CONFESSIONS OF A                                                                  
A San Francisco Girl's Down and Dirty Adventures in the Culinary Playground

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Cold Tamale (update on Tamal -- San Francisco, CA)

I have agonized over this post. I really hate to do it. Being a restaurant whore, I know that running a restaurant is a tricky business. But I have a reputation to uphold and I must report that on my last visit to Tamal, I was sorely disappointed.

What sucks even more is that the chef's daughter was a student of mine. A student who I adore. But that doesn't change the fact that the restaurant is not the smorgasborg of delights I had discovered on my first visit.

On my last trip there, it simply wasn't very good. I found that the shrimp tamale I was so enamored with before had a bitter taste. And the masa was super dry. Like cotton dry. On top of that, I was pretty ill later in the evening (which may or may not be a result of the meal). The other things we had that night were not bad, but they weren't great. And we're in San Francisco, so you really have no reason to eat anything that's less than great. Especially a sub par tamale since we've got the fan-fucking-tastic tamale lady selling them cheaper than yo mama.

This hurts me so. The building blocks are there, it just seems consistency isn't a strong suit. And for me, consistency is the hallmark of a good restaurant, so...

At any rate, I cannot in good conscience stand by my previous review. I still contend you can get a good meal there, but it's not a guarantee. Sucky for me, sucky for you, sucky for them, sucky for all.


"To eat is a necessity. To eat intelligently is an art."
--La Rochefoucauld


Blogger Sam said...

Fatemeh and I were so keen to try this place out for lunch a while back. we were on our way there before discovering it is closed at that time on Saturdays. It got such great reviews at the start, and now it seems to have lost favour I am not quite so keen to visit, esepcially as I have never liked tamales anyway.

BTW - Ti Couz have changed their Brut Cidre to Le Village and it sucks! I still love Ti Couz but I aint drinking the cider I used to rave about until they change the brand to something more decent again.

7/11/2005 9:31 AM  
Blogger Joy said...


I hurts me so much (the cidre and the downfall of tamal). Perhaps both will have a reversal of fortune.


7/11/2005 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had googeled Tamal and ran across your review site. I almost didn't eat there last week as a result of your review comments, but fortunately I was not in charge of the destination.

I went with three girlfriends two of whom are what 'they' call regulars at Tamal and we had a great time.

The food was very good and interesting and the staff was friendly and cute.

I had never seen your site I post over at YELP! and use city search a lot but did enjoy a number of your links and your own take on food as well.

I bookmarked you so I could use your links, but thought I would give you a note on the fact that this place is really very good. I will be returning soon as I live in the neighborhood and agree there is little good and fun and affordable and this is all of those things.

11/08/2005 11:01 AM  
Blogger Joy said...


I have no doubts that Tamal turns out good food sometimes -- my original review was highly positive. On repeat visits, however, I found the food to be not as good and felt a responsibility to report that. If you read my first post, you'll see that I feel that consistancy is the hallmark of a good restaurant. Unfortunately, Tamal has not been consistant in my experience.

I'm glad you had a good meal -- everyone's got different tastes and opinions.

You need to know that it pained me to write anything bad as I know the chef/owner, but I really felt that it was not living up to what I originally wrote.

11/09/2005 8:30 PM  

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