Taqueria Azteca

Atmosphere: 3/5   ♦   Service: 3/5   ♦   Food Quality: 3/5   ♦   Value: 5/5
Times Visited:  Once   ♦   Will I Return?:  If I’m in the area
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Taqueria AztecaThis taqueria is tucked away on Amador Plaza Road in Dublin, just across the street from Target.  And actually, it’s not really “tucked” anywhere – it’s right on the road for all to see as they drive by, though you do have to be on Amador Plaza Road to see it – it’s not on the main Boulevard.  Azteca is in an unassuming commercial string of buildings, plain stucco, gently slopipng roofs; nice but not elaborate.  Our trip to the nearby Target had suffered due to extreme hunger grumpiness, so we needed a place nearby and we had no time for arguing.  Azteca did it’s duty in this regard.

Taqueria Azteca is your typical taqueria: order at the counter, proceed to the chips/salsa bar, then to the plastic booth seating.  The walls have colorful murals and the room is ringed with tiny bottles perched on a shelf just below the ceiling.  It’s not fancy, but it’s cute enough.

Taqueria Azteca Interior

The interior of Taqueria Azteca in Dublin, CA.

The place was pretty empty when we were there but that’s what we get for eating at 3pm.  Thank goodness they were even open or else we would have had a crisis on our hands.  The menu was standard Mexican, but one thing struck my eyeballs – they have veggie burritos.  Burritos plural; they have multiple options for vegetarian burritos!  This is unheard of, really, and I was excited.

Menu on the wall

The menu at Taqueria Azteca in Dublin, CA

The first option was just a standard veggie burrito: cheese and whole beans, rice, salsa, and, curiously, a slice of jack cheese.  Upgrades to this include, in addition to the above fillings: #7 with steamed veggies (broccoli, cabbage, squash, zucchini), #8 with steamed russet potatoes, and #9 with peas and lentils.  How about that for deviating from the norm?!  I didn’t even pay much mind to the rest of the menu at the time, though upon further inspection of my photographs, they appear to offer regular burritos (optional in a bowl burrito), meat dishes (chicken breast, carne asada, chile verde, carnitas, chorizo, etc), tacos, chicken soup, taco salad, tostadas, enchiladas, tortas, menudo, nachos, and combo or a la carte dishes (tamales, chile relleno, enchiladas, etc).  It doesn’t appear as though they’ve forgotten anything; they sell it all.

While you wait for your meal, you have free reign at the tortilla chip and salsa bar adjacent the counter.  While not extravagant, the chips are home made and delicious and there are a variety of choices of fresh salsa.  When our food arrived, I think I was a teeny bit disappointed, but mostly because I had been way too excited about my burrito.  Relinquishing to my love for vegetables (can one relinquish to a love for vegetables?), I ordered the #7 burrito with broccoli, cabbage, squash, and zucchini.  It also had rice, beans, and I thought it was supposed to have cheese, though I detected none.  It was good, but it wasn’t great.  I thought I’d love a burrito with all those veggies in it, but it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.  Standard fatty/greasy Mexican food is probably tastier to the tongue – but mine was no doubt healthier!  I’m not sure if it was a fault in burrito creation, or in the fabrication of said burrito in my mind while I ordered it.

Burrito

Veggie burrito #7 - beans, rice, broccoli, zucchini, squash, and cabbage from Taqueria Azteca in Dublin, CA.

The boyfriend ordered his beloved and highly coveted nachos*, and enjoyed them. They sure looked good, I’ll tell you that.  The chips, oddly, did not appear to be the same deliciously thick and flaky ones offered with the salsa bar – I’m not sure if they were the same but just fried again or if they actually use different chips.  The guac wasn’t my favorite, but the cheese was well-dispersed, and the salsa was fresh tasting.

Nachos

Nachos sans meat at Taqueria Azteca in Dublin, CA.

His final evaluation was that he enjoyed the nachos, and that he would order them again, but he probably wouldn’t run to friends to recommend that they try these particular nachos.  I think that’s a fair conclusion.

Tortilla chips

Tortilla chips are free and so delicious at Taqueria Azteca in Dublin, CA.

Azteca is good for a bite if you’re in the area: authentic menu, clean seating area, good food, and GREAT prices – did I mention that both of our meals together with a soda and unlimited chips and salsa was $11?  Yeah, not too bad.  Hence why value is so good on my summary at the top.  I’d go again if not just to try another one of those veggie burritos…I think I’d go for the peas and lentils next time, sounds interesting!

*We’ve done a lot of traveling – nachos are the first thing to be made poorly in Mexican restaurants abroad, though everything else on the menu is quick to follow.

Yanagi

Atmosphere: 5/5   ♦   Service: 4/5   ♦   Food Quality: 5/5   ♦   Value: 5/5
Times Visited: Lots, but first time in this location   ♦   Will I Return?: Most certainly.
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This branch of Yanagi can be found on Dublin Boulevard in Dublin, far from the center of trade for the rest of the restaurants in this small chain.  We were first introduced to Yanagi in San Luis Obispo, where my boyfriend and I went to college.  Yanagi is our favorite restaurant in SLO and we make a b-line for the front doors every time we visit.  To our delight, the Dublin location left us just as happy as our much beloved Central Coast counterpart.

I’ll cut right to it – the best part of Yanagi is the menu.  This place is first class in so many ways, but it really shines through when you open the giant leather bound book to select your dinner of choice.  Firstly, the menu is huge.  I don’t just mean for selection (which is also plentiful), I mean physically huge – the thing is a monster.  You know they’re serious when they hand you a menu that weighs more than the chair you’re sitting on.  Next, there are pictures of each dish on the menu.  Not crappy, unappetizing pictures, but real, professional, make-you-want-to-order-one-of-everything pictures.  Everything looks fabulous, and, having tried nearly everything, I can tell you that pretty much all of it is.

The epic menu at Yanagi.

After you finally manage to pick just one thing (or a few) from the expansive menu of tantalizing appetizers, elaborate sushi rolls, rice bowls, and dinner combinations, you are left to wait for your meal with a tiny, free bowl of warm, salted edamame.  Yummmm.  When your dish arrives, everything looks just as good as it did in its professional portrait – right down to the fresh cut tropical flower perched on the edge of the oblong plates of sushi rolls.  The food is fabulous.  I often crave the Hungry Roll that I am wont to order, and boyfriend is a stickler for the Sunshine Roll, swiping at my chop sticks when I steal a bite.  Last night, my mom and her boyfriend had the teriyaki chicken over sizzling veggies, which they both loved.

Teriyaki chicken over veggies.

Sunshine roll at Yanagi.

The service at this new Yanagi was good, but the owner didn’t come chat to us like she does at the SLO location (sad face) – but we’ll give it some time.  The decor is elegant and beautiful – it’s quite a find tucked into a random, unassuming commercial strip on Dublin Blvd.  And this location even has teppanyaki (or as my mom calls it, Benihana) where you can watch your dinner be prepared right on the table in front of you for a fun night out.  This place really does have it all.