When a restaurant’s name is the fusion of two words that mean party, it’s clearly meant to invite enjoyment. The Spanish words “pachanga” and “arranda” have been combined to create Parranga, the name of the new Taqueria and Cerveceria in Mill Valley’s Strawberry Village. True to its name, Parranga opened in July with the intention to invite the community to connect and enjoy affordable, tasty bites in a fun and friendly environment.
Fusion inspiration also translates to the menu, which is driven by Executive Chef Jose Miguel Smith’s bi-national roots in Mexico and California. His passion for cooking was first sparked during his early childhood in Mexico, where he helped make fresh corn tortillas in the backyard of his family home. When he later moved to California at 10 years old, he helped with farm work in Yolo County during the summers, where he was inspired by the essence of different seasonal fruits and vegetables. Parranga’s menu is rooted in these two cultures, combining the rich flavors of Mexico with fresh California ingredients. And given Chef Smith’s classical training in French, Japanese, American, and other Latin American cuisines, as well as recent positions as Executive Chef at La Urbana and Airbnb headquarters kitchen, he is more than prepared to create these flavor fusions.
All of the recipes are created in house, and tortillas are made to order. Rotisserie chicken infused with a chile-lime spice rub is the chef’s personal favorite. An extensive taco section includes a rotating daily special and the crowd favorite fish taco. Ceviche is equally popular, as well as go-to staples, such as guacamole, roasted seasonal vegetables, fried plantains, and chile-spiced house fries.
If that’s not enticing enough to gather and linger, an extensive drinks menu, including traditional agua frescas and whole-fruit juices, Mexican craft beer and wine, and party-sized pitchers of margaritas and sangria, are guaranteed to provide further enjoyment.
Who: Executive Chef Jose Miguel Smith, Parranga Taqueria and Cerveceria
What: Neighborhood fast-casual, family-friendly gathering place
Where: Strawberry Village, 800 Redwood Highway, Suite 801, 415.569.5009
$$, Wine and Beer, L D, Brunch, Happy Hour, Kid-friendly
Lynda Balslev is an award-winning food writer, editor and recipe developer based in the San Francisco Bay area. She authors the nationally syndicated column and blog TasteFood, and co-authored the cookbook Almonds: Recipes, History, Culture (2015 Silver Medal Winner Independent Publisher Awards). She is the 2011 recipient of the Chronicle Books Award (Recipe Writing) to the Symposium for Professional Food Writers, and a 2018 Fellowship Award recipient to the Symposium for Wine Writers at Meadowood, Napa Valley. Lynda’s writing and photography have been recognized by the New York Times Diners Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post and more.