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Two Chapala restaurant gems


Kevin K
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For those who live in Chapala (or enjoy visiting from elsewhere) here are two restaurants that deserve far more patronage than they're getting. 

Casa Barragán is a quite new quasi-Italian place with very nice atmosphere and wood-fired pizzas that are certainly among the best in the area. We enjoyed a pizza margherita last night (110 pesos) that was as close to authentic Neopolitan as you can get in these parts, with a nice thin crust with properly charred edges, real (not sugary sweet) tomato sauce and good cheese. Better than Pizzeria Toscana, their only real local competition in the Italian (as opposed to California or Mexican style) sweepstakes. 

The address is Paseo Ramon Corona 13 (the main drag that borders the malecon), at the corner of Zaragoza. Pasta and plenty of other Italian specialties too which we haven't tried, but which our discriminating friends rave about. Open 12-10 Saturdays and Sundays, 5-10 MWThF, closed Tuesdays. 765-3558. 

A couple of doors west is the nice small hotel Toca Madera and its restaurant consists of a small but very competently-run grill that serves a true contender for best burger at Lakeside (the "classico" is close to a half-pound of fresh sirloin on a very high quality bun with cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions and a small side of good wedge fries for 85 pesos) along with steaks, shrimp and shrimp burgers and a very good mixed grill. Nice outdoor seating under umbrellas, usually tranquil, open for lunch and dinner everyday and never busy except occasionally on weekends at comida time. Breakfasts too. Paseo Ramon Corona 15A, 765-2122. 

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California-style pizza (also known as California pizza or Gourmet pizza) is a style of single-serving pizza that combines New York and Italian thin crust with toppings from the California cuisine cooking style. Its invention is generally attributed to chef Ed LaDou, and Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. Wolfgang Puck, after meeting LaDou, popularized the style of pizza in the rest of the country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California-style_pizza

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15 hours ago, El Saltos said:

M&J Royal Pizza is way better than Toscana, Perry's, or any of the Mexican style pizzas found here.  Never heard the term "California Style" applied to pizza!

I agree with you about M & J. They're great and I hope they thrive. Pizza Disco is also decent but both of these places are more what I would call very good American-style pizzas, with (relatively) thick crusts and an emphasis on many toppings. Delicious but authentic Italian pizza is a different animal: thin crust, cooked at high temperatures in a wood-fired oven, minimalist approach to ingredients (it's all about quality, not quantity). 

I don't know of anyplace at Lakeside that does Neopolitan pizza flawlessly (and doubt there'd be a market for it anyway given the costs of the special flour, San Marzano tomatoes and mozzarella de buffala) but Barragán's is pretty close on a good day. Nicew to have options - and nicer still not to have to fight Ajijic traffic!

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"Authentic" italian pizza varies depending on which part of Italy you are in.  Neopolitan pizza, which you are describing, is from Naples and is not refective of other parts of the ccountry.  Since there are no Mediterranea Italiana buffalo anywhere near here the proper mozzarella is impossible to get.  Never the less, it's good to have more sources of good pizza in our area!

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True enough El Saltos but we're so lucky to have the options we do here at Lakeside, with more new places throwing their hats in the ring all the time. Platiequemos Pizza Café is another new entrant here in Chapala. The location is tough (unless you live near Soriana already and know the barrios there) but really nice people and credible thin-crust pizza alla leña. 

At the risk of hijacking my own thread, those interested in culinary history and the dubious nature of "authentic" anything will enjoy this piece on pizza by the great food historian Rachel Laudan:

http://www.rachellaudan.com/2017/10/whats-the-true-history-of-pizza.html

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In Canada, "California style" means vegetables (healthier) on top. To me, an "authentic" pizza crust is the one you grew up on. That means medium thickness for this lad. Thin crusts typically are what I call "gourmet" style pizzas. Pizza Disco does not have what I call "thick" crust at all; in fact, just the opposite. And as far as I am concerned, the more stuff on top, the better. The crust is merely the delivery mechanism, much like a cigarette is the delivery mechanism for the nicotine.

I have never heard anyone describe "real" tomato sauce in terms of its sugar content, only in terms of its flavour.

But thank you, Kevin, for pointing out these three places in Chapala. Sounds like they are worth trying.

