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name the best tacos in the mission

lavendersoda Jan 5, 2007 06:54 PM

Coming to town this weekend, trying to make someone fall in love with the city, primarily by stomach. I'm thinking tacos. We looooved the ones at Loteria grill at the Farmer's Market in L.A. WHere can I find equal or better in the city?

  1. j
    jman1 Sep 4, 2011 03:58 PM

    Pretty sure the OP must have made his decision by now (seems that an old thread was brought back to life).

    I like tacos, but haven't really figured out what makes one good and one bad. What's the criteria? Mostly about the meat and how it's cooked? The tortilla? Proportions? Something else?

    I'm a bit surprised by the variety in size and cost of tacos in the Mission. There are $1.50 ones that are just a few bites of meat and condiments on a small tortilla. Then, another place will charge 2.5X and give you something too big to pick up. I guess the price is a clue, but I'm often surprised by what I get (go in wanting a snack and getting a meal or vice versa). Are there different taco traditions?

    2 Replies
    1. re: jman1
      vulber Sep 5, 2011 10:23 AM

      part of what makes vallarta's tacos so good:

      "The owners saw a demand for authentic tacos from bar patrons, Marenco said — specifically tacos “al vapor,” or steamed tacos. The style, as described by Marenco, involves putting the meat on a steamer, then cooking it slowly on a burner. Most restaurants just go straight to cooking the meat on a burner, he said."


      1. re: jman1
        Windy Sep 5, 2011 05:29 PM

        Traditionally Mexican tacos are small and cheap. The huge ones are a reaction to American preferences.

        Fresh tortillas make a huge difference but are hard to come by. Chilango has the best tortillas to my taste; if you get carnitas, they bring a basket of them for you to assemble. (Take the leftovers home and make chilequiles.) They have a hint of lime.

        Downtown Maya to Go, which uses higher grade meats but not especially spicy salsas, offers a fresh tortilla upgrade on its tacos. They are huge, as are the fillings.

        La Taqueria's tacos are steamed, as are La Corneta's. I think it depends on the meat as to how you prefer it prepared.

        Still, fancy tortillas and meats aside, I'd take an al pastor from the El Gordo truck in Fruitvale any day.

        La Taqueria
        2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        El Gordo
        4201 International Blvd, Oakland, CA 94601

        235 Church St, San Francisco, CA 94114

      2. b
        bigcripe77 Sep 4, 2011 03:40 PM

        La Palma Birria tacos on Saturday are out of this world and the Tacos Sonora with Chicharon are delicious and both a bit more unique than your standard taco truck taco

        1. s
          soupnazi Aug 31, 2011 01:59 PM

          tacos dorados la taqueria

          1. v
            vulber Aug 31, 2011 10:15 AM

            vallarta has taken over the el maya yucatan space by 16th/mission BART. i actually really liked that place, but htere was never anyone in there. nonetheless, very excited

            1. v
              vulber Jun 4, 2011 08:18 AM

              vallarta, w/o a doubt

              1. s
                stonefruit Jan 6, 2007 02:47 PM

                I'm surprised no one's mentioned El Metate, a small shop on Bryant near 22nd. They have tasty tacos (I've tried the chicken versions) served with just the regular stuff -- no weird beans or rice.

                I do love La Taqueria's tacos (particularly the avocado that you can add to them); can't wait till they reopen.

                1. y
                  yehfromthebay Jan 5, 2007 11:58 PM

                  I love Loteria. Gotta say that I haven't found a good taco in the Bay. However, I think SF's burritos beat LA any day (Pancho Via, Cancun) but I think it's because I like flavorful rice, thin tortilla and non-garlicky al pastor.

                  1. s
                    sarvey Jan 5, 2007 11:39 PM

                    Check out www.burritoeater.com for full run down and addresses of taquerias in SF. Granted it's about burritos but it might be helpful. I love Chavez Supermarket but it is in Hayward.

                    1. Dave MP Jan 5, 2007 11:37 PM

                      I like tacos al pastor at Taqueria San Jose. I still haven't tried the tacos at La Taqueria. They are literally twice as expensive as the tacos at Taqueria San Jose.

                      On another note, a new Taqueria opened last weekend on 24th St, near S. Van Ness I think? Called Taqueria Guadalajara....haven't tried it yet. Has anyone else?

