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Nov 16, 2006 04:19 AM

Regalito Rosticeria

This place just opened in the Mission, near corner of 18th and Mission, and the food is absolutely great. I've spent a lot of time in Mexico, and I've always been puzzled about why no SF restaurants serve enchiladas the way they are served in Mexican homes--simple folded torillas with something yummy inside, and sauce, onion slices and crumbled cheese on top. Instead we get rolled up things with too much chicken or cheese. The chicken, which it seems like is meant to be their main offering, is really, really good. I will buy no more rotisserie chickens at supermarkets if there is any way I can get to Regalito. Everything we tried was good, especially the guacamole and the crazy cole slaw. When this place starts serving beer (which is soon, they told us), it will be perfect.

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  1. Are you saying they sell rotisserie chickens to go at supermarket prices? What made the cole slaw crazy?

    I'll go back when their hours are the same as what is posted on their website. We tried to go on Sunday for brunch but they were closed and not serving brunch -- how hard is it to have an accurate website when its brand-spanking new? -- and they weren't nice about it (the door wasn't locked & they were inside preping).

    1. here's their website:

      read a review of it at the Bunrabs Daily Feed blog recently w/pics

      1 Reply
      1. re: kimchee

        thanks for the link - I was forgetting the SF. I enjoyed my dinner there last week (see reply below).

      2. We just had an extremely disappointing very late lunch at Regalito. I haven't been so disappointed in a new place in a very long time. Husband had Lomo de Cerdo (roast spice-rubbed pork leg, rice & pot beans), which is $10.50, not the $9.50 listed on the online menu. Two very thin slices of pork that were 80% fat. Rice and beans with ZERO flavor. These are small portions, served crammed together on a very small plate.

        I had the Pollo Regalito. Same flavorless rice and beans. I made a (non-organic) roast chicken at home last week that was twice as good as this with almost no effort. This was also a higher price than the online menu. We had chips and salsa, which has also increased in price to $3.

        I have to compare the beans to the beans we had at Santaneca (3781 Mission) last week, which are incredibly flavorful. I'd return there just for the refried beans! A visit last weekend to Olivia's Brunch Restaurant (3771 Mission) yielded far superior chips and salsa to Regalito.

        The waiter asked how our meal was, and we told him it wasn't that good, but I don't think he understood enough English to get the gist. When a customer leaves huge pieces of flubbery fat on their plate uneaten, that should be a clue. This place needs to shape up drastically.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Atomica

          Thanks for the report. Three dollars for chips and salsa is pretty steep.

          Can you post more details on your meal at Olivia's? I've been curious but haven't yet had a chance to try it. Thanks!

          1. re: susancinsf

            The "chips" at Regalito are simply whole fried corn tortillas. You break them into chip shape yourself. The salsa was flavorful and of the chunky variety, but way too hot for me.

            Olivia's is quite nice inside. Really nice interior paint job and sparse in decoration. We were first treated to a small bowl of delicate and delicious tortilla chips, freshly made just for us, accompanied by a delicious dark and smoky salsa. I had chilaquiles in salsa verde accompanied by scrambled eggs, which was all okay. Again, the refried beans were really flavorful. All in all pretty good, not great, but I'd go back. Husband had an omelette that had American cheese instead of the cheddar cheese advertised on the menu, but my husband actually prefers that in an omelette. The bread they used for the toast and the jam were pretty bad. The coffee was good. The two owners are brothers, and the one who we dealt with was a very man who told me he's a chef at One Market, working there 4 nights a week and Olivia's in the morning. That's a pretty demanding schedule.

            Susan, you might be interested to know that we walked by Nena's on our way to Olivia's. Nena's was supposed to have been open for an hour already, but was shut up tight (on a Saturday morning).

            1. re: Atomica

              I won't tell you these were good, sounds like they weren't and you are certainly a good judge, but a fried whole tortilla is actually a pretty typical chip in some parts of Mexico. They still should be tasty, though, not tough or soggy or flavorless.

              1. re: bernalgirl

                Thanks for the info. I actually didn't have a problem with that, except for maybe the $3 part. They seemed like standard issue supermarket corn tortillas.

          2. re: Atomica

            I live in the neighborhood of La Santaneca and Olivia's Brunch and Fine Dining. The "fine dining" bit in the name has made me so critical about the place that I haven't ventured inside.

            Glad to see your post about it, though!

          3. Ate here over the weekend. Overall very good.

            Chips are as described: whole fried corn tortillas that you break to suit. They held the good salsa and great guacamole very well since they were thick and fresh.

            Carne Asada (without the mushroom and union garnish) was perfectly seared. Green beans with onions and seasoning were crisp and fresh - VERY good, nicely seasoned. Potatos with green chiles weren't anything special.

            Roasted Chicken was good but could tell it was free range - could use some marinade or a suace on the side.

