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10 Spots to Stock Up on Tamales in the East Bay

Place your Nochebuena orders as soon as possible

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As you’re making your list and checking it twice for Christmas, don’t forget the tamales. On Christmas Eve, or Nochebuena as it is known in Mexico, dinner includes tamales, which you could say come wrapped up like little gifts ready to be devoured. We’ve wrangled 10 spots in the East Bay that sell them by the dozen so you too can participate in this tradition. Put your orders in now to eat a tamal or two at Christmas Eve; then, freeze and eat them again through the rest of the year, preferably with a steaming cup of champurrado.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Masa

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199 Park Pl
Richmond, CA 94801
(510) 778-1463
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A drive to Point Richmond is rewarded at Masa with 11 types of tamales including four vegetarian options and two dessert tamales (don’t miss the strawberry). The large tamales practically fall apart as they tumble out of the husk and that’s a good thing. The ratio of tender masa to filling is balanced and the price of $2 per tamal invites mixing and matching.  Place Nochebuena orders as soon as possible. The restaurant is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

2. Casa Latina Bakery

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1805 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702
(510) 558-7177

On the border of Albany and North Berkeley on San Pablo, Casa Latina sells long and skinny tamales in pork, chicken, or cheese. Plan on ordering a dozen of their sturdy tamales one week in advance for Nochebuena. Or, if eating them at Casa Latina, under the gaze of a multitude of Frida Kahlo paintings, order them “al Vapor”-style, steamed and topped with salsa verde, queso, and crema or “Abuela”-style, steamed, then fried and doused in mole.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

3. Tamaleria Azteca

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5751 Market St
Oakland, CA 94608
(510) 200-3190
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At Tamaleria Azteca in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Oakland, two big signs announce that December 20 is the last day to order Christmas tamales. This spot has been in business for 27 years, and you can expect hefty tamales with firm masa, available in chicken, pork, cheese, corn, and vegetable — with the last two options being the ones not made with lard. Go with the pork, juicy and succulent, not just because they often run out of the vegetable and cheese options.

Tamales Tamaleria Azteca

4. La Guerrera’s Kitchen

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468 8th St
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 424-8577
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The La Cocina alumi, mother-daughter team at La Guerrera’s makes Guerrero-style tamales at this Old Oakland outpost near City Center BART in the old Tamarindo spot (in January they’ll move to Swan’s Market). Try chicken tamales or go with their vegan tamales made from lard-free masa and stuffed with calabacitas. Tamales can be ordered all month in December, but the last day for a Nochebuena pre-order online was December 19. They’ll be closed December 25-28.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

5. Supermercado Mi Tierra, #2

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2758 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 261-6663
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If you plan ahead and show up at 9 a.m. you can score fresh tamales made in small batches at Supermercado Mi Tierra on Fruitvale most days of the week — though they sell out, for good reason. The masa is tender and flavorful. The chicken tamal is everything I could want: juicy and well-seasoned, with an equal ratio of filling to masa. You can also find pork and cheese tamales. For Nochebuena, order 1-2 days in advance.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

6. Tamales Mi Lupita

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3340 Foothill Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 689-9629

Tucked into a tiny parking lot on Foothill is a permanently parked food truck called Tamales Mi Lupita with three kinds of Mexican tamales — huge in size and full of masa but light on flavorful fillings — in pork, chicken, or rajas y queso. They also make Guatemalan-style tamales, cooked in banana leaves and available in pork or chicken. The Nochebuena was on December 18 but you can order tamales at the phone number above.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

7. El Portal Restaurant

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2028 Lewelling Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94579
(510) 878-7954
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In a San Leandro shopping center, you’ll find El Portal, where tamales are served wet, at the table, swimming in red sauce with cheese melted into it. Medium in size, their pork and chicken tamales come with a decent masa to filling ratio. For Nochebuena, order three days in advance and pay when pick up the tamales later. Approximate the in-restaurant experience by warming El Pato enchilada sauce stirred with melty cheese to cover your tamales.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

8. Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas

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23682 Clawiter Rd
Hayward, CA 94545
(510) 244-7738
Visit Website

Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas’ large tamales feature familiar fillings with a twist — like chicken with carrot, zucchini, and potato. Try the vegetable tamales with nopales and garbanzo in masa that’s vegan and gluten-free, too. For Nochebuena, the 12 tamales dinner includes salsa; order online at least two days in advance. Pick up your order at her facility in Hayward or in San Francisco at La Cocina; shipping is available for select Bay Area locations. Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market also carry ATLM tamales.

Tamales Alicia’s Tamales

9. Taqueria Senaida's

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150 Tennyson Rd
Hayward, CA 94544
(510) 783-6031

A line of cars regularly snakes onto the stretch of Tennyson Road in Hayward that curves by Taqueria Senaida’s drive-through. The menu is affixed to the front of an old van in the parking lot and in its window, a hand-written sign announces pork and chicken tamales. Hefty in size, the masa is flavorful with ample well-seasoned meat inside. Nochebuena orders needed to be placed by December 19.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

10. Mis Tamales

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2613 Oliver Dr
Hayward, CA 94545
(510) 785-9130

Driving from an industrial sector of Hayward and into a neighborhood, you might unintentionally sneak up Mis Tamales, the centerpiece of a small shopping strip festooned with photos of menu items including Nicaraguan nacatamales and Guatemalan tamales. You can’t go wrong with the Mexican tamales whether you opt for pork, chicken or chile cheese. The masa is fluffy and flavorful with a satisfactory masa to filling ratio. For Nochebuena, order your dozen by December 22.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

1. Masa

199 Park Pl, Richmond, CA 94801
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

A drive to Point Richmond is rewarded at Masa with 11 types of tamales including four vegetarian options and two dessert tamales (don’t miss the strawberry). The large tamales practically fall apart as they tumble out of the husk and that’s a good thing. The ratio of tender masa to filling is balanced and the price of $2 per tamal invites mixing and matching.  Place Nochebuena orders as soon as possible. The restaurant is closed Christmas Eve and Christmas.

