It’s fitting that chef Jose Salazar named this restaurant after his grandmother, because even at its most elegant and complex there is something deeply homey about the food at Mita’s.
Beginning with a focus on Spanish tapas, the menu has gradually moved in a more Latin American direction, without ever feeling constrained by regional limitations. Whenever a flavor enters the menu from another cuisine, like the pithy bite of a Moroccan preserved lemon in the lentil salad, it feels totally in tune with the rest of what’s available. From the smoky ancho chile and oranges in the gotas de arena cocktail to the dark chocolate tart, there is a very cohesive feeling to a meal at Mita’s. These aren’t randomly conceived dishes, but a unified and satisfying experience.
The restaurant always feels, in the best possible way, like elevated home cooking. It is not actually simple, of course; its sophistication is modestly concealed. The flavors are bold and direct, whether the smoky depths of the chimichurri rojo on skewers of grilled chicken or the intensely bright sourness of the pozole verde. In dishes like the mushroom soup, you can notice how the chef hits every register: the acid of red piquillo peppers to balance the earthy mushrooms, the crisp fried leeks against the delicately creamy soup. But what mainly comes through is the warm-hearted affection a grandmother might have put into a meal for a beloved grandson. Even as the menu evolves, the food never loses the warmth that makes it special. It’s the kind of big hug everyone needs from time to time.
501 Race St., downtown, (513) 421-6482, mitas.co