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Restaurants & Bars

Berkeley: Casa Latina - nice nacatamales - tamal-rific

rworange | Sep 29, 201112:39 AM     10

Nacatamales are the Nicaraguan tamal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nacatamal

This had the wonderful moist masa of Central America that was absolutely perfect. Not dry like Mexican, but not overly moist or soupy like some.

These are the large tamales, about the size of a dinner plate. A nice touch about the paper plate at Casa Latina was it had a pretty flower pattern.

There were generous pieces of pork in mildly spice sauce, a green olive, sliced potatoes, slices of green pepper, a chile, a little rice, a raisin, and mint leaves.

The first time I had rice in a tamal was in Costa Rica. There is not a lot of rice, maybe a teaspoon of it.

The plantain wrapped nacatamal is wrapped in wax paper.

Casa Latino makes a healtier version of Latino food using olive oil instead of lard and some organic ingredients.

I've never had a nacatamal before. However, having returned from a year in Guatemala, a country of outstanding tamales, this is up there with the best I had in that country.

My regret from my brief stay in Nicaragua was not being able to track down a nacatamal. It was either the wrong day or wrong time.

Has there been an ownership change at the Casa Latina restaurants. I tried to ask, but didn't get a clear answer. My Guatemalan accent must have confused them (sarcasm). However, they said the owner is Nicaraguan. I think that is a change. Montero's has a name change and different menu as well.

Berkeley seems to be allowing sign boards for businesses in the median strip of streets. This is distracting and unsafe, IMO. However, that's how I saw the nacatamal sign.

It was a little over $5, very filling and given the quality ingredients, well worth the price. Pick up a white roll so you can mop up the masa from the plantain leaf.

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Casa Latina
1805 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA

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