A very good Mexican restaurant.
A very good Mexican restaurant. Classic dishes well executed in an upscale atmosphere.
I started with a Pepino cocktail; a refreshing change from Margaritas. It is as cool as a cucumber - literally. Drinks and chips were brought quickly. The main course not so.
A bit slow as others have noted.
The salsas with the chips were excellent, only the habañero salsa was hot, and only briefly. (My impression - I love spicy)
My meal was the Chile Verde which was robust, and with clean defined flavors. Not particularly picante, well flavored and rich. The portion was generous without being ridiculous. Obligatory beans and rice were also excellent.
Other than being somewhat slow service was very good.
3/14/2013 5:00:00 PM
We had hopes for El Gusano
We had hopes for El Gusano considering it is the little sister of the great Tropisueno. Happy to report, they did not disappoint! The food is excellent! As parents who don’t get many nights out alone and we appreciate they are kid friendly.
3/15/2013 5:00:00 PM
Went to this place for the
Went to this place for the second time last night with friends and had the best service I have had anywhere in a long, long time. The waiter--who I will bet was an owner or manager--was very attentive, and clearly proud of the product. We were using a Groupon and he still treated us like royalty. Margaritas on the table practically as we sat down. Awesome appetizers: in fact, my husband and I repeated one apiece as our entrees. Large, lovely fresh salad. Beautiful, imaginative decor. Traditional combo plates for the less adventurous. Amazing trifecta of salsas. The costs add up, and they have a bizarre habit of seating parties right next to one another when there is plenty of other room to seat them a bit more privately; otherwise,great!
3/18/2013 5:00:00 PM
had a great dinner. Best mexican
had a great dinner. Best mexican food I have eaten in a long time.
3/22/2013 5:00:00 PM
mango and serano margarita
mango and serano margarita - yummy! Callos a la Plancha - yummy! Tacos de Cachete - meh, nothing special. Platanos Fritos - good
4/3/2013 4:00:00 PM
Innovative menu!, great service,
Innovative menu!, great service, a wonderful addition to Oakland's restaurant community.
4/5/2013 4:00:00 PM
Fantastic Mexican/Latin American
Fantastic Mexican/Latin American food. We loved the mushroom empanadas, carnitas, chicken tinga tostadas, and the chips and salsas are addictive. I also appreciated how they have traditional plates (for example, two items with rice & beans), which are kid-friendly but also very high quality. This rivals other gourmet Latin American restaurants in Oakland/Berkeley. We plan to return!
4/5/2013 4:00:00 PM
Every item we ordered was
Every item we ordered was delicious. Even the chips and salsa were very tasty. The service was outstanding. Friendly, attentive and accommodating to every request. The space is cool to boot. Definitely will go back when I'm in Oakland.
4/9/2013 4:00:00 PM
Truly delicious Mexican food!
I found this while looking for somewhere new to go on OpenTable and it was a great find! The menu had plenty of variety and the items that my friend and I ordered were delicious, with wonderful seasonings and flavors. Our only complaint was that it was quite loud in the restaurant, (at 6:45 on a Thursday night the place was packed), so this isn't the place to go if you're looking for a quiet conversation during your meal. I will definitely go there again.
4/17/2013 4:00:00 PM
Great new upscale Mexican
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.
4/19/2013 4:00:00 PM
We thoroughly enjoyed our
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
4/19/2013 4:00:00 PM
Oh Sooo Good!
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!
5/3/2013 4:00:00 PM
Mexican cuisine, like from Mexico!
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!
5/8/2013 4:00:00 PM
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.
5/9/2013 4:00:00 PM
A bit too much salt cross
A bit too much salt cross the board but overall everything was fresh, flavorful & authentic.
5/10/2013 4:00:00 PM
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.
5/10/2013 4:00:00 PM
El Gusano is a wonderful addition
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.
5/24/2013 4:00:00 PM
Great Date Night!!
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!!
5/24/2013 4:00:00 PM
We had a very good dining
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.
6/1/2013 12:00:00 AM
A lot of attention was paid
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.
6/8/2013 12:00:00 AM
Delicious Food -Shaky Results
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.
6/26/2013 12:00:00 AM
food full of flavor! delicious!
Great service and great food. We will definitely be back. Prices reasonable.
7/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
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!
7/25/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great ambiance and margs
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!
7/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
Vibrant bar and restaurant.
Vibrant bar and restaurant. Spicy food as expected. Had a coupon so it was well worth it.
8/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
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.
8/3/2013 12:00:00 AM
We'll be back soon!
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.
8/13/2013 12:00:00 AM
Great find in Old Oakland
Wonderful salsa trio and wonderful helping of chicken soup!
9/27/2013 12:00:00 AM
A beautifully decorated cantina
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.
10/2/2013 5:00:00 PM
Very nice and clean good food
Very nice and clean good food and very good margaritas
10/11/2013 12:00:00 AM
Handled the pressure
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.
10/12/2013 12:00:00 AM