Syma's Mexican Grill

1019 San Pablo Ave, Albany
(510) 526-1185

Recent Reviews

Emanuelle O.

Just ordered burrito, chicken mole and wrapped quesadilla last night. Delicious as always! Tonight we will order from the Persian side of the menu. Can't wait!

Leasch Rubin

Simply our very favorite restaurant. Chicken Taco salad and chicken Fajita, delicious. Homemade Corn Tortillas!

Tracey Taylor

Highly recommend. They are open for take out during the current shelter in place order. The staff is kind and their food is fantastic. The mole smothered burrito was some of the best mole I've ever had. Happy to support this wonderful local business.

Alex B.

The food was good quality, though perhaps just a little bit overpriced. I ordered two tacos de carne asada (steak) and they were kind enough to throw in some free chips. It was definitely enough food even though I was very hungry. Also, I thought all three of the salsas I tried very fresh. Overall, not bad but I would still prefer a cheap, good quality taco truck. But if you're looking for a place to sit down and relax this could be a great option!

King E.

Hello All, We all have many major priorities during this epidemic. And I wish all of us the best. Along with those, let's do what we can to save an Albany restaurant that has taken great care of us for decades. Until the in-the-family handoff to Syma, not that long ago, it was known as Christopher's Nothing Fancy Cafe. Gourmet yet casual, grilled Southwestern cuisine, that's as good or better than even the fancy places. Grilled steak, chicken, shrimp and now salmon and more are unbeatable. And after the handoff, they've added many items, and hours, now open 7 days a week, despite the current crisis. Today, after decades of feeding my family and others, she told me the drop in business during this epidemic is placing her at risk of going out of business. Let's give them our business, and try to prevent them from closing. They, "Syma's" are on San Pablo just South of Marin. Easiest parking is in the back. They have always been very health conscious and clean. I've never known anyone to even get a stomach ache, let alone more. And while that's still true, we can also reheat food now, if needed. Please send the word to others, and this email if you wish, to friends and family. Thank you, Karl

Corba the Geek

The Santa Fe salad with Grilled Chicken is my favorite! Top it off with a margarita!

Eva scipio-givens

Tasty chili relleno, great salsas, but entrees not hot.

Nicholas A.

My friend and I just went to lunch and he enjoyed the Mexican food but I'm writing my review on their surprising Persian food selection. I had the kabob skewer combo plate with salad which worked great for my keto diet. Lots of fresh vegetables and big chunks of tomatoes as well as a couple of grilled tomatoes accompanying a generous portion of chicken and beef lamb kabob skewers. The ladies working there are also very nice and the portions are very generous.

Julie B.

Hole mole!! and !! Persian and Mexican!! My husband, 15 month old son, and I just left and we are so satisfied with the meal we just had. We walked in and saw the endless salsa bar with pico di Gallo, verde and a chipotle salsa that were all so flavorful! The ingredients were garden fresh and the individual flavors so active that my taste buds were bursting with happiness! I know that's cheesy... but it's the truth! Hubs got the pork loin.. juicy and tender. I got the chicken mole plate, and it's the best mole, I dare you to challenge me! The staff was friendly and fast. We enjoyed our meal out on the back patio and the ambiance was just so chill... good vibes for sure. It's even nice that you can pack along some of that amazing salsa with your leftovers in the grab n go containers along side the salsa bar. Great job Syma's!! I'll definitely be taking a picture to post next time!!

Carlos S.

I frequent Mexican Restaurants all the time and don't take the time to write a review however, yesterday I stopped by and tried Syma's for the first time and was very impressed with the food. I was greeted by Syma and was advised to try the Carne Asada so I ordered 2 taco's and all I can say is the meat was absolutely delicious. Unlike many little taqueria's I've been too the meat was tender and had an authentic flavor. There was also a nice selection of Craft Beer available. Syma's will now be my go to Mexican Restaurant when I'm in town! Muy Bueno!

Robert M.

Got the pork burrito and it was a good meal. Think almost at chipotle size for comparison on volume at $12 after tax. Where this meal really shined was the salsa!! That was also the one place where they missed any and all heat.. Besides that the salsas are chunky and vibrant. Verde pops with lime making it very refreshing and the tomato based rojo is well rounded. If you are looking for any sort of heat in the salsa you are out of luck besides them offering tapatio - if you could care less about the heat aspects these are some of the best salsas I've had! Definitely worth the try!

