Restaurant Reviews

Lake Chapala may just be paradise for those who enjoy dining out and eating wonderful, creative food. This guide to our favorite restaurants is just that - our very own favorites. We have ranked them according to their menu selections, service, ambiance and price and have personally eaten at them all, sometimes more than once. If you think we have left out a really good restaurant, it is probably because we haven't eaten there yet. Let us know and we will make a visit and add our review to this guide. Buen Provecho!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Food Lake Container

Avenida Hidalgo #456, Riberas del Pilar

Directions: From Walmart, drive east on the Carretera approximately 2 miles. Food Lake Container is on the right. Parking in front of the restaurant.

First Impressions

I admit, the odd name, Food Lake Container, confused me. Was this a take-out place serving food to go? Was it even a restaurant?    

Turns out, behind the front gate is not just one restaurant, but five different restaurants, with a sixth coming soon. A long, narrow path leads to a common dining area. There are tables for two and spaces for large groups. Jazz music plays from speakers overhead.

Our knowledgeable waiter, Daniel, handed us the largest menu I have ever seen and explained the concept of Food Lake Container to us. The menu contains selections from all five restaurants and we could order from one restaurant, or from all of them and would receive one check. The restaurants at Food Lake Container are Su Wok, El Tejado Steak, Burger Paradise, La Casa Del Dogo, and Vagon Rojo and the vast number of possible combinations is mind-boggling.

Chile Caribe
Drink selections are easier to navigate. Food Lake Container offers Mexican craft beers and wines from Ensenada, Mexico as well as soft drinks.


It takes a while to get through the extensive menu. Su Wok offers a number of oriental and fusion style appetizers and main dishes, many that I did not recognize but that sounded tempting.

El Tejado Steak serves a variety of typical steakhouse plates and Burger Paradise, as the name suggests, creates interesting burger and fry combinations.

Rib Eye from El Tejada Steak
La Casa del Dogo is a hot dog stand and Vagon Rojo features sandwiches on baguettes. The waiter mentioned that the group of restaurants will soon be joined by an Italian café.   

We ordered Chile Caribe as an appetizer from the Su Wok menu, peppers stuffed with manchego cheese,  gouda cheese and crab.
These were lightly breaded and fried until the cheese slightly melted. They were unique and scrumptious, though much spicier than we expected.

For the main dish, we ordered crispy chicken from the Su Wok menu and a rib-eye steak from the Tejado Steak menu. The crispy chicken was well-prepared, the chicken tender and the vegetables slightly crunchy. The sauce tasted of soy sauce and honey and lightly covered the dish, which was accompanied by fluffy rice.

Rib-eye does not translate in Mexico. No restaurant serves what we from north of the border call a rib-eye. Nevertheless, the steak was tender and the baked potato satisfying.  The steak was accompanied by a sauce of freshly grilled peppers which was prepared at the table by the waiter.

Crispy Chicken from Su Wok
To accompany our meal, we ordered a glass of white wine and a bottle of  India Pale Ale from a Baja California brewery.

Service and Price

Our waiter was friendly and knowledgeable. He explained the food container concept to us and knew how the many dishes were prepared. He made meal and appetizer recommendations and guided us through the menu.

The dining area is open on the sides and can be a little cool in the evening. There is a small play structure to occupy children and a television mounted on the wall for viewing special sports events.

Our Waiter, Daniel
Compared to prices in the area, Food Lake Container is moderately priced. The Crispy Chicken cost 110pesos and the Rib Eye, 190 pesos. Wine is 45 pesos per glass and the craft beer is a little pricey at 60 pesos per bottle

Our Recommendation ***

This is certainly an interesting concept, a modified version of Container City in Cholula. You could eat at Lake Food Container every day for a week and never order the same thing twice. This place is worth a visit, just to try the unique combination of foods from the different kitchens. My only complaint is that on the evening we visited it was cool and the dining space is open to the outdoors.

Watch for the Italian Café that will join the group soon.

Buen Provecho!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Brew House

De Las Flores #25, Ajijic
376 766 5657
Hours: Daily 12pm - 9pm  
Parking street-side. Credit Cards accepted.
Directions: From Walmart, drive west through Ajijic about 2 miles. Turn left on De Las Flores. The Brewhouse is located on the left, across from Don Pedro's Restaurant. 

