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Unlike at so many of the East Bay’s reigning high-end Mexican restaurants, the food at Calavera isn’t meant to reinterpret Mexican flavors through the lens of California cuisine. Instead, the restaurant simply aims to be as authentic as possible, in a broad sense of doing everything in the proper, Mexican way. So, for instance, the nixtamal for the hand-pressed tortillas is made from scratch, and adventurous diners can indulge in hard-to-find items such as Oaxacan chapulines (aka fried grasshoppers), which are served as an optional add-on to the guacamole. As pretty as the upscale tacos might be, the must-order dishes are the larger, pricier entrées: a goat birria featuring an intensely concentrated roasted tomato broth, and a whole red snapper topped with an earthy paste of mashed-up black garlic. Huge selection of craft tequilas and mezcals.

— Luke Tsai

Hours: Mon.–Thu. 11 a.m.–10 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.–11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

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Price: $$$-$$$$

Payment Type: Cash, all major credit cards

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