Dona Tomas offers some really interesting and unique fare. The food is quintessentially Mexican but it is quite refined and employs seasonal ingredients, creates twists on classics, and overall takes an innovative approach to all their dishes. It's somewhat upscale for Mexican food, but it's worth it. Entrees range about $15-$19. They have an excellent tequila and mezcal selection and have a great cocktail list. Surprisingly, their deserts are really good. The only reason I give four stars is that the host/hostess staff are RUDE! The wait staff is great, but they think it's ok to ignore you when you come in, and give you arbitrarily long waits with no explanation or apology when there are clearly tables. That's just poor hospitality. Especially when there is no comfortable place to wait at all. Just because Temescal is 'trendy' it's not *that* trendy.
My new favorite mexican rest in Oakland! The Guacamole is to die for, the salsa with its robust roasted chilies was great, and the vegetarian black mole and squash dish was awesome! If you have room for desert or decide to split one with your partner, have the flan with a mexxican hot chocolate! So good!
PROS: Flavors are robust and the atmosphere is warm, staff very friendly
CONS: A tad pricey and a long wait without a res on a friday or saturday night
I am still drooling from all of the excellent food at Dona Tomas. At first glance, it is just a little yuppie-looking restaurant on Telegraph with cute vintage tables and nice decor. But as soon as you are seated at your table, you realize that it is different from other restaurants. The service people are genuinely nice, fast, and eager to help and the food is completely delicious and very unusual for the Bay Area.
PROS: delicious food, great service
Mexican food is a favorite of mine but most of it in restaurants is bareley edible. I looked forward to Dona Tomas as i saw the bit on Eye on the bay t.v. program. It is a 70 mile roundtrip for me so I made a reservation well in advance. We arrived and went to the bar and after a short wait( 20 min.) were shown to a table in a small room in back of the patio. There was a party of 14 and we could not hear each other. It was a poor pace to seat a party of 2.A brown grainy flavorless "salsa" was served with chips. Next course was ceviche and a fried shrimp appetizer. Ceviche was served on corn chips and the very sour soupy consistency made the chips soggy and there was nothing to the ceviche but sour taste. no spiceness. The breading on the shrimp was glutinous flour. The entree courses were scallops and carnitas. The scallops were very good with a exceptional sauce. The carnitas were very dry and extremely stringy with nothing to moisten them. I lacked the dessire to have dessert. Their margaritas were very good. The staff was friendly and very efficient. Our tab for 2 was $117.00 . I was very disappointed in the food as i would love to have great mexican food again. The last was at Ramona's Reataurant in San Rafael.
Pros: Very poor quality food badly prepared
Cons: good margarita and nice staff
I love Mexican food and was excited about the carnitas at Dona Tomas. People told me it was their best dish so I was very disapointed to find it was incredibly dry and there were a lot of questionable pieces that I did not eat. I actually like my meat dry so for me to say it was too dry means the average diner would have been appaled. Despite a long standing reservation we, three in our party, were seated at a two person table right next to the bar. We objected to the seating and were told that was all we could have unless we wanted to wiat for at least 30 minutes. There were only two chairs and two place settings at the table and no one brought us a third chair for our third person so we had to find an available chair ourselves. Our server was preoccupied and completely unconcerned with us. Many requests for glasses of water went unanswered. The worst part was being seated next to the bar--people's rear ends were only inches from our faces as we ate. A$$ in your face was symbolic of the entire dining experience. I will never give this place my patronage again.
Cons: dry meat, poor and seemingly inexperienced service
We came beacuse of the good review on here. Possibly the chef has changed but this place was way below average.
We go to restaurants almost everyday so we know the value of good food. This was slightly above Taco Bell both in quality of food, presentation, and mainly the service! The menu does not describe items accurately, the lavishly described mashed avocado with lime for $7 was merely a very substandard guacomole with chips.
When we asked for a piece of bread we were told they do not have any bread and ALL of their appetizers come with chips. The waiter was extremely rude and this ws the first time in my life that I didn't leave any tip. Absolutely not recommended! Oh, and extremely overprized as well.
Pros: The fish was ok, but nothing special for $20
Cons: Service, price, ambience, food
Yes, the place can get crowded and yes it can be noisy by the bar, but the food is great and the staff is friendly and helpful. Prices seem very reasonable. For all of those complaining about the prices--this is not a taqueria, so why would you expect taqueria prices? Also, I have never left the place without either being completely stuffed or taking leftovers home. How much food does one need? Anyway, back to the point. This place serves up some great food. And the menu is always changing to take advantage of what?s fresh and in-season. I've had great seafood dishes here and the margaritas are excellent. The complimentary house-made chips with ancho-chili salsa are awesome and another reason why I don?t understand how you could leave this place hungry. You can't go wrong here.