First Impressions

The Brew House is the hippest new place in town. The maker of Corazon de Malta beer has opened a taproom and gastro pub that, from the size of the crowd on Friday night, looks like a big hit with locals and expats.

The dining room is small and dark with an upscale urban atmosphere. The tanks and equipment in the brew house can be seen through the glass wall that separates it from the dining room. There is a full bar and a large variety of Corazon de Malta beers on tap.

A chalkboard at the hostess stand announces the specials of the day. We were fortunate to get one of the last tables available. The hostess handed us a menu and the waitress appeared immediately to take our drink order.

The table next to us ordered 2 flights of beer with 7 generous samples. I didn't see this on the menu, but if you like craft beer, you may want to give this a try.


Besides the chalkboard with daily specials, the menu offers an interesting variety of small plates and comfort food entrees, including  Sirloin and Cheddar Sliders, Ribbies, Baked Panela and Basil, Chicken Wings, Popcorn Shrimp, Salads and Soups, Homemade Chili, Sheppard's Pie of the Day (chicken, beef or lamb), and Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup.

We ordered a Corazon de Malta India Pale Ale and a glass of Pinot Grigio. The India pale ale was light, hoppy and satisfying. Unfortunately, they ran out before we could order more, so we moved on to the American Brown Ale, a molasses-flavored brew that reminded us of Guiness.

Brew House has a good selection of beers on tap, including an American Wheat Ale, India Pale Ale, American Brown Ale, Robust Porter Ale, Stout Ale and Bohemian Pilsner Lager among others.

If you don't care for draft beer, order one of the bottled craft beers. Brew House also offers wine and mixed drinks.

For dinner we ordered the special, a Four Cheese Hamburger, and the Ribbies, which features a four rib portion of tender pork served with French Fries.

We would have ordered guacamole to eat while we waited for our meal, but the waiter insisted that they did not have guacamole, though it was advertised on the Daily Special chalkboard.

The ribs were some of the best I have ever tasted. The meat was so tender it fell off the bones. The French Fries were good, though a little salty for my taste. The Four Cheese Hamburger was giant, cooked perfectly in the middle and served on a crusty baguette with lettuce and tomato with creamy melting cheeses. It was also accompanied by fries. 

The waitress described the desserts of the day and we settled on a brownie and ice cream. The brownie was freshly made with crunchy bits of caramel inside, chocolate sauce and more crunchy bits on top of the ice cream.

I splurged on a cappuccino which I have not had in a long time because I fear being disappointed. I shouldn't have worried. At the Brew House, besides brewing a darn good beer, they also brew an excellent cappuccino.

Service and Price

The service at Brew House is excellent and most of the wait staff speak English. Our waitress was busy, but she did not neglect us. The young waiters were roving around the dining room, maybe a little too anxious to grab a glass before we were finished, but they were also quick to make sure we always had a refill when our glasses were empty.

One of the reasons I like to post a picture of the check is so our readers will know that we really did eat at this restaurant and the reviews are based on our own experience. Our meal came to less than 500 pesos including 3 beers, 2 glasses of wine, 2 entrees, dessert and cappuccino. A bargain.

Our Recommendation ****

It is a treat to have a craft brewery at Lake Chapala. The owners have invested no small amount of money to create a spot that is unique and inviting. The Corazon de Malta beer is crafted with care and the menu is different from anything you will find in the area.

If you like gastro pubs then check this place out. I think you will agree that the Brew House is one of the best new dining experiences lakeside.


Sunday, November 27, 2016

Alfredo's California

Address: Paseo Ramon Corona #12, Chapala
Phone: 331-301-9862  or  331-470-2258
Hours: Wednesday - Monday, 10 am -7 pm
Parking on the street in front of restaurant.

Directions: From Walmart, drive east into Chapala, about 5 miles. Turn right at the stoplight in Chapala and left onto Ramon Corona. The restaurant faces the Chapala malecon.

Alfredo's California has a small second location in Ribaras del Pilar on the Carretera.

