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Chuck Bolotin of Best Mexico Movers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Roberto's Restaurant in AjijicThe cost to eat at a restaurant in the Ajijic / Lake Chapala area is generally about 60% less than in the US.
 
Here are some examples:
  • An all you can eat Mexican buffet on the lake with white tablecloths, waiters, an omelet bar, fresh juice, about 50 different entrees, etc., for the equivalent of $6.50 each. (Bambu, in the Touristic Zone, near San Juan Cosala.)
  • Fried fish entree with vegetables, etc., at a restaurant right on the square in Ajijic (Chile Verde).  I forgot the exact price, but I remember it to be about $3.50.
  • You can get tacos at the Wednesday Tianjius for 50 cents each.  Two is as many as you should eat, or you can eat three becaue they're so good.  At the same tianguis, you can get a plate of steamed vegetables for less than $1.50.
  • On their two-for-one for fish and chips at the Brew House, you will pay $2.  (That's right; $2.)
  • If you want to go to a beautiful garden setting and have an great American-style dinner,  along with live music and wonderful staff, you can go to Roberto's (pictured) and pay about a third of what you would pay in the US or Canada.
Best Mexico Movers
 
We have restaurants with peacocks walking around, Argentinian food, Thai food, etc., all for significantly less than half price as in the US... and it's great.
 
As they say in Mexico, buen provecho (enjoy your meal)!
 
If you need a mover to move your household goods to Mexico, be sure to check out Best Mexico Movers.
Valerie Friesen of Blue Angel Solutions – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
View from Lake Taco, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere's a variety of restaurants in Chapala and Ajijic, including very inexpensive food trucks off the roadsides. 
 
My typical lunch from the local restaurant Lake Taco is a two-piece fish taco and a nice, big glass of lemonade. This meal is under 100 pesos (US $5.50). I usually run over to Lake Taco because it's like home and is very accessible.
 
I like to go to a really nice, full, all-you-can-eat Mexican and north of the border fruit buffet breakfast on a weekend, which normally costs 125 pesos ($6.85) per person and up to 150 pesos ($8.25) on special events like Christmas and Easter. The simple buffet would have soups, salsas, tacos, and vegetables. A full buffet would also include omelets of all kinds, half a dozen different eggs and other breakfast-type dishes, a table just for desserts, and drink-all-you-can coffee and juice.
 
All Mexican restaurant prices include tax. When you order in restaurants in Canada, the taxes added on to the final bill. It's nice that in Mexican restaurants, the prices you see in menus are what you get in your bill and what you pay for.
 
For dinner, there are a couple of restaurants that we like such as Roberto's Restaurant, which offers two-for-one promos on Fridays during certain hours. A meal of soup or salad, appetizers such as carrot and sweet potato fritters, and one of my favorite entrées of sea bass with orange sauce, rice or potato, and steamed vegetables costs around 180 pesos ($10). You can also go to Roberto's for lunch and they have a whole menu for 75 pesos ($4).
 
There are a lot of restaurants that have very excellent lunch-time specials around the 75-peso range ($4). A year or so ago, the lunch package cost was in the 50-peso range ($2.75), but the impact of the drastic change in the difference in the Mexican peso to US dollar resulted in the increase of food prices as well as the rise in costs of other products like gasoline.
 
You can also go to the mall and get a Subway sandwich for 45 pesos ($2.45).
 
(View from Lake Taco, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Percy Pinklebutt of Percy Pinklebutt Enteprises – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Birria served in a clay dish, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf your lunch choice was quesadillas and birria (a stew made from slow cooked goat and a local delicacy; try it), you might spend 100 pesos or 150 pesos (US $5-$8) in a restaurant in Chapala or Ajijic.  A beer with lunch will add on an extra 30 to 40 pesos, maximum. For 3 tacos at a streetcar stand in Riberas the street, it is about 25 pesos to 50 pesos ($1.25 -$2.50).
 
Eating out in Chapala and Ajijic, for dinner with wine, you might spend 500 to 700 pesos ($25 to $35) for two people; however, you can also eat out well and for much less.  I enjoy eating in Mexican restaurants because I like Mexican food. When I feel like a change I choose one of the many international restaurants at the lake or drive to Guadalajara for an entirely different experience.  
 
(Birria served in a clay dish, Mexico, pictured.)
Flip Nicholson of Fenix Real estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Expats enjoy dancing with their ribs at Adelitas Bar and Grill, San Antonio Tlayacapan,Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingA nice dinner for two with a couple of drinks in Chapala or Ajijic will cost $20. If you go out in the United States, you’re going to drop a bill. I’m talking about a $100 bill if you go out, have some nice dinner, and have a couple of drinks. 
 
