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Mexican in Walnut Creek?

My fiance and I just moved to Walnut Creek and have been unable to find any delicious or even decent Mexican food. Sure, we're spoiled from having lived in Santa Barbara, but this is California for Pete's sake, someone has to be able to make a passable burrito within walking distance of my home. Any suggestions?

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  1. I've seen some good-looking places on Monument Blvd.

    1. Honestly, I think Chipotle is the best I can think of in Walnut Creek. Taqueria El Balazo recently opened a branch in nearby Lafayette. They make a killing in other suburban areas that lack good mexican food (San ramon and Pleasanton come to mind). Cantina in downtown Walnut Creek is a decent Happy Hour place, but the food is on par with Chevy's.

      www.elbalazo.net

      4 Replies
      1. re: Fussy Foodie

        Have you tried any of the places on Monument Blvd. in the blocks south of Meadow? Some of them look like the real deal.

        I guess that's Concord but it's close to WC.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          You can definetly find some legit taquerias in Concord, I guess it's as close to WC as Lafayette.

          Los Gallos is very good. I've tried a couple of others, can't remember the names.

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          Taqueria Los Gallos Express
          2118 Willow Pass Rd, Concord, CA 94520

          Taqueria Los Dos Gallos
          1950 Grant St, Concord, CA 94520

          1. re: Fussy Foodie

            Los Dos Gallos is the place to go! The best I've had in the area and I've tried quite a few. There are TONS opf places on Monument and I'd say I've only tried a quarter of them.

            To the OP, if you want real Mexican you need to get out of WC and over to Concord. Just looks for the places with all the Corona plastic chairs and you'll know you're there.

        2. re: Fussy Foodie

          Balazo also opened a location on the WC/Concord border in the shopping center at Treat and Oak Grove (next to PFE and TJ's)

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          El Balazo Taqueria
          785 Oak Grove Rd, Concord, CA 94518

        3. La Taqueria on Locust Street is a good choice for fresh, tasty and reasonably authentic Mexican in Walnut Creek. Nothing fancy - burritos, tacos, etc. but very good. The lengua tacos are my personal favorite.

          1. Two places in Concord: Guadalajara 5400 Ygnacio Valley Rd #3B, 925-672-4430

            La Pinata 2301 Willow Pass Rd, 925-609-9119

            Friends rave about Guadalajara, I haven't been there in years.

            La Pinata is a local/ Bay area chain. Food and service are execellent. Sunday brunch is really good.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Janet

              Also, Las Montanas on Willow Pass Rd, is good as well.

              1. re: theSauce

                I second Las Montanas (and while you're at the Park 'N' Shop mall, Korea House and the Mediterranean are very good Contra Costa ethnic cuisine outposts too). For Mexican food, I also like a place called Papa Chuy's in a strip mall on Contra Costa Blvd. almost to Pacheco. It's friendly, inexpensive and "down home."

              2. re: Janet

                There's a tortilla factory in Concord, called something like El Molino, if I recall. They have a small menu of items, I remember it being really good - carnitas tacos on freshly made corn tortillas . . .

                1. re: Janet

                  Guadalajara is watered down Mexican... akin to Chevy's.

                  1. re: SLRossi

                    My fiance and I stumbled upon the El Faro in Concord. Who knew (well not me anyway)? It was not the El Faro of my youth--when my grandparents used to drive down to the Mission for the Acapulco seafood burrito on Friday afternoons--but it was serviceable with good hot sauce and low, low prices. Anyone try that Acapulco burrito lately?

                2. My favorites near WC are

                  Mercado Del Valle
                  1651 Monument Blvd, Concord, CA 94520
                  (925) 687-7032

                  This place is a market with a great carniceria and taqueria inside. They cook the al pastor on a vertical spit, and IMHO, it's the best al pastor in Contra Costa, and rivals Fruitvale and the Mission. Good agua fresca too, plus you can pick up Mexican ingredients if you need them.

                  My other favorite is El Jarro in Lafayette, see thread here:
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/316049
                  Really good, fresh food, including some great seafood dishes, and they have Oaxacan-style tortas. Oaxaca is supposedly the birthplace of the torta. They are a bit different than what I think of as the typical torta.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: fiddlr40

                    I hit Del Valle this weekend. They were out of the pastor thought the spit was full and working hard on the next batch. Instead we tried the carnitas. They were good, not great. However on the torta they were pretty good. If we were charged for everything we ordered it is an exceptional value. Two big tortas, two tacos, a side of rice and beans for $10. I'll make it back to try the al pastor for sure.

                  2. Besides El Jarro in Lafayette, my other go-to Mexican place is La Cocina Mexicana in Orinda. There have been a few postings on it within the last year. Strangely, I always remember the food was tasty but I can't remember any specific regionality.

                    My new SFBA map: http://tinyurl.com/2exw7v

                    -----
                    La Cocina Mexicana
                    23 Orinda Way Ste H, Orinda, CA 94563

                    El Jarro
                    3563 Mt Diablo Blvd, Lafayette, CA 94549

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: DiveFan

                      Thanks for the recs! Can't wait to try some tasty Mexican...

