Everything is Coming Up Mexican in the East Bay

Tacos are served seven days a week from 10am–10pm at Tacos Walnut Creek. Photo via TacosWalnutCreek.com

If you’ve noticed that a lot of Mexican restaurants have opened recently around the 580/680 corridor, you’re not alone. Here are just a handful of the new taquerias that are serving up your Hispanic favorites in Walnut Creek, Danville, Pleasanton and Livermore.

Tacos Walnut Creek

WALNUT CREEK – It doesn’t have to be Tuesday to head to Tacos Walnut Creek. This family-owned establishment is a great spot for people of all ages to enjoy a meal. Although several taco options are on the menu (including some I’ve never heard of, like the spider taco), there are plenty of other items if you’re not in the mood for tacos.

My table started with chips and salsa while waiting for our order to be ready. Tacos Walnut Creek has a handful of salsa selections for your enjoyment, from pico de gallo (my favorite) to off-the-charts spicy ones.

We both opted for platters for our meal. I selected carne asada and my date went with the carnitas platter. You won’t go wrong with the thinly sliced beef that’s marinated and flavorful, but the crispy carnitas plate was our favorite of the evening. Both were served with rice and beans.

Tacos start at $3. Beer only. Open daily, 10am-10pm. 1690 Locust St., Walnut Creek. TacosWalnutCreek.com

Camarones Asados served at Cielito Danville. Photo via CielitoDanville.com

Cielito Danville

DANVILLE – I don’t really think of farm-to-table when it comes to Mexican cuisine, but Danville’s Cielito makes a good argument for it. Housed in the old Chow location, their menu includes free-range, organic poultry, hormone-free meats and organic produce.

I paired their chicken flauta with a side of veggies. Stuffed with tender, braised chicken, the flauta was topped with mole, coleslaw, cotija and pineapple mango salsa. Much higher on the gourmet scale than I’m used to flautas being, they were a fabulous choice. The verdura veggies is a generous dish that can be shared.

Tacos served at Cielito feature house-made corn tortillas, which are a little thicker than most, but they do a great job holding the filling. They are available with cod, steak, chicken or veggies and you get two per order.

Tacos start at $11. Full bar. Open Monday–Saturday from 11:30am, Sunday from 11am. 445 Railroad Ave., Danville. CielitoDanville.com

Carne Asana Fries from Golden State Taqueria in Pleasanton. Photo: Tanya S./Yelp

Golden State Taqueria

PLEASANTON – Pleasanton’s Golden State Taqueria offers diners a wide selection of Mexican and Cal-Mex dishes that are perfect for lunch or a quick dinner. If you’ve never had fries with your Mexican food, you’re in for a treat. The carne asada fries are similar to nachos, but instead of chips, your base is a pile of french fries. They’re topped with your choice of meat (you can opt for something other than carne asada), refried beans, sour cream, guacamole and salsa. 

Their tacos and burritos are also a great choice. I enjoyed the chicken burrito stuffed with rice, beans and salsa. However, if you’re going the burrito route, I suggest making it a Super, with cheese, guacamole and sour cream for added flavor.

Golden State Taqueria is family-friendly and features a kids’ menu.

Tacos start at $3. Beer, wine and margaritas. Open daily 8am–10pm. 4001 Santa Rita Rd., #1A, Pleasanton. GoldenStateTaq.com

Nachos served at El Chaparrito Taqueria in Livermore. Photo: Mitch V./Yelp

El Chaparrito Taqueria

LIVERMORE – If you look up “hidden gem,” you should find a photo of Livermore’s El Chaparrito Taqueria. Don’t let the location deter you; the food more than makes up for any ambiance that may be lacking.

We started with an order of guacamole and chips, made with real, slightly lumpy avocado. For an entrée, I opted for my favorite, chicken flautas with rice and beans. The shredded chicken was moist and the shell was crunchy.

My date decided on the super burrito with chicken, which had exceptional flavor. It was filled with chicken, rice, beans, onion, cheese, cilantro and sour cream.

Tacos start at $2. Beer only. Open Monday–Friday 7am–9pm and Saturday 9am–9pm. 939 Larkspur Dr., Livermore. 925-453-6080.

Janet Fazio writes ‘Tastes of Your Town’, a monthly feature on East Bay dining in the print editions of Your Town Monthly. A version of this article was originally published in the November 2019 East Bay editions.

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