Best Mexican Restaurant: Flavorful moderation
Tamarindo Antojeria Mexicana
God, has it ever taken a long time for Mexican alta cocina to reach Oakland. Diana Kennedy's first American book on the glories of true Mexican cuisine appeared more than thirty years ago. Chicago's Rick Bayless and New York's Zarela Martinez have been celebrity chefs for a decade or so, their Mexican restaurants continually scoring high on the Zagat scale. And finally, thanks to chef-owner Gloria Dominguez, we're able to savor fragile crispy tacos of prawns and roasted poblano peppers and sopecitos topped with no more than a tablespoon of chorizo and potatoes. There's nothing like a big ol' torta from an International Boulevard taco truck, to be sure, but too many people think that's the alpha and omega of Mexican food, to be drowned in lard and cheese. Dominguez showcases her food in fine style -- an exposed-brick room designed by her architect son -- accompanied by smooth service and good wines. Just like they do in Mexico City.