On a cold and rainy night, there are few places better to be on Orcas Island than in the dining room at Mijitas. You would be among good company as it is the go-to for many (if not most) locals. This is likely due to its prime positioning at the intersection of price, quality, service, and atmosphere.
The experience of Mijits begins before you even open the door. Pass through their courtyard, and into the dining room. It is one of the most thematic restaurants on Orcas, thematic restaurants being a particular peeve of mine, due to their general reliance on cultural tropes and culinary cliches. Mijitas, however, embraces its south of the border heritage tastefully and embellishes its outdoor seating area and indoor dining room with flares of Mexicana that subtly remind one where they are.
Mijitas offers a well-developed menu with meals ranging from $14 to $32 and averaging around $20 per plate. There are few places on this island that rival this price point, which this reviewer considers very reasonable. Fans of chips served in a sombrero, or the exaggerated caricature of Mexican cooking might be disappointed with the rustic and inspired-by-authentic-recipes menu that Chef Raul Rios offers. This is not a disappointment to me, however.
We began our meal with an appetizer of Esquites ($9) a Mexico City style street corn off the cob topped with spicy mayonnaise, lime, and queso fresco! This served alongside the complimentary chips and salsa made the beginning of our meal a pleasant and engrossing experience. What more can someone ask than hot and salty chips accompanied by fresh salsa to start a good meal?
For my main, I ordered the Beef Short Ribs ($26) on the recommendation of our waiter. Slow-braised with blackberry mole served with creamy poblano rajas, Mexican rice, toasted pepitas, and queso fresco. Savory and luxurious, the worst part of the short ribs is the guilt that accompanies the rich mole which tops it. Not that I am complaining. The flavors of the mole are as complex as can be expected from a sauce that changes from generation to generation and region to region. The beef was cooked to perfection.
To end the night, I enjoyed one of their dessert selections. A flan. I am generally a flan fan, and this one did not disappoint. I expect the other dessert items, which include a Pie de Limon, Chocolate Chili Mouse, and Churros are all up to the excellent standard of the Flan, based on the reactions from some of the nearby tables.
So, this review is not elusive in it’s conclusions, but perhaps I can contextualize Mijitas in the broader landscape of Orcas Island Eateries. Mijitas, as of this writing is now one of the longest-standing restaurants still on Orcas. Its years of consistency, which does not fall within the purview of this review, make it singular in its reliability and consistency in serving our island community. Mijitas is easily one of the best restaurants on Orcas and this reviewer can’t recommend it more sincerely.