First Impressions

Alfredo's California in Chapala
Alfredo's California is located on the street that runs along the malecon in Chapala. The exterior is welcoming, so I can't explain why it has taken me so long to eat here.

I and a friend visited on a Saturday afternoon, a little earlier than most people eat lunch around here, so there was no one else in the café when we arrived.

The dining room is arranged under a palapa. Christmas decorations adorn the cloth covered, metal tables. There is a well stocked full bar in the dining room and another bar in the back of the restaurant and plenty of room for larger crowds.

Pasta Menu
There was no background music playing, only an old television set on the end of the bar streaming a National Geographic documentary - the same one my companion watched in the barber shop. A small kitchen is located in the corner of the dining room, behind a half-wall. The waiter handed us a fold-out menu with an immense variety of dishes. How can they possibly prepare all the dishes on the menu in such a tiny kitchen and with only one cook?


Alfredo's California has the largest variety of dishes I have ever seen offered at a restaurant in Chapala. The picture, at left, shows just a few of the selections from the pasta portion of the menu. In addition to pasta, you can choose from a number of chicken dishes, seafood plates, Mexican fare, 9 sandwiches, 15 different kinds of burgers, appetizers and salads. Also, you can order a cocktail, wine or beer or soft drinks.

Freshly Made Chips and Salsa
We ordered two glasses of the red house wine to drink while we read the menu. We were pleasantly surprised when the waiter served a Chilean Reservado. A glass of house wine is 40pesos, one of the least expensive, and largest pours, lakeside.

The waiter brought out a basket of fresh totopos and salsa made in-house. The chips were warm, lightly salted and delicious. With corn tortillas so plentiful in Chapala, there is no reason not to serve them fresh and these were cooked perfectly.

The salsa also tasted freshly made and was not too picante. I recently complained about other area restaurants serving totopos from a bag - they could take a lesson from Alfredo's California.

We finally decided on Chicken Cordon Blue, a lightly breaded and pan-fried chicken breast topped with a slice of ham and cheese and covered in a white mushroom sauce, and Tampiquena, a dish served with two cheese quesadillas, chorizo, beef strips and guacamole.

Chicken Cordon Blue
Both meals were served with a dinner salad, rice and steamed vegetables and the Tampiquena was  accompanied by hand-cut French fries. The house-made, chunky, guacamole was well seasoned, with not too much cilantro.

Our meals were prepared to order and while we waited we were served a small but fresh, crisp dinner salad. The waiter was attentive during our meal and spoke some English, which worked fine with our "some Spanish."

Serving sizes at Alfredo's California are ample - we didn't eat again the rest of the day.  As we were eating, the café began to fill with people who dine at a more traditional lunch time in Mexico. Our meals were tasty and filling. The waiter kept our wine glasses filled and was anxious to ensure we were satisfied with our meals.

Full Disclosure: Our Check
I was a little disappointed that we were not offered dessert, though I doubt if I would have had room to sample anything after such a large  meal. All in all, this was a pleasant dining experience.

Alfredo's California also offers a breakfast menu with a large variety of egg scramble dishes, omelets and pancakes. Their omelets, I have learned, are legendary.

Service and Price

Our waiter was friendly and attentive and spoke English. He provided us with good service throughout the meal and we never felt forgotten. The prices at Alfredo's California are some of the most reasonable in the area. Most entrees average around 100pesos.

Our entire meal, as you can see by the picture I have posted of our check, came to less than 500pesos.

Nice Large Pour of House Red wine

Our Recommendation ***

Alfredo's California advertises international cuisine, by that they mean they have a large and eclectic menu of dishes that includes Italian, Mexican and typical diner food from North of the Border. This is not gourmet cuisine, it is comfort food prepared well.

My only complaint is minor. A TV playing while I am eating, unless it is a sports bar and I am there to watch a game, is a big turn-off for me. Shut it off  when the restaurant opens - please - and put on some nice background music. (The waiter did do this just as we were leaving). Otherwise, the food is tasty and Alfredo's California is worth a visit.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Avocado Club Gastro Diner

Address: Carretera Chapala-Ajijic #89, San Antonio, Tlay. Across from the Chula Vista Country Club
Phone: 766-7000
Hours: Tuesday - Thursday 12pm - 8 pm; Friday - Saturday 12pm - 9pm; Sunday Brunch 9am - 3pm.  
Directions: From Walmart, drive east on the Carretera towards Chapala. The Avocado Club is on the right, across from the Golf Course and country club.

