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Posted on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:37 a.m.

Mi Zarape brings a taste of Mexico to the Saline area

By Julie Halpert


The interior of Mi Zarape.

Jeff Sainlar |

The Arellano family had been looking for a place to locate their second restaurant for six months when they heard of a possible space in Saline. They were impressed with positive reports about the community.

But an even bigger appeal was that, while Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti have their share of Mexican restaurants, this would be the first for Saline, said Vanessa Arellano, the restaurant's manager and daughter of the owner, Gulmaro Arellano.

The Arellanos, natives of Mexico, have owned a restaurant in Pontiac for the past five years. It's clear, from the bustling dining room of Mi Zarape, that Saline residents have responded well to this cuisine.

It's located in a sterile strip mall and has a clean, spacious feel. Still, the Arellanos attempt to inject Mexican culture into the space, with tropical artifacts hung on the bright lime green walls. Paper stars hang from the ceiling, a festive touch. There are numerous booths and tables, ideal for the many parties of families with young children I saw dining there.

The menu is extensive, offering a huge variety of each type of Mexican dish, including 10 types of quesadillas and a dozen styles of burritos. I particularly liked the description at the bottom of the menu that provides explanations of the different types of Mexican dishes to those unfamiliar with this cuisine.


Mi Zarape
7025 E. Michigan Ave., Suite H, Saline
  • Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

  • Plastic: American Express, Visa, Mastercard, Discover.

  • Liquor: Yes.

  • Prices: Inexpensive. Many dishes are in the $8-$10 range.

  • Value: Very good.

  • Noise level: Medium.

  • Wheelchair access: Yes.

As soon as you're seated, servers bring you crispy, homemade tortilla chips along with your choice of mild or spicy salsa. I thought the salsa was a bit runny, but what it lacked in texture it made up in flavor. The guacamole was heavenly, and was one of the few appetizers that wasn't spicy.

Cheese nachos were rather ordinary, melted cheese poured over tortilla chips, though an abundance of jalapeno added to the melted cheese gave this quite a kick. The chicken soup was also on the spicy side, served lukewarm.

The soft tortillas were some of the freshest tasting I've had. While I enjoyed them, I didn't like the filling quite as much. The shrimp quesadilla contained delicious, hearty pieces of grilled shrimp, but they were overwhelmed by cheese. I had a similar issue with the beef burrito, where the tender, nicely seasoned meat was drowning in the same sauce.

I was looking forward to indulging in the crunchy crust in the deep fried chimichanga, but the server didn't ask me which I preferred and brought me the soft version, which tasted essentially like a burrito.


Carnitas at Mi Zarape,

Jeff Sainlar |

I very much enjoyed the filets al chipotle, consisting of a fresh piece of tilapia marinated with chipotle sauce. The sauce lent a tangy, smoky flavor reminiscent of barbeque. It was unusual, and quite good, while the accompanying rice was moist.

The fajitas texanas were a delicious feast of perfectly cooked shrimp, chicken and beef, along with sauteed vegetables. Served with beans, guacamole and salad, this was a particularly filling dish.

If you're into the ultimate calorie indulgence, don't miss the wonderful fried vanilla ice cream, which is topped with rich whipped cream, along with cherry and chocolate sauce.

Price is a big appeal at Mi Zarape. Aside from fajitas, which are in the $12 range, most hearty entrees are in the $10 range.

The restaurant was busy on both of our visits, and the staff seemed overwhelmed. Still, if you don't mind a possible wait, there are enough solid entrees here to recommend Mi Zarape. There's no question that it offers a great option for reasonably priced Mexican food in this area.

Julie Halpert reviews restaurants for



Fri, Dec 30, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

This is good restaurant. Fast service, good food. Very reasonable. Always busy but enough room that you never have to wait.


Mon, Dec 26, 2011 : 2:20 a.m.

dear reviewer,authentic mexican salsa is runny.Do some research before you criticize a mexican eaterie for making mexican food


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.

This place is new...? I remember eating their last year or so...


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

Great! Now I have another one to try. There is another great one on Whittaker. This place is a zoo on Cinco De Maya day.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

I haven't been there yet, though a friend of mine said they have the best Mexican food in the area. Is there a story behind, or a translation of, the name "Mi Zarape?" I cannot find a Spanish translation for zarape.


Thu, Dec 22, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

I agree with the metaphor. Anything that wraps warmth or reminds you of warmth, like a good home cooked meal grandma or ma use to make. So in turn, wrap your fajitas in a nice warm tortilla. I will leave this to your imagination. Now I am off to get some Mexican food.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.

Thanks, @jns131. Further research confirms your finding. Zarape appears to be a variant spelling of sarape, also sometimes spelled serape. I am curious why the owner chose to name the restaurant the Spanish equivalent of "My Shawl." I can imagine some reasons but would be interested to know the actual one. It seems as if it might be a metaphor for food providing comfort or warmth, physical or emotional, I suppose.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 4 p.m.

on the website it means the following: Zarape, aka serape, is a colorful blanket-like shawl worn especially by Mexican men. This noun dates back to 1834! ChaCha again! Mi is for Me or My or Mine.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:36 p.m.

As a family with two small kids, Mi Zarape is our go-to restaurant for a quick and delicious meal in Saline. We've never had to wait for a table, the food comes quickly (ideal for hungry children who can't wait), and the kids' happy noises are welcome. Like any restaurant, there is good and bad waitstaff. Most are quick, efficient, and friendly, though there are a couple who, like the reviewer said, seem overwhelmed with restaurant work. We highly recommend Mi Zarape for family dining!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:31 p.m.

We love Mi Zarape! They have been open well over a year and have awesome food. Take out is easy and fast. It's in the strip mall on the corner of State St. and Michigan Ave - easy to find and park. Worth a trip!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

When did this restaurant open? I may be confusing this for another but I could have sworn this place has been there for at least a year or more.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 5:17 p.m.

I was confused because, like Northside, I was given the impression, from reading the article, that this was a piece about a new place. The article does inform us that five years ago the Arellanos opened a restaurant in Pontiac but fails to tell us when this one, the one the whole article is about, opened? Just seems a bit odd and somewhat clumsy--just saying.

Bob Needham

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

It's been open about two years. This is the first time we've reviewed it.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

I've been going there for well over a year...maybe two? The article makes it sound like it just opened last week.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:41 p.m.

Those carnets look good! Now I want some Mexican food. Granola will have to do.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 11:26 a.m.

It would be nice if you attached a Google map or told folks which strip mall this new restaurant is in. One does not want to go to each mall trying to find it. Of course we can look at

Julie Halpert

Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Yes, this is a great idea. We'll plan to post Google maps from now on!


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

At first my Google map showed it west of Bill Crispin out there. Had to go to street view and "walk" east to see the strip mall just east of Moon Rd.


Wed, Dec 21, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

Agreed! GoogleMaps confirmed my longtime Salinian spideysense that this is in the Country Creek strip mall at the corner of Moon and US 12.