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Mexican Restaurant Suggestions in Oakland/Berkeley..

andee Feb 20, 2012 04:05 PM

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!

  1. g
    GH1618 Feb 20, 2012 04:09 PM

    I like the place on Int'l Blvd near George Oren Tire, but I don't remember the name of it. It's in the same block, towards downtown. This might be classified as a "dive."

    For brunch I like La Estrellita on 12th at 5th.

    Then there's that old standby, Mexicali Rose.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618
      wolfe Feb 20, 2012 04:22 PM

      Tijuana Restaurant.
      1308 International Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94606
      (510) 532-5575 ‎
      Report from 2010.

    2. Robert Lauriston Feb 20, 2012 04:32 PM

      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.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Robert Lauriston
        Stephanie Wong Feb 20, 2012 09:11 PM

        Adding link to our favorite tamale producer

        Tamales Unicos de Cuernavaca
        5751 Market St, Oakland, CA 94608

        1. re: Stephanie Wong
          rworange Feb 20, 2012 11:05 PM

          Stephanie, I would have thought that you knew that link will go away in March. A more reliable address link


          As long as i'm here, how about La Mission? It is on my to-try list for the moles

          1. re: rworange
            Stephanie Wong Feb 21, 2012 01:52 PM

            I did know but am lazy , exactly why its disappearance will be a huge negative. Thanks for a more permanent link.

            1. re: rworange
              ML8000 Feb 21, 2012 04:18 PM

              I tried a burrito at La Mission, very good quality but didn't try anything more or know what they did particularly. Could be very good.

              1. re: rworange
                wolfe Feb 21, 2012 04:24 PM

                Rccola and I enjoyed our visits to La Mission.


              2. re: Stephanie Wong
                Robert Lauriston Feb 21, 2012 09:20 AM

                They have a Web site: http://www.tamalesunicos.com

                But it doesn't mention the International Blvd. location. More about tamales:


                1. re: Robert Lauriston
                  rworange Feb 21, 2012 10:58 AM

                  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.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Stephanie Wong Feb 21, 2012 01:56 PM

                    Was at the Maket St. store on Sat, 3/18 & was told Fruitvale wasn't working out --too far. I may have misunderstood the employee as my Spanish is mainly limited to food & "Donde esta los baños, por favor?"

                    1. re: Stephanie Wong
                      shanghaikid Feb 21, 2012 03:55 PM

                      there's a for lease sign on the international location. both mi tamale and mi pupuseria cocupy this space..

              3. chefj Feb 20, 2012 05:30 PM

                Picante in Berkeley has a good Chili Rellenos

                1. s
                  shanghaikid Feb 20, 2012 11:19 PM

                  jalisco cafe ,1721 int, for the freshly made carnitas
                  la mexican, 3920 int, homemade tortilla and traditonal mex
                  santo coyote, 4806 int, for the adventurous gringo
                  el huarache azteca, 3842 int, different kind of mex.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: shanghaikid
                    Robert Lauriston Feb 21, 2012 09:22 AM

                    More about Santo Coyote (formerly La Cenaduria de Ana): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/510509

                  2. f
                    foodeye Feb 21, 2012 05:10 PM

                    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

                    Casa Latina
                    1805 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

                    Taco Grill
                    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

                    10 Replies
                    1. re: foodeye
                      TopoTail Feb 21, 2012 06:28 PM

                      Cocina Poblana on Hollis @ 65th is worth trying. Very nice moles. They also tout their Chile en nogada, though I haven't tried it. Nice bar and friendly service:


                      1. re: TopoTail
                        lmnopm Jul 26, 2012 07:27 PM

                        All gone. Went by to grab a bite this evening. Closed with "new restaurant" coming soon, even though their electronic menu sign was still on.

                        1. re: lmnopm
                          Robert Lauriston Jul 26, 2012 07:31 PM

                          Wow, I almost went there for lunch yesterday.

                          1. re: lmnopm
                            Pius Avocado III Jul 27, 2012 08:11 AM

                            Per their website:

                            "Due To Construction, Cocina Poblana Will Be closed shortly - We should be open within a week with a lot of new and fantastic changes."

