Pulling out of the parking lot of the International Market on El Portal in San Pablo, I spotted a little sign proclaiming Mexican and Salvadorian food. So I circled back around and had lunch.
Small former coffee shop feels like someone puts a lot of care into it -- decorations on the wall, lush plants, attractive table coverings under glass. And the woman running the front (the owner?) is very warm and helpful.
A total novice at Salvadorian food, I ordered a pupusa (pork with cheese), a plate of yucca con chicharron, and a strawberry agua fresca. I have nothing to compare it too, but the pupusa was good -- telltale patting from the kitchen indicated it was made to order. The yucca was perfectly fried: crisp and golden on the outside and almost creamy on the inside, not a speck of extra grease and fresh tasting oil. My only complaint was the chicarrones might have been more toothsome in smaller pieces than the 1-inch cubes. Both the pupusa and the yucca plate came with a cabbage slaw in a vinegary dressing.
Portions were generous: my plate contained 10 or 12 nuggets of meat and five or six large chunks of yucca. With the pupusa (and the complimentary basket of chips and salsa) it was much more than I could eat and cashed out at $7.00 (pupusa and agua fresca were $1.25 each, yucca plate was $4.50).
Other Salvadorian specialties on the menu include various preparations of plantains, tamales, empanadas, pastelitos and something called "chilate con dulce" which is the only thing in the menu not described in English. Full menu of Mexican offerings and both American and Mexican breakfast items as well. Prices seem cheap: the most expensive thing on the menu is $11 (the El Platazo with grilled steak, chicken and shrimp). There's also a separate menu of weekday lunch plates at $4.63.
900 El Portal Dr. (next to Sukie's)
Open for lunch and dinner (11am-9pm) Tues-Fri and breakfast as well on the weekends (8am-9pm Sat-Sun, closed Monday).