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Manix: Granddaddy of eating out in Ajijic

One of the most beautiful images of the venerable Virgin of Guadalupe, serene, inspiring, modest and candle-lit, hangs against the chapel-like left wall as you enter Manix. Large but unimposing, it defines the spiritual nature of el Mexicano, from his humility to his joy of life.

Restaurants that prevail in small fishing villages for decades, as Manix has, do so because they are distinct and unforgettable, nimble enough to endure time’s sweeping changes and constant competition. Possibly one of Ajijic’s most popular eateries for consistently good food, prepared fresh and served with family pride, has lasted almost 30 years, making it arguably the oldest restaurant in the village. Ask about its amazing history.

Located on Ocampo west at number 56, the restaurant was once the home of the España Ramos family, who turned it into a “hot spot” for Americans and Canadians looking for fine international cuisine, tranquil music and atmosphere and the occasional night of upbeat dancing, all in the service of personal celebrations, holidays, group get-togethers, theme parties or just an elegant night out.

Since Manix’s dinner rep is a firm and established first-class, I decided to try Manix for lunch. They have a lunch menu that includes a dauntingly tender Quiche Lorraine, meat and vegetable lasagnas, avocado shrimp salad, pork chops, fish and chips and a classy chicken curry salad, all must-trys if you’re looking for good-value and exquisite dining.

The fish and chips were superb, and, although the fish was seabass, the results did not disappoint. The chef insisted that I write down the names of the fish most highly regarded for the British dish. I obliged, based on my own preferences, naturally. I explained that it might be difficult to find here in Ajijic what the Brits prefer most, fresh haddock or halibut. Both are cold-water fish from the northern deep waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. Also at our table a chicken curry salad, with raisins and almond slices, was raised to a gently-sweet, crunchy salad-entree, light and flavorful, with large slices of pineapple, watermelon and papaya bordering the plate. These elegant touches made a big difference in the curry experience. If Manix serves a satisfying dinner plate, the luncheon offerings are as pleasing. The upstairs patio is delightfully cool with a view of the lake. There’s an extensive bar and exclusive parking for dozens.

Manuel, the founder of Manix and the oldest of the three brothers operating the restaurant, was responsible for much of its signature décor, including the daily fresh-flower place settings and candles at each table. Sadly, my waitress informed me when I asked about meeting Manuel, that he had just passed away approximately two weeks before, possibly explaining the votive candles under the Virgin. So I’d like to dedicate this review to the glowing reputation and admirable restaurant history he produced over decades of service to the Lakeside public. 

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