The special today was enchilada verde - $5.75. It came with a basket of thin fresh house-made chips.
There was fluffy Spanish rice, thin house-made refried beans with Mexican cheese and a nice enchilada covered in a good verde sauce and topped with guacamole and a drizzle of crema. The shredded beef inside the enchilada was very flavorful and tender. A little chopped lettuce with dressing completed the plate.
The Jamaica aqua fresca was good and had that smoky taste that I like.
It is nothing fancy. The Mexican standards burritos, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, tamales, flautas, salads. In addition to the beef, fillings include carne asada, pollo asada, pollo verde, chile verde and shrimp. Al la cart, items are $2.25. A little cup of good guacamole costs $1.
In addition to aqua fresca there is beer, Mexican soda, regular soda, and Snapple.
I read that there is outdoor seating in the back. There was one table on the sidewalk. It is a pleasant restaurant with windows looking out on San Pablo Avenue. Chipotle is right across the street.
It is not super fancy but a step up from most Mexican restaurants with the chairs painted green and a tile floor. A picture of the Virgin of Guadalupe is above the grill. Mexican pop is played in the background. I have to think the music is for the owners pleasure not for ambiance. The two Latino ladies who have been running this restaurant for over 11 years are very nice. There is a magazine rack with the New Yorker, Country Living and a few other magazines.
I took home a chicken tamale which was decent. The large pieces of chicken were wrapped with masa that was covered with enchilada sauce. The tamale could have used a bit more spice.
I kept thinking how different this place was from Trevinos where I ate the day before. At Trevinos the food was very Americanized with all absence of spice. Almost the same dishes at La Palmita was an example of how much better this same food can be with the slightest differences.
The shredded beef at Trevinos was tender and good but it was plain beef. The beef at La Palmita was stewed in gentle spice and lifted the taste into a different level.
I liked La Palmita. The shredded beef was so good that Id like to try some of the tacos with some of the other meats. Low prices, tasty food, nice people whats not to like?
La Palmita Cafe
1335 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94702
MON - FRI: 11:00am to 8:00pm
SAT: 11:00am to 5:00pm