Well to start with the bartender is super hot! She makes the best margaritas I've ever had! I love going every chance I get even though I live far from the place! I totally recommend you try Juanitas plate it's my absolute favorite thing to get!!!
Why people eat here always baffles me. I've lived in Alameda my whole life, and eaten here many times; although in recent years I've had to be practically dragged. Usually I go along hoping to give this place the benefit of the doubt, maybe they've changed. But every time I realize, no they haven't.
The service is usually ok, but I have dealt with the occasional surly waitress.
The decor is dark and dingy, as if they haven't even painted the walls in years.
But the food? Ugh. Ok at best, barely edible at worst. For example, more than once I've been served tortilla chips that were burned. (you'd think they could at least would pick out the ones charred black?) But my worst experience was when I was served a glass of water which had soap suds. So not only was the glass not rinsed properly, somehow the server paid so little attention she didn't even notice until after she handed it to me and I pointed it out. At least she was apologetic, but I'd definitely say that shook my confidence of whether or not their food is clean.
Juanita's only real good points are you never have to wait for a table, and they are open late. But the reason there is no wait is because the restaurant is always empty. I've never seen more than about 25 people inside at one time, (at the most!) which is much lower than their capacity. Maybe there's a reason?
La Piñata down the street has the same hours; and in contrast to Juanita's, gets so many customers they have bought out no less than three adjacent businesses so they could knock out the walls to expand.
Despite what you may be told, Juanita's isn't a secret restaurant only locals know about. It's a dump that only locals would go to. While it's not the worst mexican food you'll ever eat, it's definitely the worst on the island. I know because I have eaten at them all.
I am an expert when it comes to authentic Mexican cooking and I have dined in most Mexican restaurants up and down the entire state of California. For my money, Juanita's is the absolute best in Mexican cooking. Their sauces are authentic and wonderful. Their best dishes include tomales, tostadas, enchalades, and many of their seafood dishes. Try their seafood soup, fabulous! Here you will find the best Burrito; the Famoso Carne Asada. Without a doubt, they make the best hand made tortillias I have ever tasted. I have never had a bad meal at Juanita's and I eat there at least once a week. The servers are very friendly and polite and work hard to satisfy their customers.
I have been going to this restaurant for years. The food is flavorful, especially the caldo de pollo (chicken soup)...you can taste the veggies! If you are looking to eat in an establishment where the food is great and the atmosphere is calm,quiet...then you should eat there. It doesn't usually get too busy, except around hollidays, and the prices are not over-the-top. Open late, until 3am.
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