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Jun 28, 2008 09:44 AM

El Taco Zamorano Restaurant, Oakland

El Taco Zamorano Restaurant is at the corner of Foothill and Rosedale (which is between 41st and 42nd). There's a small parking lot across the street on Rosedale, which was full on a Friday at around 6pm.

Note that ETZR is not to be confused with the taco truck(s) of the same name, or with Taqueria Zamorano on E 14th / International near High.

El Taco Zamorano Restaurant
4032 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

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  1. Last night we went out planning to get some Veracruz-style seafood, but Altamar was closed (no explanatory sign, didn't look like they were out of business) and El Rincon Jarocho is now El Huarache Azteca #2, so we headed over to Foothill.

    The restaurant was also fairly full, we got the last booth.

    Warm chips were fine but nothing special, salsa was really good. Guacamole was not great but spiced nicely. Coctel de pulpo ($12?) was fine but as usual for cocteles seemed too expensive given the modest food cost.

    There are some unusual things on the menu. I ordered pescado al diablo ($14-16? depending on size), a whole fried fish in a smoky, very slightly sweet red sauce reminiscent of barbecue sauce. The large-boned fish was scored and crisp on the outsize but still moist near the bone, so it was a bit like fish carnitas. Other options for the whole fish include grilled, al mojo de ajo, and I think Veracruzana (with a sofrito of onions, peppers, etc.).

    We expected chicken al diablo ($14?) to be a half bird, but it was boneless chunks of meat. Same sauce as the fish. Very good.

    Both the above come with your choice of house-made wheat or corn tortillas. The wheat were fabulous. The corn were a bit stiff and dry, I suspect these had been made earlier and were great fresh off the comal.

    Famosos are absurdly huge "wet" burritos, maybe 16" long and 4" in diameter, roughly three or four times the size of a typical Mission burrito. One with grilled chicken was around $12. You'd need quite an appetite to eat half.

    I want to go back and try the chile verde with the fresh wheat tortillas.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      The fish looks excellent. Sorry to hear about the lack of VZ choices up north. The diabla sauce description sounds spot on to what I had 2 weeks ago at a friends home in Guadalajara.

      We went to the Mercado del mar in Zapopan and bought a ton of Mojarras (much different and better than the talapia you get here) for dorados - whole floured fried fish - like your picture (basted with oil) - and camarones a la diabla.

      The sauce for the diabla was - as you mention - both sweet and spicy. I asked, and found out they used 'catsup' and chipotles en adobo. It was super delicious and much better than the pure heat versions I have had here in the US.

      1. re: kare_raisu

        Catsup + chipotles sounds about right. To my taste it was only slightly spicy, more slow afterburn than upfront bite.

      2. re: Robert Lauriston

        I weighed the leftover portion of the "famoso" burrito and it was almost two pounds.

        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          We've been twice recently. LOVE the fish famoso burrito. The quesadilla and the oysters we tried were kind of iffy. Robert's photo of the famoso above is a little out of focus, so here's a clearer photo. And, yes, it's more than enough for two.

        2. Since Alta Mar changed hands a while back it seems to open and close at random. One of these days I'm going to grab a friend and brave Playa Azul.

          1. This is my all-time favorite Mexican restaurant and was introduced to it about 3 years ago by an S.O. who's family hails from Culiacan. I know nothing about authenticity, but there is just something about this restaurant... True comfort food.

            The corn tortillas are very good when they're straight off the comal - amazingly soft - but, do take the top off and stick a napkin under the lid as they tend to steam and get a bit leathery as they cool.