Hit list for best restaurants in the Mission District
Just had dinner at Esperpento and it wasn't that great, at all. Ordered a bunch of stuff (sausages, meatballs, calamari, white bean salad, clams) and most of it looked like it rolled off the truck from sysco. Sangria was okay, and the price was right, but when the guitar player started singing in my ear and leaving his hat on the table for tips, I had to throw down the towel. Thank god I was with good friends so we could laugh!
I will second Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina, Range, Ti Couz, Blue Plate. I won't step into the taqueria fray -- it's very personal!
In addition to what's already mentioned:
Yo's Sushi Club on Mission near 29th
Platanos on Guerrero & 18th
Lotus Garden next to The Blue Plate
Aslam's Rasoi on Valencia near 21st
Dosa on Valencia & 21st
Pauline's for great pizza, on Valencia near 14th
And don't forget Tartine (the bakery)
I just can't recommend Esperpento or Ramblas. The sangria and the food at each are just so-so. Both are fun places for a group, though.
My family and I had a pretty good lunch at Maverick. Luna Park, my dad loves, Mom loves The Last Supper Club, I'll second La Taqueria (vegetarian burritos and tacos, for those who don't eat "lengua"). Dosa,(muy sabrosa)very delicious. Ritual for coffee (to go, unless you like the ambiance of "cafe laptop"). Limon for pork chops or fish. Is the new Rasoi Indian place good?
my choices for mission eats!
blue plate - fried asparagus and crab salad
pakwan - chicken tikka masala
go go sushi - $3 hand rolls during happy hour
limon - any of their ceviches
delfina - any of their homemade pasta dishes
tartine - yummy chocolate croissants
pancho villa - super al pastor quesadilla
el farolito - super carne asada burrito
arinell - ny style slice pizza
We're just tourists in SF this week, but we had OUTSTANDING burritos (pollo con chili rojo) and fish tacos last night at EL METATE, on 2406 Bryant Street (near 22nd St.) A tiny and very warm joint, lovely folks. Steady stream of locals in this Hispanic neighborhood, but the Zagat rating seems to draw in a consistent sprinkling of gringos as well.
And worth mentioning Ritual Roasters for coffee after dinner or anytime, on 1026 Valencia, also near 22nd St. I'm a New Englander, so I'm no burrito expert-- but I know my coffee, and Ritual has a superior cappucino-- I thought it was better than the very decent Blue Bottle cup I tried as well.
re: Avid Rita
Here's a second for Ritual!
I'm a big fan of this shop; they are easily one of the most consistent shops that I have ever seen. Every single espresso that I've had there, always poured ristretto, were incredible, and their lattes (decorated with very competant Latte Art) are beautiful to behold and wonderful to taste and feel, the latter due to an incredible texture in their microfoam. Somehow they coax a pronounced but natural sweetness of milk sugars out of their microfoam that I have not tasted as clearly in competing but otherwise competently poured lattes.
With regards to Blue Bottle, definitely a quality operation, but when I was there I felt that their coffee sufferred ironically from being too fresh out of the roaster. My ristretto had a distinct gassy/grassy taste that I associate with just-roasted coffee.
Toads-great burgers. Only opened recently.
Los Jarritos-good Mexican. The Vicente Especial is a beef dish that I usually go for. They serve goat.
Medjool-drinks on the roof for amazing views, but I can't speak for the food as I've only had it once.
Bissap Baobab-Sengalese food and unique cocktails, very reasonably priced. Lots of fun for groups.
Last Supper Club-don't order their french toast at brunch, it's soggy. Everything else rocks there, including pasta, meats, green beans, wine list, etc.
Velvet Cantina-for apps and drinks. They constantly bring bowls of housemade tortilla chips that are salty and wonderful. Entrees can be uneven.
Some of these are echos of what has been said already:
Pizzeria Delfina - Soooooo good. (Still have never tried Delfina next door because I am terrible about making reservations.) Oh, and you can easily hit Tartine and/or Bi-Rite afterwards as they are on the same block.
Papalote - Can't believe no one has mentioned this one yet. Great Mexican. Looove the fish tacos!
Pakwan - As mentioned above, it's cheap and tasty Indian/Pakistani. Also note that you can BYOB! (Conveniently, there are a number of liquor stores on this block.) Love the samosas.
Cafe Ethiopia - Ethiopian (obviously!).
Bar Tartine - Restaurant by the same people as the bakery. Service was a bit slow, but I thought the food was terrific. I've been able to walk in earlier in the evening and get a table or bar seat without reservations.
The Last Supper Club - Italian. I love the ambiance here.
