Last updateFri, 15 Jul 2016 8am

Jardin Plaza Ajijic: A popular meeting spot, people-watching

The Jardin Plaza Ajijic restaurant is located on the north east corner of the main plaza (jardin) in downtown Ajijic. 

It is a convenient place to enjoy a meal and people watch at the same time. I noticed many people, especially ladies bring their small dogs there for companionship. The location of the restaurant used to be the Cinema Ajijic before closing 30 years ago. In 2007, the restaurant opened and has helped, along with public works, civic organizations projects, and the opening of other fairly new businesses in the area, to make the “jardin” a nice place to visit and relax. 

Outside dining is available in the front courtyard with many umbrella-covered tables or at the full bar and tables inside. There also is a large event area located in the back where the old cinema used to be. Many local groups hold their meetings and events there. The restaurant is managed by Lupita Arraiga and is open breakfast, lunch and dinner from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week, and until 8 p.m. on Sundays. Besides the extensive menus printed in both English and Spanish, there is a popular salad bar for only 38 pesos, and daily specials including soup or salad, main course and dessert for around 120 pesos.

A variety of choices are available from Mexican specialties, barbeque, beef, chicken, fish, pork, steak or shrimp. For breakfast, you can order the standard menu dishes, but I prefer more local options such as burritos, green or red chilaquiles with refried beans and Mexican toast served three different ways. Lunch choices include hamburgers, a variety of sandwiches and even fondue served plain or with chorizo. Aztec (tortilla) soup is a Mexican standby and Jardin Plaza Ajijic has a delicious version.

For dinner I would recommend the interesting molcajete composed of mixed beef, chicken and shrimp cooked and served in a large stone mortar for two people priced at 240 pesos. Chicken is prepared in three ways – grilled, breaded or roasted – and shrimp is a good choice whether breaded, garlic or hot and spicy. 

Jardin Plaza Ajijic is not for fine dining or fancy cuisine, but it does fill the bill for outdoor dining and is a great place to relax and order a good margarita, while watching the locals and expats strolling by.

In recent years, this restaurant has been selected by the local chapter of Democrats Abroad to hold their  election night “extravaganza” with large screen TVs as part of an election countdown open to everyone.

Jardin Plaza Ajijic, main plaza, Ajijic, tel. (376) 766-0039.

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