Monday, February 28, 2011

880 South: Oakland, Dona Thomas

Doña Thomas 5004 Telegraph Ave./51st St., (510) 450-0522. D Tu-Sat; $$. Reservations advised. Free parking lot across street. This exceptional restaurant is a real pleaser. It is divided into three different dining rooms: the small, cozy main room has high ceilings and a low-key vibe; a heated patio is choice in good weather; and a colorful tiny bar area in an adjacent building (the narrow interior courtyard is where people wait) is painted red and decorated with vibrant Mexican art. Specialties include seasonal chile rellenos (sometimes stuffed with sweet potatoes and a variety of cheeses), carnitas, and carne asada—all served with housemade tortillas. A tall, cool beer or hand-shaken Margarita is the perfect accompaniment.

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