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Restaurants & Bars 9

downtown Oakland: La Bonita Taqueria, Anita's, and Vo's

Marc Wallace | Feb 7, 200402:24 PM

A few mini reports...

Two weeks ago I *finally* managed to head up to try out La Bonita Taqueria, up where Broadway and Franklin meet (near Grand). I had hoped to try their huevos rancheros, but had to take food back for a meeting, and didn't think it would travel well, so I got a carne asada burrito instead. I was just expecting an average burrito, but it was surprisingly good! The rice was tasty with a light bacon grease flavoring, and there were carmelized onions as well. A long walk, but worth it. They also serve sopas, which (I believe) is unique for the downtown area.

This last week, I was dragged down to Anita's two doors up from Le Cheval. Also a Mexican place, but with that city-centeresque sit-down flavor. Everything was surprisingly expensive, and not terribly flexible. I'm used to ordering ala carte in Mexican places (so I can fill up on the good stuff, not rice'n'beans), but they didn't offer that... so I tried the $9 "enchilada and taco" plate. I asked for a chicken enchilada, and was told that would be an extra dollar -- the non-specification on the menu apparently meant "cheese". For the taco, I tried carne asada, but was informed that that was only for soft tacos; I would have to choose chicken or ground beef. Somehow I was unable to convey the idea that I preferred a soft taco.

While we waited for our food, we snacked on the chips (crisp and somewhat fresh) and salsa (very mild, with that "canned tomato" taste). Feh. Food came, and the rice and beans were even worse than I expected. The crispy taco was greasy both inside and out, and the enchilada sauce was a very small quantity of a runny, orange, tasteless substance. The highlight of the meal for me was, sadly enough, the lettuce. Service was good from one of the two waiters (annoyingly, not ours, but the other one did kindly refill our water and salsa when flagged down). Not a place I will return to soon. For under $5 I can stuff myself with great tacos and flautas from Mi Casa; why spend $12 on tasteless food?

And Vo's? On the bus ride home the last two weeks, I've peered out at it, and it's always been locked up tight at 5:45pm. Has anyone eaten there recently? Is it closed? If so, we'll have to stop mentioning it during the monthly "where to eat near the Paramount" questions...

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