            Dessert was simply vanilla ice cream, strawberries and mexican chocolate.

            They have beer and wine now.

            Our party was impressed with the decor and the value.

            1. Alright, I got a chance to check out Regalito an hour ago... and have a few comments.

              > Small place with just a few tables & a dinner style bar. The design is decently cool & comfortable for this part of the city.... firmly grounded in the 1940's & 1950's designs of Luis Barragan - particularly the Case Luis Barragan ( Tacubaya, Mexico City) & the Capilla de Talpa (Southern Mexico City) to which you add contemporary fixtures & Guadalupe candles.

              The overall effect is reminicent of all the new casual eateries around UNAM & the Colonia Roma in Mexico City. In addition, the emptiness, extreme cleanliness & subdued energy from the staff... really delivered that modern Mexico City casual chain eatery vibe.... all this indicates okay food, in a comfortable environment... but no greatness... and so it was.

              > The Chow

              After having a bulky lunch with sufficient protein, I went vegetarian at Regalito...

              Nopalitos a la Mexicana were decent but not special. They were roasted to a slightly smokey blackened state ensuring decent texture. It had all the correct ingredients & none of the weird spices often found in the Faux places... but the dish was too bland for my taste... the jalapenos were stripped of every last speck of capscicum... and cilantro was spread too thinly.

              Papas con Rajas... Roasted Potatoes with Blackened Poblanos... fairly dissappointing... very bland.... the Poblanos never came through.

              Refried Beans... again very bland.... no rich, salty, musky contribution from pork fat... just low fat, mashed beans. That is okay when you have something else that is intensely flavorful to balance out... but they would never fly as a stand alone course.

              Corn Tortillas... rubbery factory tortillas.

              Salsas... I was served to types... a thin Salsa Mexicana (Tomato, Serrano, Cilantro, Onion)... very nice flavor & spicy.... & a slightly thicker Tomatillo-Arbol salsa lacking in depth & spice.

              The one item that shone here was the coffee... served in a french press... it was luxuriously rich, medium body and it had a lot of the floral notes common in true cinammon. Had it black, of course... don't know what the beans were.

              Overall the food is okay... but based on these dishes nothing to get excited about. The salsas did save the otherwise boring renditions. I will go back, because it does remind me of home & I am hoping they can improve.

              I chatted up the host / waiter whom is from Guatalemala along with the two cooks in the kitchen. Through his own admission, he doesn't know much about Mexican cuisine.... I assume the same is true for the cooks. The owner is a 3rd Generation Mexican American from San Jose, CA.... my guess is he visited Mexico City and picked up some ideas... but there is not much conviction or passion going on yet.

              At this point I am ready to give up on Mexican cuisine in S.F... I should be exploring Chinese instead!

              7 Replies
              1. re: Eat_Nopal

                I was there on Sunday for brunch and as much as I wanted to like the place - the menu is really small and most of the food is bland. The chilaquiles were good but I make awesome chilaquiles at home...

                1. re: larochelle

                  I have to be 100% fair to Regalito. We were so supremely disappointed by our visit that they offered to make it up to us. The problem is that we have no desire to go back.

                  1. re: Atomica

                    We just figured we'd give 'em a few months and come back.

                    The thing that sent me over the edge was that the Huevos Rancheros were scrambled.

                    It just kills me when people take a traditional dish and change key preparation or component, then act all shocked when the customer is upset they didn't get what they wanted - I'm all for experimenting and dishes evolving but for f$#ks sake, CHANGE THE NAME! or give some indication on the menu.

                    The RR people were very nice, they accommodated my husband when he asked for red chilaquiles (not on the menu) and the waiter checked back with multiple times. I think this place has plenty of potential and look forward to checking back with them.

                    1. re: larochelle

                      Yes, I would not have been a happy camper either! Sadly, however, I have had such BAD experiences with huevos rancheros coming out made with scrambled eggs, or otherwise mangled, that I have learned to ask for a description of the dish before ordering. Arghhh.

                      Did the chilaquiles have eggs in them?

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        Yes, the chilaquiles have eggs in them (and that is clearly stated on the menu).

                      2. re: larochelle

                        There are too many places I want to go and already like to ever go back there. I see it's been 3 weeks since I discussed the prices on their website with them (as being lower than on the actual menu) and they haven't changed it. The manager said they meant the website only as "beta." Give me a break. If they can't add flavor to their food and weeks later it's still bland bland bland, they obviously aren't trying to improve it.

                    2. re: larochelle

                      I don't mind the small menu... in fact most of my favorite places in Mexico City tend to have small, specialized menus. However, I just don't say RR's value proposition... my simple meat less meal ended up being $15 because I had to buy everything as sides. I don't understand why these places can't deliver 3 course prix fixes for the price.