During our last visit to Palm Springs, we enjoyed plenty of scrumptious food. Following some afternoon adventures, we returned to our room at Los Arboles Hotel and were ready for dinner. Since we were a bit tired from our excursions (traveling with a two-month-old can do that) it was ideal that dinner would be on-site thanks to El Mirasol.
So many Mexican restaurants claim to be “authentic” yet serve plates that leave much to be desired. Given that Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines, I’ve experienced this first hand. El Mirasol is the real deal, and it’s clear to see why they continually make “Best Of” lists.
Owned by Felipe and Lisbet Castañeda, El Mirasol has been a Palm Springs favorite since 1985. The inaugural location on Palm Canyon Drive is still a staple today, and in the early 2000’s they expanded to Los Arboles. At that time, the property had been abandoned and the Castañedas made it a labor of love to create the beautiful oasis guests flock to.
Although surrounded by the mountains and the beauty of the desert, El Mirasol takes you to many different places. As you sip your first margarita, take in the abundance of exotic plants and tropical fruit trees. The entire hotel grounds are brimming with a landscape that gives back. Observe closely and you’ll notice guava, lime, passion fruit, and even Jackfruit trees. When your appetizers arrive, take note of the hammocks and Hacienda-like suites. You may just mistake your Palm Springs escape for a getaway to Mexico.
To adapt to health and safety precautions, El Mirasol has temporarily expanded its outdoor dining. In addition to their usual patio, they’ve expertly added tables and chairs around the hotel pool. This was ideal for us as we’ve stayed extra cautious, especially being out and about with a newborn. Our table was literally around the corner from our suite. This was perfect in case we had any fussy baby moments, which we surprisingly didn’t. Even Mabel loved the vibes!
We began the evening as one should at El Mirasol: with a margarita. We decided to start with their Cadillac and it didn’t disappoint. Smooth, sweet, and sour, it hit the spot as the sun set on a warm day. Margarita enthusiasts can also enjoy their Skinny, Jalapeno, and House options. To enjoy yourself beyond margaritas, check out their red sangria for a refreshing treat.
As you peruse the appetizers, don’t skip over the guacamole. It’s truly some of the best we’ve ever had. Fresh and chunky with a hint of spice, it’s made daily by hand with Hass avocados. If you want to kick it up a notch, request jalapenos are added. Had I not had a dinner plate on the way, I could have feasted all night on it.
Speaking of dinner plates, you cannot go wrong no matter what you decide on. After several debates, I decided on their shrimp picado while my husband went for the Pechugas Mirasol. The shrimp picado is a great example of California cuisine, and I loved its hint of heat thanks to the grilled chiles. I’ll admit that I did keep stealing bites of the Pechugas. Perfectly grilled chicken is topped with toasted purple tomatillo, dry Cora, and Puya chile sauce.
I was also thrilled to learn several plates are gluten-free, even their enchiladas. While some menu items are marked with a “GF,” many can be prepared for dietary needs. They also mark which are vegan and vegetarian.
We were also impressed at how promptly each of our orders was brought to us. Despite it being a full house on both patios and indoors, no wait exceeded ten minutes. The staff, led by the Castañeda’s eldest daughter, Karina, were so hospitable. You truly feel like you’re among family. Whether you’re staying at Los Arboles or another Palm Springs Preferred Small Hotel, don’t leave town until you dine with El Mirasol.