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Zocalo Arlington Actually Worthy?

StriperGuy Nov 30, 2011 07:01 AM

Have to be in Arlington today for lunch and bored of my usual spots.

Acitron unfortunately does not do lunch.

I was never a fan of Ole... Is Zocalo worth it? Or do I just stick with the usual favs, or even truck all the way over to the Tacos Lupita?

  1. f
    FoodTruth Nov 30, 2011 07:13 AM

    Haven't gone is a couple of years, because we thought it went downhill. In particular, the Chile Rellenos on our last 2 visits were pretty greasy.

    1. Bob Dobalina Nov 30, 2011 07:23 AM

      If you mean Tacos Lupita in Somerville, remember that it is no more - the replacement Aguacate Verde has not garnered good reviews, though using the same menu as TL.

      I personally like Zocalo - it's a step up from what I remember of Ole, not having been there in many moons. Nothing mindblowingly great but perfectly decent chow. I have not had the chiles rellenos - stick with more typical tacos, enchiladas, etc. Decent chips and salsa. Mind you, I have not been all that recently - maybe once in the past 6 months or so...2x/year on average -

      (Although as an aside, I am thinking I might need to revisit Ole - it was packed yet again this weekend, and it's still there....)

      10 Replies
      1. re: Bob Dobalina
        StriperGuy Nov 30, 2011 07:26 AM

        Yah, meant to say the re-in-carne-tion of Tacos Lupita. Guess I will avoid it...

        Might give Zocalo a whirl...

        1. re: StriperGuy
          bear Nov 30, 2011 07:31 AM

          I really like the carnitas burrito. The pork isn't crispy at all, more like braised, but it is very flavorful. I also like the hint of chipotle in the hot salsa and the beans are usually well-cooked. The nopales salad is pretty refreshing, too.

          1. re: StriperGuy
            yumyum Nov 30, 2011 08:46 AM

            Definitely skip the former Tacos Lupita. I tried again recently and it's just not the same.

            For something completely different, you could always Bento at Toraya? One of my favorite Arlington lunches.

            1. re: yumyum
              StriperGuy Nov 30, 2011 09:50 AM

              I hit Toraya pretty regularlay ;-) this was an attempt to mix it up.

          2. re: Bob Dobalina
            hckybg Nov 30, 2011 07:37 AM

            Do give Ole a try, Bob, and let us know what you think. I went for the first time for dinner earlier this year and was surprised to find that the menu was very different from the one posted on the wall. More small plates, and quite good. I had pegged it as a bachelorette party-type place given the crowds I have to push aside to get past it sometimes, but the dishes were much more on the Mexico City side of the spectrum than I had expected.

            1. re: hckybg
              Bob Dobalina Nov 30, 2011 08:48 AM

              Do you remember what you liked? What sorts of things are more Mexico City?

              1. re: Bob Dobalina
                hckybg Nov 30, 2011 09:18 AM

                Let's see--as I recall, we had and liked the Nopalitos, Tamal Oaxaqueno, Falda Asada con Mole, and Tlacoyos. I would put the nopalitos in the Mexico City category, as well as the jicama salad, which we also had (and I think we liked). There is a good amount of Puebla, Oaxaca, and DF in the menu, probably more than you tend to find around here. As to the post below, I actually felt their prices had dropped. But it is still more expensive than we usually spend, so I just don't have a lot of occasion to go there though I live nearby.

                1. re: hckybg
                  Alcachofa Nov 30, 2011 09:31 AM

                  My biggest problem with Ole is that they never seemed to bring the spice. Do you feel that they have improved in that regard? I mean, really, it was always unforgivably bland the several times I went before giving up.

                  1. re: Alcachofa
                    hckybg Nov 30, 2011 11:38 AM

                    I'm not sure I can offer the necessary perspective. Before I went for dinner, I'd only been for brunch and I really don't remember how well-spiced things were. My memory is that we were happy with most of our choices if not completely bowled over--but tastier and more interesting than I expected.

                  2. re: hckybg
                    dulce de leche Nov 30, 2011 09:42 AM

                    That's good to hear! About prices dropping and a more varied menu. I've been for a number of birthday celebrations over the years and my memories are of underseasoned fish with unmemorable sides and thinking what I could have done with those $25 elsewhere.

                    I've liked Olecito, though!

            2. d
              dulce de leche Nov 30, 2011 08:14 AM

              I always feel ripped off by Ole--it's in that space of too expensive and not that interesting.

              Zocalo catered a work lunch for my office two years ago (no information more recent) and it was really very good. The guacamole and mashed potato quesadillas were particularly tasty.

              I personally would have tried out the restaurant by now if it were closer.

              1. a
                AaronInBoston Nov 30, 2011 08:20 AM

                I am a fan of the more standard fare at Zocalo. Their enchiladas tend to be the most consistent and tasty thing on the menu. I usually go with the pork enchiladas. Good food, service is lacking though.

                1 Reply
                1. re: AaronInBoston
                  Alcachofa Nov 30, 2011 09:16 AM

                  Right. Nothing ground-breaking, but pretty good at the basics. I actually find Zocalo to be better than Ole.

                2. StriperGuy Nov 30, 2011 09:53 AM

                  Well, just got back... perfectly decent burritos, I had the pork carnitas which were tasty and nicely seasoned, my SO had the veggie burrito with portabella which was excellent. I would hit it again in a heartbeat. Nice option to have.

                  Thanks for the comments folks.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: StriperGuy
                    opinionatedchef Dec 3, 2011 11:07 AM

                    stripes, did you see that Jim Fahey is at Habanero's in Waltham? I don't know if you were here for his initial glory days at Mexican Cuisine, but we're headed for Hab. soon.

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      StriperGuy Dec 3, 2011 01:59 PM

                      Who knew... thx.

                      1. re: StriperGuy
                        opinionatedchef Dec 3, 2011 04:11 PM


                  2. KWagle Dec 2, 2011 02:03 AM

                    I like it, but I like the food of southern Mexico much more than northern. (Zocalo claims to specialize in the food of Veracruz and Oaxaca.)

                    1. m
                      marcreichman Dec 2, 2011 07:54 PM

                      My wife and I are in here for lunch once every month or so for their pozole. It's pretty darn tasty.

                      1. Ferrari328 Apr 13, 2012 06:32 AM

                        I had their Pozole yesterday and it's really excellent! Most stuff I have tried on the lunch menu is good and decent sized portions to. Not to happy about the chips, wish they made their own.


                        1. c
                          cookfood May 19, 2012 04:23 PM

                          I loved zocalo when it was in brighton, even thought it went through some different phases. I was bummed when it left allston and ive been to the one in arlington a few times mostly recently 2 fridays ago...we were in and out in 30 minutes. The food was alright but the speed in which we sat down ordered ate and paid the check was unreal. I think it took us longer to get there from watertown. The chips seemed a little stale and the sangria was pretty warm. Im not in rush to get back unfortunately. On the way there we passed "la reposada"?? near penzeys...now thats a mexican restaurant im ready to run to. It looked packed and the menu looked great. sorry if thats alaready been mentioned i havent read the whole thread.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: cookfood
                            Ketzela May 21, 2012 10:05 AM

                            La Posada. Small, friendly, very good and open for lunch!

                          2. Ferrari328 Aug 22, 2012 10:32 AM

                            I have tried the Make your own Quesadilla twice now, previously with the Pork and Creamed Poblanos and today with Beef and the Creamed Poblanos and I like both. The marinated beef was tasty and very tender and the Poblano had some heat today and that was nice. Overall a very nice lunch.


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