Pros: great food and drinks
We have had good and bad experiences at this restaurant. We like the margueritas and generally like the food, although it is overpriced. The last time we were there, however, we asked to be seated before our entire party had arrived (we were going to order drinks and hors d'oevres) and were treated rudely by the staff and the owner. We left without ordering anything. My impression is that the service at this nice neighborhood restaurant has slipped since it originally opened.
Pros: Good margueritas, interesting food
Cons: Poor service, overpriced
This is a nice place for Oakland peeps to meet for a drink and some tapas. If you're looking for a cheap plate of Mexican vittles, look elsewhere. If you're looking for a Latin inspired place to hang out with a gnosh and some booze and some atmosphere you'll love it.
I have to say I think it's heavy on the tomato in everything, overtaking most of the potential flavor. The signature carnitas are just not there. I've had them a couple times and I'd rather buy from a local mexi-deli, sad to say.
I definitely recommend Dona for a social get together for a drink and to split a plate of food while you talk and laugh. I recommend its atmosphere above anything else in this vein, thus far, in Oakland.
However, in the world of choices available in the close-in East Bay and SF, I have to rate this as solidly average with the food dipping below.
Fun atmosphere but not a lot of deliciousness for your dollars.
Pros: Atmosphere for social occasions
Cons: food overly one-note, that note being tomatoes
great atmosphere, indoor and outdoor patio seating, make sure to make a reservation. Food was delicious, the portions aren't that big, but food was very tasty. Bar is a little crowded and small. soup was very good, carnitas are a little dry but overall a nice place to have authentic mexican food.
Tasty treats abounded, the margaritas were yummy, and the service was snappy. But really, the carnitas for $17 weren't that much better than the $5 plate you can get at a dozen places in Fruitvale. So, if you are a pretentious yuppie who would rather buy good if highly overpriced food than slum with the poor folks, this place is for you.
Pros: Great food, good drinks
Cons: Way too expensive for Mexican
I didn't really mind all the noise because I was loud right along with the rest of them. The menu was cheaply printed on one piece of loose paper with drinks on the opposite side. It even looked like their liquor selection was better than the actual food. The menu was in Spanish but I think that was only done to give it the "feel" of a authentic mexican restaurant. When we received our meals we just looked at it and started laughing. They were much smaller than we expected. Yes, we ate the food, it was good but we did go to a mexican food place in Pittsburg later that night. Lets just say we should've avoided the first one and went directly to the one in Pittsburg!!!!
Cons: portions, service
Really wonderful food, and a great atmosphere do NOT make up for the fact that the Dona Tomas staff loses dinner reservations on a regular basis, and that they served my ten-year-old an alcoholic drink when she ordered a VIRGIN margarita.
I may waffle on this sentiment if I'm in the neighborhood on a warm evening. Especially if it's a slow night. Because the food really was yummy, and the back patio is gorgeous."
Pros: outside courtyard, nice servers, delicious food
Cons: lost reservations!
I have never before been treated so incredibly rude at any restaurant. I was with a group 13 ppl and were asked to hurry up and order, napkins thrown out on the table, eyes rolled at and left quite hungry!
I DO NOT RECOOMEND THIS PLACE for a sit down dining experience. The only time I would ever go back would be for take out.
Cons: rude wait staff, slow service, food portions
I've eaten here 9 times and enjoyed each visit. No, it isn't a great value and if you're looking for fast service and large portions of spicy, cheesy, greasy goodness this place probably will disappoint. If you like to linger over fresh, simple food in a place with charming atmosphere you will enjoy DT. Is the food "authentic"? Who cares? It's good. I like the cocktails and have found the service friendly and professional. The pace is slow, fostering a relaxed dining experience. Why are gringos always in a rush? DT has two atmospheres: a loud, energetic inside, and a quieter, romantic outside. Both are great in their own way. If noise bothers you, you'll want to sit outside. Bring a sweater in case the patio heaters don't quite reach you. The outdoor fountain and the food remind me of the nuevo-Mexican restaurant, El Naranjo, in Oaxaca.
