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Oct 9, 2006 05:55 PM

Yucatec and Zacatecan specialties in SF/Oakland

I am looking for exemplary cochinita pibil, costillas en salsa negro, or calabacitas con puerco in SF/Oakland. According to Mr. Lauriston, Oakland has some "amazing" Mexican food. Please let me know your favorites. Thanks!

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  1. Actually I said "great." Don't recall being amazed.

    Most of the local Mexican immigrants are from other regions.

    There are several Yucatecan places in SF, numerous reports, try the search.

    There's one report of a place that may have Zacatecan specialties on the weekend:

    1. Vallejo is about an hour drive from SF, I'm looking for places closer during the week. What other regions does SF/Oakland specialize in?

      7 Replies
      1. re: Ernie

        Some discussion about that here:

        Many if not most Mexican restaurants in SF are run by Guatemalans and Salvadoreans.

        1. re: Ernie

          To recap: most of the Mexican food in this area is made by people from Jalisco, Michoacan and Sinaloa. In addition, a lot of the food in SF's Mission district is actually Central American (Salvadorean, mostly).

          There are a couple of Guatemalan restaurants in Oakland, though: Chapinlandia on Foothill and another place on International (rather confusingly, next to the Chapinlandia bakery in about the 4700 block). There are a couple of Salvadorean places, including Los Cocos, which I can't recommend, and one on Foothill. And there's a Puerto Rican restaurant on International now as well.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            I would just point out... that while the Mexican restaurants maybe run by people from those three states... that doesn't mean that those state's regional specialties are particularly well represented.

            Sinaloa... I have yet to encounter a place that serves up Camarones en Agua Chile... a Mazatlan variant on Ceviche (Raw Shrimp marinated very briefly in a "sauce" of 1/2 Lime Juice, 1/2 Water & Arbol Chile flakes (& salt of course)...

            Michoacan... I haven't seen the wonderful, notorious Avocado dishes (from the avocado capital of the world)... everythin from Avocado-Beer Soup to Shrimp-Stuffed Avocados

            Jalisco... I haven't seen many places that serve up Pescado Ranchero.... slightly floured trout, catfish, bass or sunfish filets... sauteed then sauced with a seared Tomato-Jalapeno sauce.

            1. re: Eat_Nopal

              I defer to your greater knowledge. However, Mariscos La Costa serves camarones en agua chile and I swear I've seen Pescado Ranchero (Otaez has several pescado dishes, and that might be one; I bet Alta Mar serves it). You're right about the avocado dishes, though. Except since I hate avocado, those dishes wouldn't catch my eye.

              The point is, they're even less likely to be serving regional specialties from other parts of Mexico.

              Just from observation, there are quite a few recent immigrants from Yucatan/Chiapas in Oakland, though. At least, many of the day laborers hanging around have a distinctly Mayan/Indian look to them. The thing is, those immigrants aren't at the point economically where they're going to be opening their own businesses, so it's the more esablished immigrant population that's still running the restaurants, taco trucks, etc.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                Almost all recent Mexican immigration (the last 5 years)... seems to be from Southern Mexico... these are the newcomers in L.A., New York, Raleigh & other places. The trickle is bound to hit the bay area and begin to take effect in a few years. These newcomers may by funds-challenged... but my observation has taught me that they are the most successful entrepreneurs from Mexico. They stick to their roots heavily....have a tradition of not working for other people (in NY...Oaxacans first found their niche by monopolizing the street flower vending business)...and don't travel back & forth to Mexico as much as people from say Jalisco.

                Thanks for the heads up on the two seafood places... have you tried them...are they worth a trip?

                1. re: Eat_Nopal

                  You can find her posts using the advanced search.

                  1. re: Eat_Nopal

                    Mariscos la Costa is basically a fast-food place (no indoor tables or table service) that specializes in seafood. It's inexpensive and some of the dishes (in particular the camarones en agua chile) are tasty, but I have no idea how they would stack up against a "real" restaurant. Alta Mar is a "real" restaurant. I was there once many, many years ago so I can't vouch for the food. I've been thinking it might be worth a chowdown, though. It's on E. 12th around 11th or 12th.