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BERKELEY Restaurants

Picante 1328 6th St./Gilman St.  Claiming to be the largest taqueria in the Bay Area, this casual spot has two indoor dining rooms and an outside area with a soothing wall fountain.  Get in line (it moves fast), order at the counter, and then select a table.  Service is fast.  Menu choices include the expected burritos, tamales, tacos (prepared with soft handmade corn tortillas that you can watch being made in the restaurant’s little booth), quesadillas, and tostadas.  Especially good fillings include carnitas (slow-cooked pork), manchmanteles (red “tablecloth strainer” chicken in a mega-tasty grilled pineapple-red mole sauce)  vegetarian rajas con papas (Poblano chilies, potatoes, onions, and Mexican cheese), conchinita pibil (Yucatecan pork steamed in banana leaf and served with spectacular habanero-pickled purple onions), and chorizo y papas (spicy Mexican sausage and potatoes).  I love the crispy flautas made with flour tortillas and the chilaquiles verdes (green) and rojos (red) available at weekend brunch.  There is an additional charge for the non-gmo, organic, house-made tortilla chips that are made in small batches.  An extensive vegetarian-vegan menu and children’s menu are also available.  Among the drinks are aguas frescas (fresh fruit drinks), margaritas made with agave wine, and a large selection of Mexican beers.

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Carole Terwilliger Meyers

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