The view from the Moon Restaurant
Cathryn and I have been slacking this year when it comes to rating restaurants in Melaque, Jalisco, Mexico. I can tell from my website that some of you have read past reviews that are dated, and as we all know time changes all things. Some of our favorites have closed up or moved locations. We’ve only managed the following eateries so far this season but there will be more to come. Ratings come from our personal experience, along with friends who may have accompanied us for breakfast, lunch or dinner. These are our personal opinions and the list is in no particular order. Street names are left out since you can’t find them anyway.
Tacos Pedro **** Located on Taco Row, they offer the usual Mexican fare, served on an open patio. Service was great and our group of six enjoyed an assortment of tacos and quesadillas. I had pork with pineapple that was shaved off a Gyro-type spit. All of us were happy with our meals and some ordered seconds.
El Patio ***** You can find this gem across from the Citibanamex or Las Hamacas. Open for breakfast and lunch, we’ve never been there after ten in the morning. I like sitting on the more airy sidewalk tables out front but they have a beautiful courtyard with more seating inside. The food and service is great, with hot meals coming out quicker than most other establishments. The omelettes are huge, juices are fresh-squeezed, and you can get a stack of pancakes that looks more like a birthday cake, with all the goodies on top.
Moon ***** Located on top of the Casa Leon Hotel at the west end of Melaque, a few doors down from Tito’s, the new restaurant has only been open a few months. The only elevator in town whisks you up to the sixth floor, on top of the hotel, where you’ll get the best view in Melaque. Four of us dined on ribs and smashed potatoes, 3 cheese pasta, grilled octopus, guacamole with arrachara, and shrimp skewers. The food was the best in town with service that is unparalleled anywhere in this area. Moon is no beach restaurant.
Jack’s Place ***1/2 – Nestled on the boulevard separating San Patricio and Villa Obregon, Jack’s has been hit and miss for us. We’ve visited on and off for several years and have mostly been satisfied, thus the start rating between 3 and 4. We’ve had great appies like the guac and queso fundido but daily special meals that have fell short. They have a large menu, with certain specials cooked on the BBQ right out front. I’m sure we’ll be back, but there are others to try first.
Vanilla Pimienta **** Just a stone’s throw north, down the road from Jack’s, this restaurant has been around in various forms for years. It’s current location offers open-air inside second floor seating. Our last visit was with a group of eight, and for the most part the food and service was great. The kitchen staff struggled however, overcooking my wife’s steak twice, and completely forgetting my meal. The leftover steak and ribs handed over to me from friends was excellent. The desserts are awesome.
Pata’s ***** Always one of our favorites, we’ve never had a bad drink or meal at Pata’s. They’re almost oceanside, at the end of the main street, just past the Oxxo. A Denver burrito that is second to none, one of the best burgers in town, and loaded nachos round off a small but awesome menu. Cathryn swears by their cilantro margarita. They offer seating inside and out but don’t show up with a party of twelve because the place is small. Norma and Deb rescue all sorts of cats and dogs so don’t be surprised if something furry brushes your leg.
El Dorado *** In the Hotel El Dorado, overlooking the beach, this eatery offers a great view. But lately our dining experiences have resulted in their loss of a star. We’ve had one great and two crappy breakfasts there in the last month, and the dinners haven’t been up to par, considering we’ve gone there for years, rarely getting a bad meal. Maybe it depends on who’d cooking, their consistency comes and goes like the pelicans.
Las Hamacas *** Another establishment overlooking the beach and part of a hotel, Las Hamacas has been offering daily entertainment in the restaurant. They used to serve breakfast but now only offer food between the hours of noon and 6pm. Cathryn and I haven’t sampled much of their menu but friends who stayed there were satisfied. The local fare was good and fresh but our bacon wrapped shrimp came with shells and tails still intact – a bit of a challenge with the surrounding hot bacon.
Tito’s *** Located at the far west end of the beach, lots of gringos swear by Tito’s and gobble up the food. My wife and I can’t say that we ever loved any of it, perhaps with the exception of their nachos and guacamole. The burgers are usually good. Our biggest complaint with this eatery is the disgusting condition of the restrooms, where the floors are usually covered with sand and water and who knows what else. Keep in mind it is a beach restaurant. They have nightly entertainment and some beach sports.
Papa Gallos’s *** Down a hallway, across from the Bus Depot, Papa Gallo’s is struggling to regain its identity. Having been a stand alone dinner restaurant for years, it recently inherited Roosters and is now serving breakfast as well as dinner. The staff is new and inexperienced and even the owners have expressed concern over the ability to keep the place running smoothly. The food is normally very good and the ocean view is awesome. The furniture is well-worn, some falling apart.
Pechecane ***** Located a short football toss from the dolphin statue on the main drag, this pizza place has become our favorite, Coming from a great Italian style pizza place back home, we’ve been mostly disappointed with the pies in Melaque. But if you don’t mind wood-fired, stone-oven thin crust pizza, Pechecan will win you11111111111 over. It’s in a spacious courtyard with an assortment of seating, covered or not. Pies are personal sized, offered with yummy dipping sauces, should you feel the need to spice things up or soak your crust.
Ava’s ** I see plenty of gringos eating breakfast and dinner at Ava’s but I’ve yet to have a good meal there. You can find it behind the Intercam bank, on the next corner. I was told the Eggs Benny was awesome, only to question my sources. Who uses squares of whole wheat bread and paper-thin sliced ham to make Benny. The hollandaise sauce was great but I could have drowned in it if I climbed into my plate. Another previous visit for simple bacon and eggs was similarly disappointing.
El Quetzal De Laura ***** Along the road to the market, just west of La Taza Negra, this restaurant is our favorite breakfast place. We’ve sent friends there who totally agree. The omelettes are big and tasty, served with home fries and salad, and a fresh-baked bun. There are assorted fillings, with cream cheese to add a silky-smooth texture. I’ve also tried their crepes that are just as delicious. Our friends love going there for dinner. Seating is cozy, inside and out, with good service.
Jugo’s Triny *** I have tried this place three times now and give it the same amount of stars. It’s across from the southwest corner of the town square, across from city hall. My first visit was the best…the cubano omelette and fresh juice were great but my server was more interested in her phone than me. Same with the cashier. I was served a cubano sandwich instead of the omelette my second visit and only received a shrug when I complained. My third attempt left me disappointed again…the omelette was okay but the continual grinding of the juice maker ruined my peaceful morning.
Manolo’s *** The taco restaurant in on the boulevard in West Melaque, across from the earthquake hotel. A fenced in courtyard offers outdoor seating in a cozy atmosphere. We went with a group of 8 and tried, tacos, quesadillas, fish soup, and a filet of dorado. Half our group was happy with their meals and the other was not. Service is as was expected for a mom and pop operation. Prices are in line with other taco restaurants.
Note: Most prices are half what we pay at home, in Canada, with the exception of Moon, which is upscale and pricier, but still cheaper than home.