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need info on San Juan Cosala " tourist zone " restaurants

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E-raq
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Post by twelveoaks Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:15 am

My wife and I have been in Ajijic for six months and have driven by the lakeside restaurants in SJC many times. They all look like a great place to go for drinks and sunset view but what about the food and prices ?

The one that looks the newest and best kept is Bambu. Can anyone give me a review of Bambu and any other restaurants in the zone ? Looking for GOOD food at REASONABLE prices.

We are planning on taking our friends there and don't want to be embarassed !

Thanks

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Post by juanrey Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:41 am

We've gone to Bambu for their Sunday brunch and must say we weren't overly impressed. The food was mediocre, and the service was okay, but it's a big place with lots of people so my expectation on service was low.
If you want to go out to San Juan Cosala with friends and have a great view, might I suggest La Vida Bella, up the hill in Raquet Club. Their food is quite good, and sitting outside, around sunset, with a glass of wine and that view is quite nice.
I've heard from friends that Iguana is supposed to be quite good, but haven't been there myself yet.
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Post by E-raq Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:54 am

juanrey wrote:We've gone to Bambu for their Sunday brunch and must say we weren't overly impressed. The food was mediocre, and the service was okay, but it's a big place with lots of people so my expectation on service was low.
If you want to go out to San Juan Cosala with friends and have a great view, might I suggest La Vida Bella, up the hill in Raquet Club. Their food is quite good, and sitting outside, around sunset, with a glass of wine and that view is quite nice.
I've heard from friends that Iguana is supposed to be quite good, but haven't been there myself yet.


I agree here with Juanrey. The Iguana de Piedra is a trippy place, very cute decor fun for lunch or comida, best to sit as close to the lake as possible. The food is generally O.K., so worth a visit. I like the fish Veracruz style.

Now, on the other hand, La Vita Bella is in an entirely different league. Freshly made pasta, the chef, Gerard is very helpful, it's basically anything you want that he can do for regulars. It's becoming quite dressy with more and more Tapatios coming for weekends. So get out of the shorts and wear at least smart casual clothes. The view is more than magnificent. No smoking inside, and no restrictions outside.
There is a thread here, maybe on page 2 or 3 now, it has the phone number and hours.

BTW it is now being converted into a smart boutique hotel, with a charming little gift shop. Some neat little bath products in there and so much more.

As you can probably tell, we are regulars!!!

Be sure to reserve on weekends.


Last edited by E-raq on Tue Oct 09, 2012 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : reservation suggestion)
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Post by gringal Tue Oct 09, 2012 11:12 am

I've heard nothing but good things about La Vita Bella, too, lately.
However, it's way up on a hill and if someone is looking for a place to toss food to the birds or fish.........they need a good throwing arm.

I'd like to try one of those waterfront places, too........and so far, the reviews have been mixed, so let's hear from a recent visitor, please.

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Post by E-raq Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:00 pm

gringal wrote:I've heard nothing but good things about La Vita Bella, too, lately.
However, it's way up on a hill and if someone is looking for a place to toss food to the birds or fish.........they need a good throwing arm.

I'd like to try one of those waterfront places, too........and so far, the reviews have been mixed, so let's hear from a recent visitor, please.


I'm a regular at Vita Bella, so, let's say the cliff on which you sit outside is pretty narrow, and for sure no feeding the fish, however local fauna, noooo problem.

Waterfront: Also it's really close, but have to admit we don't visit that often. Last time was maybe a year ago, but let me say this, none of the rest, in prior experience are up to much. The Iguana has ém all beat by a country mile, one can always tell by the parking situation. A word to those who aren't fond of rug rats, the place is very popular with families, and for good reason. Kids love it! So do I, however detest that other one with the shark hanging outside, it's a mini Disneylandia, not a hope in hell I'd ever darken their doorstep again.
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Post by johninajijic Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:25 pm

E raq - Thank you for your review of Vita Bella. How are their prices?
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Post by twelveoaks Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:55 pm

Hi Guys, remember me the OP ? I didn't ask about La Vida Bella. I would like opinions about Bambu and other restaurants ON the lake in SJC !

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Post by David Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:10 pm

First, the area is called "Piedra Barra Nada" not the SJC "Tourist Zone." In general, the restaurants have similar menus; lots of shrimp and fish. The prices are all moderate, with Bambu and Mariscos al Carnal a little more costly. Carnal has been inconsistent and generally not as good as the one on the Guadalajara Hwy. We've tried several and found little difference between them excepting the ambiance and service. We settled on La Iguana de Piedra after visiting it infrequently for about 4 years and occasionally trying someplace else. We never had a bad meal or an exceptional one at any of them.
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Post by E-raq Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:19 pm

O.K. opie, the Iguana de Piedra is it, all others IMO suck eggs.

For a special treat turn right into the Raquet going towards Monte Coxala Spa, there's a caseta there. Sign in, and proceed either to Vita Bella, now also a lovely little hotel with a cute gift shop, and have a memorable comida or cena. Orrr, for drinks only and a very special experience continue on to the Monte Coxala Spa, and restaurant. They have valet parking, the views are unforgettable and perhaps some hors d'oevres might be good go along with the drinks. The food can be iffy on an off day, and very pricey. Sunset views over the mountains are unbeatable, pretty much anywhere.

