I recently had the pleasure of having lunch at Flacos in Berkeley, California. I had heard about this all vegan Mexican restaurant for some time, but had never had the chance to try it. Thanks to Flacos kind owner, Antonio Magana, I was able to enjoy a fresh meal in their cozy little environment not too far off the beaten path from the city’s center. When I asked Antonio why he created an all vegan menu, he told me it was because he discovered the health benefits of plant based eating, and he wanted to combine his love of plants with his traditional Mexican family recipes. That’s exactly how Flacos came to be. Before there was ever an inkling about opening a restaurant, Antonio and his crew got started selling tamales at the Berkeley farmer’s markets, a tradition that continues today.
The restaurant, which opened in 2010, is conveniently located on Adeline Street in bustling Berkeley just across from the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station. It’s a teeny, tiny, funky little rock and brick building that definitely caught my eye the first time I saw it. It’s a mix between where I’d imagine the children’s book character, Raggedy Ann, and the infamous Goldilocks (and the Three Little Bears) might live. The restaurant is small, intimate and seats about 12 people comfortably, though there are many outdoor tables for use on warm days. The decor is simple and features some fun Mexican folk art.
Upon my arrival, the friendly Flacos staff hooked me up with a combo plate filled to the brim with three different items, one taquito, one taco and one tamale all served over a beautiful banana leaf. You might be wondering what they serve in place of meat in their traditional Mexican dishes. Most all of the items on Flacos menu include soy protein which adds a meaty texture and because it’s so hardy, it leaves you feeling quite full. And, for the soy-free or gluten-free folks, Flacos offers a tamale that is made from Poblano Chiles, beans and potatoes. All of the food I sampled tasted great, but it was the taquitos that won over my little vegan heart! They were super crunchy just like taquitos should be. Another one of my favorite offerings is their Horchata, a delicious, sugary rice drink that they make on site. I topped off my meal with a delicious Polvorone, better known as a Mexican Wedding Cookie (which is traditonally made with animal products, but not at Flacos!). Yum!
I have a confession to make, just a few weeks after my original visit, I found myself back at Flacos. Round two! This time I sat outside in the sun and enjoyed the Huarache plate, which is both soy and gluten free. This dish is compiled of a handmade organic corn tortilla layered with refried pinto beans, rice, avocado, onions, radish, cilantro, cabbage and salsa. Delicious!
I highly reccommend Flacos the next time you find yourself in the San Francisco Bay Area, especially if you are looking for a quaint place to eat some Mexican food vegan style. The portions are large and you’ll leave feeling completely satisfied. Order a few crunchy taquitos (maybe even some for the road!) and tell Antonio and his crew that the cowgirl sent ya. Yeehaw!
And…stay tuned…as word on the street says that Flacos just might be expanding in the Bay Area sometime soon.
Flacos is located at: 3031 Adeline Street Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone: (510) 981-8081
You can also find Flacos on their social media sites: