The Mexican neighborhood fave is back with a Cuernavaca-inspired menu highlighting heirloom corn.
For a time, those who dared to venture past the truly gnarly 3-D mural at Berkeley’s La Pea Cultural Center would discover Los Cilantros, a hidden gem serving simple but satisfying Mexican fare like enchiladas verdes and grilled rockfish tacos.
Then came the pandemic, and the restaurant had to close its doors for the first time since 2014. Dilsa Lugo, the chef and owner, packed her belongings and relocated to a kiosk at San Francisco’s shared commercial kitchen La Cocina Municipal Marketplace. Of course, things weren’t the same – but they are now, and also aren’t, as Los Cilantros reopened last week after a three-year hiatus with a redesigned interior and menu highlighting the chef’s hometown of Cuernavaca.
Fish tacos are still available at the 3105 Shattuck Ave. location, but there are new items such as shrimp aguachile, chile rellenos with handmade tortillas, and esquites (sauteed sweet corn) with cotija cheese, epazote, and lime aioli. (A complete menu is available below.) Chef Lugo also recently discovered a new molino, a grain grinding machine, and intends to use it to highlight different varieties of heirloom corn in sweet and savory dishes.
“While our doors were closed, our kitchen and hearts were hustling.” “Our team has stayed together, discovering new ways to bring our mouthwatering dishes directly to your homes and events,” the restaurant said on Instagram. The grand re-opening is “not just a return; it’s a celebration of resilience, community, and the joy that good food can bring into our lives.”
Opening hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley; follow the restaurant on Instagram at instagram.com/loscilantros.