Food & Drink: Tequila Time

There’s a lot to love at Fairfax’s new Tamal

By Tanya Henry

Fairfax is arguably the liveliest town in Marin—especially after dark. Virtually every night of the week, there is live music, movies that let out after 10pm and nightcaps for the thirsty. And now, tequila and mezcal have been added to the mix by way of Tamal, a Mexican-themed restaurant that recently opened in the space long occupied by The Sleeping Lady.

Most notably, the space has been transformed. No longer dark and crowded, the room boasts sleek wood tables and booths, juxtaposed with off-white walls and flooring, giving the restaurant a clean, contemporary feel. Along with seating for nearly 50 inside, Tamal boasts an outdoor patio that is slated to open in the next couple of weeks.

Tamal will make tequila lovers happy. More than 10 different margarita cocktails include everything from shrubs, to cola syrup to toasted coconut, and a house margarita, prepared with blanco tequila, lime and orange-infused agave, is a winner.

Bay Area chef Steve Jaramillo—who spent time in some well-known East Bay kitchens, including Lalime’s in Berkeley and Fonda in Albany—was tapped to head up the kitchen at Tamal.

Antojitos—or small plates—priced between $9 and $18, range from salad options, to crudo and ceviche to hot items like carnitas, chile rellenos and Devil’s Gulch quail served with a green Oaxacan mole and rice. The carne asada tacos include marinated skirt steak with charred serrano chile salsa served with housemade tortillas.

By the look of the early crowds, Fairfax’s hot new place appears to be a welcome addition. Surprisingly, families with kids of all ages also seem to be flocking to the bar-focused eatery, and have no doubt discovered the lemon limeade and hibiscus soda options.

Tamal, 23 Broadway Blvd., Fairfax; 415/524-8478.

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