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Barbacoa Reviews List

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Barbacoa

Welcome to BARBACOA restaurant! We serve the east Bay's finest wood-fired Mexican cuisine. The wood fire feeds the flavors of our roasted meats, fish and vegetables. A full bar compliments the authentic Mexican dishes and our margaritas, beers, wines and classic cocktails will be sure to have you coming back.
45 Current Reviews
Summary of Diner Ratings & Reviews
Overall 
3.4 / 5
(Very Good) 3.4 / 5
(45 Reviews)
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Breakdown 45 reviews
5 stars
(6)
4 stars
(13)
3 stars
(18)
2 stars
(7)
1 star
(1)
Food 
3.5 / 5
(Very Good) 3.5 / 5
Service 
3.3 / 5
(Very Good) 3.3 / 5
Ambiance 
3.5 / 5
(Very Good) 3.5 / 5
Noise Level
2.1 / 3
Energetic
Filter Reviews By:
Diners classify this restaurant as:
  • great for outdoor dining(17)
  • good for groups(13)
  • kid-friendly(13)
  • great for lunch(10)
  • neighborhood gem(9)
  • vibrant bar scene(7)
Barbacoa Reviews List
Review 1 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 10/06/2015
 2002
Dined on 10/06/2015
 2002
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 10/06/2015
 2002
Special Features: great for lunch, vibrant bar scene, fit for foodies
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Review 2 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

barbacoa

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"I hate to use the term foodie, but I am one, so take that into consideration with my review!
Margaritas were made from scratch, good, not great, but good.
Food ok to good, my son loved the barbacoa, but I felt the corn pudding was excellent!
Great service!
"
Dined on 10/03/2015
 2011
Special Features: neighborhood gem
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Review 3 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 9/19/2015
 2011
Special Features: great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 4 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 9/15/2015
 2009
Dined on 9/15/2015
 2009
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 9/15/2015
 2009
0points
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Review 5 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 9/14/2015
 2010
Special Features: good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 6 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 9/11/2015
 2005
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Review 7 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 9/04/2015
 2007
Special Features: neighborhood gem, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies, kid-friendly
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Review 8 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Great food. TAKES FOREVER.

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 8/28/2015
 2015
Dined on 8/28/2015
 2015
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
"Really good food. Really nice staff. Only dine here if you have hours to spend and can enjoy a long dinner service. Wait time for food and even bar drinks is 3 times longer than an average restaurant."
Dined on 8/28/2015
 2015
Special Features: good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 9 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 8/24/2015
 2002
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Review 10 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 8/22/2015
 2007
Special Features: good for groups
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Review 11 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Wonderful

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"Brought our friends for a Birthday celebration. Food was great."
Dined on 8/15/2015
 2009
Special Features: neighborhood gem, good for groups, great for brunch, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies
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Review 12 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 8/11/2015
 2015
Dined on 8/11/2015
 2015
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 8/11/2015
 2015
Special Features: good for groups, great for outdoor dining
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Review 13 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 8/02/2015
 2002
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Review 14 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5

Bad service, food was wanting for taste

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 7/18/2015
 2015
Dined on 7/18/2015
 2015
Food 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
"Waited 15 mins for a waiter, who got our order wrong, then disappeared. The owner tried to make up for it herself. She was nice, but also got the order wrong. Regardless, the barbacoa was the worst I ever had, almost entirely tasteless. Decent decor and ok outdoor seating area (though no view). However, I do not recommend."
Dined on 7/18/2015
 2015
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Review 15 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Service was terrible;however, food excellent

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"We have gone to this restaurant several times over the years but this was the worst service ever. No one came to see us for 20 minutes after sitting down. We finally ordered drinks but waited another 15 minutes for food and drinks--very slow service. We had waiters all around us but somehow got the least experienced waiter in the restaurant. The food was excellent when it finally came. Asked for dessert menu but no one came back and when the waiter revisited us with the bill, said there was no menu. I would not recommend this place if you are hitting the Shakespeare play because the service is very slow. I had called this restaurant to confirm my reservation on Friday and requested a specific table because we had an infant and the hostess was rude and asked why I was calling if we had a reservation. The vibe was totally wrong at this place. I doubt that I will go back this season."
Dined on 7/18/2015
 2006
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Review 16 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
Dined on 7/03/2015
 2000
Special Features: great for outdoor dining
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Review 17 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 6/13/2015
 2006
Dined on 6/13/2015
 2006
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 6/13/2015
 2006
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Review 18 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 6/11/2015
 2004
Dined on 6/11/2015
 2004
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"Sometimes you see the true character of a restaurant when things don't go to plan. Met a buddy at Barbacoa for the Warriors game. Restaurant was packed and our meals got lost in mix. Ticket got eaten by the machine apparently. Server and manager were polite and considerate and covered the tab due to the delay. Certainly made a longer than expected evening memorable for the right reason. Credit them both for their handling of the misstep. Based on how they handled this (and the food) we will be back."
Dined on 6/11/2015
 2004
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Review 19 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 7/13/2014
 2010
Dined on 7/13/2014
 2010
Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
Dined on 7/13/2014
 2010
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Review 20 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Birthday Fun!

