Picante is one of my go-to spots in Berkeley. The location is great, just off highway 80 at Gilman (1328 Sixth St., Berkeley). I love this place not just because of the location, but because the plates are amazing. As a bonus, my dad will eat here and he is incredibly picky when it comes to restaurants; always making sure the kitchens are clean and such.
If you do decide to visit Picante, you must try the mole! It’s probably what they’re most know for, but you can’t lose here with any dish. This last visit I ordered the tostada with battered fish, and split a ceviche with my dad. The chips are house made and cut into strips, perfect for dipping into the ceviche –I highly recommend Picante’s ceviche!
“Mole is one of the most representative dishes of Mexico, especially for major celebrations. Ninety-nine percent of Mexicans have tried at least one type of mole. The dish enjoys its greatest popularity in central and southern Mexico, but simpler versions of mole poblano did make their way north. However, northern versions are far less complex and generally used to make enchiladas.
The consumption of mole is strongly associated with celebrations. In Mexico, to say “to go to a mole” (ir a un mole) means to go to a wedding. Mole has a strong flavor, especially the dark ones and is considered to be an acquired taste for most. This has spawned another saying, “en su mero mole”, which means something like “one’s cup of tea”.”
— From Wikipedia (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mole_sauce)
While Picante may come off looking like a glamorous cafeteria, it is pretty beautiful inside and out with plenty of seating to handle high volume, but I’ve never been there when it’s super busy so tables have always been easy to find. It’s not the most authentic Mexican food out there, but it makes up for it in a lot of ways, and they also cater to the Bezerklian, Non-GMO, vegetarian crowd; complete with a vegetarian only menu.