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Discovering Estrellitas

Original post made by foodie, Green Acres, on Apr 19, 2010

I've lived here for decades, and never stopped in to eat at Estrellitas on San Antonio (near El Camino). I came in with a coupon, and was hooked.

I've eaten there several times since, and the specials are always so appealing, I haven't yet eaten off the menu. Every month, the chef comes up with new specials, always interesting and tasty things I've never had before. There's always a vegetarian special, too. Reminds me of home cooking at the home of friends from Mexico when I was growing up, only more varied.

They put out samples of the dishes in front so diners can see what they are ordering.

The wait staff has been there forever, they're friendly and remember their customers.

The restaurant is bright and clean. Sometimes we go and it's packed, and sometimes it's not, I can never figure out the pattern. Either way, it's comfortable and not too noisy.

I love this place, I wish I'd tried it sooner.

Comments (8)

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Posted by Evan
a resident of Barron Park
on Apr 19, 2010 at 5:58 pm

My wife and I went to Estrellitas when we were students - 30 years ago - and still enjoy the food and atmosphere described above. I think that many others who make the trip to this relatively out of the way place will have the same "I love this place. I wish I'd tried it sooner." reaction as the initial poster.

If you like Mexican Food and originality, you owe it to yourself to try Estrellitas.

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Posted by bright and clean
a resident of College Terrace
on Apr 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm

Must be a new manager. I go every five years or so, and have been since the 80s. It's never been bright or clean relative to other restaurants; several women I've been there with have commented that they don't want to go back there for exactly that reason.

The food is good so I do go back.

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Posted by Michele
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Apr 20, 2010 at 12:52 pm

My brother visited Palo Alto with his friend Geoff who is a chef in New York City. Geoff adored Estrellitas!

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Posted by Love them
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Apr 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Best Mole, ever, anywhere...

Great Mole Poblano! ( Seasonal favorite)

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Apr 20, 2010 at 9:06 pm

It has reasonably good Tex Mex cuisine, if you like that you can get it many many places.

In real Mexico you can get dishes like the ravioli they make from a fungus that grows on corn, it beats everyday truffles.

Where can you get that dish in Palo Alto?

In the absence of those real Mexican dishes the very best Mexican food is the place by the drug store in mid town PA-- great value and very fresh and healthy-- outstanding food and service with no lard-- clean-- friendly-- good value and healthy maybe they could be persuaded to offer the occasional more exotic Mexican dish.

They have very generous portions of very high quality food and the service is outstanding

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Posted by foodie
a resident of Green Acres
on May 5, 2010 at 7:46 pm

I wholly disagree about the Tex Mex assessment. Of all the specials I've eaten there, I have not once found anything the like of locally. The specials have been authentic, flavorful, and inventive.

Have you tried the specials? They had a wonderful bacalao this year -- I've never in town seen anyone serve a traditional dish like that (nor in Tex Mex restaurants on the border). Since when is bacalao Tex Mex?

The Christmas tamales (in December) were authentic and HEAVENLY!

I remember one meal (don't remember what it was called) that included a chile of some kind. It was quite hot, so I removed the stem and seeds, and tasted the chile by itself. The heat was a warm, flavorful heat that spread through my mouth like bliss, not a stinging, devoid-of-flavor heat that seems to be the norm for most of the hot food I find today. It was a culinary experience I hadn't had for years, and reminded me of why I used to love hot food.

Are you sure you're talking about the same place?

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on May 5, 2010 at 8:14 pm

Huitlacoche is the test of a first class Mexican restaurant, Estrellitas the Tex Mex place does not serve it and never has, it may serve bacalao once a year but

bacalao is a Portuguese and Spanish dish of heavily salted cod, it has nothing to do with Mexican food and the amount of salt in the dish is huge

Tex Mex places are a dime a dozen in PA/EPA/MV

In contrast the Mid Town place serves authentic traditional Mexican food at a fair price.

We would like to find a place in PA that also serves Huitlacoche, the authentic Mexican truffle. That is the test of the authentic Mexican place.

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Posted by foodie
a resident of Green Acres
on May 5, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Umm, Sharon, Mexico shares a lot of things with Spain, like, umm, the language... Believe it or not, because of history (remember that?) Mexico, Spain, and even Portugal share other things, like cuisine, each claims for its own and each has unique variations.

Bacalao is also an authentic Portuguese dish, the salt cod having come from Portugal to the new world.

Mexican bacalao, is I believe, I traditional Christmastime or New Year's dish. It includes things like potatoes and chilis, ingredients from the New World (incorporated by the Spaniards who came there), which were (are?) not a part of traditional Spanish or Portuguese bacalao.

Good bacalao should be salty, but if properly prepared, not horribly so.

I don't think you've ever eaten at Estrellitas, it most definitely is not a typical place. I agree there are many run-of-the-mill places in this area, which is why I was so pleasantly surprised to find Estrellitas and kicking myself for not having tried it before.

You have an exceedingly narrow and strange opinion of what makes a good Mexican restaurant. To each his own. But your being a know-it-all about things you know too little gets old.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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