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Restaurant Review: Los Arcos provides fish with a Mexican flair

By Lynne Thrope

lynne_thrope-july2009jpgCHULA VISTA, California –When I was told that the rabbi in Mexico City blessed the kitchen in that city’s Los Arcos Restaurant, I had to find out what the attraction was for the community of Jews living in that southland metropolis. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to travel far to check out its first sister restaurant in the United States.

Los Arcos Restaurant #17 was recently voted Best Mexican in San Diego Magazine’s Best Restaurants Issue in 2009 and I couldn’t agree more with that accolade. For the past 30 years, the Angulo family has been serving the highest quality seafood available on the Pacific Coast. An easy jaunt down Highway 805 to 89 Bonita Road in Chula Vista is where residents and tourists can experience the authentic cuisine of Mexico without having to cross the border – this confirmation from my Jewish Mexican food expert who lived for a time in Guadalajara and eats no traif.

Because of this dietary choice she would frequently eat at the Los Arcos in Lazaro Cardenas, Guadalajara. Now that she’s back living in San Diego, she eats at Los Arcos in Chula Vista every chance she gets. After having sampled a good portion of the menu’s fare myself, I suggest you do the same, if you demand variety in taste and freshness in ingredients.

Begin the experience with Cerviche de Pescado to let your mouth be wowed by the symphony of salmuera (brine) broth, lime juice, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro. (It’s so wonderful that kosher salt has made its way into so many global cuisines.) Next, to punctuate its authenticity, try the Fish Rolls swimming in a tangy cilantro cream sauce or any one of the Tacos with Your Choice of filling. Here lies the difference between the Los Arcos experience and your neighborhood Mexican restaurant.

Think of the Los Arcos menu as a springboard of items to be tweaked and personalized by the patron. Don’t want the smoked tuna filling in that taco? Order the diced fresh fish instead. Add a little mole to it for a hint of chocolate and chiles flavor or how about an aurora sauce for you lovers of tomatoes and cream? Want to substitute the cream with a tamarind glaze? “Have It Your Way” is the unwritten promise that is provided for a successful dining experience at Los Arcos.

A restaurant is not identified for 25 years as the “Best Seafood Cuisine from the Pacific Coast” if it is not deserved. Because of this unceasing distinction, Los Arcos Restaurants have defined a national gastronomy and we San Diegans are now the lucky beneficiaries of their reputation for the finest Mexican cuisine.
To be educated about this unique dining adventure, invite Cezar to be your culinary guide. He’s got an endless imagination for mapping foods to rare preparations. His tongue rattles them off like an auctioneer at a temple fundraiser. It’s no wonder that Cesar and his treasure trove of gastronomical gifts is just one of many memorable moments at Los Arcos Restaurant…B’Tayavon


Lynne Thrope can be contacted at [email protected]

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