Los Panchos Restaurant — San Ramon
Inexpensive Mexican (including those great crispy tacos) in the Tri-Valley.
The Los Panchos in Pacheco is well established as a cheap eats Mecca for Mexican food lovers, but maybe not as well known is its sister eatery in the Tri-Valley. The San Ramon spot (named, appropriately, Los Panchos 2) has the same cheap-and-tasty fare in a bright, cute space. And, just like the Pacheco Los Panchos, it’s not hard to eat here for less than $10.
Burritos come in three categories, all easy on the budget: Regular burritos ($1.65–$3.55) are the simplest and smallest; super burritos ($4.25–$6.85) include beans, rice, and cheese, plus such additions as carne asada and carnitas; happy burritos ($4.50–$7.50) also include lettuce, tomatoes, guacamole, and sour cream. The restaurant’s signature item, however, is the crispy taco: ground beef or chicken that’s nestled in a freshly fried corn tortilla, bent into the classic Ortega-style pocket shape, and covered with lettuce and cheese. They’re totally delicious and only $1.59 a pop. Check out the pork-filled tamales, too, which are smothered in a warm, satisfying red sauce. And don’t forget to get a milky rice horchata drink (1.30–1.75) to put out any spicy fires.
Enjoy that Warm Weather: While the small interior lacks seating, Los Panchos 2 has a pretty, tree-lined patio with around 15 tables—excellent on a warm day.
Extra Extra: For orders over $25, they’ll throw in a free container of delish bean dip, and you can always help yourself to the on-the-house salsa.
Customize Your Size: Many of the dinners, all of which include rice and beans, are available in half-orders.Los Panchos Restaurant, 3104-C and D Crow Canyon Pl., San Ramon, (925) 275-1300, lospanchosrestaurant.com. Lunch and dinner Mon.–Sat.