Here in Chapala, if we go to a restaurant and say, “I’m going to order ribs. My wife’s going to order eggplant,” it would cost about 110 pesos ($5.50) each, so that’s 220 pesos ($11) in total. I’m going to have 2 or 3 beers at 25 pesos ($1.20) each, so that’s about 300 pesos ($15) in total. My wife’s going to have a glass of wine which is about 60 pesos ($3). That’s an overall total of 400 pesos ($20) with tip and everything. We had a nice time, we listened to some light music, had wonderful dinner, had some good food, had a few drinks, and came home. We’re happy for $20. The cost of living is less.
 
(Expats enjoy dancing with their ribs at Adelitas Bar and Grill, San Antonio Tlayacapan,Mexico, pictured.)
Magy Carmona of Magy Carmona at Lake Chapala Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Hamburger at Merendero  Lake Burgers, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe prices of restaurants in Chapala and Ajijic depend on what you ask for, but everything in Chapala is more affordable compared to Guadalajara. For example, if you want to have Arabic food, and you want to spend less than 100 pesos (US $4.81), you can have a combo with a kebab, some grape and soda for 70 pesos ($3.37), and you can have a meal for less than 100 pesos ($4.81). 
 
If you go to Ajijic, you will need about 200 pesos (US $9.63), with which you can ask for a Corona beer and a meat entrée. If you want to have red wine, salad and dessert, it would cost you around 500 - 700 pesos (US $24.07 – US $33.70), depending on the wine. 
 
(Hamburger at Merendero  Lake Burgers, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Francisco Araiza of interlago realestate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Alex's Pasta Bar specials, Ajijijc, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIf a couple goes to a restaurant in Ajijic, and orders a glass of wine and a nice dinner, it’s going to cost them around 500 pesos (US $27). It is very affordable.
 
You can find good quality food all around Ajijic that is also affordable compared to Guadalajara, which is the biggest city that is close to Ajijic. Restaurants here in Chapala and Ajijic cost 30% to 40% less or greater compared to Guadalajara. A couple would spend around 1,000 pesos ($55) for the same type of dinner that they would get in Ajijic for only 500 pesos ($27).
 
An example of a 500-pesos dinner in Ajijic would be a couple of beers, for starters, provoleta cheese as an appetizer, then pasta and meat for two, and another drink or a cup of coffee. This would be in a fine restaurant. If you waned different kinds of beers, you can have it around town with only 200 pesos ($11) and you can get enchiladas, pozole, or some food that is more local.
 
Lunch costs much less. You can get a lunch with soup, sandwich, and a drink for 70 pesos per person ($4). In general, food in Chapala and Ajijic tastes good and you have a lot of options.
 
(Alex's Pasta Bar specials, Ajijijc, Mexico, pictured.)
Alicia Gomez of Collins Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
4 Restaurante, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI love to go to Tango, which is a popular restaurant in Ajijic. It is my favorite place. Their prices are not expensive and the food is good. The appetizer, the main course, wine, and dessert costs about 220 pesos ($12). The same meal in Baltimore, Maryland (where I stayed for some time) costs more than double the price here in Ajijic; at least $30 for the same meal.
 
I like Tango because I have been to other restaurants that serve the same food but are more expensive or there are cheaper ones but the quality of the food is not the same. There is a restaurant in the Chapala area where the food is not that good, the service is not good yet the food is very expensive.
 
I’ve been to several restaurants in Ajijic. We have ones that are run by Italians and Argentines that have affordable prices. There is one particular restaurant where the price is really expensive but it is worth it. When I go there by myself, I spend at least 600 pesos ($33). The restaurant is called Number 4. It has a great environment, I love their music, and I like the red wine and the nice steak. When I go there, I have to make sure that I have at least 600 pesos ($33). I don’t go there very often for that reason; perhaps once a month.
 
A regular lunch in Ajijic could cost around 120 to 150 pesos ($7 to $8). That would be a salad, soda or bottled water, chicken or a burger. I also like going to Jardino, which is a restaurant in Chapala. It is located in the main square of Chapala in the mountainside. They have hamburgers, all kinds of salads, wines, pizza, etc. I go there with my twins and I pay about 600 pesos ($33) for the three of us. My twins are fourteen years old and they eat more than a normal adult.
 
(4 Restaurante, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Chris Gruenwald of Biencom Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Meal of cenadurias, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingChapala and Ajijic has the whole gamut for places to eat – from local eateries where you can eat for two people for 120 pesos ($7) to fine dining restaurants, which will run you about 500 to 600 pesos ($27 to $33) and include a glass of wine per person. 
 
