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Berkeley - Best Burrito/Tacos?

  • k

has to be open on Sundays and not named Gordo, Picante or Cactus Taqueria...

oh yeah.. chipotle also

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  1. Taqueria Cancun, downtown on Alston off Shattuck. Open Sunday...parking can be difficult but it's free on Sunday.

    3 Replies
    1. re: ML8000

      FWIW, I was at Taqueria Cancun over the weekend. They've gone a bit down hill value wise -- raised the prices, smaller portions. It could have been an off day since it was very busy...but you wonder.

      1. re: ML8000

        Yes, Cancun used to be quite the bargain, but prices have gone up recently. I really like their salsa bar and am addicted to the pumpkin. Their carnitas are usually pretty good and you get quite a bit if you get them as a side order. Probably the best bargain there now is the chorizo with refried beans. Combined with the soft tortillas and an order of the guacamole fresca (freshly chopped avocado with salsa fresca, much better than that frothy whipped up version) and you have enough tacos for two meals.

      2. re: ML8000

        technical note, this is acutally cancun taqueria, and not affiliated with the chain in SF, rather, affiliated with the tlaloc/chilayo group

      3. You forgot to exclude 'Baja Fresh Mexican Grill', 'High Tech Burrito' and '360 Degree Gourmet Burrito'. With the addition of Casa Gourmet Burrito in Lafayette I'm very skeptical of any place with 'gourmet' AND 'burrito' in the DBA.
        Not sure if any of the above have infested Berserkly yet...

        4 Replies
        1. re: DiveFan

          High Tech has, don't think 360 has yet. I had a 360 burrito about 10yrs ago and thought it was pretty disgusting when there was a big leaf of lettuce in it.

          1. re: kc72

            360 had a spot on Shattuck a few blocks north of Borders, two blocks south of Central, about ten years ago. No idea if it is still there or not. I went once, and that was that for that fru-fru chain.

            1. re: Marc Wallace

              Alot changes in the menu after 10 years, I had 360 a couple of days ago and the beef fajita burrito was pretty good. Only bad thing was paying extra for cheese. I thought all burritos came with cheese. lol

            2. re: kc72

              After several years of patronage (I work nearby), I've figured out how to make a Hi-Tech Burrito edible. I order a small pork burrito, regular tortilla, Spanish rice, and hot sauce (they ask you about each of these), then add several of the "free" extras: tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro. Sometimes I substitute steak for pork, but that's the only permitted variance. I usually end up eating the whole thing (it's pretty small, the small...), which I didn't useta before I stumbled on this combo. Not a recommendation as such, but if you're backed against the wall and it's Hi-Tech or nothing, it works...

          2. No contest - La Calaca Loca ... great pica de gallo ... great.

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            Technically in Oakland in the Temescal area

            3 Replies
            1. re: rworange

              La Calaca Loca's close to a mile from the Berkeley border.

              1. re: psb

                On a less sarcarstic note:
                I thought the winner was the corn more than the limes
                [see detailed review pointed to above] ... the elote
                was great!

                The Baja Crispy Fish Taco Especial was good, but I dont
                get comparable things often enough to say if it was the
                best of the breed. It is a bit pricier volumewise compared
                to a "mission burrito" of course. Not the standout item for
                me.

                The flan was certainly better than average [for cheepish
                places ... not comparing to "nice restaurants"]. Also a
                solid recommendation in my opinion.

                Except for the salt acting on my just-back-from-yosemite
                chapped lips, I thought the soju-based lime/pomegrate
                margarita was a fine drink.

                I'm sure I would have never noticed that place without
                the 'hound pointer. And I am also sure I wouldnt have
                tried the elote without the recommendation, so a big
                thanks for me and this is what hounding is all about!

                p.s. for lunch I had the pork sandwich and sort of a
                soapy-tasting $3 smallish canataloup agua fresca from
                900 GRAYSON ... i think the only slightly more expensive
                meal from THE CRAZY SKELETON was a better deal ...
                altough I intend to try some more stuff from 900G.

                1. re: psb

                  Are you talking about La Calaca Loca?

                  Might be good to copy that report to the La Calaca Loca topic.

