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1015 Clay Street
Oakland, CA 94607
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$30 and under
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El Gusano Details
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: M-F 11:30am-3:00pm
Dinner: M-Sa 5:30pm-9:30pm
Full Bar, Wheelchair Access
Between 11th and 10th Sts.
There is street parking as well as a public lot within walking distance.
A word from El Gusano
El Gusano is a taqueria during the daytime and a full service restaurant at night. We offer authentic, straight-forward Mexican cuisine all day.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
Diners' Choice Winner
Diners' Choice Winner
Good for Groups
First time for dinner and all 4 of
us loved it. The service was excellent with chips and 3 delicious salsas brought to your table with a water carafe. We ordered their margaritas. Mine had chile and salt on the rim and it was great. And their margaritas are big with only good tequila used. I ordered the Salmón en Hoja de Platano. All dishes came with rice, pinto or black beans, and home made corn tortillas. My wife had the Chicken with Mole Poblano. Our other diners had the Enchiladas con Nopales. Everyone was very happy with their meal selection. El Gusano has become our favorite Mexican restaurant in Oakland. We can't wait to go back."
Dined on 3/6/2014
The San Francisco duo who created
Tropisueno brought their fabulous food to downtown Oakland. It has become one of our favorites and our friends frequent it too. Great atmosphere, innovative cuisine and excellent place for exceptional drinks."
Dined on 2/20/2014
We were excited to eat here
because we love Tropisueno in San Francisco, and I think this is its sister restaurant in Oakland. We ordered things we usually get, such as guacamole (it's spicy here), the wild shrimp with garlic and onions appetizer, chile relleno, and dessert. All the dishes were good, but not great. The chile relleno was a little bit hard and the cheese was not soft and melting. Also, the portions of the rice and especially the black beans seemed paltry. The appetizer came with the entrees which was fine, but we would have preferred to have it come earlier. The Tres Leches cake was delicious. The service was friendly, but we were charged for another table's bill, which was higher of course. We had to get that fixed."
Dined on 2/15/2014
Tasty and fun preparations of
traditional South of the Border faire."
Dined on 1/31/2014
The food is amazing. Each dash we
try is unique, but also tastes authentic. Thank you El Gusano for a fine Mexcian dining experience."
Dined on 1/31/2014
We've been for lunch (taqueria)
and dinner (full svc dining). Neither one was worthwhile. If you're stuck in the area for lunch, the food is decent (altho the carnitas tastes more like a superb al pastor). Extensive salsas offering but no signs means you're trying blind. At dinner, everything is different, even the chips (fragile in day, sturdier at night). Ceviches trio was mediocre, with salmon and whitefish mushy/past their prime. Chile verde plate: pork in a dark brown broth, not a verde; tasted oddly closer to beef than pork. My sopa de tortilla was decent, but too many onions. Our dinner waitress was a "fail" all around: couldn't remember our order (write it down, lady!) and took 20 min to tell us my first choice wasn't available!"
Dined on 1/15/2014
Margaritas from spicy to regular.
Quality food from chile verde to tacos and shrimp. Excellent service and friendly atmosphere. This is a comfortable restaurant with plenty of space and great mexican food and drinks."
Dined on 1/25/2014
My husband and I had dinner
Saturday night at 7 pm..The margaritas and food were fantastic, but it was way too loud!"
Dined on 1/24/2014
Pleased to be seated and then
offered awesome chips and salsa!! I ordered the shrimp and it was seasoned perfectly. My friend ordered the combo platter. All was delicious! Can't wait to go back! The waiters were attentive while still having a good time!"
Dined on 1/18/2014
I had seen this place a few
times...so I thought I'd take my friend for her birthday..I made a reservation..! Parking was hard to find on the street.got inside ,had to wait 10 ...min. to tell hostess I had a reservation..when I did..she said we'll seat u next..! 4 groups later,she tells girls in front of me ,sorry...they showed up can't give you that table! It'll be 40 min.we got seated,got water,chips/salsa...finally got server...then waited 25 min.for our food...then felt abandoned...waited 15 min.for 2nd drink...? Food was great ,but a bit crazy in the . Place. I will try it one more time! But glad I h a d a reservation!"
Dined on 1/17/2014
This restaurant is on another
level from other bay area Mexican restaurants. Fabulous food and service, The chips and salsas, and the guacamole were the best we ever had."
Dined on 1/15/2014
Food is excellent. Try the Chili
Verde, it's spicy and has flavor."
