Mexican Restaurant Suggestions in Oakland/Berkeley..
We love chili rellenos and thoroughly enjoy Mexican food.We live in Oakland and would love recommendations for restaurants (yes even dives) in the Oakland/Berkeley area.Thanks!
Jalisco Cafe for carnitas. 1721 International Blvd.
El Huarache Azteca for fresh masa items (gorditas, huaraches, quesadillas, sopes), chicken tinga, and on the weekend lamb barbacoa. http://www.elhuaracheaztec.com
Tacubaya has great pozole. There have been good reports here on their chiles rellenos.
Tamales Unicos de Cuernavaca, takeout only.
re: Robert Lauriston
I haven't been back recently, but when I drove by I saw they are selling other things besides tamales. I'm thinking enchiladas but i could be wrong.
The address link I provided had that link to the website. My own preference is to credit the site paying for a data provider for any information found there,but that is just me. It seems the right thing to do. i personally can't be bothered searching the web when i can easily get addresses and such somewhere easily.
One note about the carnitas at Jalisco, it is available Fri.-Sun. only - don't miss the salsa verde.
A few places not yet mentioned:
Taco Grill in Fruitvale - notable for pozole, sustainable meats. Mexican Ice Cream next door at Nieves Cinco de Mayo. Very nice owners of both establishments.
Casa Latina on San Pablo at Delaware - bakery and taquieria, with great carnitas tortas.
The nice, new place is Rumbo al Sur. Not strictly Mexican, but similar....
The divey-ist, also not strictly Mexican, are the great pupusas at Tamales mi Lupita trailer parked at Foothill/34th. Don't go after dark, but worth a detour!
La Borinequena - Tina's Tamales are the modern off-shoot, and the chicken tamale with green sauce is great.
Nieves Cinco de Mayo
3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601
1805 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA
3340 E 12th St, Oakland, CA 94601
Tamales Mi Lupitas
3340 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601
Rumbo al Sur
4239 Park Blvd, Oakland, CA 94602
There is also Dona Tomas, which does extremely nice higher end Mexican. Very nice, good tequila menu if you're into that sort of thing.
5004 Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA 94609
and its associated taqueria
1788 4th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
I prefer Tacubaya actually of the two. They serve chilaquiles til 3PM on the weekend :-)
You could try Remy's on Haste St just above Telegraph (and Amoeba Records) in Berkeley for old school rellenos. Remy's was owned by the proprietor of La Fiesta and was bought by a former LF employee as I understand. They make a nice pozole on the weekends and their chips are good too. Prices are v reasonable and multiple TV's if you want to watch sports.
I had chicken flautas at an office Xmas party 2 years ago. They were good, but not great. Not an enchilada kind of guy.
We just went in there last Fall because all my other places were closed. The pozole was really good, better than say Zapata Tacqueria in the Castro, which is not bad itself. There were not many people in there on a Saturday night (except for newscaster Frank Sommerville) and we were served right away. I had gotten way out of the habit of going to La Fiesta, but I would say Remy's is just as good as LF was 20 years ago.
I like the Torta Ahogada "drowned sandwich", a specialty of Jalisco which is available as chicken or veggie. It's pretty messy so I ask for the sauce on the side and dip it.
The tacos, while tasty with the fresh handmade tortillas, did not seem like good value. The ones I've gotten have had a really small amount of meat for the size of the tortilla. Not well balanced
I always see a lot of people eating the Chicken Pozole. I haven't tried it yet.
The wild shrimp taco is good- expertly fried in their very toothsome tortillas.
As drewski hinted, the tortillas are much larger than standard taqueria-sized tortillas. They are redolent with serious masa character. The quesadillas show this off to better effect than the tacos.
Happy hour (2-6:30) is a good value- Trumer and Linden St. lager for $3.50, bottled Mexican beers for $2.50. I went a lot more frequently when they had Union Jack on tap- at $3.50, that was a steal.
The salsa on the torta ahogada is woefully underseasoned, more like a tomato sauce than a salsa in both texture and flavor. That said, everything else in the sandwich is excellent. It would be ideal if you could take Cosecha's torta and soak it in the fiery chile de arbol salsa from Tamarindo's torta ahogada.
Platos fuertes were recently added (entree with rice and beans) but I haven't tried any of them.
They serve chilaquiles for brunch on Saturday, though I suspect the sauce would suffer from the same restraint with anything approaching picante which is a theme here.
I don't go as often as I might due to their abridged hours- they're only open past 6 on Fridays.
I had a very good relleno at Guadalajara Restaurant in Fruitvale last weekend. It's just north of the BART station and the El Novillo taco truck sets up in their parking lot.
The relleno was atypically spicy hot, which is a good thing in my book. The breading was tender and puffy. The monterey jack inside seemed to have mixed in with the batter and had a thick cottage cheese like consistency instead of turning into a melty cheese mess. Their chips are good and the spanish rice is very flavorful, perfect for Caldo de Res. The mole sauce on my chicken enchilada was chocolatey and slightly sweet. I wished there had been more of it, but then I always wish that.
I adore chiles rellenos and my favorite version is at Tacubaya. The fillings seem to change and usually involve goat or other cheese and some vegetables. It is in a big poblano chile and the batter is crisp - none of the grease laden scrambled egg coating drowned in Campbell's tomato soup business here. Only gripe is their food is overpriced but it is delicious.
Really like the wild shrimp tacos (Fridays only do far) at Cosecha as well as the pork belly tacos. The quesadillas are also good. I'd skip the posole, Taco Grill is superior - better flavor, bigger bowl, better price, more varieties.
Posole at Taco grill. I usually get the green chicken. Red chicken is also delicious. Haven't tried the white or pork yet. Love that they use better meats.