What I always say to newcomers is that you can eat out every night for 2 months without eating at the same place twice. For 100 pesos ($5.50), you could go to a restaurant and get a plate of tacos or you could get posole. At that rate, you could get Mexican food like cenadurias, which are really popular with the expats here, tacos, soups, and even salads.
 
In comparison with restaurants in San Diego, California, where I used to live, the restaurants here in Chapala and Ajijic are significantly lower priced. In San Diego, it’s probably impossible to get lunch for two people for less than $30 while here in Chapala and Ajijic, it would be impossible to spend $30 on lunch. In order to try, you’d have to put down a lot of margaritas, too, even at “4”, which is probably the most expensive restaurant here.
 
(Meal of cenadurias, Mexico, pictured.)
Richard Tingen of Coldwell Banker Chapala Realty – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Stone bowl entree at Tango, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe are very fortunate that we have a lot of variety in restaurants in this area, and if you paid more than $20 for a good steak dinner for two and a couple of glasses of wine, it would probably be a little expensive. For $25 a couple could enjoy a steak meal and a couple of glasses of wine each. 
 
I own an Argentinean restaurant down the street from our real estate office called Ajijic Tango that’s known to be one of the better restaurants in town. The special for lunch today is a good steak sandwich along with a salad and French fries for 65 pesos (US $3.60).
 
(Stone bowl entree at Tango, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Mirna Segura of Ajijic Rentals – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Chile verde restaurant in Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThe cost to eat at restaurants in Chapala and Ajijic varies depending on where you go, although I hear that the prices of the restaurants here in Chapala and Ajijic are really good versus the price of restaurants in the States.
 
There are a couple of restaurants here that are expensive but the rest of the restaurants are almost all within the same price range. There is a high-end restaurant here where we go often, called Tango, where you can have a steak for 180 pesos (about US $10). 
 
You could go to Peacock Garden and have their special of the day, which might be chicken parmigiana or chicken fried steak for dinner in a beautiful garden with a white table cloth, peacocks walking around, and a full service for only 90 pesos a person (less than $5).
 
You can also opt to eat Mexican food, which is cheaper. One example of a place that serves good Mexican food is Chile Verde, where you can have a full meal for 60 pesos a person ($3.50). However, they are not open for dinner; just breakfast and lunch. It is a regular sit down restaurant. If you want to go to the extreme end, you could go to one of the places on the street where you could buy tacos for only 8 to 10 pesos (45 to 55 US cents), which is a fine meal.
 
(Pictured: Chile Verde restaurant in Ajijic, Mexico.)
Amaranta Santos of Eager & Asociados – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
 La Sima Del Copal restaurant on the hill, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingAjijic is the “most expensive” place in the area. However, by US standards, it is not expensive in the least.  You can have a good dinner with wine for 500 pesos (US $28) for two people. If you want the whole wine bottle, then it will probably be around 700 pesos ($39) for two people. I’ve been to New York and Chicago. The same food would cost you around $150 in New York.  Chapala and Ajijic have different rates because we think of Ajijic as the epicenter of everything. The farther from Ajijic you go, the rates get cheaper.
 
The quality of the food here in Chapala and Ajijic is excellent. Mexico is the producer of many goods that you get in different countries. We export quality produce like fruits and vegetables that are native to Mexico like avocados. Pineapples are not from here but we surely export pineapples. The same with mangoes. These are not indigenous to Mexico but we grow them successfully. Avocadoes and tomatoes are indigenous and we export them as well.  
 
You could find lots of restaurants even 5 miles away from Ajijic. As you go 5 miles out towards Chapala, for example, towards Jocotepec, a dinner with wine would cost you around 250 pesos ($14). The price also differs depending on the restaurant and the location. If you go to San Juan Cosala, in an area called Piedra Barrenada, you wouldn’t have a high end dinner there but you would have a very nice dinner in a more relaxed environment and it would very cheap but very good. On the other hand, in the same area, there are restaurants like La Sima Del Copal or the Chac-Lan restaurant inside the Coxala Hotel, which is a high-end hotel in the Racquet Club, and those restaurants are more expensive than the ones in Ajijic.
 
Prices and other aspects of life in the Ajijic – Chapala region are based on season. There is a very visible “high season,” which is when everybody comes. There are restaurants that have been here for a long time and have enough prestige that people keep coming back. We also have Mexican clientele who continue to come during the “low season.” Low season is typically when all the expats, the snowbirds, leave and we are left with the Mexican community to continue supporting the businesses.
 
There are businesses that survive all year round and there are businesses that are very successful during the high season but unfortunately cannot survive the low season. So based on that, the cost of restaurants pretty much depends on the kind of restaurant they are, the kinds of prestige they have, and what kind of service they have been offering for a long time. If they want to preserve the people who come to their restaurants, they do not raise their prices too much. In my experience, those are the restaurants that survive. So that’s why you would see these fancy restaurants just appearing and charging you more money and then they start to struggle really badly and then they disappear. Sometimes they have to readjust and lower their prices in order to continue having clients throughout the year.
 