That's all there is folks. Save any embarrassment and stick with the locals who have lived here for years, and seen restaurants come.....and go.

@John, Vita Bella is pricey for these parts but positively cheap compared to NOB.



Last edited by E-raq on Tue Oct 09, 2012 4:20 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : too verbose, as always)
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Post by johninajijic Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:12 pm

E raq - Is Vita Bella same price as Chac Lan at which all entrees are 210 pesos?
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Post by gringal Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:20 pm

E-Raq: Let's get a little more specific about the prices:
How much for the usual lunch or dinner there? This, without drinks or dessert?

"Pricey" or "reasonable" is strictly subjective . Some folks think they're overpaying if it's over 100 pesos for dinner. Some take a look at the menu at #4 and never darken their doorstep. I consider Roberto's and Tango's "reasonable", for instance.

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Post by E-raq Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:55 pm

Prices, hmmm, a lot depends on the drinks. We're having lunch there, the girls that is, on Monday, so I'll post afterwards. Busy birthday month.

Dinner for 2, and I don't usually do a whole lot more than graze. One or two hors d'oevres, and no dessert. For the poolboy and I, dinner for two, he eats both a starter and a main course, and usually one drink each would run about 500 to 600 pesos. Not bad considering the views and food quality. I never check the bill, so am not sure what the drinks prices are.

Hell lunch at Panino's is getting pricey these days, but worth every centavo.
Rikki's Thai is also kinda pricey when you consider the ambience, however the tempura is world class. Also seriously worth it.

Roberto's and Tango's are very reasonable, and also have an excellent atmosphere. You can't beat the 2 for one nights at Roberto's. Yes, we tip as if we had ordered on any other night. 15% on the total.

@John, no Chac Lan is in a price class all it's own, and very iffy with the food. Sometimes they have entertainment so one must consider that. About on a par with #4. I'm not fond of #4, most of the time the food is pretty good, but twice my husband didn't get his steak until everyone else had eaten. I couldn't drag him back in there at gunpoint. At least Chac Lan has great views, and is beautifully decorated. We won't eat there again after a major altercation over beef carpaccio, ordered as a starter. FOUL I tell you, simply FOUL.

Back after monday with the scoop on lunch.

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Post by E-raq Tue Oct 16, 2012 6:11 pm

The scoop on lunch, which was today. Main courses were between 150 and 180 pesos, more or less. The total for five which included one main dish each, and two glasses of wine each plus the tip was 1500 pesos.
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Post by johninajijic Tue Oct 16, 2012 7:23 pm

Ricki's Thai is the cheapest restaurant you can eat at in Ajijic. We ate there Friday night. Two miso soups, Two Shrimp tempura appetizers, one white rice, one green salad large enough for two and two soft drinks for 222 pesos. And it's one of the 5 best restaurants in Ajijic. You can probably eat at Panino for that and Tango for lunch, but not sure about Robertos. Roberto's food cannot compare to Rickis in quality or portion size.

Chac Lan is for special occasions and the food and service is excellent under the new management. There is no way # 4 can be compared to our top ten restaurants in Ajijic. It is iffy and inconsistent and priced above Chac Lan. We went to # 4 for my Birthday. If Kim was there, I would have told her what a horrible meal we all had. I left disgusted, NEVER to return again.
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Post by David Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:45 pm

They're not in Peidra Barranada which is the title of this thread. Cheap was not a topic either. Chac Lac is pure crap; unreliable, inconsitent and often really bad food.
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Post by johninajijic Tue Oct 16, 2012 11:22 pm

David wrote:They're not in Peidra Barranada which is the title of this thread. Cheap was not a topic either. Chac Lac is pure crap; unreliable, inconsitent and often really bad food.

When was the last time you ate at Chac Lan?
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Post by Guiness Wed Oct 17, 2012 6:05 am

Back to the op's question. We ate at Bamboo for Sunday brunch once and won't return. Alot of the stuff on the buffet looked as if it was re heated - awful. Service was ok but the place was busy and alot of kids and families on the weekend. Not impressed with the lakeside tables.............smells from the lake..............fishy.
Not going back.

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Post by johninajijic Wed Oct 17, 2012 9:01 am

Guiness wrote:Back to the op's question. We ate at Bamboo for Sunday brunch once and won't return. Alot of the stuff on the buffet looked as if it was re heated - awful. Service was ok but the place was busy and alot of kids and families on the weekend. Not impressed with the lakeside tables.............smells from the lake..............fishy.
Not going back.

Go to Roberto's, I hear he does a good job on brunch. And a nice setting in the garden.

Yves does excellent breakfasts and is on the Lakefront. I don't know if he does brunch, but you can call and ask. 766 3565
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Post by gringal Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:18 am

Yves' breakfast feels like brunch: Delicious omelets, strawberry jam with your toast or bolillo, Spanish sausages or bacon; OJ or coffee......all for 65 pesos.
Lake view and braying donkey: free.


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Post by Guiness Wed Oct 17, 2012 4:22 pm

Braying donkey is named "Vino Blanco". We love Ives - just there the other night for dinner - well prepared food, delicious and the salad bar is a special treat. Love Yves!!

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