Step Inside Highland Park’s New Mi Cocina

Let’s be honest; we’ve lived in Dallas long enough to know a good facelift when we see one.

As our friends and neighbors return home after being away, fresh looks are popping up all over the Village, but few are quite as dramatic as Mi Cocina’s facelift unveiled this past Tuesday for a media preview.

Though the restaurant’s prime real estate at Highland Park Village was still being nipped and tucked during our visit, with construction workers and tradespeople rushing to finish up, the overall look is complete and quite beautiful.

The austere white painted brick and the characterless ceiling have been warmed with lime-washed brick and a luxurious wood-beamed ceiling.

The dark ceiling and elegantly “aged” brick walls immediately add a coziness to the voluminous space that was lacking before.

The expansive four-paneled Luis Sottil painting that brightened up the space still anchors the left side of the dining room and looks even more radiant than before.

Fun fact: Sottil’s artwork is seen in all Mi Cocina locations. The artist uses a technique called naturalismo, where he takes pigments from flowers and minerals and uses it in the paint.

Tables, booths, and banquettes are positioned the same as they always have been, but the coverings are lighter, softer, and more elegant than prior iterations.

The balcony upstairs is relatively unchanged, besides the new, more contemporary iron railing.

I’ve always preferred to sit in the main floor dining room and considered sitting upstairs banishment, but it’s more beautiful now with the cathedral-like wooden ceiling above the main dining room.

In fact, the new ceiling makes such a significant impact on the overall look of the restaurant, it reminds me of a Spanish Colonial church, and I shall now refer to this Mi Cocina as “The cathedral of queso.

Much of the changes seen at Mi Cocina mirror what was unveiled earlier this summer at the third-floor Monkey Bar.

The same brass trimming seen at the private hideaway is present at the main dining room bar at Mi Cocina and the new margarita bar adjacent to the expanded front entrance of the restaurant.

Luxe Mexican tiling has replaced the old floors, and the bathrooms have been completely reworked (and now include heat and air).

Since it opened in 1993, Mi Cocina in Highland Park Village has had only one other major facelift, the first around 2000 which transformed the space from a dark exposed brick interior with black seating and brassy fixtures to the Mi Cocina of our modern memory, with the white walls and blue-accented fixtures.

This new look is a perfect mix of darker, warmer tones and light, bright classic contemporary design which was created by Droese Raney Architecture, the aesthetic trailblazers behind many well-known restaurant, retail and commercial buildings around Dallas.

Mi Cocina’s menu hasn’t changed, the food you craved over the summer but didn’t have easy access to is once again available as of noon Thursday when the restaurant reopens to the public.

What is new, though, is an expanded tequila menu with Mexcals and Jovens now available.

As well, the skinny frozen margarita we all love will be available on the rocks.

Kersten Rettig

Kersten Rettig has represented some of world's best known brands in her 30+ years in marketing and PR, including Montblanc, Rosewood Hotels, Highland Park Village and Taco Bell. As a former restaurant owner, she knows the business and has a deep affection for the hospitality industry. She is a Park Cities resident and a happy wife, mom of three and dogmother. Follow her @KerstenEats.

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