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We quite enjoy the Platiquemos Pizza Cafe. A couple of very nice salad offerings and the wood fired thin crust pizza is good. All very economically priced. Lovely outdoor seating area, as well as several inside tables. And not that difficult to locate. It’s in the Guadalupe barrio, just around the corner from the Municipal Clinic. You can follow the signs to the clinic (painted on walls) once you get to the northeast edge of the Soriana parking lot. 

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On 11/4/2017 at 5:46 PM, Kevin K said:

Casa Barragán... We enjoyed a pizza margherita last night (110 pesos) that was as close to authentic Neopolitan as you can get in these parts, with a nice thin crust with properly charred edges, real (not sugary sweet) tomato sauce and good cheese.

I tried them tonight and ordered the subject pizza. The place had about eight expats and no locals. While I do not expect to get San Marzano tomatoes, I would at least have enjoyed Romas instead of the round salad tomatoes applied. Also, a margherita pizza without olive oil and basil made it like a pepperoni pizza without pepperoni.

I will give them another try though, with any pepperoni.

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On 11/5/2017 at 7:06 AM, AngusMactavish said:

Re: California-style pizza style. Its invention is generally attributed to chef Ed LaDou, and Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California.  See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California-style_pizza

Interesting fact that the gentleman who set the then-novel quality standard and did the roasting for then infant Starbucks, Mr. Peet, had his shop around the corner from Chez Panisse,   These, along with the Cheese Board Collective, constituted Berkeley's very influential 'Gourmet Ghetto'.  It's a classic Berkeley experience to stand in line at the tiny Cheese Board Pizza 'office' with two Nobelists (Literature and Chemistry, on one occasion) and have the one type of always vegetarian pizza on offer that day.    See: http://cheeseboardcollective.coop/ 

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On Saturday, November 04, 2017 at 4:46 PM, Kevin K said:

For those who live in Chapala (or enjoy visiting from elsewhere) here are two restaurants that deserve far more patronage than they're getting. 

Casa Barragán is a quite new quasi-Italian place with very nice atmosphere and wood-fired pizzas that are certainly among the best in the area. We enjoyed a pizza margherita last night (110 pesos) that was as close to authentic Neopolitan as you can get in these parts, with a nice thin crust with properly charred edges, real (not sugary sweet) tomato sauce and good cheese. Better than Pizzeria Toscana, their only real local competition in the Italian (as opposed to California or Mexican style) sweepstakes. 

The address is Paseo Ramon Corona 13 (the main drag that borders the malecon), at the corner of Zaragoza. Pasta and plenty of other Italian specialties too which we haven't tried, but which our discriminating friends rave about. Open 12-10 Saturdays and Sundays, 5-10 MWThF, closed Tuesdays. 765-3558.

Went today at 6pm and closed, no sign or notification....

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On 11/5/2017 at 9:06 AM, AngusMactavish said:

California-style pizza (also known as California pizza or Gourmet pizza) is a style of single-serving pizza that combines New York and Italian thin crust with toppings from the California cuisine cooking style. Its invention is generally attributed to chef Ed LaDou, and Chez Panisse, in Berkeley, California. Wolfgang Puck, after meeting LaDou, popularized the style of pizza in the rest of the country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California-style_pizza

It's very gourmet[dripping with sarcasm]. Toscana is an example of the style.

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What Is California-Style Pizza?

Ever heard of California-style pizza? While not everyone takes it seriously as a culinary style, this pizza has distinguished itself and become popular across the American west coast. Read on to get to know exactly what makes this style special, where it originated, and where you can get it.

Where To Find It

Of course, some of those original restaurants are still incredible places to enjoy California-style pizza, so be sure to check out Spago, Chez Panisse, Wolfgang Puck, or California Pizza Kitchen if you can. If you’re in the LA area, some incredible alternatives include Gjelina and  Caioti Pizza Café. If you’re in northern California, you can eat your way across San Francisco at Pizzeria Delfina, Tony’s Pizza Napoletana, Pizzetta 211, Gialina, Pauline’s, and Flour + Water.

SOURCE:  https://theculturetrip.com/north-america/usa/california/articles/what-is-california-style-pizza/

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