¡Delicioso! Tasty tacos tantalize Marin

Shauna Perigo

When desiring authentic Mexican food, the Bay Area is an amazing place to satisfy a craving. One can find tasty tacos tucked into every corner of Marin. The Bark compared the grilled chicken tacos at four different restaurants across Marin: Picante in the Canal District, Taqueria San Jose in Central San Rafael, El Huarache Loco in Greenbrae, and Joe’s Taco Lounge in Mill Valley.  The tacos were rated on affordability, taste, speed of service, and ambiance of the restaurant.

Picante: 5 stars

Topped with chicken, pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, and extra cheese, two grilled chicken tacos cost $3.20 at San Rafael's Picante and come with a side of pinto beans.
Topped with chicken, pico de gallo, onions, cilantro, and extra cheese, two grilled chicken tacos cost $3.20 at San Rafael’s Picante and come with a side of pinto beans.

Picante, an authentic Mexican restaurant located in the Canal District in San Rafael, did not fail to impress. Upon entering, I noticed the fun, colorful walls and festive ambiance that includes a jukebox, TV and games. Customers order at the counter and then choose a place to sit down in the large restaurant. The speed of service was not super fast, but it was impressive given the authenticity of the tacos. The grilled chicken tacos were served on homemade tortillas with fresh pico de gallo, onions, and cilantro, with flavorful pinto beans on the side. While the chicken lacked a strong flavor, the rest of the ingredients were delicious and the tortillas were soft, warm, and satisfying. Picante charges $3.20 for two chicken tacos, which is very affordable.

 

Taqueria San Jose: 2 stars

The small Taqueria San Jose is located underneath the freeway on 4th Street in Central San Rafael and seems a little like a hole in the wall. Inside, the atmosphere was noticeably different from that of Picante: The shop was noisy and crowded. After ordering at the counter, the speed of service was fast, but the tacos did not meet my expectations. The grilled chicken tacos were served with meat, onions, cilantro, and a very spicy hot sauce. While the chicken was tasty and flavorful, the tortillas were dried out and the salsa was very, very hot, which ruined the overall taste of the taco. Each chicken taco cost $2.20.

 

El Huarache Loco: 4.5 stars

Located at Bon Air Center in Greenbrae, El Huarache Loco is conveniently located close to Redwood. Customers order at the counter and then take a seat inside the festively decorated restaurant. The tacos were made in around 10 minutes, and the tortillas were thick, delicious, and appeared handmade. The grilled chicken tacos were served with plentiful green salsa, onions, and cilantro, and the chicken was very savory. The tacos were priced at $3.50 each, however, which was a little bit expensive.

 

Joe’s Taco Lounge: 3.5 stars

Joe’s Taco Lounge is a sit-down restaurant located on Miller Avenue in Mill Valley near Tam. The grilled chicken tacos were served with spicy chipotle salsa, cilantro, lettuce and onions. While the salsa was delicious and not too spicy, the tortillas were dry and lacked flavor. The chicken was satisfying, but slightly dry, as well. Because Joe’s is a sit-down restaurant, the tacos, while priced at $6.25 for two, were reasonably inexpensive.