As an example, there is a higher end, beautiful restaurant here called Peacock Garden, complete with interior garden and wandering peacocks with white linen tablecloths that recently had a special full on chicken parmigiana dinner for 90 pesos (around $4.75). Another example is La Nueva Posada, which is a very fancy restaurant and the prices there for dinner are very affordable. An entrée in La Nueva Posada would cost 80 to 100 pesos ($4.50 to $5.50) per person. This restaurant is on the Lake Chapala so you have a beautiful view and incredibly beautiful surroundings in a garden. It is a high end place. If you would go to a place like that in the US and eat the same meal, there is no way in the world that per person you would get by with less than $30.
 
When I was in California, I was in the circus.   When we went out and get a meal for $10, we would get one but in a drive-thru. In contrast, if you wanted to, you could go to a roadside vendor and you could get a full on meal in Ajijic and Chapala for 50 pesos ($3). That would be three or four tacos or half a chicken. We love those meals! Mexicans live off of those meals. These are the common daily meals here that we intentionally go to even if we have choices of more expensive restaurants. People say, “I feel like having a street chicken today.” People do that not because they don’t have money but because it is so tasty. Even the expats do the same thing.
 
( La Sima Del Copal restaurant on the hill, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Luzma Grande of Ajijic Concierge Services – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Dining room terrace, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingThere are so many different places to go for good meals here in Chapala and Ajijic! There are places where you can get a good meal for only 80 pesos (US $4.50). You could also have a good meal at night in a nice restaurant for only $10 per person. 
 
I usually eat at home and I only go to a restaurant if I am invited to go out. I recently went to a very good restaurant with some clients of mine who invited me. It was a new restaurant that has New Orleans style food so they have very good food but at an affordable price. My burger had cheese and bacon, and a special mayonnaise. It came with potato chips, which are very good and has a special curry masala sauce. I also had a margarita. They didn’t pay over 200 pesos for my burger and drink. The burger was alone was only 99 pesos ($4.50) and a margarita is usually around 60 pesos ($3.25). You could also have a glass of wine and it costs around 60 pesos ($3.25), too. So here in Ajijic, if you have $10, you could have a very nice meal.  
 
(Dining room terrace, Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Steve Cross of Luxury Homes Ajijic – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
We are especially proud of the variety of dining options in the Ajijic/Chapala area. There are excellent local tacos, burritos and tamales etc. prepared and served on the street from mid morning onwards. May different cuisines are covered, such as local, Argentinean, Italian, Indian, Chinese and Thai along with many restaurants serving great lunches such as the normal burgers etc.
 
Lunch such as a burger and a soft drink is usually from around $3.50 US with higher end restaurants charging around $8-$15 US for dinner in a lovely setting.
Thomas Hellyer of Lake Chapala Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Beef dinner at Bruno's in Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingRestaurants in Chapala and Ajijic are relatively inexpensive. You can go to a taco stand on a street corner or to a fancy, sit-down restaurant. You can get a typical Mexican meal at a small mom and pop, hole in the wall restaurant and can get enchiladas and a drink for US $3 per person.
 
The best restaurant in town (a designation I think many people in town would agree to) is called Tango. It is an Argentinian Steak place. It’s very well run, and they have very consistent and great service. You can get a very healthy portion of steak at Tango for $12. Then you could order your side dishes, like you would in most steak restaurants. A couple can have a bottle of wine and two steaks, salads, and some dessert for $50. If you would go to the same place in Washington State, you would spend well over $100. 
 
The restaurants in Chapala and Ajijic are very competitive and I believe they provide very good value.  There are lots of restaurants here so they would have to go on a very low margin to attract the Mexicans and the retired Americans or Canadians who are here on pension. Even if Chapala and Ajijic is a tourist area, we don’t have huge tourist prices. We don’t have many short-term tourists.  Rather, we have long-, or extended-stay visitors, so the restaurants have to attract people who come back to Chapala and Ajijic over and over again.
 
In general, restaurants here in Chapala and Ajijic cost half or even less than half of how much they cost in the US for the same quality of food and the same ambiance. We have an Italian restaurant here that serves homemade pasta. We just went out recently to celebrate my daughter’s birthday and my portion of fettuccini with carbonara sauce cost 110 pesos, or about or $6. It was homemade pasta made by a professional Swiss-Canadian chef, who has been around the block. They have great service and you could be sitting outdoors in December. Not bad!  
 
(Steak dinner at Bruno's Restaurant in Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)

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