Arturo Morales Los Amates Mexican Kitchen at 31 Johnston Street doesn’t pretend to be the Capella Pedregal of Fitzroy, in fact it has no pretensions at all which is part of its charm. The staff were friendly and helpful and we couldn’t fault them and the décor, brightly painted walls packed with colourful religious icons and Mexican memorabilia, provided a celebratory feel perfect for a warm and relaxed meal. Owner Arturo has been a chef for 27 years and opened Los Amates just over 9 years ago. Adrian Gonzalez has been the Head Chef for about 2 years and is originally from Mexico City, so between them they are the real deal.
The name “Los Amates” comes from the Aztec work “AMATL” which means the bark from a tree called Amate, in which the Mexican indigenous people from the southern State of Guerrero would create paintings depicting celebrations, birds or Aztec symbols. These paintings are featured on the restaurant’s walls. When Arturo started the restaurant, he wanted a name that had meaning for him, referencing Amates that depict traditional cooking techniques, such as making tortillas.