Lake Zirahuen

Lake Zirahuen
Lake Zirahuen is a pristine lake in the Colonial Highlands of Michoacan, with crystal clear, blue water and surrounded by hills, covered with pine and oak trees. Activities range from staring in awe at the lake, to mountain climbing, swimming, walking, kayaking, hiking, bicycling and horseback riding.  
It is a short, 4-lane drive from Morelia or Patzcuaro, but is virtually undiscovered by tourists. There is a wide choice of places to stay and gourmet restaurants overlooking the Lake. 
Lake Zirahuen
Lake Zirahuen is located near Patzcuaro, 
off the Patzcuaro-Uruapan highway in the hills of Michoacan. 
A peaceful fishing lake bordered by fields, the lakeside is an idyllic spot to enjoy cool, country air permeated by the smell of woodsmoke. Thistles grow alongside the road and blackberries are cultivated in the region. On the shore lies the village of Zirahuen, known for its rustic wooden "trojes" - structures traditionally used for grain storage.  
Being at a high altitude with a cool climate, 
Zirahuen is ablaze with colorful flowers much of the year - pink and red geraniums, 
waxy white calla lilies, delicate begonias, roses and petunias all thrive in the climate.
The shore is spotted with docks for boats - supposedly no motors are allowed, even though there are several small craft sporting them. At the Troje de Ala, a weekend restaurant, is a long, wooden pier that stretches out into the lake waters. The pier is roofed and the pattern of the wooden railing and posts filters the sunlight glinting off the water. Along the pier lies a series of small shops and food outlets, all surrounded by a profusion of blossoms and offering such fare as charales (the tiny, whole, crisp-fried fish which are a speciality of the area), sopes (hand-made tortillas stacked with goodies such as cheese and chicken) and sopa de hongos (mushroom soup).
Crafts of the area include wooden trays, spoons, 
colorful tablecloths and textiles and wooden toys.
Lake Zirahuen Accommodations
Lago Zirahuen in Purèpecha means “the mirror of the gods”  
Lake Zirahuen is located 15 miles from Patzcuaro “a colonial jewel”, a half hour from Uruapan “the avocado capital of the world”, 15 minutes to Santa Clara de Cobre “a copper artisan village” and one hour drive to Morelia, which is the colonial capitol of Michoacan.  
Lake Zirahuen has many lakeside restaurants, resorts, hotels 
and sports centers with boat tours available around the lake.    
Lake Zirahuen Restaurants
Telephone: (443) 234-7934
Highway Zirahuen-Santa Clara km8

Turinjandi Hotel
Zirahuen Forest And Resort
El Alto Lucero
Miralago, Restaurant and Suites
Casitas Los Santos
Cabañas de Zirahuen
X   Miralago Suites & Restaurant
X   Zirahuen 
  El Alto Lucero
X   Copandaro
  Agua Verde
Road to Santa Clara  X
X   Road to Patzcuaro
This from TripAdvisor, April, 2012  "I have friends who come from other cities in Mexico to Patzcuaro just to eat at Miralago! The food is great! The service and attention to detail is wonderful and the view is to die for. I almost always have some lamb. They often raise their own.. they have greenhouses where they grow their vegies (whenever possible). It is a perfect day to leave Patzcuaro, visit Santa Clara (especially El Porton and Felicitas for their wonderful and extra high quality copperware. Don't miss the informative and entertaining demonstrations of the making of fine copper art pieces and utilitarian pieces like pots, vases etc.
I always try to save room for dessert, but in any case, a long Mexican lingering "comida" is always a special event at Miralago! "
More restaurants from a local friend, Terry:
Senora Mar (moderately priced)
This is the only restaurant for which I can give a review. It is overlooking the lovely green cove in the Copandaro/Agua Verde area where the zipline, horseback riding, kayaking rentals are located on the far side of the lake from the town of Zirahuen. The manager, Alvaro, is a great host and the food is simple, yet yummy. I can only speak for the fish dishes. The trout, as well as other fish filet dishes I have tried have been delicious. Alvaro brought us a small dish of garlic in oil which I added to my trout which was a pleasant addition. Depending on what you request, the side dishes are white rice or french fries and salad or steamed vegetables, all very simply prepared. Other options include seafood cocktails, other types of fish and a meat/chicken dish or two. They have a small bar so one can order drinks or pitchers of lemonade or orangeade or the usual soft drinks. The view from the restaurant is lovely and one can watch the kayakers, zipliners, etc. One can take a boat from Zirahuen (40 pesos roundtrip), on the other side of the lake where the private pier with the arches is located or drive on the new highway that goes all around the lake. The resort has made nice paths to walk, both dirt and rock. If you aren't up for a meal, one can sit down by the lake as well and order drinks. It is a pleasant way to spend the afternoon. Alvaro reminded me that they serve breakfast as well, but I am not sure of the hours.
BTW, In case you are wondering why Mrs. Sea. Sadly, Senora Mar is in remembrance of Sra Martha, the now deceased owner's wife who tragically died in a fire in their home some years back.

Troje de Ala (higher end, but you can come dressed casually)
I know that Troje de Ala has received some bad press in the past from this group, but I think it is time to give it a try. Luis Guillermo Arreola, the son of the original owner, has now taken the family restaurants under his very capable supervision and it seems that the changes are worth a visit. Apparently the restaurant used to be leased out, but is now being managed by the owners. If you haven't been to Troje de Ala, you are missing a lovely ambiance. It is like a huge troje, or wooden cabin right on the lake in Copandaro. There is a nice lawn with an area for children to play. As with the Sra. Mar, one can also take a boat ride from the town of Zirahuen or drive. We arrived too early on our hikes so I can't give a good report on the food, although I did eat a salad and dessert there awhile back which were very good. The service had greatly improved as well. We hope to eat a full meal there soon to give you a better report, but perhaps some of you foodies can try it, too. If they don't give you a questionnaire at the end of the meal, ask for it. The owner truly wants feedback. The menu changes from one season to another, but is described as fusion and international cuisine.

Embarcadeo (Zirabar) (Unknown price range, but I expect it to be moderate as well)
This is their restaurant located on the lake in the town of Zirahuen. It used to be open daily, but with little tourism, it is currently only open on weekends as well. It is located by the private pier with the arches, cabins and expansive lawn where the tour boat leaves. They charge to park there. I think it is 10 or 20 pesos or you can walk in. I am told it has typical, regional food, but it has been many years since I have eaten there since I am more adventurous and eat at the two piers that have small, rustic restaurants with handmade tortillas, etc. Some folks question their hygiene, but I have never had a problem.