                      Dave MP

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Dave MP
                        vinchar Jan 6, 2007 04:17 AM

                        The tacos al pastor at TSJ are fantastic. La Taqueria's tacos are bigger, and with beans, if that's your thing. But if that's your thing, I think that tacos at Chavitas, on Mission between 26th and Cesar Chavez, are heartier and better -- and they are cheaper than La Taqueria's by 50 cents i think. Esp. good is the carne asada taco -- atypical , containing meat, refried beans, and grilled peppers and onions. One is a good lunch, two will leave a medium-sized person stuffed for dinner.

                      2. k
                        kleungsf Jan 5, 2007 11:11 PM

                        I would do El Farolito on at 24th St for some of their tacos. Their beef cheek tacos and tongue tacos are my fav. but their carnitas tacos are excellent also.

                        1. l
                          lettuce Jan 5, 2007 10:48 PM

                          i would second (or third) la taqueria - specifically, the crispy carnitas tacos with cheese and guac. yum.

                          although...i'm pretty sure la taqueria is closed until the 9th. they shut down every year around this time for 3 weeks.

                          1. a_and_w Jan 5, 2007 09:00 PM

                            If your friend has an aversion to rice on his burrito, try La Taqueria. Otherwise, get a burrito al pastor at El Farolito, Taqueria San Jose, or Taqueria Cancun. You are after all in the Mission, why not try what the Mission does best?

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: a_and_w
                              ML8000 Jan 5, 2007 11:20 PM

                              I'll second Taqueria Cancun for the al pastor burrito or taco...and add the suggestion of getting a quesadilla suiza.

                              LA types will argue that's it's not the same and I'll just say I grew up in LA, know King Taco, grew up with Chicanos and the taquerias are just as good...but the sit down Mexican food is not.

                              Re: La Taqueria, I know I'll catch flak for saying it's anglofied but still think it's good and will eat there.

                              1. re: ML8000
                                DezzerSF Jan 6, 2007 02:38 PM

                                I actually agree with the comment about La Taqueria but would not return b/c of the price. I really need to get to the Taqueria San Jose in the Mission. I frequent the Oakland branch and absolutely love the al pastor there.

                              2. re: a_and_w
                                Gary Soup Jan 6, 2007 04:58 AM

                                I think the query was about tacos, not burritos. I'll cast my vote for T. Cancun or T. San Jose.

                              3. celeste Jan 5, 2007 08:56 PM

                                El Tonayense taco truck on Harrison and 18th, as well as Tacqueria La Altena on Mission and 22nd (not other location) - specifically for Al Pastor tacos.


                                1 Reply
                                1. re: celeste
                                  drewskiSF Jun 4, 2011 10:23 AM

                                  2nd La Altena for al pastor

                                  Altena Restaurant
                                  3346 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                                2. Steve Green Jan 5, 2007 08:52 PM

                                  Yes--another vote for La Taqueria. We especially like the carne asada and carnitas tacos and burritos. The agua fresa (strawberry drink) is also outstanding.

                                  1. Civil Bear Jan 5, 2007 07:48 PM

                                    That is a no-brainer for me. It is La Taquaria in Mission at 25th. You will pay a bit more, but worth every penny. Just be sure to get them with guac and use plenty of that awsome verde sause in the squeeze bottles at your table!

                                    1. o
                                      Offal Lover Jan 5, 2007 07:47 PM

                                      Not authentic, but not fusiony in anyway, La Taqueria for awesome asada and lengua tacos. The board is divided on this one, but the lines out the door attest to it's taste.

                                      1. l
                                        lavendersoda Jan 5, 2007 07:24 PM

                                        ah no, he's from Portland, and on a trip to LA, i showed him the magic of loteria grill. And it's not only mexican food we're going with. I have a dinner at Chez Panisse and a trip to the Ferry Market planned.

                                        1. larochelle Jan 5, 2007 07:20 PM

                                          If I was trying to get someone from LA to fall in love with SF, I sure as hell wouldn't try to do it via SF Mexican food! It's one of our most notorious failings.

                                          1. Absonot Jan 5, 2007 07:09 PM

                                            Try the taco truck that's always parked on Harrison near 18th - I think it's an El Tonyanese. After I was away from SF over the holidays, I didn't feel home again until I ate two of their Al Pastor tacos with hot salsa...amazing.

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