
El Salto de Xala
— Roy Dudley