                      1. re: DiveFan

                        I completely agree on La Cocina. Best place Mexican in the area in my opinion.

                        1. re: DaveLaf

                          I used to agree; not so sure anymore....:

                          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/516636

                      2. Two of the best Mexican places in the East Bay. New Mecca in Pittsburg. Take Railroad Exit off of Highway 4 turn left and follow Railroad until it deadends. Mecca is on the left. Great hole in the wall. They do all the catering for the A's and the Giant's.
                        Another great Mexican place is in Pacheco just North of Pleasant Hill. It's called Los Panchos. On Contra Costa Blvd across from the Card Room.
                        My personal fav for burritos is a little place called Mexican Burritos. Its off Monument on the side of the shopping center that houses the bowling alley. GREAT GREAT BURRITOS.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: bigbruin

                          I totally agree - Mecca and Los Panchos are both awesome. Mecca has the greatest refried beans ever. Also great burritos, enchiladas, and crispy tacos. The two are pretty similar, actually. I also love Numero Uno, in Lafayette (on Mt. Diablo Blvd., across the street from Diablo Foods) and I think they also have a location in Martinez. I'm not a vegetarian, but my favorite thing there is their vegetarian burrito - just beans, cheese, rice, salsa, lettuce, and guac - the ultimate comfort food. Unfortunately Walnut Creek itself doesn't have the greatest Mexican options. There's a place on Locust (just off of Mt. Diablo) called Taqueria, that isn't very good overall, but I love their nachos (they use generic Taco Bell-style cheese, and sometimes that just hits the spot).

                          1. re: CaitlinC333

                            El Molino in the stripmall next to the bowling alley on Monument is a tortilla factory that reminds me the most of La Tolteca in Santa Barbara (IMO the best chicken taco on earth). The sopas, carnitas, and tacos are very very good at El Molino. Amazing tortillas that are coming off the assembly line and onto your plate and then piled high with tender carnitas and a spicy green salsa. The place is small with few tables. You can also buy carnitas and beans by the pound to go.

                            El Molino 1500 F1 Monument Blvd

                            1. re: Johnny E

                              I've had this place in the back of my mind to try since your great report a few years ago.
                              http://www.chow.com/digest/862

                              -----
                              Tortilleria El Molino
                              1500 Monument Blvd Ste F, Concord, CA 94520

                        2. I've never had a passable burrito in Walnut Creek but, like many of the other posters, I've good ones in Concord. (Though I can't eat them anymore since I seem to be gluten intolerant.) There really are some decent Mexican (and/or Salvadoran) restaurants (and/or taquerias) in Concord, especially along Monument and in downtown. My favorite right now (which I ate at this afternoon) is Los Rancheros (1099 Reganti Dr and across the parking lot from one of my favorite Korean restaurants, Korean BBQ Plus). Desayuno all day! And caldo de pollo most days. Homemade tortillas, too, if you get the tacos grandes. Bionicos and fresh juice, too. It's the only place in memory that actually fried and coated the tortillas in chili sauce in their enchiladas. (That's what enchilada means.)

                          El Rancho is in the same shopping center; I wasn't impressed but it's THE place for dancing on weekends - lot's of cowboy boots and hats and pick-up trucks and corridas. Mexican Burritos across Reganti is okay; much more of a guy place. It's close to Tortilleria El Molino which one of our janitor highly recommends.

                          Another nearby place no one has mentioned is Chivo's which next to the police substation at the NW corner of Oak Grove and Monument, near La Rosa Panaderia. Though it went downhill a little when they opened Chivo's #2 on Clayton. You can skip Los Toros. There's also a Mexican/Salvadoran place across from Chivo's that's decent. I was singularly unimpressed by El Faro near the Safeway on Monument.

                          Las Montanas and La Pinata and Memo's are all good (they're more restaurants, not taquerias). Memo's has the best food, imo, but the margaritas at La Pinata are nice...if you can stand the noise. El Torito is surprisingly good for a chain, and so is Chevy's (though it's in Pleasant Hill).

                          I was unimpressed with Los Dos Gallos; the taqueria down the street used to be better though bleak. I prefer Los Altos in the Park-n-Shop strip.

                          I was disappointed with El Balazo. Way too gringo.

                          If you like pupusas, check out the pupuseria on Clayton Road next to Mountain Mike's. It just changed names and I don't remember what it's called now. What's not to like? Deep-fried pork skin and cheese in masa with Salvadoran cole slaw. The chairs are authentically uncomfortable, too.

                          My two cents worth.

                          1. Try the Taqueria on Locust, across from Lark Creek and the parking garage (.50 cents for an hour) pretty darn tasty.

                            Be careful on Monument Bl., high crime area. Tasty, but high crime!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lcastenada

                              Yeah, that Taqueria has been there forever... well, as long as *I* can remember! Their burritos are comfort food to me, as I grew up on 'em. :)

                            2. In the Long's shopping center across from BART in Concord is Tacos de Pancho. I love the flavors, their salsa is really good, burritos, torta, tamales, everything is frsh and good.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: WCchopper

                                link

                                -----
                                Los Tacos De Pancho
                                2699 Clayton Rd, Concord, CA 94519