Pros: delicious food, garden patio, good cocktails
The first time I ate here, they left the seeds in my chile relleno - BIG culinary no in any culture.. But I decided to give them a second chance, and the food has always come through thereafter. Now it's THE local nice restaurant that we frequent for a relaxed yet special occassion. I'm going there for my birthday tonight! Don't pay any attention to the people whining about slow service - there are just some places that urge you to relish and savor your evening, so it's really nice not to be rushed. They aren't trying to cultivate a taqueria environment, the goal here is mexican food that's not gonna stuff you up and make you all gassy, in an atmoshphere where you can take your time, have a few drinks and savor your night. They even have heutlacoche sometimes! (a mexican fungus that grows on corn)
Pros: nice bar, good food, easy going
Cons: the wait for a table,, which is neutralized, by the bar! :)
I am from Mexico and I love Mexican food. if you believe that Mexican food is burritos and tacos then skip my review.
The restaurant is overrated, and not truly mexican. My furst experience in the restaurant started with reading the menu, the Spanish menu had about 10 spelling mistakes that made me suspicious. Then I asked for a Bohemia beer, they brought me the beer with a lime inside! Anyone that know about mexican beer would know that you dont put a lime in a Bohemia beer, it is close to putting lemon in milk.
The food tasted ok, it tried har, but was not truly mexican, I would say it is a California Mexican cuisine, which is better than Tex-Mex which is what you find everywhere else.
hower the prices are a bit high for what you get...
Pros: close to my house, ambience
Cons: not truly mexican, overrated
The food is beyond compare with its complex tastes. The highly touted mixed drinks were strangely lukewarm (as was the beer) and the service people seemed disinterested, or bored. The person bussing my table removed some of the food before we had finished. The high unadorned walls did nothing to dampen the amazingly loud ambience. Maybe the tables need to be moved away from the bar. What a shame! I had heard so many great things about this place. I hope it was just an off night. Oakland needs great restaurants!
Pros: complex flavors, quality ingredients, its in Oakland!
Cons: loud, loud, loud, waitstaff mediocre, mixed drinks warm
Last night I had their chile relleno and it was amazing. I was in bliss. I also had their scallops one time and that dish was good. But I've gone in big groups of people where some of their meals were just "okay" (one tip: I always ask the waiters to help me decide between a few possible entree choices). And since this place is pretty expensive compared to some of the other great mexican restaurants out there (JUAN'S PLACE!), that can be a big problem. But the margaritas are great -- I actually like the Especial (the cheapest one). It has a great pear taste hidden somewhere in there. Also the Dona Colada is a cut above your typical Pina Colada -- worth the money.
Overall, this is a good upscale Mexican restaurant. The dishes are inventive and fresh, but the tab can be a little high. Be careful with the chips -- ours were covered in salt (an accident, I guess). Margaritas were exceptionally strong, but that's a good thing!
Pros: Inventive, Not the usual Mexican
Servers are way cool, but too busy to wait on tables. Poor response from manager, too busy to attend to unhappy diners. Who would want to?
Food is nice & pretty and always sounds intriguing, but totally overpriced for tasteless & unsastisfactory dishes (shrimp enchiladas).
Too many SF attitude people who cross the bridge for 'a hip new place' will be disappointed.
Head to Pico Paco across the street, at least their whole beans have flavor.
Pros: appetizers, decor in bar
Cons: staff, food, s...l....o.....w
Food was good, fresh ingredients make a huge difference. I had the carne asada and it was good. The outdoor patio is cool, reminds me of old town San Diego. Ive definitely had better margaritas. Service is slow, very slow and not friendly.
Pros: Food, outdoor patio
Cons: Service, Margaritas
excellent food and atmosphere. Service is sometimes alittle slow. I recommend it highly!
When this restaurant first opened and we ate there in October the food was okay but not special. What was apparent was the "lack of food"! The portions were small and not filling, but expensive. Since the reviews were good and the tables filled, we tried again and there was no change. Extremely small servings accompanied by a high price tag. "You get what you pay for"... but not at Dona Tomas.
Pros: Neighbhorhood locatio, Attractive patio, Non-traditional food
Cons: Small portions, Expensive, Noisy
We are hooked and feel this is the best Mexican food we have had in a long, long time...
Pros: Service, Attitude, Location
Cons: Not open for lunch, Can't afford to go ev, Small bar area
Dona Tomas combines the best of everything: Cute neighborhood, Great food, Fabulous service, Homey ambience Solid value, And best of all, Customer convenience.
