Mexicali Rose — an Oaktown Classic

September 18, 2011 | Filed under: Hot Spots

At the periphery of the downtown/Old Oakland neighborhood, right at to the edge of the OPD headquarters and 880 freeway, sits a strange looking pink box of a building, that seems like an odd dimensional portal to another time and place, a time when the urban restaurant bar was one of service, comfort, and community. Mexicali Rose is able to make the claim as Oakland’s oldest Mexican Restaurant, in business at this location at 7th & Clay since the 1920s. In fact, though Oakland is the home to a lot of great Mexican cuisine, oaktownman was often missing the type of homestyle Mexican restaurant/bar that one can find all over the L.A. area. Then he realized that Mexicali Rose is just such a place, complete with attached parking lot and somewhat depressed street surroundings. 


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View from the parking lot, with the Oakland jailhouse towering across the street.


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One of many surrounding bail bonds joints, seen from the front door.


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The Mexicali Special: a taco, enchilada, and chile relleno with rice & beans, guacamole, and sour cream.

The food is ultimately quite satisfying. You will surely not leave this place hungry. All portions are generous, and service attentive and friendly. 



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 Roses are everywhere, as well as inspiring Mayan imagery.


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The bar has its own scene with obvious regulars who seemed to be enjoying themselves as if at home. On the weekends, the restaurant is open till 1am, so it can be a great place to drink, or to get a midnight snack. Definitely check this place out, if even to drink in the old school charm.

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Regulars seated at the bar


Mexicali Rose

Google Place Page 

701 Clay Street, Oakland

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