clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A table with various kinds of tamales Shutterstock

10 Spots to Stock Up on Tamales in the East Bay

Place your Nochebuena orders as soon as possible

View as Map

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.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
If you book a reservation through an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

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

Casa Latina Bakery

Copy Link

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

Tamaleria Azteca

Copy Link

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

La Guerrera’s Kitchen

Copy Link

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

Supermercado Mi Tierra, #2

Copy Link

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

Tamales Mi Lupita

Copy Link

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

El Portal Restaurant

Copy Link

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

Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas

Copy Link

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

Taqueria Senaida's

Copy Link

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

Mis Tamales

Copy Link

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

Masa

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Casa Latina Bakery

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Tamaleria Azteca

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.

Tamales Tamaleria Azteca

La Guerrera’s Kitchen

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Supermercado Mi Tierra, #2

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Tamales Mi Lupita

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

El Portal Restaurant

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Alicia's Tamales Los Mayas

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.

Tamales Alicia’s Tamales

Taqueria Senaida's

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Mis Tamales

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.

Tamales Annelies Zijderveld

Related Maps