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Sol Food - San Rafael - Puerto Rican Cuisine

Sixy beast Mar 2, 2005 05:31 PM

I noticed this place - a new place in San Rafael
It's very tiny - either take out or a small number of outside cafe tables

Most of the menu is Vegan
There is some chicken in 2 out of the 12 dishes
otherwise fried plantains

It's not really my kind of food - I am not keen on beans and I would rarely eat chicken through choice
but the place looks like nice
it seemed friendly and fun
and the smells coming out of the kitchen were good
so I would have given it a try, for sure,
unfortunately I couldn't persuade my lunch companion to be that adventurous, at leat not today.

prices range from 1.50 for an avocado side,
4-5 for salads and plantains
6 for chicken

and 7.95-8.95 for larger combination plates, 1x veggie, 1 x chicken available

It has a website under construction which gives you an idea, but the menu is not the same as the one I picked up today. (there was no beef on the menu I saw)

Has anyone tried it yet?

Link: http://solfoodrestaurant.com/index.html

  1. g
    gumbolox Mar 2, 2005 07:21 PM

    Yes, once for dinner and thought it was very good, very personal. My wife and I had chicken and beef and beans and rice and salad and both preparations of plantanos. A lot of food for a little money, and though I haven't been to Pueto Rico, the feel seemed authentic. It certainly didn't feel much like Marin County. We plan to return soon!

    1 Reply
    1. re: gumbolox
      Sixy Beast Mar 2, 2005 08:24 PM

      just have to persuade the BF
      maybe if they have beef on their menu he'll go.
      I'll call to see how often they change the menu
      cos only chicken today.

    2. s
      Shep Mar 2, 2005 08:29 PM

      Location or address, please? I got folks would love this place (while they insisted Moms's cooking is so much better ;^)

      1. s
        Shep Mar 2, 2005 09:17 PM

        How embarassing to answer one's own question.

        Sol Food Puerto Rican Cuisine
        732 4th St
        San Rafael,

        which is gonna put it about a block west of 101, around Tamalpais Ave.

        415-453-0147 for current hours.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Shep
          Krys Mar 2, 2005 10:08 PM

          If your friends are interested in Puerto Rican, Sofrito has some hot prepared Puerto Rican food at the Saturday Berkeley Farmers market. Never tried them as I usually go early before they start cooking.

          Don't know if they ever opened a real restaurant. They were thinking of it long ago.

          (510) 232-3740

          1. re: Krys
            Shep Mar 3, 2005 09:55 AM

            You go early...on a Saturday...I'm in awe.

            This is the one between Milvia and MLK, by Ho Chi Minh Park, yes?

            1. re: Shep
              Krys Mar 3, 2005 10:05 AM

              Yep, that's the one.

              Going early just has to do with the parking thing with me, I like to get near the market so I don't have to haul my oranges a few blocks. Those Berkeley parking police are like mosquitos, always buzzing around and just as annoying.

              Although, actually I like to go early or off hours most places because there are fewer crowds and things are more relaxing. Nothing I hate worse that waiting in line (like Mama's in Washington Square or Betty's in Berkeley). I'm usually there a bit before opening.

        2. d
          daantaat Mar 7, 2005 11:42 PM

          do they serve mofongo (mashed green plaintains with lots of garlic)?