Dosa (South Indian) - Good place but can be uneven. I like the Paper Masala Dosa (although the last time I ate there, mine arrived slightly soggy). I found the Chana Bhatura to be too heavy and greasy.
To chime in on Esperpento and Ramblas - I have to agree that the food is so-so, but the atmosphere is fun. I thought the sangria at Ramblas was too sweet. Sangria at Esperpento was better, but the service was glacial (and I'm usually not thaaat picky about service).
I've also been wanting to try that new vegetarian Japanese place on Valencia - Cha-ya? There is always a crowd outside whenever I walk by and the menu looks interesting.
My two cents on Last Supper Club: Their ambiance is good for groups. And groups on the rowdier side. I went last weekend with a drunken birthday party crew and we had a great time. I was not wowed by any of the appetizers or main dishes, save for the burrata and caponata appetizer. The sage and butternut squash ravioli was also pretty tasty, but I feel all restaurants try that (to one degree of success or another) during the fall. For dessert we had a nice panna cotta with huckleberries. In sum, don't go expecting quiet, privacy, or romance. Go with a large group that wants to drink and needs not terribly pricey food.
My husband and I like Little Star Pizza at the corner of Valencia and 15th St. Their deep-dish pizza is excellent. We usually order a Classic (sausage, mushrooms, bell pepper and onions) with artichoke hearts added and a small Mixed Salad. We've also enjoyed their thin crust pesto pizza. They have a small but nice selection of bottled beers, but I wish that they had some good beers on tap.
We also like Delfina, Lotus Garden and Spicy Bite. And on Cortland Ave. (Bernal Hts., I guess, not really the Mission) we really like Little Nepal. Also just a bit south of the Mission (on Church around 29th St.) we like Regent Thai.
Little Star is fantastic. I'm in Chicago (my hometown) right now, and we got Lou Malnati's take-out last night per my request...and it was too painful for me to tell my family that Little Star is better.
Pizza aside, in the Mission, I had a great birthday dinner at Range Friday night before my flight Saturday morning...yellow pea soup and short ribs. Awesome, and they comped us a wonderful apple/berry cobbler for no reason.
If you like Delfina and Range, I would especially recommend Woodward's Garden and Blue Plate.
My Mission Faves:
Woodward's Garden - Absolutely wonderful food and an urban-romantic atmosphere.
Blue Plate - Homey, hip, and great food that manages to be both simple and unique.
Limon - Great ceviche and a nice paella-esque dish. Trendy, but worth it for the food.
Ti Couz - Lovely crepes and salads, a nice casual place to go with friends or a date.
Pauline's - Great upscale pizza with ingredients from the owner's farm--unpretentious but seriously better than your typical pizzeria.
Tartine - The food is lovely, the line legendary.
Bi-Rite Creamery - The best ice cream I've had outside of Italy.
Aslam's Rasoi - Much better than Dosa, service is iffy but the Narvathan Korma is worth it.
Velvet Cantina - Very fun place--small menu but great atmosphere and very good cactus enchiladas.
I havn't been in ages but I had an amazing date at Foriegn cinema on the patio (great food, pretty candle light, and fun sitting outside with the movie going in the backround). I also returned for a delicious weekend brunch!
Tartine is always a favorite, as is Pizzeria Delfina. I still need to check out range!
From an out of towners perspective: if you have a heart beat == The Last Supper Club
First time my SO & I tried it. She was scared of the mission (IT'S NOT SAFE!) but i was dumb & driving. We ate at a long communal table and were forced to enjoy our meal with the patrons on both sides of us. Awesome - it went on the "glad I did it, must do again" list. My second trip was with 2 other business types, (again, several safety objections were raised) I eventually convinced the driver to abandon our car in the middle of the street (not a lot of identifiable parking spots), we ended up talking to / partying with most of the other patrons. They both claimed it was the best "business adventure" they had ever experienced.
Bottom line: Atmosphere / attitude is everything, food is okay.
This is an adventure event, not just a meal (kind of like Rocky Horror is not just a picture show)
Last Supper Club
Don't care for:
Limon -- go to Destino for better Peruvian
Ti Couz - burnt crepes
Velvet Cantina -- sad Mexican (why arent there good sit-down --ie not taquerias -- restaurants in SF? Anyone have a good rec here, PLEASE!)
Ethiopian place on Valencia -- go to Rasselas on Fillmore, yum
Weird Fish (?) -- decent cheap fish but nothing special
Cha Cha Cha -- now that there are so many good tapas places all over town, dont bother here
Still haven't gone to but need to:
Little Star Pizza!