Los Arbolitos has been around for many years. It started as a small family run restaurant serving typical Mexican food at very reasonable prices. Somewhere along the way, it became the sweetheart of Americans and Canadians looking for the"real"Mexico. Soon the place was packed (rarely a national face to be seen), the restaurant made larger and the prices soared. Over the last couple of years the madness has died down. Eating here last week with my mother there were only three tables occupied, one by an actual Mexican family! If after all that I have said you wonder why we bother going back, the reason is simple, the food is good, not great, but consistently good. In addition, the view is a pleasant change and the wait staff always makes one feel welcome without overwhelming.
Los Arbolitos is three stories tall and overlooks the Rio Cuale. On the ground floor is a kitchen area, the day we were there it no longer had seating. On the second floor, up a steep flight of steps, is a store selling Mexican handicrafts, mostly pottery and glassware. I spotted a couple of nice dish sets. Up another steep flight of stairs is the dinning area.
The dining area is breezy and festive. Plants and colorful paper streamers hang from the ceiling, tables are covered with bright Mexican blankets, one wall has a fun mural depicting the area and the other walls have prints done by local artists. At the back of the room is a little stage, the waiter informed us that mariachis play Wednesday and Saturday nights. We were here during the day but the canned stuff being piped in was just fine.
The waiter seated us and promptly brought freshly made chips and salsa for us to nibble on while we looked at the menus. The prices seemed a bit steep to me but since we were there between 1pm and 5pm we could also order off the lunch special menu, which has very reasonable prices and drinks at half price. The grilled chicken on the normal menu costs 90 pesos ($9US) and on the special menu 40 pesos ($4US). The special menu offers grilled chicken, grilled beef and many seafood dishes. The normal menu offers mostly Mexican fare and seafood.
Despite the prices I ordered the Mexican plate off the normal menu for 120 pesos. It came with carne asada, a chile relleno, a tamal, a burrito, an enchilada, beans and guacamole. Everything was good. My mom ordered the chiles rellenos, also off the regular menu for 80 pesos. Bruja was the only one to order off the special menu and her lunch was by far the best. She had the cilantro fish filet, which was absolutely wonderful and cost only 50 pesos. Overall, we had a very satisfying meal.
Los Arbolitos is open daily from 11am-11pm and accepts Visa and MasterCard. It is on the corner of Camino de la Rivera and Lazaro Cardenas, just before the bridge.