          1. r
            Ramón Burgos Ruiz Mar 17, 2005 02:53 PM

            A couple of friends surprised me the other day with a take-out from Sol Food.
            Being Puerto Rican, and knowing my way around a kitchen, they figured I could gauge the food, especially the "mofongo" in a vegan incarnation, as this dish traditionally calls for pork rind as a taste enhancer.
            They also bought me "habichuelas rosadas" - mine are, I have to say immodestly, really good, and meatless.
            The mofongo was very good! The ingredients were kept solely to plantano, garlic (ajo), and olive oil. I would say, mission accomplished. Of course, a fish soup/broth would complement the mofongo, but that may be more than they want do.
            I'm curious to see what diners will accompany with the mofongo, certainly not rice, I hope!
            The beans were good for restaurant quality; good taste that tries to keep with the traditional flavours. Some of the common seasonings for certain bean dishes are difficult to find in the Bay Area, unless there's a well-stocked Vietnamese grocer handy. Puerto Rican cooks are masters of various beans, and while this isn't the number one on many cook's menus, it's my bean of choice, rather than the red bean.
            I'm going there for lunch tomorrow, to see what else may be authentic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ramón Burgos Ruiz
              Krys Mar 17, 2005 11:57 PM

              Very informative post. Looking forward to your thoughts on future visits.

              It IS in San Jose, but do you know about this place that has Puerto Rican groceries. They also sell Puerto Rican Pasteles.

              Link: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

            2. s
              SweetLorraine Jan 13, 2008 12:25 AM

              I tried Sol's - music was too loud but nice feeling in restaurant. I tried tostones, they were good! But I was dissappointed that they did not serve any Puerto Rican rice dishes. I grew up in a latino diverse neighborhood & the Puerto Rican's were very proud of their rice.

              2 Replies
              1. re: SweetLorraine
                Mick Ruthven Jan 13, 2008 06:06 PM

                The one time I ate there for breakfast (quite a while ago) I remember eggs and rice on the menu. It didn't appeal to me so I didn't order it but I assumed it was authentic Puerto Rican else why would they have it on the menu.

                1. re: Mick Ruthven
                  Cynsa Jan 13, 2008 10:49 PM


              2. n
                nuraman00 Aug 1, 2008 02:24 AM

                Read this thread, and somehow read about Sol Food:


                I thought I was going to a restaurant, but it turned out to be a fast food type place. I haven't had Puerto Rican food too many times before, maybe only 1-2 times.

                Cubano Sandwich:

                I've only had one 1-2 other times. It was ok. Not bad, not great. I read in another thread that a few people thought there was too much mustard. I didn't notice that.

                1 Piece Pollo:

                It was pretty good. The marinated flavor is definitely something unique.

                Fizzy Lizzy:

                I had read to try a unique brand of soda, Fizzy Lizzy. I had the pineapple flavored one. It was pretty good. It contained 67% juice too.

                Considering that Puerto Rican food isn't too common, and this was a cafe/fast food place, it was pretty good. I'm sure it could be better, but if one wants this type of cuisine, it should be ok.


                Parking is hard to find in this area. There's only 2 or 3 spaces in the parking lot. The rest has to be found on the street. And even that's hard to find.

                Plus, I saw signs that parking wasn't allowed from 4-6pm on weekdays, on the streets.

                I ended up parking 1.5 blocks away, not bad, but just be prepared to look for a space.

                5 Replies
                1. re: nuraman00
                  wolfe Aug 1, 2008 06:54 AM

                  Which branch did you eat at? The lime green place at the corrner of 3rd and Lincoln is a sit down restaurant.

                  Sol Food Puerto Rican Cuisine
                  732 4th St, San Rafael, CA 94901

                  Sol Food Puerto Rican Cuisine
                  901 Lincoln Ave, San Rafael, CA 94901

                  1. re: wolfe
                    chaddict Aug 1, 2008 10:31 AM

                    If they only had pasteles on the menu, I would gladly make the schlep. But the menu online doesn't have any. Le sigh...

                    1. re: chaddict
                      wolfe Aug 1, 2008 10:57 AM

                      Apparently occasionally available according to this post from K.R.

                      1. re: wolfe
                        kare_raisu Aug 1, 2008 11:29 AM

                        yes! I can't remember the day but its a serving of lechon with pasteles as accompaniment.

                    2. re: wolfe
                      nuraman00 Aug 1, 2008 07:49 PM

                      Oh, I went to the 4th street one. Maybe I should have gone to the Lincoln one. The 4th street one did end up working out timewise though.

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