Valentine’s Movie Date: 8 Mexican Restaurants Offer Free Food to Wine & Dine Your Boo

Read more

It’s almost Valentine’s Day and if you’ve spent any time online or even just outside of your home, you’ve already been flooded with suggestions for how to celebrate (or boycott) the occasion. But regardless of where you land in the divide, there’s a great movie-and-morsels combo for the lovers — and others — in Los Angeles: you can watch the indie romance Paraíso and then head to one of several partnering restaurants for discounted dinner or free dessert.

Paraíso, directed by Mariana Chenillo and executive-produced by Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal, delighted Toronto Film Fest audiences when it debuted in 2013, and it’s not hard to see why. Chenillo adapted Julieta Arévalo’s fish-out-of-water story about chubby couple Alfredo (Andrés Almedia) and Carmen (Daniela Rincón), but her retelling casts Carmen as our lead protagonist.

We meet the lovey-dovey, zaftig couple in Satélite, a middle-class suburb near the D.F., just as Alfredo gets the call to the big city — he’s now heading up the IT department at a major bank. They leave their cozy, colorful home (Chenillo’s set often looks like a candy store) for the metal and concrete of Mexico City, determined to stay together no matter what. But while Alfredo adjusts to their new environment with relative ease, Carmen feels the sting of not meeting conventional beauty standards. Despite their promise to each other, Carmen is soon adrift, so she reaches out to her old friend, food.

If you’re worried that a story about love on the rocks is going to harsh your romantic buzz, relax — there’s a lot more to see here. Rincón is luminous as Carmen, who must confront the issues that others have with her body that she doesn’t necessarily share. It’s also refreshing to see a film about Mexico’s oft-forgotten middle class. Food features prominently in the film, but there’s no real judgment attached to its role in Carmen’s appearance or transformation.

So head to one of the AMC theaters screening Paraíso starting on February 13, then take your ticket stub to one of these participating restaurants to redeem your deal. And if bouquets and bears aren’t your style, remember that in Latin America, el Día de San Valentín celebrates friendship, too, so take your best bud(s) out for a great flick and food.

Frida’s Tacos

What’s love or friendship without tacos? The mouth-watering offerings at Frida’s Tacos include tacos de cochinita pibil and ensalada tropical. And if you’re flying solo, take advantage of the “dos por uno” discount to treat yo self.

Frida’s Tacos, multiple locations

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for their 2×1 special.

La Monarca Bakery

La Monarca Bakery is offering two-for-one sweets for the rey or reyna of your heart. Traditional Mexican recipes are combined with all-natural ingredients to create the best conchas, cuernitos, and quequitos.

La Monarca Bakery, multiple locations

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for their 2×1 special.

Mr. Churro

Only a burro would miss out on the crispy confections sold by the eponymous señor. Try the old-style churros or snack on one with a sweet filling. Get one for a friend too, since they are two-for-one with your movie ticket.

Mr. Churro, 12 E. Olvera St

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for their 2×1 special.

Artesana Pops

A sentimental fave, Artesana has artisanal paletas for your pals and paramours and is offering two-for-one. The flavors of these hand-crafted pops range from tempting fruit combos (avocado mango) to creamy yogurt concoctions.

Artesana Pops, 220 W. 8th Street

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for their 2×1 special.

Restaurante Guelaguetza

Get drunk on love and Mezcal while enjoying authentic Oaxacan cuisine: Guelaguetza boasts one of the largest Mezcal selections in the country. They’re offering a free dessert with the purchase of dinner, so you can try nicuatole or nieves oaxaqueñas.

Restaurante Guelaguetza, 3014 W. Olympic Blvd

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for a free dessert.

Lotería Grill

This Hollywood restaurant will have you feeling lucky in love and cards with its Latino bingo-style menu: try a ceviche inspired by the iconic El Camarón, or say yes to El Nopal’s veggie options. Lotería is offering a free dessert with dinner.

Lotería Grill, 6627 Hollywood Blvd

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for a free dessert.

Real de Oaxaca

Take your companion or compadre out for some Oaxacan food, like Real’s barbacoa de chivo or an assortment of antojitos. Remember, buy dinner and dessert’s on the restaurant, so cap the night off with some plátanos fritos.

Real de Oaxaca, 11215 Long Beach Blvd, #1010

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for a free dessert.


You’ll want to save the besos for later after looking at the menu at Candela. Indulge in botanas or skip right to one of several seafood entrees. Your free-with-dinner dessert options include churros and a sweet yam flan.

Candela, 831 South La Brea Ave

Present your Paraíso ticket stub for a free dessert.

Theaters and Showtimes

Paraíso opens in select theaters on Friday, February 13, 2015.

4549 Mills Circle
Ontario, CA 91764

125 East Palm Avenue
Burbank, CA 91502

100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

12300 E. Civic Center Drive
Norwalk, CA 90650

Visit for showtimes.