            2. The fish tacos at Taqueria La Familia on Shattuck at Ashby are probably
              the best in the city. Not sure about the Sunday thing since it is, in fact,
              run by a family. You can leaf through the wedding album while you wait for
              your order.

              In the meat department, there's the standard carne asada (not good),
              carnitas (very good), and a couple of types of chicken (reddish and
              greenish, both real nice).

              They put lettuce on their burritos. Beware

              9 Replies
              1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                I like their fish tacos too, and love the owners, but I don't know about the Sunday thing there either.

                  1. re: kc72

                    Northeast, a couple doors up from the corner deli. Funny, I use to live about 3 blks away and use to go...but didn't think of it. IMO, overall Cancun is better...but the fish tacos might be better at La Familia.

                    1. re: ML8000

                      Checked yesterday. La Familia is closed on Sunday.

                      Is Fonda on Solano in Berkeley? If not, it's close. Not a taqueria by a long
                      shot, but the $7 pair of duck tacos are very good. I mention this because
                      of the note about chipotle in the original post. Fonda chipotele-izes everything,
                      including the ketchup.

                      1. re: Chuckles the Clone

                        Fonda's in Albany. Those tacos are really good. They're $9 on the dinner menu, $6.50 on the late night menu.

                        http://www.fondasolana.com

                      2. re: ML8000

                        I second the recommendation for La Familia's fish tacos, which I tried after seeing the reports here. The fish comes out very nicely, fried crispy but not greasy. If they'd leave the rice out of the taco, it'd be just about perfect.

                        I'll have to try La Calaca Loco's version a little further down Shattuck to see if it's just as good.

                        EDIT: I believe they're $2.95 apiece. It's a good idea to order one, see if it (along with the free chips and salsa) fills you up, and then go for another if you've got room. They're big!

                          1. re: Agent 510

                            Well, I tried the basic fish taco at La Calaca Loco and liked it. Definitely a step up from Rubio's, but La Familia is still my favorite. The La Calaca version is actually prepared the same way as its Rubio's counterpart, with a dressing that's more tangy and lime-y than creamy.

                      3. re: Chuckles the Clone

                        I am sad to report that La Familia no longer lives up to the hype. It's just a short walk from my house. Certainly closer than Vietnam, but you can find a much better fish taco in Temescal.

                      4. I just had an amazing al pastor taco from Tacubaya on 4th street (3.15). It was loaded with meat and topped with an avocado sauce. There were crispy parts and extremely tender parts. I thought it was better than the al pastor tacos from the el gordo truck on international. I also had a bowl of the sopa de tortilla which was delicious and improved even more when I added a side of rice to it. The blue bottle iced coffee washing it all down was wonderful as well.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: jiongliu

                          Was it real al pastor sliced from a vertical spit?

                        2. for the best burrito/taco in berkeley, get on BART at downtown berkeley, ride to 24th and mission, exit BART. there's more tacquerias than you can shake a stick at.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: floydramp

                            The Fruitvale station is closer and the food's better.

                          2. Consider the burritos at Berkeley Bowl. A veggie friend of mine swears by the veggie burritos. I'm a meat guy, and was underwhelmed by whatever meat I had.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: bbulkow

                              I've been liking the food at Talavera on Solano, but I don't remember if I've actually had a burrito there. Monte Cristo on University (Andronico's parking lot) has come in handy for a late night fix - it is pretty tasty. Also, La Palmita on San Pablo (just south of Gilman, almost across the street from Chipotle) is really decent - nothing fancy at all, it reminds me of pretty good home cooking (and the portion size is modest, if looking for a non-1500 calorie bomb).

                            2. my favorite ones are at Casa Latina on San Pablo (at University). The barbacoa is particularly good. It looks like its just a bakery but their tacos are awesome.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: vnchile

                                Second on Casa Latina. Some of the food is great. It's a bit Berklified, for example the pork is Niman and the meats are baked in olive oil (not a good way to cook chicken breast), but overall the flavors and prices are much closer to those in the Fruitvale district than to Picante or Tacubaya.

                                It's actually two blocks north of University, near Delaware.

                                -----
                                Casa Latina
                                1805 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

                              2. My Berkeley Mexican Rankings

                                I will start by saying that I will not award a first place to any of the contestants, because frankly Berkeley's Mexican food is not very good. There are a few places I will go in a pinch, I do not have time to drive to the mission, Fruitvale, or LA for lunch.