Mahkayla V.

My grandmother and I LOVED IT! The food was better than anticipated. We will definitely be coming back for more.

Romeena G.

I have been looking for amazing Persian food in this area for years and wow I was impressed!!! I have been here many times for the Mexican dishes but I highly recommend the Persian dishes that they have. The kebabs, Persian soup and stew was my favorite. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!!! For dessert I recommend Sholeh Zard. Overall, great service and the ambiance was great. They also do take out!

Anna K.

The former Christopher's Nothing Fancy Cafe has a new owner and name and has most of the same dishes. Sima often makes suggestions about optimizing your order; if she does, take them! My go-to is a bean and rice burrito with both kinds of beans or the plantains and black beans without cheese or crema. They have beer (always two Gilman Street on draft as well as others and a collection of bottled beer), wine, and some liquor (including margaritas), horchata, and a combination of Coke/diet Coke/natural sodas. They have also recently added some Persian dishes to the menu, including ash-e reshteh, a noodle/bean/herb soup that IMO is to die for! I was delighted when Sima pointed that out and scarfed down every bite of a HUGE and THICK bowl of soup. Beans and noodles were the perfect texture, and I had a really great conversation with Sima about making it. The outdoor patio is also quite nice on the three or so days a year it's warm enough to eat outside and is dog-friendly. For you vegans out there, Sima knows what that means and can definitively tell you what is/is not a go and what can be done to veganize something. I really appreciate this.

Kamin

This place deserves soooo much more. I literally had the best Khaleh Pache I’ve had in years. So clean, soo good. Literally sooooo underrated.

Anne Ruffino

Excellent food, friendly service, and a comfortable ambience make this a treasure.

J C.

This place has the best pozole! Not greasy or overly salty, delicious broth with lots of fresh hominy and stewed chicken. I really enjoyed this. Salsa bar was fresh and has just the right variety. The carne asada nachos were a little sad. Tiny pieces of asada on some chips lightly decorated. I would skip this. Enchiladas were good and love the fireplace and friendly customer service. Horchata was the bomb, very fresh and not overly sweet. Perfect amount of cinnamon. Will definitely return again.

robert early

You can taste the grill flavor in the chicken and steak. And i seem to always be able to find parking out front. Great place definitely my favorite place for a fancy burrito.

Sara A.

Syma's is the place to be, great food and service, I love the Chili Relleno and the Mexican rice! I like the atmosphere and the restaurant is very nice and cozy!

Shohreh M.

This place was such a surprise! We went it for a standard Mexican dinner but learned there was a persian off the menu list. It was so yummy and we even called our friends who drove over to check out the place & food. The owner was super social and nice. Would go back and our friends who tried it have already gone back multiple times.

Jim Fay

Great authentic Mexican food! Generous portions and free parking! Also a great mural and pictures!

Makena M.

Surprised I have drives by this place for years and finally attended. I will continue trying more food here. I just get sick of flavorless Chipotle. Looking for better quality food. I only tried a burrito. I will try a plate of enchiladas and post pics.

Stephen Phillips

Absolutely wonderful Mexican food at affordable prices. Terrific chile relleno. Entrees include pork loin so tender you could cut them with a spoon. Bone-in ribs. Seafood selections.

alex montes

LOVE this place! Food is amazing. Burritos are some of the best in the East Bay for sure. Also comes with chips while you wait and a really good salsa bar. Really cute on the inside with a nice vibe, little outside patio also. Family that runs it is super sweet.

Cheryl W.

This place is a hidden gem! I honestly would not have here gone if a friend had not brought me. I had passed it almost daily but never even saw it. Family friendly but also a place you can go have drinks with your friends. There is an outdoor patio and parking. The portions are large and a great value.

Me Y.

