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May 22, 2014 12:16 PM

Los Cilantros in Berkeley

Some very good antojitos coming out of this Mexican restaurant that just opened on Shattuck Avenue adjacent to La Peña.
The cheese/pepper tamale, carne asada taco and watermelon agua fresca that I tried were all fresh and tasty. Hand made tortilla, good quality meat, fresh fruit. Looks promising.

Los Cilantros - 3105 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley CA 94705

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  1. Only open from 8AM to 2 PM -- they may open for dinner at some time in the future.
    I had a delicious carne asada taco, piled high with meat, with a tasty green salsa, a great deal for the price.
    The chicken tamale was somewhat disappointing -- the chicken was dry.
    Each dish was $3.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Joel

      Curious about the price. Website says $9 for a taco or tamale, which for La Pena raises eyebrows.

      1. re: escargot3

        I saw that price on the website as well, but I can assure you that I paid just $3 for a taco with a generous supply of perfectly cooked beef. Also $3 for a rather small tamale.

        1. re: escargot3

          Yeah, the $11 torta seems out of scale with La Pena and the neighborhood. Hopeful Joel is right on the pricing...which seems fair.

          1. re: ML8000

            I stopped in today and talked to the owner (a very nice woman named Dilsa). She confirmed that the $9 price on the website is for THREE tacos.

            A new offering is barbacoa, for which she is charging $14. When I said that sounded expensive, she said it comes with five tortillas and was enough for five tacos. She was kind enough to make me one barbacoa taco, which was delicious -- I could not eat much more today.
            The barbacoa is made with beef, but she will soon make a goat version as well. She'll have the barbacoa all the time, not just on weekends.

            Open until 2:30PM on weekends.

            1. re: Joel

              Thanks for the report and the tip on the goat. I hope she'll make it to being open in the evenings. That could be really nice for La Pena, and the new owner.

      2. Went for lunch. Got the carnitas ($14), enough for five tacos (no charge for extra tortillas), tostaditos de tinga ($12 for three), cabbage salad ($6), coconut flan (guess they comped us), plenty of food for two. First-rate ingredients, everything fresh, subtle and balanced, good value for the quality, which is up there with Nido, Comal, or Tacubaya.

        Current hours 8-2 Tues.-Fri., 8-2:30 Sat.-Sun. They said they might start doing dinners the last week of July.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Robert Lauriston

          New hours:

          Tues.-Thurs. 10-2
          Fri.-Sat. 10-2, 5:30-9:30
          Sun. 9-2:30

          Chalkboards listed several kinds of empanadas, cupcakes from La Luna, and alfajores from Sabores del Sur.

        2. Five of us had a very nice dinner here. It's open for dinner Friday and Saturday only; may open during the week for dinner next month.
          We ordered a lot of food and ate it all, so maybe the portions are not so large. We had guacamole with chips, cabbage salad, chill relleno, barbacoa, carnitas, one tamale, and two specials: ceviche (halibut) and chicken empanada. Everything was delicious EXCEPT that most of the chips were stale. But the tortillas that came with the barbacao and carnitas were freshly made. Then we had three orders of the flan; it's a very dense version, made with coconut milk, fresh organic strawberries on the side; quite delicious. We had been told that beer and wine were available and that there would be a small corkage fee. We brought in two bottles of wine and she graciously decided not to charge corkage this time. Total before tip was about $95.
          Highly recommended.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Joel

            A few of us had dinner here on Friday nite - and enjoyed every bite: barbacoa, carnitas, chicken mole ... all were exceptionally well-prepared. As good as it gets in the East Bay.

            We also had IPA on tap (albeit in a plastic an A's game without the silly uniforms.)

          2. Another nice dinner here. At 6:30 on Sunday night the place was nearly full -- with additional seating in the other room. Lots of families with kids.

            They are serving beer and wine. Excellent in all respects. I had two tacos, enough for a light dinner. The tacos ($3) come with just one tortilla, but a huge amount of filling -- you have to eat the most of the filling before you can fold up the taco. I had the mushroom taco and the beef taco.

            Dilsa (the owner) said she was pleased that Mark Bittman had given her a shout-out in a review somewhere.