Taqueria de Amigos
You might not have noticed this spot for any attribute other than its low gas prices—and yes, it is located inside of a gas station market on Pescadero Creek Road. Without a recommendation, the natural inclination is to stay away from gas station hot food, but you’d be missing arguably the cheapest and greatest Mexican food on the western edge of the Peninsula. Your pocket change will cover the cost of fish tacos (the chips and salsa are free) and with a quick ten-minute drive, you’ll soon be relishing a perfect California day at the beach. 1999 Pescadero Creek Road, open every day from 9AM to 9PM.
El Palenque Taqueria
Located on an unassuming block a dash from Highway 101 is this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it local favorite, infamous for luring foodies from up and down the Peninsula to explore an otherwise sleepy suburban quadrant of San Mateo. El Palenque Taqueria offers traditional favorites at a cut-rate price (a super burrito is just $7.25, avocado included) but this popular take-out joint distinguishes itself with its refined dinner plate menu. The bell ringer: the alambre, a beef scramble that sizzles with bacon and bell peppers topped in a coat of cheese. The only decoration on the walls are a few ornamental roosters suggesting that when you’re at El Palenque, the focus is on the flavor. 15 North Kingston Street, open every day from 10AM to 8:45PM.
Taqueria la Cazuela
Taqueria La Cazuela in East Palo Alto is bright with traditional papel picado décor and booming with sounds of grilling meat and crowd chatter. This popular Mexican restaurant is simple, to-the-point and easily loveable. Grab your meal of choice and eat outside the green-colored building under the hanging lights and canopy of trees. La Cazuela’s prolific menu and one-to-three-dollar tacos are especially intriguing, but the real proof is in the flan. All of the traditional Mexican meals you could crave at a taqueria are available at La Cazuela. 2390 Clarke Avenue, open Monday through Saturday 8AM to 8PM; closed Sundays.