Big applause for this VERY unassuming spot on the East side of San Pablo! The delicious dinner, quiet patio, and especially Syma's hospitality was a welcome, wonderful surprise. We were looking for a spot open on Mondays for a yummy birthday dinner and were so happy to find this great HEALTHY place to sit and chat over delicious Mexican Food. We had the vegetarian chile rellenos and squash enchiladas, both of which were excellent - not too spicy, not too sweet. Order al a carte so you have room for a margarita and desert! We will be back! (I'm dying to dig into the Persian dishes, which don't seem to be represented on the online menus I found. YES, this isn't *just a Mexican food place!) Here's a quick summary that doesn't do the spot justice: *VERY accommodating owner/chef, just ask for what you need! *Patio could be perfect for a 20 person party and they have heaters! *Vegan through Carnivore menu... YES, everyone will be happy. Syma has a blend of Mexican and Persian dishes which means all the bases are covered. Although we were veggie that night, we'll be back to try the Persian menu (Tahdig rice and chicken kebab sound great.) and the mole. *FRESH, fresh, fresh ingredients. *A broad selection of deserts. (Try the Mango Mousse Cake!) *Yes, catering services are available, for pick up only. *Parking in the back, although street parking was easy for us. *Super dog friendly and not afraid of Pit Bulls, Woop, woop! *Happy Hour drink deals ;) *Kid Friendly (Bored with Farm Burger? Come here!) *Can be rented for wedding parties, birthdays, and special events. ** Save 30% from GrubHub if you pick up... Just what any UCB grad student needs to stay within budget.**

K B.

The butternut squash enchiladas were amazing! I was looking for something dog friendly and casual with great food. Found it! Patio off the back (not visible by the street) was perfect for having a dog with you. The mango margarita hit the spot to start my meal. Syma introduced herself and chatted about how she makes the enchiladas so good. Ended the meal with a slice of the mango mousse cake which was superb. So many other unusual items on the menu that I will be back. I walk my dog at Pt Isabelle often and this is just minutes away. I found my go to Mexican restaurant.

Dave M.

We have been coming to this restaurant under the previous ownership for many years, and are happy to report that the quality is just as good as before. The portions are generous and the service is equally friendly. Good vegetarian options.

Tina Marie Mason-Perez

This place is horrible my ribs taste like card board. Disgusted

Yuri Gottesman

Syma's Mexican Grill is wonderful. Super tasty, great atmosphere, and the lemonade can't be beat. The burritos are huge, which is a plus. The owner is very nice and friendly. I come here regularly, and always look forward to my meal here.

Cassandra T.

Are you interested in some overpriced and under flavored Mexican food? Ideal for children or people who need a bland flavor combination. The food is completely overpriced, for nine dollars I ordered the taquitos and they were very small, and came with nothing other than some scraps of cabbage thrown about the plate. My daughter had a quesadilla with rice, she enjoyed it, but she is eight years old and likes her food plain. We also tried the grilled chicken quesadilla which came with guacamole, which cost $13. It was OK, but for sure it was overpriced. Nothing compared to the delicious flavor explosion you could experience if you went to Cancun restaurant in downtown Berkeley. You'd be better off taking Uber from this location to a better Mexican restaurant where you pay less money. The happy hour is a joke, they only have a couple of food items on the menu and the price is almost the same as the reg. menu. The place was also pretty empty, probably as a result of the quality of the food and the price. Recommendation to the owners - either improve the quality or lower the prices so at least it's worth getting drinks here. As it is I definitely would not recommend this place to anybody I respect..

Neeharika B.

Yummy!! We are vegetarian and the sizzling fajita was what every vegetarian dreams of at a Mexican restaurant. A beautifully medley of fresh vegetables that were seasoned so well and not too oily but not too dry. The corn tortilla was thick yet so so soft. Also got the plantains, which were really amazing. The right amount of sweet. They came with sour cream and unexpectedly some beans as well. Also got the supreme nachos but to be honest the first two dishes alone were more than enough to feed 3 of us. They let us out vegetables on the supreme nachos as well, which is rare for restaurants to offer. Don't recommend the horchata / Agua Fresca if you aren't into drinks that are too sweet. We can't wait to be back!! Ratings: Agua Fresca / horchata -- 1/5 Sizzling vegetable fajita -- 6/5!! Supreme nachos with vegetables -- 4/5 Plantains -- 5/5

Nina D.

