Concierge.com's insider take:
Owner Carmen Porras relied on memories of her grandmother's kitchen to create El Arrayán's clever style. At this café, votives flicker beneath religious pictures, tin pots hang from industrial-chic metal pipes, and floral oilcloths cover wood tables in a brick-walled courtyard. The cooking is equally vibrant, reviving old family recipes with locally sourced ingredients. Heady aromas accompany shrimp pozole, beef tenderloin with mole, and cochinita pibil (Yucatan pork marinated with bright-orange annatto seed and roasted in banana leaves). Sip a shot of smoky Oaxacan mezcal to start, order a Santo Tomas tempranillo from Baja California with dinner, and finish with café de olla (coffee simmered with cinnamon) and silky passion-fruit sorbet. Groups gather for animated dinners early in the evening. Later on, things get more romantic as couples claim candlelit tables in quiet corners and nooks around the courtyard.—Maribeth Mellin
Open Wednesdays through Mondays 6 to 11 pm.