For a restaurant to stay in business for fourteen years, the owners have to be doing something right. Guadalajara Cafe is a case in point. Owned and operated by the same families that own Ixtapa in the Northland and the highly acclaimed Frida’s in Southern Johnson county, Guadalajara has flown under the radar for years, but still manages to stay afloat producing authentic Mexican fare in an upscale setting. Many menu items are similar to what is served in the other two restaurants, though it has its own specialties, too.
Though I wanted to stick to the dishes that make Guadalajara unique, on a recent visit we did try the Quesadillas de Flor de Calbaza, corn tortillas stuffed with squash blossoms, griddled, and served with guacamole. This is one of the most special dishes at Frida’s and I was delighted to find that it was every bit as phenomenal here, a real delicacy that has to be experienced to understand just how wonderful it is.
First impressions always start at a Mexican restaurant with the chips and salsa. These chips were crisp and the salsa was fresh and very tasty. The hot salsa was as hot as advertised, and we used it to spice up the mild version.
I never pass up mole when I see it on the menu. Guadalajara’s was as good as it gets, a smooth chile sauce with hints of chocolate and spice. the pork verde with tomatillo sauce featured tender chunks of pork, but the sauce was a bit thin, both in terms of consistency and flavor. The rice that accompanied it was cooked perfectly and the corn tortillas that came on the side were homemade, which is a big deal in my book. The only disappointment of the evening was that the beans were refried rather than whole.
It’s surprising that Guadalajara Cafe doesn’t receive more accolades. The food isn’t greasy like at the typical Tex-Mex joint, it’s authentic, and the service is friendly and knowledgable. If you’ve been before, it’s time to go back. Or, give it a try for the first time, it won’t be your last.