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 6/08/2015
 2012
Dined on 6/08/2015
 2012
Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"This restaurant was perfect for our group of 10, celebrating 2 birthday's! We sat inside; however, if weather permits, their outdoor seating can seat many and is nice. Easy location off the freeway, and Andre the bartender treated us well!"
Dined on 6/08/2015
 2012
Special Features: good for groups, great for lunch, special occasion, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 21 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 5/10/2015
 2008
Dined on 5/10/2015
 2008
Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 5/10/2015
 2008
Special Features: great for brunch, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, fit for foodies
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Review 22 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"Our experience could have been so much better but there's one major issue with this place that they desperately need to improve on - service. The speed and the accuracy being main items. From start to finish what could go wrong, did. Took a while to get our order in, then took forever for drinks to arrive then took another great while to get our food (thankfully someone placed some chips and salsa on our table to buy the time). The guacamole (appetizer) came after our main meal was delivered. Had to chase down people to refill drinks, tortillas. They messed up the bill not once, but twice. Nobody cleaned up our main meal plates until after we finished dessert. Two hours later we were itching to get out of there. By the time 8pm rolled around, the place looked like a ghost town (on cinco de mayo, mind you). The server kept apologizing for it being 'busy' but there were empty tables around us the whole time we were there and we couldn't figure out why he was so overwhelmed... The food itself wasn't awesome but it was good. They could have a line out the door with the ambience they have going on (firepit at the outdoor patio, active bar area with TV screens) but... They don't. And now we know why. They need better staff or better training for staff."
Dined on 5/05/2015
 2010
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Review 23 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 4/23/2015
 2007
Special Features: neighborhood gem, good for groups, hot spot, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 24 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Disappointed

Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"We love Table 24, sister restaurant, and have been to Barbacoa maybe 3 times now. Our waiter was very attentive and helpful. However, with the exception of the outstanding chips and guac, everything was mediocre. My husband is not a fussy eater, but even he complained about the food."
Dined on 4/18/2015
 2007
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Review 25 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
Dined on 4/18/2015
 2006
0points
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Review 26 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

food always consistentent. good atmosphere

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Quiet
Quiet
"dine here at least once every few.weeks. menu has been condensed. Owner said with the new chef it's easier with less items. After a few months it'll most likely expand again. Food is really good. Had the carnitas fajitas and chicken tortilla soup. Would recommend. Owner is a great guy. Downtown Orinda is on the map! Come and dine at Barbacoa."
Dined on 4/14/2015
 2012
Special Features: good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 27 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Service mediocre. although v tall blk guy great!

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"We had our elbows in our shoulders. Couldn't make our fajitas don't serve 4 people food at a table where you can't even put small plates. We had to eat off the fajita tray."
Dined on 4/10/2015
 2007
Special Features: good for groups, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining
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Review 28 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 4/05/2015
 2012
Dined on 4/05/2015
 2012
Food 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"My family and I were very excited about trying Barbacoa for Easter brunch. We were seated by the host and promptly catered to by the waiter. Many of us in our party ordered the carne asada with the cheese enchilada. The general consensus was the steak was not at all tender and lacked flavor. Furthermore, to make matters worse the cheese enchilada was undercooked (cheese had not melted)I was quite surprised considering it was a Mexican restaurant. The chicken tacos also lacked flavor. We ordered the house margaritas and also a disappointment very watered down. The highlight of our brunch was the service the waiters were very attentive. Based on our meal experience My family and I will definitely will not return. Unfortunately, I did not bring up my concerns to the manager due to it being Easter I really didn't want to get the cooks into trouble. This place was a total disappointment I definitely would not recommend . I"
Dined on 4/05/2015
 2012
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Review 29 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Good food

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"We come here occasionally and find the food delicious."
Dined on 3/06/2015
 2007
Special Features: neighborhood gem, great for lunch, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find
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Review 30 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5

Friendly people but the food is only "fair'"

Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"My family went to Barbacoa on Super Bowl Sunday for dinner. I was glad not to have to cook another dinner and my children enjoyed the food. The bill was reasonable. That said, I thought the food was just "ok". For example the fajitas were too wet, not the seared meat that I've enjoyed at other restaurants. The meet and vegetables were all mixed together.
We all enjoyed the tres leche cake.
"
Dined on 2/01/2015
 2003
Special Features: good for groups, kid-friendly
0points
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Review 31 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Cold food

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"The food as always was very good, but I've never experienced cold food before. It came very quickly so hadn't been sitting around cooling off. My friend's tamale was hot but my burrito was almost room temperature. The replacement burrito was warmer but still not close to the temperature it should have been. The beans or rice must have been cold going in.
The margarita was fantastic. I'll be back because I know this experience was an aberration.
"
Dined on 1/14/2015
 2002
Special Features: great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
0points
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Review 32 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5

Off Night

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"At least that's what I'm hoping. We've been here several times since they opened and had better experiences. Food was not up to previous standards, service spotty, and they were out of many drinks listed on the menu. I hope this was a fluke and not a trend."
Dined on 1/11/2015
 2012
0points
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Review 33 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 1/10/2015
 2006
Dined on 1/10/2015
 2006
Food 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"Terrible Margarittas. We ordered a pitcher. It was all sweet and sour mix and lime juice, with very little tequila, no Triple Sec or Gran Marnier. The enchilada sauce was sweet -yuck. The Barbacoa pork was pretty good."
Dined on 1/10/2015
 2006
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Review 34 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5

Use to be good

Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
2 / 5
(Fair) 2 / 5
Ambiance 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"Have been here several times and the last two times including tonight were bad. They did not have our table per our Open Table reservation tonight so they stuck our group of 8 in the loud bar at a table for 6 and 4. Then brought us cold, stale chips. After hearing the waiter make some lame excuse that it was Open Table's fault they moved us into the actual dining area. They brought our drinks in small plastic to go cups because they said the dishwasher was behind. Funny thing is the restaurant was half empty. We had to request refills on our drinks because no one ever came buy to ask. To many good places to eat in this part of the East Bay so after two strikes we are done with Barbacoa."
Dined on 1/11/2015
 2011
0points
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Review 35 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

An Upscale Twist to Modern Mexican

Food 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Service 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
4 / 3
Energetic
"Not being a fan of most Mexican fare, I was pleasantly surprised by the flavors and freshness of the dishes at Barbacoa. The camerone taco, and betel (beet salad) were especially delicious and the bowl of barbacoa shredded pork in a special sauce was moist and tasty. Except for the taco, both were large enough to share. Our friend had the chile releno and loved it. The restaurant is casual with cement floors, straight back wooden chairs, and small tables. It was a very cold night in Orinda, and inside the restaurant was super cold. We all kept our coats and scarves on throughout our meal. If you want to sit outside, the fire pit outside puts out enough heat to keep you toasty. The bar has two large flat screens and on this Friday evening, live music was also in play. Service was friendly and very fast. We had an enjoyable meal in a nice location in Theatre Square with validated parking in the garage."
Dined on 1/02/2015
 2007
Special Features: neighborhood gem, good for groups, great for lunch, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Review 36 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5

Wate of Time

Customer Avatar
OpenTable Diner Since
Dined on 12/31/2014
 2008
Dined on 12/31/2014
 2008
Food 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Service 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Ambiance 
1 / 5
(Poor) 1 / 5
Noise Level
Moderate
Moderate
"It refused verified Open Table reservation on New Year's Eve! Claimed restaurant fully booked by private event, yet no jotice given of this thruogh Open Table. Plenty of great restaurants in the area; we are so over with this place!"
Dined on 12/31/2014
 2008
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Review 37 for Barbacoa
Overall rating 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5

Excellent!

Food 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Service 
5 / 5
(Outstanding) 5 / 5
Ambiance 
4 / 5
(Very Good) 4 / 5
Noise Level
Energetic
Energetic
"The food was eally good food like great grandma used to make. It was a great choice for an ex-pat guest who was craving REAL Mexican food. The teenage guy in our group was very satisfied with the portion size. Very easy to find gluten free choices."
Dined on 12/29/2014
 2005
Special Features: neighborhood gem, good for groups, hot spot, great for lunch, special occasion, vibrant bar scene, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly
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Ratings-Only Reviews for Barbacoa
Based on the average of (8) ratings-only reviews
Overall 
3.5 / 5
(Very Good) 3.5 / 5
3 out of 5 recommend this product
Food 
3 / 5
(Good) 3 / 5
Service 
3.4 / 5
(Very Good) 3.4 / 5
Ambiance 
2.8 / 5
(Good) 2.8 / 5
Noise Level
2.4 / 3
Energetic