Restaurants & Bars San Francisco Bay Area Mexican

Mexican Food in Bay Area

nuraman00 | | Jun 14, 2008 07:22 PM

I was looking for a certain type of Mexican place in the Bay Area. Preferably, it would be somewhere near Fremont (give or take 20 miles), or even the Peninsula, but if it's in another city, I'd like to know too, in case I visit that area.

I am looking for a sit-down place that serves good margaritas, and has authentic food.

1. I'd like the chips to be fresh, and salsa to be tasty. I prefer chunkier salsa, but as long as it's not watery and has a kick to it, I'll be happy. I also like it when the chips are served fresh and hot.

I've liked chips from La Pinata in Fremont, from Chevys in general, the MexiCali Grill by the movie theaters by Great America, Hola! in Belmont, just to give an idea. I think the chips from La Pinata were the best in terms of how hot they were, and the flavor. I'm not sure if I prefer thick chips or thin chips, but they should be able to hold the salsa without breaking.

I love the salsa from La Pinata, and Chevys. Hola! and MexiCali Grill were pretty good too. La Casita's was a bit watery, and didn't have as much flavor.

2. Nachos: I'm a big fan of nachos, and I usually find something "wrong" with most nacho places. The chips might taste stale or not fresh or not tasty enough, etc.

I liked the way Chevys used to make their nachos in the 90s, with a single layer of chips around the plate, everything individually-layered, with good meat and melted cheese. I think they've gone away from that. Plus, the entrees there are not authentic, I only mention Chevys because there's a few things I like about them, but since their entrees aren't aunthetic, I want to go somewhere else.

I really liked the nachos from La Casita. They put enchilada sauce on their nachos, which makes them even tastier. I also like how they used fajita-quality meat, instead of something like shredded chicken. Fajita-meat might be less authentic, but I do like it.

I also slightly liked how La Casita didn't put beans on their nachos. I find that beans make the nachos a bit excessively heavy, and sometimes drowns out the melted cheese taste. At least refried beans do that. Black beans don't do that as much, IMO.

However, the quality of the chips would only get a 3.5 from me, vs. La Pinata. And the salsa would only get a 2.5, it was a little watery.

So is there a place that has the chips and salsa from La Pinata, with the rest of the nachos from La Casita?

I like how individually-layered nachos have a good distribution of ingredients, even if the portion size is less than the "pile" type nachos. That's what I liked about MexiCali Grill. But it's not a deal-breaker.

3. Authentic dishes. I like authentic dishes, such as Mole. MexiCali Grill had very good mole, as does Baja Cactus in Milpitas. I am hoping to find something similar elsewhere.

Ranchero. I liked the ranchero at MexiCali Grill, I haven't tried ranchero at many other places, but am looking for something similar.

Chile Relleno: I liked the chile relleno at Baja Cactus, am hoping other places have something similar.

Verde sauce: I love good verde sauce, I'm hoping someone can suggest good restaurants with that. I haven't tried it at many. I like El Grullense Grill's verde sauce, off of Woodside in Redwood City, but that's more of a taqueria.

Quesadillas: I liked well-grilled quesadillas, with preferably 12" tortillas, and I like the type with stuff that doesn't leak or fall out when eating them.

Horchata, aqua fresca: I also like these. I like the Horchata from La Penita in San Jose.

4. Drinks. Good margaritas. La Pinata had a great drink selection, and slightly larger portion sizes too. I like some margaritas with lots of ingredients and good tequila.

5. Service. La Pinata and La Penita had great service. La Casita's was ok, MexiCali Grill's is a little slow. Baja Cactus' is ok. Hola! had good service.

So what places come close to these attributes? Thanks. And I only mention some of these examples, because there's a few things I like from all of these places, just not a all-in-one place.

Also if cost is a lot more than the above-mentioned places, please let me know. I'll still go, but I just want to know.

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