Slow food aficionados Jim and Laura Maser, who also operate Berkeley's Mazzini and Cafe Fanny, own this large taqueria which serves Oaxacan cuisine, including handmade corn tortillas (they have fresh masa delivered each day), mole sauces, homemade chorizo, and enfrijoladas. Menu includes vegan and vegetarian options, such as tamales made with butternut squash and roasted poblano chiles.
(The Chez Panisse connection: Laura is the sister of Alice Waters.)
Online reviews of "Picante" (as it is known locally) are mixed, for two reasons. First, visitors looking for either "traditional" Mexican food (i.e. the American version of the Mexican restaurant) or San Francisco's famous Mission-style burritos are often disappointed by the authentic Oaxacan flavors and ingredients. Second, with 200 seats, this is one of the largest casual dining restaurants in Berkeley, and the kid-friendly food options make this place very popular with families. The presence of so many children does not spoil the quality of the food, but for some, it does make for a less than ideal atmosphere.