Watch for special events. The next is coming up New Year's Eve. Dinner and Live Music until midnight. Call for Reservations.

First Impressions

Inside The Avocado Club
Romeo Santos croons softly in the background and a soft breeze blows through the dining room located on the top floor of the Rose Bowl shopping center. The Avocado Club is the latest creation of the owner of Gossips, Ismet Jivani, a well-respected local chef who once trained with Paul Prudhomme, so you can expect a unique menu prepared perfectly under his supervision.

Warning to those who cannot manage steps well, there is one flight of steps leading to this top floor restaurant that may be difficult to climb.

Daily Specials

At the top of the stairs a waiter rushes to greet you and lead you to a seat, make sure you are comfortable, and immediately take your drink order. The service here is terrific, probably because the owner brought some of his seasoned wait staff from Gossips to help train the new waiters.

We ordered our drinks from a menu that includes wine, beer, and cocktails. The Avocado Club has  a full bar and specials every day. On the day we visited, Indio and Tecate were on draft and offered 2-for-1 between 2pm - 6pm.

The Avocado Club Gastro Diner occupies a large space that can be closed off for smaller groups or opened up to accommodate large group gatherings.


In addition to the daily specials listed on a blackboard in the center of the dining room, The Avocado Club also offers selections from an eclectic menu of appetizers, salads, soups, burgers and sandwiches as well as main dishes that include Cedar Planked Salmon, Surf and Turf, Liver and Onions, Steak Frites, Fish Tacos, Baja Coast Seafood Ciopino and more.

Avocado Hummus
Today we ordered Avocado Hummus to start, which was hummus mixed with guacamole. It was very good, though the chips were a little salty and I was disappointed that they were poured out of a giant bag that I recognized from Costco.

It is not hard to make homemade tortilla chips from the local corn tortillas - I do it at home - and I would prefer those to chips from a bag.
Otherwise, the Avocado Hummus was made in house and very good.

For our main dishes we ordered Pork Chop and Grits served with a brown sauce and grilled fresh vegetables. The pork chop was cooked perfectly, right to the bone, and the sauce was rich and made with a wine that made it taste rich and mellow.

Pork Chops and Grits
We also ordered a crunchy vegetarian salad with chickpeas, avocado, tomatoes, boiled eggs, tortilla strips and lettuce.

The chef prepared our meals in an open kitchen where we could watch him from our seats. I am always impressed with restaurants that are not afraid to show you their operation.

For dessert we ordered a piece of Key Lime Pie. It was served garnished with a chocolate sauce and fresh fruit. The presentation was beautiful, but the bottom line is that the pie was not made in-house, but was obviously from Costco. This is disappointing since I am pretty sure that the owner knows how to prepare a terrific Louisiana Bread Pudding or great Pecan Pie.

Please highlight your skill in the kitchen, Ismet, and forgo the Costco shortcuts.

Avocado Club Crunchy Salad

Service and Price

The wait staff  at Avocado Club is excellent. There is a young man that leads the wait staff who sets the tone for the entire crew and he provides great service. The menu offers a wide variety of options to choose from and all are reasonably priced.

The alfresco style atmosphere makes for a pleasant dining environment in the early afternoon, though I imagine it probably gets cool in the evenings and there is no barrier to block the breeze. Sit away from the front of the restaurant to escape the traffic noise from the Carretera.

I am posting our check for lunch, provided you don't make fun of the number of glasses of wine we enjoyed with our meal. The total price came to 612 pesos for our meal of an appetizer, 2 entrees and 1 dessert, accompanied by 3 glasses of wine each. About $30 USD.

Full Disclosure

Our Recommendation ***

Three stars. This is a good place to eat and the food prepared in house is excellent. If I had not seen the chef pour chips from a bulk Costco bag and served a Costco-purchased Key Lime Pie I would have awarded the Avocado Club Gastro Diner an extra star because I know how good the food prepared by the owner and chef can be.

