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  • El Gusano

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El Gusano
El Gusano

El Gusano Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://el-gusano.com/
  • Phone: (510) 444-9676
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: M-F 11:30am-3:00pm
    Dinner: M-Sa 5:30pm-9:30pm
  • Payment Options: MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Full Bar, Wheelchair Access

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Between 11th and 10th Sts.
  • Parking: Street Parking
  • Parking Details: 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.
Foodspotting photos
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Diner Reviews
  • "Really good food, welcoming atmosphere, and solid drinks. El Gusano makes no pretense that they are a fine dining restaurant, but they elevate the concept of a casual, comfortable, reasonably priced neighborhood Mexican restaurant. Drinks are strong and tasty. Food was more adventurous than I expected, and everything we ordered was perfectly executed. The service was not perfect, but everyone was very helpful and friendly. This was my first visit but I expect I'll be back often."
    Dined on 6/20/2014
  • "We all enjoyed the meals for our party of 4. Excellent Chili Verde. Chips and Guacamole were addicting. Only downside was we ordered house Margaritas and it took a very long time to show up. One showed up as I was just finishing my meal and I ordered it before the food showed up at the table. I would go back for the food."
    Dined on 6/7/2014
  • "Food was great, service was great and the drinks were delicious!"
    Dined on 5/29/2014
  • "We had an inconsistent set of food. We had salad and plantains; the plantains were quite good, but the salad was under seasoned, watery and tasteless, had iceberg lettuce, and had none of the pepitas that were claimed in the menu. Margaritas have gone downhill; perhaps due to the lime shortage there were substitutes for fresh lime, but if so, that should have been clearly stated so that we could make an informed choice. Chile verde was quite good, but the chicken mole had more bones, tendons and skin than leg meat."
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "There is a lot to be said for a restaurant that consistently delivers the same food with attention to service. This can be said about El Gusano. It would be delightful to see a more diverse menu or at least daily specials. "
    Dined on 5/10/2014
  • "Everything we ate was tasty! We went here before seeing a show at Yoshi's Oakland, which is just several blocks away from this restaurant."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "I have yet to find Mexican food in the Bay area that I truly love, El Gusano comes closer than the rest. The complimentary chips and 3 varieties of salsa were outstanding, as was the guacamole. The margaritas were good and the beans and rice were very good. The rest of the menu was very fresh California-Mex, very good but not the Tex-Mex I love and miss so much."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "I had an 8:30pm reservation through Open Table, showed up ten minutes late (by no exaggeration) and the manager would not seat us! The manager acknowledged that we had a reservation and said that because the restaurant was slow, they closed the kitchen and would not seat us. Nothing was done to make up for this at all. My friends and I walked down the street to an Indian restaurant and enjoyed ourselves there."
    Dined on 3/18/2014
  • "Regardless of our 8PM res, at 8:30, before our appetizers even showed up, we were told the kitchen was closing and we must order our dinner! Their listed hours are 5:30pm-9:30pm; the even take 930PM reservations! I spoke to the manager who gave me a sob story abt how tired she was, her kitchen "fell apart" that day and she wanted to go home. Food & drinks were absolutely delicious. Bartender & our server were incredibly nice. It's just too bad about the whackadoodle manager and the forced ordering of our food. We would have ordered much more food and drinks but due to being rushed out. I really want to return b/c of the quality of food but if that's how they treat their customers, I will definitely have to think twice before going again."
    Dined on 3/15/2014
  • "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 10/11/2013
  • "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 10/12/2013
  • "Wonderful salsa trio and wonderful helping of chicken soup!"
    Dined on 9/27/2013
  • "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 8/13/2013
  • "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 8/6/2013
  • "Vibrant bar and restaurant. Spicy food as expected. Had a coupon so it was well worth it."
    Dined on 8/3/2013
  • "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 8/3/2013
  • "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 7/27/2013
  • "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 7/25/2013
  • "Great service and great food. We will definitely be back. Prices reasonable."
    Dined on 7/13/2013
  • "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 6/26/2013
  • "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 6/8/2013
  • "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 5/31/2013
  • "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 6/1/2013