Note: The restaurant is under a different ownership. We haven't been there since.
Even though "El Farolito" is only two or three blocks away from our home, this was our first visit (March 2004). The little Mexican restaurant is a breakfast and lunch place only (its hours are 6:30am - 4:30pm approximately), and we usually go out for dinner, not lunch.
For some reason, the facade of the restaurant, with its heavy screen door, dark window and colorful painting of a street light (a farolito) scared Mike. I don't know how awful he thought the place would be, but he was pleasantly surprised to see it was just a small, slightly claustrophobic, neighborhood dive. The little restaurant features only four uncomfortable booths and nine stools at the counter. The walls are decorated by magazine pictures of Latin music stars; as in most neighborhood Mexican restaurants there is a TV turned on in a corner. The two women who run the restaurant were very friendly and it was a nice place to have a meal. A slice of Mexico, if you like.
The menu includes both Mexican and American favorites for breakfast and lunch. I decided on the chilaquiles, one of the house specialties ($8 or $9, they came with rice and beans) while Mike went for the small carnitas burrito (around $5). We also had a chocolate shake ($4) and a couple of sodas.
I was not impressed by the chilaquiles. I felt the portion was small for the price. These chilaquiles had been prepared with scrambled eggs, which I didn't really like. They didn't seem to have any cream and you could barely taste the cheese. Still, they were eatable, just not exciting. The burrito was better. It was fairly substantive, specially for a "small" and Mike found it quite tasty, though not as good as those of our favorite taqueria. The chocolate shake tasted artificially flavored; I wouldn't order it again.
All in all, I'm not sure if we'll go back. Mike said he'd be willing to but with so many other taquerias and Mexican restaurants in our neighborhood I think I'll stick to my favorites.
13515 East 14th St.
San Leandro, CA