Order anything at The Avocado Club Gastro Diner that is made in-house and be assured of an excellent meal. We will certainly go back for the great service, ambience and unique menu.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Tepetate Pian Thai Restaurant

Address: Hidalgo 31, Ajijic 45920
Phone:  376 766 2020
Hours: Mon. - Sat. 12:00pm - 9:00pm
Direction: Tepetate Pian Thai is located one block west of the plaza in Ajijic. There is limited parking on the Calle in front of the restaurant, but it is tight.
Tepetate Pian Thai

First Impressions

There was already a crowd at Tepetate Pian Thai restaurant when we arrived just 30 minutes after they had opened their doors to the lunch crowd. The restaurant is just a block off the plaza and we walked from the Carretera. Limited parking is available along Calle Hidalgo though it is too tight for my comfort. 
Pian Thai is situated in a two story building and has plenty of seating in two dining rooms, one on the lower level and the other on the second floor. The lower dining room was full so we headed up the steep stairs where we had the upper dining room to ourselves for a short time until it, too, started to fill.
A full restaurant on a Tuesday afternoon in the low season means something good is happening in the kitchen at Pian Thai.
Crispy Pork Rolls


An extensive menu lists one exotic dish after another - Pad Pok, Khoa Pad, Gai Priew Wan. Fortunately, there is a full description in English and Spanish under each offering.

Appetizers include a selection of crispy rolls with vegetarian filling, ground pork or chicken and shrimp as well as chicken satay and coconut shrimp. Or, begin your meal with soup. Choose from Shrimp Soup made with lemon grass, Coconut Soup with chicken, Thai Pho noodles with beef and Thai Wanton, with rice noodles and chicken.

We started our meal with crispy rolls made with ground pork and served with a sweet and sour sauce. These are tightly rolled, crisply fried bites of deliciousness.  

Combo #1. Sweet and Sour Chicken.
There are more than 40 main dishes offered on the menu and the chef will customize the seasonings to your taste. Do you prefer more or less spice? Ask the waiter and your dish will be prepared to your specifications.
The menu includes several types of curry - red, green and yellow - and your choice of chicken, shrimp or fish. Or choose from Chicken Basil, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Crispy Shrimp.  

Pad Thai
We ordered Pad Thai with chicken served with a side of peanut sauce. The Pad Thai, rice noodles fried with vegetables and chicken, is bathed in a thick sauce. Combo #1 gave us a chance to taste several items on one plate - Sweet and Sour Chicken, Crispy Roll, Fried Rice and Chicken Brocheta. The crispy batter fried chicken was covered in sweet and sour sauce, almost too sweet for my taste but my companion thought it was just right.

Both meals were priced at 120pesos each.  Each  serving size is large for the price - almost more than we could eat for lunch.

We ordered glasses of Santa Alicia Savignon Blanc, a Baja California wine, to accompany our meals. Pian Thai also serves beer and some mixed drinks, as well as non-alcoholic drinks.

Tepetate Pian Thai


Our waiter was prompt and professional. He knew every item on the menu and possible ways to tailor the dishes to meet his customers' preferences. Though the dining room began to fill up quickly, we never felt neglected. As I listened to him explain the Thai menu in two languages, I was struck by the intelligence and  talent it takes to be a waiter at Lake Chapala.

Our only disappointment was that there was no dessert available. We ordered tapioca pudding, but it was not ready yet and would have been a 20 minute wait. We decided to forego dessert and asked for our check. The total came to 476p for four glasses of wine, appetizer and two entrees.


Our Recommendation ****

Excellent, authentic Thai food, well prepared. Great service and pleasant atmosphere. One of the best Asian food restaurants in town. Muy rico!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Casa Domenech

Address: Zaragoza 109,  Ajijic
Phone: 333 150 6940
Hours: Open Tuesday through Saturday, 9am -2pm and 5pm - 9pm; Closed Sunday and Monday
Cash Only; Accepts US $$

Directions: From Walmart, drive through Ajijic and turn left at Rio Bravo. Make first left onto Zaragosa and drive 1 block past Danza del Sol. The restaurant is half block further on the left.
Café Domenech

First Impression 

Inviting. Cool. Funky. I love this place. The owner claims an Argentinian/Mexican background and after talking to him for a while he also admitted that he is the son of San Antonio, Texas restaurateurs. So, the restaurant business is in his blood. I could sense it when I walked in the door. Central Texans have cornered the market on funkiness.