Dined on 1/2/2014
Very good food, nice atmosphere,
unique dishes. Will return"
Dined on 12/20/2013
Our food came out after 45
minutes. The service was ok but we were definitely frustrated. The kitchen was semi open and the chefs looked like they cared less about getting the food out. They were standing around talking for a majority of the evening. The food was good and I liked the décor but I will never go back."
Dined on 11/20/2013
The food here is rich and spicy.
They don't hold back on portions, flavor or heat! Comfortable atmosphere although the space is voluminous and lacks intimacy. The deco is fun cried and interesting no the lighting is very pleasant - low but even and good color. The service is fine; very friendly and patient. I recommend the place for food and atmosphere for casual dining."
Dined on 11/16/2013
Their top-shelf margarita would
have been much better had they actually put tequila in the drink. While their mole sauce was quite excellent, the chicken was dry. Much better Mexican food can be found elsewhere."
Dined on 11/1/2013
Very nice and clean good food and
very good margaritas"
Dined on 10/12/2013
El Gusano is beautifully decorated
inside with the virgin of Guadalupe on an altar. There is a nice sidewalk patio with tables. Service was excellent and our charming server continually checked on us. There is very good tequila and mezcal based cocktail list. The food is not your standard Mexican restaurant fare as the menu consists of many authentic regional dishes. For starters, the Guacamole de la Casa, the white shrimp sautéed in butter, the empanadas, and the tostaditas de carneros were all great. Excellent large plates were the chicken with mole poblano and the camarones Tropisueno. This is an upscale restaurant only for dinner. It is a typical taqueria by day. There is also a lively bar scene."
Dined on 10/3/2013
My wife and I had heard good
things, and were not disappointed. We used the appetizers and ceviche as small plates, and only got one "main" (a nicely done steak plate with beans, rice, and more), and everything ranged from good to excellent, and they didn't hide from assertive flavors. Unfortunately, they had a private party in the bar, very loud and about 50 folks constantly ordering drinks, so they were more than a bit under the gun, but handled it well overall."
Dined on 10/13/2013
Wonderful salsa trio and wonderful
helping of chicken soup!"
Dined on 9/28/2013
Great margaritas and an inspired
menu! All of the food was really excellent and fresh and nicely presented. Homemade chips and a trio of amazing salsas free and plentiful. We'll definitely be back soon."
Dined on 8/14/2013
Waiter went out of his way to give
us a good dining experience. Even gave me a heads up when I ordered rice to tell me it was made with chicken stock. Really appreciated him."
Dined on 8/7/2013
Vibrant bar and restaurant. Spicy
food as expected. Had a coupon so it was well worth it."
Dined on 8/4/2013
Not the usual Mexican Restaurant
menu. Every entrée we ordered was well prepared and very tasty. We certainly would recommend it for anyone who enjoys good Mexican food."
Dined on 8/4/2013
I just organized a birthday dinner
here for my friend on Saturday evening. I was pleasantly surprised with the great ambiance and decor. The chips and salsa were also BOMB! The margaritas are delicious and strong. The servers were also really nice, helpful and hooked us up with a bunch of margarita coupons for next time :) The entrees were your expected hearty mexican fare but our group had mixed reviews. Some were better than others. The salmon in banana leaf sounded great, but the orange peel was overpowering, overall this was a great pic for a birthday fiesta, and they played great music!"
Dined on 7/28/2013
Great margaritas and quite
possibly the best salsa I've ever tasted. They roast their own peppers and make this beautiful emulsion (no dairy in it but looks like it) salsa/sauce and it's just amazing. You can even buy it fresh each day and take some home. Check it out!"
Dined on 7/26/2013
Great service and great food. We
will definitely be back. Prices reasonable."
Dined on 7/14/2013
We arrived late for dinner but I
had called ahead and the restaurant was accommodating. We were promptly seated but waited quite a while to place a drink order. When the margaritas came they were tall and delicious. We were relatively early on a weeknight (6:15) but they were out of two items that our party of three ordered. Fortunately, there were plenty of tasty sounding items on the menu. After the orders were re-placed we waited a long time for food. When it came it was delicious, hot, and flavorful. The chips and three salsas were excellent. I would highly recommend the food and hope that the service glitches will be fixed when we return as we surely will. We were compensated for the issues with drink coupons for next time."