199 Park Pl
Richmond, CA 94801

2. Casa Latina Bakery

1805 San Pablo Ave, Berkeley, CA 94702
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

On the border of Albany and North Berkeley on San Pablo, Casa Latina sells long and skinny tamales in pork, chicken, or cheese. Plan on ordering a dozen of their sturdy tamales one week in advance for Nochebuena. Or, if eating them at Casa Latina, under the gaze of a multitude of Frida Kahlo paintings, order them “al Vapor”-style, steamed and topped with salsa verde, queso, and crema or “Abuela”-style, steamed, then fried and doused in mole.

1805 San Pablo Ave
Berkeley, CA 94702

3. Tamaleria Azteca

5751 Market St, Oakland, CA 94608
Tamales Tamaleria Azteca

At Tamaleria Azteca in the Santa Fe neighborhood of Oakland, two big signs announce that December 20 is the last day to order Christmas tamales. This spot has been in business for 27 years, and you can expect hefty tamales with firm masa, available in chicken, pork, cheese, corn, and vegetable — with the last two options being the ones not made with lard. Go with the pork, juicy and succulent, not just because they often run out of the vegetable and cheese options.

5751 Market St
Oakland, CA 94608

4. La Guerrera’s Kitchen

468 8th St, Oakland, CA 94607
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

The La Cocina alumi, mother-daughter team at La Guerrera’s makes Guerrero-style tamales at this Old Oakland outpost near City Center BART in the old Tamarindo spot (in January they’ll move to Swan’s Market). Try chicken tamales or go with their vegan tamales made from lard-free masa and stuffed with calabacitas. Tamales can be ordered all month in December, but the last day for a Nochebuena pre-order online was December 19. They’ll be closed December 25-28.

468 8th St
Oakland, CA 94607

5. Supermercado Mi Tierra, #2

2758 Fruitvale Ave, Oakland, CA 94601
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

If you plan ahead and show up at 9 a.m. you can score fresh tamales made in small batches at Supermercado Mi Tierra on Fruitvale most days of the week — though they sell out, for good reason. The masa is tender and flavorful. The chicken tamal is everything I could want: juicy and well-seasoned, with an equal ratio of filling to masa. You can also find pork and cheese tamales. For Nochebuena, order 1-2 days in advance.

2758 Fruitvale Ave
Oakland, CA 94601

6. Tamales Mi Lupita

3340 Foothill Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Tucked into a tiny parking lot on Foothill is a permanently parked food truck called Tamales Mi Lupita with three kinds of Mexican tamales — huge in size and full of masa but light on flavorful fillings — in pork, chicken, or rajas y queso. They also make Guatemalan-style tamales, cooked in banana leaves and available in pork or chicken. The Nochebuena was on December 18 but you can order tamales at the phone number above.

3340 Foothill Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601

7. El Portal Restaurant

2028 Lewelling Blvd, San Leandro, CA 94579
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

In a San Leandro shopping center, you’ll find El Portal, where tamales are served wet, at the table, swimming in red sauce with cheese melted into it. Medium in size, their pork and chicken tamales come with a decent masa to filling ratio. For Nochebuena, order three days in advance and pay when pick up the tamales later. Approximate the in-restaurant experience by warming El Pato enchilada sauce stirred with melty cheese to cover your tamales.

2028 Lewelling Blvd
San Leandro, CA 94579

8. Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas

23682 Clawiter Rd, Hayward, CA 94545
Tamales Alicia’s Tamales

Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas’ large tamales feature familiar fillings with a twist — like chicken with carrot, zucchini, and potato. Try the vegetable tamales with nopales and garbanzo in masa that’s vegan and gluten-free, too. For Nochebuena, the 12 tamales dinner includes salsa; order online at least two days in advance. Pick up your order at her facility in Hayward or in San Francisco at La Cocina; shipping is available for select Bay Area locations. Berkeley Bowl and Monterey Market also carry ATLM tamales.

23682 Clawiter Rd
Hayward, CA 94545

9. Taqueria Senaida's

150 Tennyson Rd, Hayward, CA 94544
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

A line of cars regularly snakes onto the stretch of Tennyson Road in Hayward that curves by Taqueria Senaida’s drive-through. The menu is affixed to the front of an old van in the parking lot and in its window, a hand-written sign announces pork and chicken tamales. Hefty in size, the masa is flavorful with ample well-seasoned meat inside. Nochebuena orders needed to be placed by December 19.

150 Tennyson Rd
Hayward, CA 94544

10. Mis Tamales

2613 Oliver Dr, Hayward, CA 94545
Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Driving from an industrial sector of Hayward and into a neighborhood, you might unintentionally sneak up Mis Tamales, the centerpiece of a small shopping strip festooned with photos of menu items including Nicaraguan nacatamales and Guatemalan tamales. You can’t go wrong with the Mexican tamales whether you opt for pork, chicken or chile cheese. The masa is fluffy and flavorful with a satisfactory masa to filling ratio. For Nochebuena, order your dozen by December 22.

2613 Oliver Dr
Hayward, CA 94545

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