                            1. re: lmnopm
                              Robert Lauriston Aug 7, 2012 09:43 AM

                              New sign is up, Los Moles.

                          2. re: foodeye
                            shanghaikid Feb 21, 2012 08:18 PM

                            2nd taco grill, it's almost across from the fruitvale bart station,

                            they use orgainic meats and niman ranch beef. amazing burritos. reasonable pricing.

                            1. re: shanghaikid
                              andee Feb 21, 2012 08:29 PM

                              Do you mean Cactus Taqueria across from Rockridge Bart?

                              1. re: andee
                                wolfe Feb 21, 2012 08:32 PM

                                I think.

                                1. re: andee
                                  kc72 Feb 21, 2012 08:32 PM

                                  No, Taco Grill across from Fruitvale BART

                                  1. re: kc72
                                    shanghaikid Feb 21, 2012 08:46 PM

                                    yes, amended my post to read fruitvale bart. the mexican ice cream place is nearby as well as the churro cart. save room for the later 2. unique and tasty!

                            2. w
                              wilbanks Feb 21, 2012 09:45 PM

                              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.

                              Dona Tomas
                              5004 Telegraph Avenue Oakland, CA 94609
                              (510) 450-0522

                              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 :-)

                              1. c
                                chocolatetartguy Feb 22, 2012 11:23 AM

                                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.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                  sydthekyd Feb 22, 2012 11:31 AM

                                  Have you tried Remy's flautas or green enchiladas? We've been apprehensive about trying the new place since La Fiesta was so consistently good for 50 years.

                                  1. re: sydthekyd
                                    chocolatetartguy Feb 22, 2012 01:33 PM

                                    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.

                                    1. re: chocolatetartguy
                                      ML8000 Feb 22, 2012 02:00 PM

                                      Thanks for the info. Nice to hear about the flautas. My guess is fresh they're probably a bit better so they could be the same. I use to get the flautas combo back in the day...2 flautas, rice, beans, guac...something like $3.25.

                                      1. re: ML8000
                                        chocolatetartguy Feb 22, 2012 04:57 PM

                                        It's still cheap, just not that cheap. I seem to remember a combo plate being around $7.

                                2. m
                                  MagicMarkR Feb 22, 2012 08:55 PM

                                  you might check out Cosecha cafe, one of my favorite drop-in lunch spots. It's the perfect drop-in spot, friendly and excellent food.


                                  8 Replies
                                  1. re: MagicMarkR
                                    majordanby Feb 22, 2012 09:18 PM

                                    any specific recs from the menu?

                                    1. re: majordanby
                                      shanghaikid Feb 22, 2012 09:26 PM

                                      they have innovative ingredients in their salads, burritos, tacos. very fresh tasting.
                                      menu changes often.

                                      1. re: majordanby
                                        drewskiSF Feb 23, 2012 08:05 AM

                                        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.

                                        1. re: majordanby
                                          MagicMarkR Feb 23, 2012 05:19 PM

                                          I particularly like their braised pork tacos. The pozole and the jicama salad are great. Unique quesadillas though I'm not a bit quesadilla fan. A great cup of cofee as well.

                                          1. re: majordanby
                                            Pius Avocado III Feb 24, 2012 12:06 PM

                                            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.

                                          2. re: MagicMarkR
                                            Robert Lauriston Feb 29, 2012 01:48 PM

                                            I keep hearing good things about Cosecha but haven't tried it yet because they close at 6. Per the Web site they're now open until 9 on Fridays.

                                            1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                              Ruth Lafler Aug 8, 2012 11:16 AM

                                              Per their website they are now open Thursday-Saturday until 9:30 p.m. The dinner menu is described as a "unique dish" plus the full taco/quesadilla menu.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                                                escargot3 Aug 8, 2012 12:39 PM

                                                oh that's great news. i haven't been able to make it there during the day, and look forward to going soon in the evening.

                                          3. c
                                            chocolatetartguy Feb 29, 2012 12:51 PM

                                            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.

                                            1. fruti Mar 18, 2012 09:51 AM

                                              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.

                                              ¡Buen provecho!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: fruti
                                                foodeye Mar 19, 2012 09:33 AM

                                                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.

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