Dined on 6/27/2013
A lot of attention was paid to the
food which was fresh, well-prepared, and very tasty. The salmon dish was one of the best I have ever tasted. The margueritas were also excellent. We will recommend El Gusano to our friends and look forward to returning. The service was attentive in that our glasses were kept full and the chips and excellent dips were plentiful. But there were delays between courses and in getting our check that might have been annoying if we were in a hurry or if the food had been less enjoyable."
Dined on 6/9/2013
I'm a regular at Gusano. The
kitchen staff knows how to prepare an original Mexican meal. It is a business and as such, the service is very limited. We waited ten minutes to get our drink order, well, only one bartender. We had a party of 12 and yet our waiter had other tables to cover. The first prepared meals were under room temperature when all the meals were served. I will return...well, at least when there are 2 or so in our party."
Dined on 6/1/2013
We had a very good dining
experience. This is a very nice upscale Mexican restaurant with both traditional TexMex and also some very interesting other items on the meno. Also a great choice of hot sauces that were unusual and very tasty as well."
Dined on 6/2/2013
El Gusano is a wonderful addition
to the downtown Oakland restaurant scene. Flavorful, traditional Mexican cuisine, that is not your ordinary expected dishes. Great seafood entrees, pork, chicken and beef were all perfectly prepared. We have enjoyed its sister restaurant, Troposueno and will return often to this Oakland gem."
Dined on 5/25/2013
Bought the deal on Living Social,
and we went for a date night! It was wonderful!!! The margaritas were great!! When I asked for the flavors, when they were out of my first choice the waiter suggested the Hibiscus... OMG this was the best drink, a must try!! The food was great,the rice and beans were so flavorful, not a throwaway like at most places. My wife and I both agreed for upscale Mexican we would differently recommend El Gusano!!"
Dined on 5/25/2013
Delicious dishes and margaritas
are all you need to know - this place is a foodie mecca right in downtown Oakland. We had huaraches with pork three ways and salmon ceviche. Easy to get a table, I hope for a while longer so that we can return without waiting in line like at Tropisueno!"
Dined on 5/9/2013
A bit too much salt cross the
board but overall everything was fresh, flavorful & authentic."
Dined on 5/11/2013
It won't be long before there'll
be long waits to get in here. The food is very good, a full bar awaits your margarita or pisco sour. I had the Tres Huaraches Cochinita which were little pieces of heaven. They haven't been open long but they're sure to catch on."
Dined on 5/11/2013
They have taken the concept of
gourmet Mexican. Though it doesn't match my current favorites, Nopalito and Comal, it is far less expensive. My wife had two appetizers for her meal - the carnitas tostaditas and the fried plantains with black beans. Each dish was 8 or 9 dollars and each could have been a meal. I did not try the tostaditas (small tostadas), but she liked them fine (She's not a huge Mexican food fan like me.) I had a couple of her fried plantains and they were perfect! I had the carne asada and beef barbacoa enchilada plate called Tampequenos. The steak was thin, as it should be, but huge. I would have preferred a cheese enchilada with the steak. Their margaritas are good and reasonably priced - $8 for the house."
Dined on 5/10/2013
A clear cut above typical mexican
dinner! Great selection of appetizers. Sea Scallops were memorable. Fried plantains are a must have. The tampiqueño, and the huaraches “tres cochinitas” were hits too. Good drink choices, especially the mango and serrano margarita. Friendly, attentive servers, attractive, open space. Been here twice already, ready for round three!"
Dined on 5/4/2013
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner
at El Gusano. We weren't extremely hungry so we shared everything. We had excellent house Margartas. Quite potent, but tasty. The chips were served with 3 different salsas all very good and the guacamole we ordered didn't dissapoint. For an appetizer we had the shrimp in a creamy garlic sauce on a bed of carmelized onions. Although heavy with garlic the shrimp still tasted very fresh. Our entree was Huaraches "tres cochinitas" --tortillas topped with 3 different preparations of pork --chile verde, carnitas and al pastor with pineapple. Each one was perfectly spiced and wonderfully flavorful. For dessert we shared a piece of Tres Leches cake. Service was warm and friendly. Loved it! We'll be back"
Dined on 4/19/2013
Great new upscale Mexican
restaurant. Good selection of choices including seafood. Well prepared entrees with creative and generous portions accompanied by colorful and fresh garnishes. 3 yummy salsas come with the chips. Love the rustic interior decor and atmosphere. Reasonably priced. Definitely will come back."
Dined on 4/19/2013
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