Las Palapas is a Mexican restaurant located in a plaza off of Plymouth Road in Livonia. Its authentic Mexican cuisine, generous helpings, excellent service and festive atmosphere make for a very nice meal at a reasonable price.
Decor / Atmosphere
From the outside, the storefront location of Las Palapas may cause you to wonder if its “Authentic Mexican Food” will be delivered in a white paper bag. Upon entering the restaurant, however, your impression is immediately changed. The large square space is filled with wooden tables and chairs. There are two walls of windows, a lofty ceiling, and a colorful motif. In fact, both the bar and booth sections of the restaurant are decorated to appear as palm-thatch huts (the “Las Palapas” referenced in the restaurant's name). The walls are done in yellow, green and red, and the decoration includes brick arches filled with murals, faux windows with flower boxes, and multi-colored flags hanging from the ceiling. While the restaurant has a full bar and a festive atmosphere, it manages to maintain its family friendly atmosphere.
The menu itself is very large with several laminated pages of classic dishes, combination platters and Mexican specialties, many of which utilize “Grandma's recipes” from Highland Jaliso, Mexico. Specialties include several seafood and steak dishes, as well as Shrimp Yucatan, Chimichanga Salad, Polo Mole Poblano Tamales, Shrimp Skewers and Chile Relleno. The restaurant's signature dish is Empapelado Marino, a seafood dish that includes fresh shrimp, scallops and tilapia.
The restaurant's full bar includes margaritas, a 100 different tequilas and several Mexican beers on tap.
The dining experience started with a basket of warm tortilla chips served to the table. The salsa was served in a glass decanter for pouring but did not arrive until after our order was placed.
The Enchiladas Mexicana came with the usual accompaniment of rice and beans, as well as lots of lettuce, sour cream and guacamole. The dish included three large chicken enchiladas, each of which was generously filled with large chunks of white-meat chicken. While cheese and a flavorful enchilada sauce added flavor, they did not overwhelm the dish and allowed the fresh ingredients to come through. The portion was easily big enough for two.
The Chorizo Burrito was listed under the “Belt Busting Burritos” category on the menu and was easily big enough to earn the moniker, which is probably why rice and beans were not included as sides. The burrito was generously filled with lots of crumbled ground beef and Chorizo sausage. The nicely spiced sausage gave the dish plenty of flavor and heat without being overwhelming. The filling also included beans, rice, onions and cheese. The accompanying sauce was flavorful and thoughtfully applied.
The Chilaquiles was a plate filled with a blend of tortilla strips, scrambled eggs, cheese, Chilaquile sauce and beans. The portion was so large that a second plate was required for the lettuce, guacamole, and sour cream. The dish was tasty and unique but could use a bit more spice.
The service at Las Papalas was very good. For instance, the host was exceptionally friendly and jumped in to help with service more than once. The waitress was also friendly and prompt. She kept our drinks filled and checked back often. Looking around the restaurant, it was obvious that the restaurant was well staffed. It was also obvious that the staff members were invested in providing excellent service and a good time.