                                1. ________ please somebody step up to the plate, mexican food is so easy to make. salt and pepper your meat and cook it until it browns. Don't use canned beans. Make one or two salsas from fresh ingredients. I don't need 15 salsas, and I certainly don't need any made with anything besides tomatoes, tomatillos, or chilies as a base.
                                2. Taqueria La familia, tasty, cheap, and fresh. Avoid meat here, fish and shrimp are best. No beer, and the place is DIRTY. The sticky salsa containers are disgusting and they clog.
                                3. Monte Cristo, Just OK all around, nothing is great, nothing is bad. Seriously, canned Beans?
                                4. Tacubaya, food is good and fresh, but white-washed. They need burritos, and the prices are way to high. $35 for 4 tacos, two beers, and a side of beans is excessive. The tacos have about an ounce of meat, for $4 each at least give me two ounces.
                                5. Casa Latina, Not bad just boring. No Beer.
                                6. Picante, Just OK, it concerns me that everything takes less than 30 seconds to prepare, the second you sit down the food arrives, and the food is always cold.
                                7. Cancun, Just OK, lacks flavor.
                                8. La Calaca Loca - I don't know why this place is on this thread, it's FLAVORLESS, a hair better than dog food.

                                10 Replies
                                1. re: defencedesign

                                  What no comment on La Mission on University other than no beer?

                                  1. re: wolfe

                                    I have not been to La Mission, I will go tomorrow.

                                    For the love of Burritos, I hope I can give it the number one spot.

                                      1. re: defencedesign

                                        interested in your opinion on la mission. i too believe that mexican in berkeley is fairly mediocre, although i still go to cancun for a few of their items. i put la mission as probably the best of the bunch...specifically for their burritos (fish tacos...i'm picky, and i dont find them good here). they are organic...and most of the stuff ive had here is tasty even without salsa (which is a good barometer). i think picante should be below cancun (Although their tostadas are not bad). and im not sure if you've tried juan's place...if not, dont. and i think taq la familia is hit or miss....their fish tacos that yelpers rave about...no good, in my opinion.

                                        1. re: majordanby

                                          I would rank them: La Mission, Cancun and Picante in that order.

                                    1. re: defencedesign

                                      The menudo I had at Tacubaya last month would pass muster in Guadalajara.

                                      1. re: defencedesign

                                        "5. Casa Latina, Not bad just boring. No Beer."

                                        They'll let you bring in beer from the liquor store on the corner. No charge.

                                        1. re: defencedesign

                                          I just had a pollo taco at Tacubaya. First time at Tacubaya. It was flavorful, yes a lot of white meat, but it was a lot! of meat.

                                          1. re: defencedesign

                                            I tried La Mission, it was pretty good. I had a Carne Asada burrito, it's a good basic to judge a place by. The rice and beans in the burrito were good, but I wish the meat was a little less wet. It seemed like maybe they stewed it? Carne Asada should be charcoal grilled, grilled or browned on the griddle. I look for a little crunch in the meat, it means it has not been sitting around for too long, if there is too much crunch it means it has been sitting around too long too. I will have to try a few more things before I can include it in my rankings. I doubt it will make it to the #1 spot, but maybe two.

                                            I agree Juans place isn't that good, although I have not been there in 10 years. It seems nobody is raving about it, so i will probably not try it again any time soon.

                                            1. re: defencedesign

                                              For a little crunch, try the carnitas at La Mission.

                                          2. How about a crepe? I finally tried the mole crepe at Alfonso's cafe on San Pablo. Pretty good mole and a lot of it for 6.50. (And for the OP waaaay back in 06, open on Sunday.)

                                            1. Just had a fantastic burrito from Cancun and even got it to go. Housemade chicken chorizo and it was very good. In fact the best chorizo I've ever had. Got two little containers of salsa - hot tomatillo and medium mango. Perfect dinner. Have to restrain from returning tomorrow.

                                              1. No love for Cactus? I guess it's technically in Oakland, but it's pretty great. Crispy tacos are bomb, good soups, awesome salsas and two kinds of spicy habanero salsas. I usually just order the plate and chips and go to town.

                                                1 Reply