Palo Alto Weekly

Eating Out - July 12, 2013

Fast, fresh and hard to find

Ole Taqueria serves up well-priced, tasty fare near Shoreline, movie theaters

by Sheila Himmel

You could go to movies at the Century 16 theaters for years and never know about the dining possibilities one block closer to Shoreline Amphitheatre. You could work every waking hour at Google, the human terrarium ending at Plymouth Street, and never notice the motley crew of restaurants accommodating people who have to pay for our own food.

Ole Taqueria is for us. With perfectly good food at reasonable prices, the 20-seat storefront should be better known.

Ole occupies the sliver-thin space of a former Hawaiian shave-ice parlor, barely visible between Subway and the Sunny Bowl Well Being Korean Restaurant. Maybe this explains the need to attract attention with my current nominee for World's Most Annoying Website Music. Mute before you look, or you could get stuck in a car, as my editor did, with a child repeating words that make "It's a Small World" sound like a symphony.

We tried most of the meats on their list. All held their texture and were well-seasoned, with spices and marinades that enhanced rather than overpowered the meat.

Pollo asado — marinated grilled chicken — held its own in a regular burrito ($6.54) with fluffy Spanish rice and toothsome whole pinto beans. Add $1 for the supersize burrito with guacamole and crema.

Carnitas, as advertised, were crispy on the outside, moist on the inside. The marinated pork, pastor, is spicier and more aromatic. Like the carne asada, it is chopped and then griddled.

Plump and slightly crisped, shrimp did surprisingly well in a burrito, with nicely cooked chunks of zucchini. (My bell-pepper-averse companion had to pick out the red and green peppers, however.)

Ole does have a vegetarian burrito and a burrito in a bowl, but that's about it for California cuisine. The tortillas are freshly made from white flour or corn, no whole wheat or gluten-free.

Each taco ($2.25) involves two soft corn tortillas, chopped onions, tomatoes and cilantro. They are juicy to start with, and you may want to add salsa or smoky hot sauce, so if you have 10 minutes my advice is to eat in. Also, you get a real plate, not paper.

The taco plate ($6.50) is two tacos of your choice, rice and beans. The quesadilla ($7.50) also is a meal, not an appetizer, with crema and salsa fresca.

Other menu items include breakfast burritos, wet burritos and burrito salads. There is a menu section called Salvadoran, but both times we visited, a weekend and a weekday, they had no pupusas ($2.25).

The drink department is a very slim refrigerator of soft drinks and juice (20-ounce bottles and cans, $1.99). You can buy a bottle of still water, or just ask for a cup of ice water.

To sum up: Ole is not a destination taqueria, like those that are renowned for lengua or a production line of ingredients. But if you're in the vicinity for a concert, movie or work, give it a try. Ole Taqueria is fast, fresh and fairly priced.

Ole Taqueria

1477 Plymouth St., Mountain View

650-967-3006

star-ole.com

Hours: Mon.-Sat., 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Reservations: no

Credit cards: yes

Parking: lot in front

Alcohol: no

Children: yes

Outdoor dining: one table on sidewalk

Party and banquet facilities: no

Noise level: fine

Wheelchair access: yes

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