Burritos and other stuff at Cancun who has the best salsa bar around. They use good meat too and much of their vegetables are organic and grown on their own farm. Pollo asado is very good.
Enjoy the tamales at La Borinqueña, especially the pork and be sure to get it with "gravy."
The nacatamales at Casa Latina in Berkeley are delicious and moist. Full of pork, capers, raisins,etc.
The whole fried fish at Taco Zamorano is great. You see mostly guys in their Sunday best and cowboy hats getting these. The vegetable soup is a great bargain and very home style if a bit bland.
Enjoy tacos at El Ojo de Agua truck. Like that they come with nopales.
Guadalajara, Otaez and Juan's are good for big sloppy combo plates. Nothing fancy or special but delicious and reasonable. The former can be a cop hangout which unfortunately changes the atmosphere.
Been disappointed with last couple of meals at Doña Tomás - nothing was very good (especially for the wait, price, noise) except their complimentary salsa which is always fabulous.
El Huarache Azteca is great for different masa specialties. Warm friendly folks.
Picante can be good. Setting and clientele are very North Berkeley with tons of shrieking children, especially in weekends.
Not a fan of cactus - big lack of flavor IMHO.
And if you're in the Fruitvale don't skip the vendors with cut up fruit - pineapple, watermelon, jicama, pineapple, coconut, mango, etc served with lime juice, salt and chile. Love getting the mixto which is the combo.
One more new spot to try: formerly only at Alemany Farmer's and Flea Market, Huarache Loco now has a very nice brick/mortar restaurant at Marin County Mart/Larkspur Landing. I tried the sope with "alambre" steak/bacon (not as meaty as it sounds - it had more thinly sliced grilled (mild) peppers and onions than thinly sliced meat), which was really good. The horchata was not too sweet and the other aguas looked good to. The outside tables are great on a nice day.
re: Robert Lauriston
Is this related to the evening pre-post-show things they do?
I happened to be there a few days ago, had an empenada and a beer, was very annoyed by the service (sure, it's hard to manage a pre-show rush but if I order a beer before I show I expect to be sipping it in 4 or 5 minutes, not 20). The empenada was large and the meat well spiced, but the dough was rather flaccid. Not much of a data point.
Part of a recent food tour of Uptown included a stop at Molcajete Cocina. It was one of our favorite stops. We didn't get a chance to dive deep into their menu since it was one of maybe a dozen stops, but everything we had there was excellent. Looking forward to returning there for a full meal.
I'm in Berkeley and a regular at La Mission on University. My favorite thing is breakfast -- huevos rancheros con chorizo and a watermelon agua fresca. But for dinner, I often get both chili rellenos and enchiladas verde with chicken plates, and have delicious leftovers for maybe two meals. Also love the Sopa Azteca (really good flavor) and anything with carnitas. We had a New Years Day brunch that included a "nachos bar" with their carnitas, beans, salsa, etc. Whenever they've messed up an order (not often), we get easy refunds and free stuff. They're nice people. We ran into a couple of staff at Comal and it made me realize I found LM's food a lot more satisfying than what I was eating at Comal.
La Mission's got parking so I can't see hassling 4th Street congestion to go to Tacubaya. YMMV.
Tried Picante and, besides it being more expensive and louder, the tortillas in the enchiladas were barely warm. They'd been thrown together on the spot.
Cactus on Solano was just bland, bland, bland.
Gordo on Telegraph has great burritos, happy to go there is La Mission isn't in the cards.
Juan's Place and Remy's on Haste make me really sad. I love that they've got table service. But their respective plates have just gotten bad. My food at JP tasted OLD and Remy's enchilada plate had fluorescent orange cheese and mysteriously cold spots.
We're more into seafood and aren't chile rellenos eaters, but you might feel the urge for something different occasionally. I'll list some places not mentioned by others (I scanned this quickly, so if anyone did post any of these, my apologies in advance):
La Calaca Loca
5199 Telegraph Ave, Oakland CA
Menu page: http://www.themenupage.com/lacalacalo...
A funky hidden gem. Their superb quesadillas and a spicy burger have won our hearts. The nachos are clean-tasting and light, not weighted down with grease and cheese.
Mariscos Estilo Sinaloa
3829 Foothill Blvd., Oakland, CA
Do NOT get this confused with Mariscos Sinaloa, which is not related. This is newly opened, squeaky clean, bare-bones. The waitress speaks English. The cook doesn't. You need at least a passing familiarity with some Spanish words, because the entire small menu is completely in Spanish. It will also blow the top of your head off - SERIOUS chile heat! Shrimp ceviche fresh and big for $9. 7 Mares soup was surprisingly good for under $15, with a nice fish broth, not the usual shellfish stock.
444 Oak St., Oakland, CA
I'd say Cosecha is more consistent, but Nido does some interesting dishes few others do. The menu changes almost daily and it's worth checking out. Portions are small but quality is high. Food is on the spicy side; not unpleasantly so, but like Cosecha this is not the place you take your conservative parents, LOL (don't ask how we know this).
Somewhat out of the way, but really an easy jaunt down Hwy 80 North out of Berkeley:
12622 San Pablo Blvd., Richmond, CA
Not far past the north Hwy 80 exit for Barrett Ave. Excellent, greaseless chile rellenos and iced tea, but outside of those two things La Calaca/Oakland beats them by a mile. But for those chile rellenos, it's hard to beat the quality, size and price. All the Hispanic customers were ordering plates of them but nothing else.
La Talavera has an amazing (and I'm sure highly caloric!) chili rellenos burrito that's big enough for two people to split. La Talavera also has lots of other great dishes, great chips and salsa, yummy agua frescas, and sangria! Plus it has outside tables to enjoy this beautiful weather. It's on the corner of Solano and Peralta, right across from the VCA hospital of the famed DOG and CAT doors.