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Feb 2, 2009 01:30 PM

Great tamales in Santa Cruz/Soquel?

Hi there,

I am catering my grandmother's 90th birthday party in Soquel. She has decided she wants tamales, and what Walita wants, Walita gets.

Anyone know a place in the area with excellent tamales? I don't make them professionally and I think it's silly to haul them up from L.A. where I live when there are fabulous tamales in the Santa Cruz area, right?


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  1. It's not trivial to find good tamales anywhere (even in LA) in my experience. I think two places in Santa Cruz are worth eating. First is El Paisano (605 Beach St., across from the Boardwalk) has a few types (IIRC, rojo, verde and dulce). On the larger side but tasty. The second is the Mexican market in the East Cliff Village shopping center (17th and Portola, where the Live Oak Farmer's Market happens during the warmer months). Sorry I can't find the name. I heard they only have tamales on the weekends (that's the only time I'm over there), but I say it would be worth going there to check it out. I've never done a good side-by-side comparison so maybe you can report back!

    1. here's a possible lead from an older thread:


      but it may not be so silly to haul them up after all, if you have a good LA connection. Just get them good and hot (or cold) and pack them in an insulated ice chest for the trip. but keep them in the trunk or the smell will drive you wild.