Pros: Fresh Food, Great variety, Attentive service
Cons: Too many know
Artsy atmosphere, lovely inside and out. And the food is so fresh and unique. Love it.
This restaurant delivered so much! It looked so plain and simple on the outside but once inside, I was transported and given an authentic experience in Mexican cuisine. The food was incredible; the carnitas were to die for and the sopa di lima hit the spot. Yum, yum. I will be coming here again and again.
Pros: lively atmosphere, exceptional food, great value
Outdoor seating was fabulous! Shady if you wanted it, sunny if you wanted that! Best of everything!
Behind a rather modest facade is perhaps the most authentic (and delicious) Mexican food in the Bay Area. A diverse menu that can please all appetites. Quesadillas and carnitas are exceptional highlights but I highly recommend starting with the margaritas and saving room for dessert. Patio dining is a very nice touch.
Pros: Good parking, Easy freeway access, Nice patio dining
Cons: Often busy
While Oakland has some of the best food in the Bay Area, it is rare to find an outdoor setting, sheltered from the street and providing a true refuge to enjoy sumptuous food. Dona Tomas has such an oasis. Falling water, heat lamps, tequila to be sipped...need i Say more!
Pros: kickass food, good parking, best mexican
Cons: brunch used to kickas
Their food was savory and delicious. The best Mexican food Ive ever had!
This is by far one of the best Mexican restaurant outside of Mexico -- Authentic and fresh food--the carnitas are to die for, crispy and delicious...and the margaritas are really incredible...Try to sit in the patio area--its a very cool and romantic place to hang out. I will come back!
Pros: The FOOD, Margaritas
Cons: Hard to reserve
This is a the restaurant you want if you want authentic Mexican food. If you just want burritos and tacos go to Taco Bell or a 100 other places that offer the same old thing. The fish is fresh and wonderful and the sauces are to die for. One of the best Margarita's in the area and very reasonable prices. Carnitas are a specialty of the house and cooked all day crisp on the outside and ooh so tender on the inside. A can't miss place to eat.
Pros: inexepensive, quality food, great margaritas
By far the best mexican food and margaritas in the area. Definantly Reccommend.
Pros: patio dinning, great margarita's
When I want delicious authentic Mexican food, I head for Dona Tomas. I have eaten there dozens of times and have never been disappointed. The menu changes regularly so there are always new surprises. One menu mainstay, however, are the carnitas, which are simply the best I have ever tasted. From the chips and salsa to the appetizers to the margaritas, there is no question in my mind that Dona Tomas is Numero Uno!
Pros: creative menu, awesome food, good parking
Cons: crowded dining room
This place has the best margaritas I've ever tasted!! Great place to enjoy on a Friday after work,or any day for that matter. Friendly people, great food and atmosphere. Worth the wait.
Pros: Outdoor Patio, Great margaritas, Excellent Food
Rising Star in East Bay. It's definately worth the wait on weekends. A real tour de force in Mexican cuisine. Unquestionably, the #1 Margarita in the Bay Area. Outstanding Carnitas & Delightful desserts highlight a dynamic, creative Menu that caters to all Vegetarians, Fish-Eaters and Meat-eaters alike. Outdoor, patio seating creates a wonderful & peaceful setting during the Summer and Winter Months. Do NOT miss D&T!!!
Pros: Outdoor Patio Seating, Quaint Bar, Friendly Service
Cons: bit loud on weekends, limited # of seats, that there is only 1
Great food and a wonderful patio. Fresh food with a wonderful presentation.
This place rocks! Possibly the best mexican food I have ever eaten in the U.S. Reminds me a bit of the food I had eaten in some of the better restaurants in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. My Peruvian girlfriend is kinda picky but she loved the food here. Carnitas were crispy and delicious. The chile rellanos were exquisite, prepared in very unique fashion. They have lots of different tequilas too, which goes great with a good mexican meal. Margaritas were excellent as well. Service was great. Sit out on the heated patio if you can.
Pros: Great Mexican Food, Fair Pricing, Excellent margaritas
I brought a few out of town guests here last weekend, and proceeded to be treated with hands down the most exquisite south of the border cuisine I've ever experienced! The moment we were promptly seated we were tantalized by crispy house-cut chips with a dark and mysterious roasted salsa... leading into a passionate dance of tender yet crispy carnitas and mouth watering ahi (couldn't keep my fingers off the fingerlings-YUM!)
Attentive, knowledgeable, and attractive service a plus (LOVE the dreads!), this hot spot is the hot seat of romantic escapedia!