I have to admit that we knew almost everyone in the small café on Sunday afternoon. This was a good omen. People who love good food had already found this place and eat here regularly. 
Café Domenech Dining Room
The atmosphere is inviting and friendly. The chef/owner, Raymond Domenech, moves between the kitchen and the dining room, greeting guests to make sure their needs are met, then moving to the kitchen to oversee the food preparation.
The décor is colorful and eclectic. Local artist Cesar Guzman created the mural on the front of the building and painted the chairs in a variety of pastels, giving Casa Domenech its unique character. Who doesn't love a restaurateur who says, "I am opening a restaurant, I must call an artist"

A mix of modern Mexican and classic rock music plays in the background at a low enough volume not to intrude on the conversation - something I appreciate.

Salmon Raymundo, with pineapple marmalade
Chef Domenech explained to us that he has started small, but that he has enough room in his current location to expand as his business grows. I think he's going to need that extra space in the high season.


Casa Domenech offers a menu inspired by the many influences on the chef's own life. It is an Argentinian/Mexican/European fusion with diverse offerings that reflect the theme of the café.

Starters include gazpacho, provoleta, onion soup, vegetable soup and a selection of salads - Caprese, spinach and avocado, and mixed salad.
Camarones la Bruna
We began our meal with a side dish of guacamole
and an order of provoleta. Provoleta is a new dish to us, a thin slice of firm white cheese, baked in olive oil and herbs. The guacamole is freshly made with large chunks of avocado, tomato and onion.

Perhaps the chef can include bread with these starters to give diners something to hold the guacamole and to sop up every last bit of the very flavorful oil that covers the provoleta. We ordered a basket of bread and it fulfilled this function.

For the main dish, we chose from Crepes Domenech, Shrimp Bruschetta, Salmon Raymundo, Shrimp la Bruna (served in a mole sauce), Shrimp in Cilantro Sauce as well as steak and pasta dishes.

Crepes Dulce
We finally decided on Shrimp La Bruna and Salmon Raymundo, a filet of salmon on a bed of guacamole and topped with a house made pineapple and chili marmalade.

The salmon was cooked just to point of flakiness, and the marmalade - an original recipe created by Chef Domenech - was superb, the sweetness of the pineapple mitigated by the heat of the chilies.

The Shrimp la Bruna features small shrimp cooked until tender, served in a thick, spicy-and-sweet mole sauce and accompanied by rice and fried bananas. If there was a complaint to be made, it would be that there could be more shrimp in the serving, even if this meant raising the price of the dish.

Tim and Cathy helped create the Café Domenech mural
We ordered wine with our meals, an excellent Sauvignon Blanc from Baja California. I love Mexican wines and this was a good one.

For dessert, we could not resist the Crepes Dulce. I have to admit we didn't even ask if anything else was available. Guests at a table next to ours ordered this scrumptious looking concoction and dared us to try it for ourselves. This dessert is made with a thin, folded crepe topped with caramel sauce and ice cream. Muy rico! 

Service and Price

Service is friendly, accommodating and evenly paced. This is a small café and the atmosphere is cozy and casual. No one is in a hurry, but the service proceeds at a comfortable pace. We never waited long for any request to be fulfilled. The chef visits every table to welcome his guests.

Prices at Casa Domenech are reasonable, between 85pesos for the most inexpensive main dish to 160pesos for a steak dinner. The total for our meal came to 535pesos, which is less than $30US. We had 4 glasses of wine, 2 appetizers, 2 main dishes and split a dessert.

Recommendation ****

Casa Domenech is a great find. The chef is an engaging and enthusiastic fellow with an artistic flair that is evident in his cooking and in the décor of his restaurant. He already has a loyal following of satisfied customers.

Friday night Casa Domenech hosts lotteria - a game similar to bingo - with free drinks awarded to the winners. If you plan to go on Friday night, call for a reservation. And, tell them you read about Café Domenech on Lake Chapala Restaurant Guide. Buen Provecho!      

