Heavy Restaurant Group’s newest pride and joy is located on the outskirts of Fremont’s main drag.

Pablo y Pablo, nominally a taqueria, is a welcome reprieve from the rainy streets near Gasworks Park.

Although it opened in late July, it has quietly built up a neighborhood base as a go-to place for tacos, light meals and craft cocktails.

Stephanie Crowder, Pablo y Pablo’s assistant general manager, said the restaurant was doing brisk business while remaining somewhat under the radar.

“It’s a little neighborhood spot, a fun, relaxing place for people to have good food without feeling pretentious,” she said.

You can grant her that, but the place is certainly upscale as far as taquerias go. While not a bank-breaker, the menu can pile up as nearly every item is a la carte.

The killer happy hour (Monday through Friday, 3 to 6 p.m.) can help you save a bundle. Get a drink and several tacos for under $20.

Pablo y Pablo is named after a photo the owner has of world-famous painter Pablo Picasso and Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda.

“We have that background of art and friendship that we are trying to impart,” Crowder said.

While the restaurant doesn’t evoke much of the surrealism and cubism styles Picasso is known for, the rustic elegance of the restaurant more than makes up for some silly art school nitpicking.

Executive Chef Oscar Manroy has brought his Southwest flair to the kitchen. Guatemalan by birth, raised in East L.A., the 28 year old has been in the restaurant business since he was just 14, working in Los Angeles and Arizona.

“Everything is inspired by recipes from Mexico,” he said. “It’s all made from scratch in our small space. It’s very intimate, so we are choosy about what we serve.”

While waiting for tacos, I ordered a simple chips and salsa, using the recommended carabel salsa.

Spanish for little bell, the carabel pepper imbues a sweet, slightly spicy flavor to a pureed red paste of a salsa, topped off with daily-made chips.

Pablo y Pablo avoids using lard, and the effect noticeably lightens the food compared to typical tacos.

“Our food is clean and light,” Manroy said. “We are vegetable heavy, using seasonal produce from the market.”

He said this attracts a particular type of crowd.

“Well I don’t know how to say this properly, but on a Friday night, about 80 percent of our clientele are women,” he said sheepishly. “It’s easy to order one taco and not feel like you ate a ton of food.”

Once dinner rolls around at 5 p.m., the baller tacos come out. These are tacos that take it up a few notches.

I got the seared albacore taco, thick strips of tuna seared with a spicy crust, undercut by fiery chile de arbol aioli and topped with cabbage and a slice of avocado. It’s a fish taco for grownups.

One of the more interesting options is the banh mi taco, with juicy slabs of grilled pork belly atop sriracha aioli, pickled veggies and jalapeno. No, it’s not quite a banh mi, as it lacks some of the heft that makes the Vietnamese sandwiches so delightful, but it loses little in the attempt, offering dichotomous bite after bite.

And of course if you want to tend toward more traditional tacos, the superb pork carnitas tacos are marinated to near perfection. The cumin-heavy pork is topped with salsa verde and is worth the $5 price tag.

This summer, Manroy and the kitchen staff at Pablo y Pablo had summer squash tacos and turns out $3.50 charred broccoli tacos as we head into winter.

“We have a vegan chorizo and people have sent it back angry before, saying you served us actual pork,” Manroy said. “I have to come out and assure them, it’s just a really good imitation.”

Soft-spoken, knowledgable waitstaff sling the margarita de la casa, a simple, muted margarita made with Pueblo Viejo Blanco tequila, triple sec, lime and cane sugar. That’s it.

Other cocktails include the regional Basque cocktail (called “Jote” after a flirtatious person in Chilean Spanish on the menu) Kalimotxo, one part red wine, one part cola.

If you’re more like this reviewer, try the michelada verde, a semi-spicy twist to any cerveza.

The ambiance of loud conversation and dark lighting might make Pablo y Pablo appeal to a younger crowd, but the food is plenty tasty enough for anyone looking to try a new spin on an old favorite.

“We’re all about hospitality here,” Manroy said. “We want you to have a good time, eat some good food and leave happy. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been so successful so far.”

Pablo y Pablo is located at 1605 N. 34th Street on the border of Fremont and Wallingford.