You learn a lot about someone when you share a meal together. – Anthony Bourdain
I already wrote about my favorite cafe in Guadalajara, a place called El Terrible Juan that has cute waitresses and serves coffee that isn’t horrible. In fact, yesterday I tried their aeropress for the first time and would describe how I felt afterward as, “Not massively disappointed.” It still wasn’t great, and the fact of the matter is coffee in Latin America generally sucks, but it was palatable, well-prepared, and tasted at least semi-recently roasted. It also made me feel like a mad genius for the next couple of hours, which is the mark of good coffee. Bad coffee makes me feel anxious and like the world is crumbling around me; good coffee makes me feel like the world is crumbling but that I’ll emerge from the rubble unscathed.
But on to Rendezvous, my other favorite cafe. Rendezvous lies on the corner of Calle Colonias and Calle Libertad, and was the first cafe/restaurant I ever went to in Guadalajara. It’s one of those places you walk by, especially at night, and the lighting is chic and romantic and cozy, like the only people who go there are bohemian artist types who somehow don’t smell bad, and you think, “Damn, I want to be there.” And so you go there, and you realize the product isn’t expensive and that it’s good, the pizza for example only costs 50 pesos ($2.68), a glass of wine 40 pesos ($2.14), and the music good and often live and people are having a good time and are generally bohemian artist types (aka the modern version aka graphic designers), though whether they smell good or not I haven’t confirmed.
Rendezvous is supposed to be a French cafe/restaurant. There is nothing French about this place except the name. Sure, some of the drinks have names of famous French people. Yesterday I ordered a “Monet,” which was some kind of fruity tea with lemon and honey. I don’t exactly see what’s French about that. And the menu includes things like pizza and nachos, which again don’t strike me as particularly French. The service is the only thing that might be vaguely French, in that many of the servers seem slightly arrogant and are wont to forget about you for hours (see: minutes) on end. It’s the kind of place where you order one thing, they bring you another, and the general feeling is, “Look, I know what you ordered. But I also know what you need.”
Rendezvous is only open in the evenings and lies in the prestigious Chapultepec neighborhood of Guadalajara, a block from the American Consulate and across from the fresa Mercado Mexico, a place where people go to spend too much on yoga and Asian food prepared by Mexicans who have no idea how to prepare Asian food (Note: Latin Americans generally have no idea how to prepare Asian food. I went to an upscale “Thai” restaurant in Bogota one time and they served Phad Thai with linguine noodles).
If you go to Rendezvous, be prepared for wonderful ambience, live music (on the weekends), decent food, great prices, and waiters who might not be incredibly attentive but will make you love them anyway. I’m falling more in love with Guadalajara everyday, and this cafe/restaurant is one of many reasons why.
Libertad 1903, Americana, 44170 Guadalajara, Jal.
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