Talavera Cocina Mexicana 1561 Solano Ave./Peralta St., (510) 525-7425. B-L-D daily; $. No reservations.
Decorated with a riot of colorful tiles and featuring high ceilings, this small counter-service spot dispenses tasty Mexican fare. Specialties include both big burritos with an array of fillings and also two types of mole—poblano (dark chilies, spices, and chocolate) and guajillo (pumpkin seeds, guajillo chilies, and spices). You can combine the specialties in the form of a chicken or pork mole burrito. Choose also from tamales, enchiladas (the chicken with red sauce are excellent), flautas, tacos (made with two layered small soft corn tortillas; I like the tasty al pastor best), an enormous steak torta sandwich, and exceptional tortilla soup. Among the breakfast items are a burrito, chilaquiles, and a cactus scramble. Housemade aguas frescas are worthwhile. Take your bowl of corn chips to the salsa bar stocked with four tasty options, and pick up some iced radishes and pickled veggies while you’re there. Additional seating is available outside.
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images ©2014 Carole Terwilliger Meyers