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Fun decent Mexican?

I'm coming in from out of town, and would like to go to a restuarant that fits this description. I realize many of you may not think SF is strongest in this category, but I'm coming from Boston and trust me, it's better there than here.

To be honest, also, I don't necessarily want the most authentic around either. My only requirements are:
-freshly prepared food
-well made margaritas (fresh juices) (if I even see a bottle of Rose's, I'm walking out! ;-) )
-and, yeah, it has to taste good.

I've scanned the board a bit, and also from other suggestions, I think perhaps these places may fit what I'm looking for?
Tres Agaves
Velvet Cantina

Any other thoughts? Oh, yeah, San Francisco proper only, please. I'm staying near the Financial District.

(LOL...I just realized the thread title could be used for a Match profile.)

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  1. I posted about my dinner at Tres Agaves but it seems to have disappeared.

    Overall I wasn't very impressed--some of the dishes were decent but should have been better, some were Californicated in the Wolfgang Puck too-many-ingredients style, like fresh pineapple in the carnitas or something. Struck me as the kind of place where you could eat well if you knew which dishes to order.

    Didn't try the margaritas.

    1. The house margarita at Colibri, a few blocks west of Union Square on Geary, are made with just lime juice and a little sugar, and they have a very nice tequila selection. I've had a few decent meals there as well, but other hounds haven't been as enthusiastic. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but since you will be in the neighborhood...

      1. The Valhalla of margaritas is Tommy's Mexican, a little unassuming place on Geary. The food is only good after you've had a few, but it's "decent" and Tommy's has THE largest selection of tequila outside of Mexico ,and Julio has done tequila audiences to dignitaries around the world! (He's also part of Tres Agaves but in my opinion the margaritas are not as good there). Also, if you want to try some interesting tequilas, each round is a 2-oz. pour so it's really not a bad deal.

        1. The three you listed seem to be more new/hippish type mexican food/cantina type places (though that is based only on what I have read about them). If you were looking more for the food and drink and less for the atmosphere, I like Tia Margarita on Clement and 18th (or 19th). It is very close to Tommy's recommended above, but I like the food better. However, is more LA family style than anything with a scene of any kind.
          It is, also, a bit of a haul from Union Square. I drive the 10-15 minutes happily to get there, but Colibri might be a better bet in your area.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Meredith

            I don't think it necessarily has to be "hip", but I will admit that "LA family style" probably does not fit what I am looking for at this time. But maybe! I'll keep it in mind.

            1. re: Alcachofa

              Tia Margarita has a horseshoe bar and an old-school atmosphere.

          2. Ideally, a few margaritas at Tommy's with chips and guac, then walk over to Tia Margarita :)

            1. One more that hasn't been mentioned is Maya, on 2nd St. not too far from the Financial District.


              They have a good selection of tequilas, and everything is good, but on the expensive side.

              It is also a lot quieter than the other places - not dull, just not you have to scream-to-be-heard.

              Are you travelling on a business all-expenses-paid trip?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Guzgo

                The SF Maya is a branch of a New York restaurant, so I wouldn't send a visitor there, particularly an East Coast visitor.


              2. I've had really good food and drinks at Mamacita, they would be a the top of my list.
                Colibri would be a close second in terms of food and drinks.
                Tommy's margaritas are good but not worth the long waits, crowded bar area and blah food.
                Tres Agaves' food is better than Tommy's but the service can be maddening at times, especially on a game day.
                Puerto Allegre has it's share of fans but can also get insanely crowded and doesn't take reservations.
                I wasn't impressed at all with Velvet Cantina.
                Whew, I think I'm done now...I need a margarita.

                1 Reply
                1. re: tvham

                  Puerto Allegre's a fun place to get drunk on cheap pitchers of margaritas, but I think Alcachofa's looking for better food than that.

                2. I've had good and marginal food at Tres Agaves. Have enjoyed the appetizer menu, tacos in particular and good guacamole. The marginal food was an under-cooked, bland fish entree one Saturday night.

                  But -- I love their margaritas. The fact that the house margarita contains just tequila, fresh lime juice and agave nectar (as opposed to the usual sugar) is a huge plus for me. I like my margaritas on the tart, tequila-heavy side and I haven't yet been disappointed at Tres Agaves. A little pricey, yes. I agree that Tommy's (for my money) has much better food, and having come from LA, I appreciate the family-style ambiance there. But my margarita and tequila passions are easily satisfied at Tres Agaves and the location is a bit easier for us to get to.