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Jun 10, 2005 04:15 PM

Tacubaya report

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Been spending lots of time in Berkeley lately due to a sick pet and a specialist treating my cat on that side of the bridge. The downside besides the large vet bills has become my addiction to Tacubaya. I am not an expert on Mexican cuisine and it probably is not the most authentic, but I just love the clean bright flavors and the intense corn flavor on the masa. I have enjoyed the corn quesadillas with asparagus with a guajillo sauce, the chiles rellenos, and the sopes above all. if you get the rellenos, get a side of the refried beans fried in chorizo fat--heaven. The tacos are not their strong point in my opinion. I have also enjoyed their breakfast items, specially the eggs with chorizo and the eggs with half green and half red salsa. Don't bother with the chilaquiles. Overall, a fast, fresh, and relaxing meal while sitting outside next to Cafe Rouge. It is not the cheapest, but the chiles rellenos alone make it worth while.

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  1. Native Seattleites, we were in a funk over finding no coffee in Berkeley worth drinking.
    Finding Tacubaya was good and bad. Good, because the (Blue Bottle) coffee was great, and the "cafe do oro" even better (sweetened, with a huge cinnamon stick in it). Bad, because now we have to move to Berkeley... Oh those chiles relleno and oh, every other thing on the menu.
    >>New to the dish, we enjoyed the chilaquiles and look forward to learning where ones even better than these may be found.

    Did we miss a bet by not vising Dona Tomas?

    11 Replies
    1. re: mrnelso

      Dona Tomas is slighltly better, but both are good for there category. With Tacubaya some stuff is better than others. Hanks for the update. I haven't tried the chiles rellono next. Will give that a try nex time I'm in the area.

      1. re: mrnelso

        And don't forget Montero's chilaquiles! They're good, too.

        Also, Pizzaiolo and Guerilla Cafe both serve Blue Bottle coffee. Much as I want to like Guerilla Cafe, its menu is waaaay expensive for the food you're getting.

        1. re: lintygmom

          Montero's isn't really the same kind of place, they don''t make the same effort in sourcing superior ingredients as Dona Tomas and Tacubaya.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            I disagree. At one time there was a bit on thier website about the ingrediants they use. Like their panadria Casa Latina, the ingrediants are high quality. They just don't hype it as much.

              1. re: Morton the Mousse

                You know, I don't remember. It was there two years ago. The only thing that sticks in my mind is that they use olive oil instead of lard and IIRC, Casa Latina mentions some of the sources of the meat on the sign board. It may not be heritage type of stuff but above average.

            1. re: Robert Lauriston

              Absolutely not true. I had the best bacon of my life there--boutique bacon from a small supplier. It was midway between British and American style. I suggest you eat there and see. The food is really quite good and should only be discussed by those with first hand knowlege.

              I was extremely pleased that rworange convinced me to eat there and I've had many happy breakfasts. In fact, it's now my breakfast out of choice.

              I don't care if they hype the salsa dancing over their food--that's their choice.

              1. re: lintygmom

                It seems like the cafe link is dead and they only have a link to the club. I was hoping they might have info about their latest place, Talavera

                Maybe with the new taqueria they are re-doing the food portion of their business on the website.

                1. re: rworange

                  I could understand a business not being interested in investing in too much website stuff. What I can't understand is some of the mean-spirited stuff around here.

                  I've had great fun meals a Tacubaya and also times when some of the food was a bit dried up or old, especially the little nest of chorizo and potato (I forget what it's called). But that happens sometimes.

          2. re: mrnelso

            you absolutely did not miss out by not going to dona.. tacuybaya is delicious and the way good mexican food should be, and btw you can swing by the saturday morning ferry plaza farmers market or the sunday morning farmers market in oakland at the DMV on claremont and get bags of blue bottle beans to take home. but im distracted- I stand firmly on this- i do NOT understand the following Dona Tomas has. The food is not worth the price, and the last (and i mean last) time i went, i had a carnitas plate that was dry and not breaking any ground my local taqueria hadnt already, and made me crave La Calaca down the street- same delicious high quality niman ranch meat (same as tacubaya), done in a fun and comfortably causual way, no huge bill. Dont get me wrong- i love my fine dining. i just have yet to find (and i insist it doesnt exist around here) fine Mexican dining that satisfies and executes as well as a superb taqueria.

          3. I've been enjoying Tacubaya for a couple of years now and agree whole heartedly. However, the el pastor tacos are worth trying, very good. The veggie tamale is great and agreed on the rellenos. The refried beans are good but have you tried the black beans, a little cotija on top. Excellent, veggie preparation and full of flavor. And the fish tacos too!

            4 Replies
            1. re: Dan Wodarcyk

              My bf and I drive from SF just for fish tacos! The last time we went, we got a little nervous. The piece of fish was very small... almost as if it was a mistake and most fell off, but we didn't comment on it to each other until later. In retrospect, it was so tiny and unusual for them, I would have asked. Hope it was a fluke b/c we love them.

              We love the same things listed here--- chilaquiles, veggie tamale. I tried th torta jamon with egg last time.. ok, but will stick with the tacos, and other things.

              1. re: rln

                Happy and relieved to report that at a visit to Tacabuya yesterday and the fish in the fish taco is once again satisfying and a generous amount. I actually make them 2 tacos since they give 2 tortillas with the taco. We're happy.

                We also tried a chile relleno with butternut squash and all kinds of other fruity things (pomegranate?). We can't remember now... but it was good, not oily at all, and not too sweet as I feared it would be. It was savory and good.

                1. re: rln

                  Well, went to Tacabuya the other day for lunch, and fish small again... too bad.

                  Tried the veggie tostada and it was good.

                  Like the fish taco am less motivated to drive across the bridge... we used to make the trip just for the fish tacos.

                  1. re: rln


                    1788 4th St, Berkeley, CA 94710

            2. Mmm. Great chilaquiles, just like mom's. Nice red sauce with lots of crispy pieces. Comes with eggs. Why did you not like it?

              1. I'm glad to read so many positive posts about Tacubaya. I have mentioned it positively in several other threads, only to have mostly negative responses written back.

                I agree that Dona Tomas is good, however, I think I like the casual, taqueria-style of Tacubaya better (as well as the menu, although I've had a pretty awesome meal at Dona too).

                Tacubaya is a little pricey, but I love the fresh ingredients. Everything just tastes "quality" there. I have found that sharing is the best bet and keeps the prices in check. The enchiladas are delicious and come two to a plate, so those along with some beans and rice and maybe a couple of tacos (depending on how hungry you are) makes the perfect sharing meal for two for, +drinks and you get out for ~$30. Not bad for that quality of food.

                Another vote for the chilaquiles and the whipped sweet potatoes... yum!

                BTW, I also liked the sangria and horchata... Cheers!

                1. Thanks for your report. I've passed Tacubaya many times but haven't tried it. Since I love chiles rellenos, I'll have to give it a whirl. Hope your cat is doing better!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: The Librarian

                    Great churros too...fried to order, available only before 9am on weekdays and all day weekends.

                      1. re: lintygmom

                        The churros are available all day -- we got some at 3pm today (a Thursday). They were good, but had a bit too much cinnamon sugar on them. Although the kids said that it made their horchata, which they felt was also too sweet, taste better. We will return at some point to try more of the savoury offerings. --PR

                      2. re: Agent 510

                        OH, THE CHURROS!

                        I can never quite decide between the hot-from-the-fryer churros or the cool, creamy gelato at Sketch. We usually end up going for broke, so to speak.