Cinco de Mayo is on the horizon so I thought I would share a list of some of my favorite Mexican restaurants in San Francisco. Whether you love tacos, burritos or anything with mole sauce, San Francisco has got amazing Mexican food.
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You will definitely have food coma after eating at any of these places! I’ve broken them into three categories: General Mexican, The Mission (because hey, it deserves its own category!) and Breakfast Burritos (because in San Francisco the breakfast burrito it’s its own food group!):
Arguello (50 Moraga Ave in the Presidio Officers Club, Presidio) Traci des Jardins is a fixture on San Francisco’s restaurant scene (plus I really love her restaurant in the Ritz Carlton in Lake Tahoe!). Her restaurant Mijita in the Ferry Building has one of my favorite burritos – chile verde that in my opinion, is to die for! Now she has added Arguello, an upscale Mexican with a nice heated patio (it can get cold in San Francisco) where you can also watch tortillas being made!
Nopalito (1224 9th Ave, b/t Lincoln Way & Irving St) Where to start? One of my absolute favorites. I like the Panucho de Pollo al Pibil which is a masa/black bean cake with chicken on top; the pork belly quesadilla, the grass-fed shredded beef Empanada the carne asada with nopales and delicious pork carnitas braised in orange, bay leaf, milk, cinnamon, and beer!
Colibri Mexican Bistro (438 Geary St at Mason St., Nob Hill) Great regional dishes and made-to-order guacamole plus creative cocktails from an extensive tequila collection, my favorite is the jalapeño margarita. The carnitas are a big hit here, but I am a sucker for sopes, check out the Sopes Surtidos (an assortment of meats with beans and sautéed vegetables with crumbled queso fresco.
Mamacita (2317 Chestnut St, b/t Divisadero St & Scott St)
I know it is weird, but they’ve got the creamiest guacamole in the city! I like their short rib flautas, but they also have delicious beef gorditas, and pork meatball enchiladas, something I haven’t seen anywhere else! If they have lamb tacos on the menu…get them!
Azucar Lounge (299 9th St, b/t Folsom St & Clementina St) This is the place for Taco Tuesday for vegetarians and carnivores alike! But also check out the queso blanco and cactus fries and get a tamarind margarita.
Padrecito (901 Cole St, b/t Parnassus Ave & Carl St) Duck chilaquiles? Yes, please! Duck tacos too! Their pork-belly chilaquiles are equally good. A good place to try goat barbacoa.
El Metate (2406 Bryant St, b/t 22nd St & 23rd) I ate at this spot a lot when I worked at Dolby and besides their awesome aqua frescas, they have some pretty amazing burritos including a veggie burrito that will knock your socks off. I am also a sucker for homemade tortilla chips and salsa bar!
La Torta Gorda (2833 24th St, b/t York St & Bryant St)
It is all about the torta here. If you aren’t familiar, it is a Mexican sandwich. At La Torta Gorda, theirs features meat and queso fresco, refried beans, accompanied by avocado, onions, mayo, and jalapeño on a torta roll. Great vegetarian option as well. If you don’t think you are up for a sandwich, check out the pierna enchilada torta with pork in enchilada sauce served on a crispy bun – trust me!
El Techo de Lolinda (2518 Mission St, b/t 21st St & 22nd St) Besides the cool rooftop bar make sure to get the skewers. Whether it’s the chorizo, steak or veggie one, it will be enjoyable.
Gracias Madre (2211 Mission St, b/t 19th St & 18th St) Mentioned in my San Francisco for Vegetarians post, this is a great spot for vegetarians and vegans alike. Their menu is sustainable and packed full of flavor which you will enjoy even if you are a meat lover!
La Palma (2884 24th St, b/t Florida St & Bryant St) It is all about the tortillas here. Made fresh all day for themselves and for other Mexican restaurants all over the city, don’t miss their carne asada burrito.
There are a TON of spots with really good breakfast burritos (especially in the Financial District where I work) but I stuck with restaurants that are Mexican as opposed to the many other types of restaurants that serve great burritos but aren’t technically Mexican restaurants.
Green Chile Kitchen (1801 McAllister St) an excellent burrito with roasted potatoes, pico de gallo, cheese, chile, and eggs of course. You can also add steak which will really get your morning off to a good start.
El Faro (82 1st St, b/t Elim St & Mission St ) A popular FiDi spot (so it’s only open during the week) that is favorite amongst young professionals who need a cheap, fully loaded breakfast burrito, perfect for those who are recovery from the previous evening. Not known for their service, but praised for the fact that the burrito has bacon, ham, and chorizo!
Don Pisto (510 Union St, b/t Bannam Pl & Grant Ave, North Beach) The breakfast burrito is dynamite with eggs, housemade chorizo, queso oaxaca, sliced avocado, salsa fresco, and pickled jalapeno. [At lunch check out the tacos, both carne asada, and carnitas, as well as the tamales. If the lobster special is going on, don’t pass it up!]
Little Chihuahua (292 Divisadero Street, b/t Haight St & Page St) They serve a wet-style breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, jack cheese, salsa, beans, Mexican potatoes, roasted poblano chiles, cilantro and onions, and choice of meat (bacon or chorizo or mushrooms).
Bonus: Mexican Food Trucks
San Francisco is a great food truck town there are lots of new trucks and parks popping up all over the city. But the OG of food trucks in San Francisco has got to be the taco trucks! And I wanted to mention my two favorites, which get listed as the best in write-ups all the time.
The first is El Tonyaense truck on Carrol Street (at the Best Buy parking lot). They have amazing $1 tacos that I ate at least once a week when I was working in Potrero Hill. They are known for their offal tacos, I love the beef tongue. If that gives you the heebie-jeebies, their barbacoa tacos are the best!
The other truck is El Norteno at 801 Bryant. Their shrimp burritos and tacos are the bomb!
Well, that’s a few of my favorite Mexican restaurants in San Francisco (as you can tell, I am a BIG fan of Mexican food!) where are some of your favorites? What’s your favorite Mexican dish?
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