Lunch with the Marine View Diner: Arturo’s Mexican Restaurant

by Greg Wright

Can it be possibly be three years since Arturo’s opened on Marine View Drive?

Can it be possible that I have not until now darkened Arturo’s door?

Well, yes–on both scores.

So the Marine View Driver and I opened Arturo’s for lunch the other day. Councilman Matt Pina and others were also on hand, supporting local businesses!

In case you missed the headline, Arturo’s menu primarily offers Mexican food… which is a good thing, since that’s what the Marine View Driver and I went there for.

Arturo's Chicken Chimichanga Lunch Plate

Arturo’s Chicken Chimichanga Lunch Plate

For those desiring to eat lighter at lunch, Arturo’s offers a lunch special menu. If you like, you can also order off the full menu. (If you visit the website and give them your email address, you can get a free deep-fried ice cream dessert on your birthday.)

Since I’m not a working restaurant critic with a lunch stipend, I didn’t have the luxury of sampling all the various things on the menu that sounded good–so I settled for the pulled chicken chimichanga off the lunch menu… and for stealing a couple bites of the Marine View Driver’s fajitas.

Before the entrees arrived, naturally, we enjoyed the standard chips and salsa that you’ll (still) find complimentary in Mexican restaurants. (Don’t be surprised, though, if they soon start mimicking the “What? You want free bread?” policy of their Anglo counterparts!) I’d bet Arturo’s table salsa doesn’t come from some bulk-foods bin, though. I’m no expert on my spices, but the salsa carried a very pleasant and unexpected flavor.

It turns out that special flavor was a harbinger of things to come. I know cooks are getting a bit testy about social media freaks taking time to shoot flattering pictures of their soon-to-be-tepid entrees–but with fajitas on a sizzling skillet, that’s not so much of a concern.

The chimichanga was pretty photogenic, too. Note the care with which Arturo’s staff garnishes the plate and leverages the colors of the ingredients.

But again–this isn’t just pretty food. It’s tasty, too. I’ve eaten a lot of Mexican food in my five-plus decades, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t had an entire meal (since my first) during which the flavor of everything from re-fried beans to rice to salsa to entree took me pleasantly aback. Arturo’s website claims that his “mother’s love of cooking established Arturo and his brother’s passion for making family meals. Many of Arturo’s recipes come from his mother.”

I believe it. My lunch (and the Driver’s fajitas) did not at all strike me as run-of-the-mill Mexican fare. In fact, not to be trendy, but the feel of the meal was more like a hip food truck delicacy than a neighborhood cantina.

The lunch portion was agreeably light, and the full dinner fajitas order would easily serve two ordinary people. The Driver ate his Ordinary Person share, and took the remainder home for an encore.

Given that I’m a skinflint, I’ll admit that I would liked to have paid less for lunch–but given the quality of food, service, and presentation… I’ll just let it go that I’m a skinflint. Arturo’s prices are more than fair.

Check Arturo’s out if you haven’t yet. The Driver and I agree: we’ll be back.

Arturo’s gets a 4.5 out of 5.0 rating at Trip Advisor. I’m good with that.

The last I checked, Arturo’s Groupon offer ($13 for $20 in food) is still running. It’s a good way to check them out on the cheap. Take it from a skinflint.

Beef Fajitas... enough to feed two!

Beef Fajitas… enough to feed two!


5 Responses to “Lunch with the Marine View Diner: Arturo’s Mexican Restaurant”
  1. Kari B. says:

    FYI: They have a Groupon offer..

  2. Abby Wammer says:

    We love Arturo’s, not only is the food good, but Arturo is always accommodating to our requests from our picky children. He hooks us up with tasty appetizers, cold drinks, and good sized meals that all of us enjoy. He also has outdoor seating, which is a rarity in our wonderful little waterfront town! Happy he’s continued on in Des Moines.

  3. Wanker says:

    Arturo’s is awesome. The food is great, and the guy we always see (We think it’s Arturo, but haven’t been told for sure) is super nice, accommodating, and very friendly to my daughter. Congrats on 3 years!

  4. DMC says:

    Arturo has authentic Mexican food unlike Aztecas “White” Mexican food. He’s also a really nice guy. Prices are a little high, but you get what you pay for.

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