Writer / Allison Yates
Photographer / Brian Brosmer
Carmel may be miles away from the west coast, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same quality cuisine with the same presentation style. Los Arroyos, an innovative, upscale Mexican restaurant that first opened in Santa Barbara, California, has since expanded five locations and chose Carmel as one of them. Along with what owner and chef Tony Arroyo calls fresh, quality and crafted-to-order dishes, Los Arroyos brings this concept to the area.
Los Arroyos is a space Arroyo says is a “friendly, home-style environment that anyone can enjoy.”
It’s top quality, but an inviting place for anyone wanting to indulge in authentic food. It’s also more than just a great place to eat. Arroyo’s story is the epitome of the American dream. He came to the U.S. with nothing in his pocket and a “big dream and an idea.”
The dream evolved, and today Los Arroyos is growing in popularity. Despite its success, he hasn’t lost sight of what is most important.
“Though my string of restaurants is growing, I still like to stay true to the belief that it’s about family always,” Arroyo says.
So, it’s no surprise that Los Arroyos’ food comes from Arroyo’s family recipes. Arroyo explains that he doesn’t classify his dishes as coming from the Mexican state of Michoacán, where he was born, but he does emphasize that what he learned about cooking came from his mother.
“My mom taught me all of the recipes that our customers have come to know and love,” he says. “She showed me how to cook with passion and was my main influence.”
Customers can try the Mexican classics like flautitas, tacos, fajitas, sopes or pozoles, or more innovative dishes like their lobster quesadillas and crab enchiladas. There’s even a dish called molcajete, a traditional dish of fresh shrimp, chorizo, homemade salsa and napale, a Mexican cactus served in a molten lava rock, imported from Mexico. If you’re feeling like a big spender, there’s the $350 margarita, which uses the Clase Azul Ultra Extra Añejo tequila.
But don’t worry, not all of the menu items are in the hundreds. A typical dinner will run you between $13 to $20 a person.
If there’s one thing that Carmel manager Christiano Rodrigues and Arroyo emphasize, it’s that Los Arroyos’ food is fresh, made to order and delicious.
When people come into Los Arroyos, Rodrigues says, they usually expect a typical Mexican experience, similar to the other Mexican restaurants in the area. But from the minute they walk in the door, they notice a difference. For example, order their queso dip, says Rodrigues, you’ll notice it isn’t the run-of-the-mill melted cheese dip. Los Arroyos serves a blend of five real cheeses.
The chefs are carefully selected, assuring you’ll get the best culinary experience. Their Carmel chef spent months in training in California with Lorenzo Arroyo, the executive chef, and then came back with Lorenzo for even more training.
The quality of service, ingredients and atmosphere make for an unforgettable experience for customers, something that Arroyo hopes each one enjoys.
“I want Los Arroyos to be your home away from home,” Arroyo says.
Los Arroyos is located at 11503 Spring Mill Rd., Suite 100 in Carmel.