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Oct 6, 2000 03:27 PM

any recc's on the best tamale place?

  • s

i've gone to roosevelt's but are there others as well?

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  1. Sue--most people agree that Roosevelt's is a don't-eat at this point. Way way way downhill. But don't fret...nearby is one of my favorite places in the whole world: La Palma Mexicatessen. They do sensational tamales (as well as sensational everything else).

    For lots more details, see article below, and/or search down this message board's index for the phrase "la palma"


    1. Haven't had tamales in SF, but I did come across a review in SF Weekly a while ago where Matthew Stafford did a tamale survey. I've included the link here.


      8 Replies
      1. re: Limster
        Carlos Hernandez

        One really great place to get a true homemade Mexican
        tamale is in the East Bay Fruitvale district of Oakland.

        There is this one couple who sell great tamales every morning on the street for a dollar/piece from 7:00 am till they sell out usually 10:30-11am

        The location is Fruitvale avenue and East 14th


        1. re: Carlos Hernandez
          Melanie Wong

          Are these still warm when you buy them? There's nothing like a tamale straight from the steamer. They're just not the same once they've cooled down from the initial cooking and are reheated.

          1. re: Carlos Hernandez

            Hi Carlos:
            Thanks for the lead - home made is the gold standard for tamales. Somewhat along the same lines, have you ever patronized the mobile unit of El Tonyense [near York and 21st or so] and tried their one dollar carnita taco, fresh lime to squeeze, cilantro, the real deal.

            1. re: Carlos Hernandez

              Come to the East Bay in search of good tamales. I live in Richmond and have discovered two places near my house that have very good tamales. Taqueria La Bamba(12345 San Pablo Ave. 510. 235-2288) and Taqueria & Restaurant Familiar (12469 San Pablo Ave. 510. 234-9939) I've been told that someone from La Bamba left to start the other place. Sounds right because the menu is very similar. But lately I've been going to Taquerian & Restaurant Familiar because they have more seating and it's a bit more pleasant (but not fancy)....also they give you chips and salsa-which La Bamba doesn't. But I digress enough....the tamales are very good...Salvadorean in they're more creamy in texture than Mexican tamales. The pork filling is very tasty and they're very reasonable at $1.50/1.75
              (I think) I usually get a soft taco or two and a tamale and I'm quite satisfied. I feel guilty for only buying $4 or $5 dollars worth of food but it's usually enough. Give them a try....the San Pablo Avenue exit off of 80 going toward Sacramento will put you right onto San Pablo Ave.- turn left and go just one block to get to T&R Familiar.

              1. re: gordon wing

                I haven't been to La Bamba in Richmond, but have tried a pupusa and Salvadoran style tamale at the Mountain View location. The pupusa was excellent, the tamale, as you say has creamier, softer style of cornmeal.

                La Bamba is next door to La Costena market and take-out in Mountain View. Recently, I've been noticing t-shirts and license plates adorning La Costena fans and I'm going to check out that action my next time in the neighborhood. Came across this interesting link for South Bay lunchtime dives in my search for more info.


                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  thanks for the link to South Bay Dives...good reading and more places to try!

                  1. re: gordon wing

                    You're welcome. I forwarded the link to my brother who works a little closer to the action for his comments. He says Uncle Frank's bbq in East Palo Alto (listed among the Best) is pretty good, although his heart still belongs to Everett & Jones. He also likes Kal's Broiler.

            2. re: Limster
              Melanie Wong

              Thanks for the link. I'll mention that Panchita's no longer makes the chicken tamale.

            3. The easy answer in Marin is Davids in Corte Madera. If your O.K. with the street food scene the tamale lady at the Mission B.A.R.T. station is sort of an icon/legend/jewel. I agree with Melanie about reheating tamales, the texture of the masa suffers greatly.


              3 Replies
              1. re: Brandon
                Melanie Wong

                Where is David's in Corte Madera?

                I have a line on some great tamales in SF but haven't been able to connect the dots yet. I had the chance to try one --- really fantastic texture, slippery smooth from yet firm --- and begged to know where I could get more. So I go to the restaurant to try to buy some and am told they only have them on Tuesdays. Then I return some months later on the right day, to learn that I have to order in advance! When I'm finally successful, I'll let you know. Hopefully, this is for real and I'm not on some wild goose chase.

                1. re: Melanie Wong


                  The address is 341 Corte Madera town center. The taqueria is joined to Davids produce. The locals really dig the produce stand, but I don't see why, I wouldn't go out of the way for it.

                  There is also an A.G. Ferrari in that same center. I will go out of the way for that! Anyone who is marooned in Marin owes it to their palate to grab at least a few tasty morsels here!


                  1. re: Brandobn

                    I love AG Ferrari too.

                    But last night my target was David's in Corte Madera to grab dinner before heading home over the bridge. I ordered the red pepper and corn tamale plate which came with cabbage slaw, choice of beans (refritos for me), grilled veggies, rice, choice of salsa (med. hot corn salsa) and sour cream. I loved everything on my plate except the tamale! The refritos were creamy and flavorful, the vegetables were expertly done with the yellow squash and red peppers still slightly crisp with nice grill marks, the sweet/sour/hot slaw made a wonderful accent of crunch and flavor punch on everything. But the tamale was pretty bland, the masa was artificially sweet (maybe some sugar or fresh corn mixed in), and had a slightly bitter taste that was very off-putting. Do you like the pork and/or chicken tamales better? If it had been ok, I would have been thrilled with what I got for $7. A Calif. cuisine sensibility applied to Mexican standards.

              2. There is a tamale lady named Virginia who makes rounds of the bars around 16th and Valencia. I have seen her in the Albion recently, and many times in the place at 17th and Capp with the couches and the pool table, and that was a few years ago. They are a buck or two. She serves them from an insulated container with some homemade red sauce that is just killer.