Saturday, July 23, 2016

El Jardin de Ninette's

Address:Carretera Oriente 52 b
45920 Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico Phone: 376 766 4905
Hours:  Tues: 5pm - 9pm; Wed - Thur. 12pm - 9pm; Fri - Sat 12pm - 10pm; Sun 12pm - 8pm
Accepts Visa and MasterCard.

Directions: From Walmart, drive west on the Carretera. Jardin de Ninette's is on the right before Donas Donuts. There is a small parking lot in from of the restaurant.

Jardin de Ninette's

First Impressions  

Jardin de Ninette's moved last year to a new location on the Carretera in Ajijic and made their restaurant more accessible for their customers.

The new venue has the ambience of a rustic country inn. The main dining area is pleasant and cozy. Light filters in through the skylights and large windows keep the space from feeling closed in. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, like an embrace.

An outdoor dining room arranged under a large old tree in the back of the property provides additional space for guests.

Menu Board at Jardin de Ninette's
Though Jardin de Ninette's is in a new space, it has retained its special brand of excellence across the board - in service, food and atmosphere - that sets this restaurant above the rest.

The chef has crafted a carefully curated menu with selections that never disappoint. Some dishes were brought from their previous location, and others are new to the menu.

We visited for a late lunch, arriving before most dinner guests and after the lunch crowd had already left for a siesta. We were met by the waiter and offered menus that echoed the selections on the chalkboard out front, but with more detailed descriptions of preparation style and the accompanying side dishes.


A brief description of the menu on the chalkboard in front of the restaurant gives diners a hint of menu offerings and prices. Is there any other restaurant lakeside that serves foie gras? Jardin de Ninette's does, along with a limited but tantalizing selection of unique dishes.

Zucchini Appetizer at Jardin de Ninettes
For the appetizer, we ordered zucchinis paired with a good Sauvignon Blanc. A basket of fresh bread was served with our wine. The zucchini appetizer featured slices of zucchini broiled with tomato and cheese and dressed with olive oil and spices.
Pork Chops and Tequila Shrimp were the choices for our main dishes. One of the joys of eating at Jardin de Ninette's is the pace of the meal. Every course is perfectly spaced so that you neither feel rushed nor neglected.

Our meals were preceded by a dinner salad. This is not your usual salad-from-a-bag so common at many area restaurants. Rather, it is made from fresh organic greens, apples pieces, cheese and almonds and topped with a house-made dressing.

Our entrees arrived on hot-to-the-touch plates, the pork chop dark and sizzling, prepared with a  coffee rub that enhanced the aroma from the perfectly cooked 1 inch pork chop. The chop was served atop mashed potatoes and graced with a delicious sauce.
Coffee Rubbed Pork Chop at Jardin de Ninette's

The Tequila Shrimp has long been one of my favorite dishes at Jardin de Ninette's and I was happy to find they had retained it on the menu.

Large shrimp cooked until tender, covered in a tequila enhanced cream sauce and served with brown rice. This is one of the best shrimp dishes lakeside.

You might think we were too full to eat any more by the end of this meal, and we were. But, that did not stop us from ordering dessert, chocolate cake with ice cream and chocolate sauce. We split one dessert in order to be able to walk to our car at the end of the meal.

Tequila Shrimp

Service and Price

Enter Jardin de Ninette's and feel like an old friend of the family. At some point during the meal, the chef greets you at the table to ensure your meal met your expectations.

Of course, at Jardin de Ninette's, the food always exceeds your expectations. This is one of the true gourmet restaurants lakeside. Jardin de Ninette's sets the standard for excellence. The menu choices and the quality of the food is always superb. Que rico!

Postre at Jardin de Ninettes
Our bill came to a little over $700pesos for 4 glasses of wine, appetizer, two main dishes and dessert, around $40US.

Recommendation *****

If you want a truly gourmet experience, then eat at Jardin de Ninette's. There is no equal in the Lake Chapala area. This is the restaurant for a special romantic dinner, the place to bring guests  you want to impress or the restaurant of choice when you are in the mood for really fine dining. 

If you go, tell them Lake Chapala Restaurant Guide sent you.  Buen Provecho!