We were excited to try the replacement to Nothing Fancy and liked the look of the menu. We got excited by the Veracruz salmon tacos and both ordered it. We got excited by the delicious salsas. The chips were subpar. The service was excellent. The food - eh. What had sounded so good was pretty tasteless. We ended up adding the lemon which helped a bit. Then added the various salsa's one at a time. Eventually we found it tasted best when mixed up with the rice and beans. More variety in tastes and textures that way. Too many other good Mexican choices around to want to go back. My advise on the one item I had - take a risk and add some flavor! The quality of the items on our plates was good.

Mirza A.

Walked in during the lunch break. The place is very nice and cozy. Nice meal, great atmosphere, and friendly service!

Kelly R.

We've struggled to find good Mexican fare since we moved to the East Bay from LA. It's been hit and miss, but so glad we found Syma. Very clean, comfortable, and welcoming indoor and outdoor seating. Food is always top notch and service is spectacular. I don't think we'll ever find the same experience as we've had down south, but this is as good as it gets and we find ourselves aching for Syma's food at least once a week.

Suzanne Neuman

Delicious fajitas and salsa choices from self serve salsa bar. Plenty of food for three or four with a half order of fajitas. Very enjoyable. Fast and friendly service.

Juan Carrasco

Friendly staff, I'm from mexico and this food is so authentic good flavor and the cucumber water so delicious I come to Berkeley once a week and by far best Mexican place in town

anette s.

Our teenage nephew, who's somewhat of a burrito aficionado, announced tonight at our first visit, that this is his new favorite Mexican restaurant! All the dishes we had, wet chicken burrito, taco salad, butternut squash enchiladas, and the side of guacamole were all very fresh and tasty. We will be back for sure!

Maia D.

Cute and friendly restaurant serving tasty food. You order at the bar and they bring food to the table. It has a California-Mexican sensibility. Think California pizza vs New York pizza; different things though the description may be the same. The dining room is very cute and looks out onto a nice outdoor patio next to their parking lot. There is one tv; it was playing the Giants game. There is a salsa bar. We tried pico de gallo, tomatillo, and a roasted red. All were under salted though fresh and tasty. A lack of salt is a theme here. I'm not someone who likes a ton of salt, but everything needed a bit more. Adding salt at the table was fine so this is a good place for people who like low salt cooking. We got chips and guacamole, carnitas enchiladas verde, and a carnitas crunchy wrap, and a hibiscus wine margarita. Guacamole: good though a bit flat before salt was added. Enchiladas Verde: very good, the sauce was very fresh tasting, rice and beans on the side were good. The carnitas was nice, on the crispy side which I love. Crunchy Wrap: fine, a bit gimmicky. The flavors got so mixed together that nothing stood out. The sum of the parts was less than the whole. Wine Margarita: fine, the hibiscus flavor was watered down by the wine. Probably would have enjoyed an aqua fresca more. Bottom line: nice neighborhood restaurant for healthy Mexican style food. Friendly service in a cosy atmosphere.

Maia S.

Cute and friendly restaurant serving tasty food. You order at the bar and they bring food to the table. It has a California-Mexican sensibility. Think California pizza vs New York pizza; different things though the description may be the same. The dining room is very cute and looks out onto a nice outdoor patio next to their parking lot. There is one tv; it was playing the Giants game. There is a salsa bar. We tried pico de gallo, tomatillo, and a roasted red. All were under salted though fresh and tasty. A lack of salt is a theme here. I'm not someone who likes a ton of salt, but everything needed a bit more. Adding salt at the table was fine so this is a good place for people who like low salt cooking. We got chips and guacamole, carnitas enchiladas verde, and a carnitas crunchy wrap, and a hibiscus wine margarita. Guacamole: good though a bit flat before salt was added. Enchiladas Verde: very good, the sauce was very fresh tasting, rice and beans on the side were good. The carnitas was nice, on the crispy side which I love. Crunchy Wrap: fine, a bit gimmicky. The flavors got so mixed together that nothing stood out. The sum of the parts was less than the whole. Wine Margarita: fine, the hibiscus flavor was watered down by the wine. Probably would have enjoyed an aqua fresca more. Bottom line: nice neighborhood restaurant for healthy Mexican style food. Friendly service in a cosy atmosphere.