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May 28, 2005 09:21 PM

Sol food in San Rafael

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Sol Food is a cute little eat in or take away eatery in San Rafael, worth checking out on Fridays when they have their delicious fish special.

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  1. This fun place serves quite good and interesting Puerto Rican food. It's amazing how they made the tiny space work, but they did. It's been very popular since it opened.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Mick Ruthven

      What's your favorite dish there so far?

      Here's a link to GraceAnn Walden's mention of Sol Food in March.


      1. re: Melanie Wong

        So far the Friday fish special. I have pictures of it on my site if you would like to take a peek

        Last time I went, I ordered the dinner portion of chicken (not realizing how big it was) next time I'll stick with the lunch sized portion (2 pc. rather than 3)

        1. re: Edie

          Thanks, here's the picture of the tilapia from your site.



          1. re: Melanie Wong

            ooops, sorry, didn't know.


            1. re: Edie

              No worries, Edie, please keep 'em coming.

        2. re: Melanie Wong

          I've only eaten there twice, the last time at least a month ago. I don't remember individual items as well as some, especially the names of items :-) Anyway, my "favorite" was what looked like their "main" dish, the most complete meal. I remember that I loved the different liquid sauces available to put on the meat.

          1. re: Mick Ruthven

            Everyone has a different posting style. Some are impressionistic and others are more detailed and graphic. The only thing that's important is to let your passion for delicious food shine through and to call attention to good places you find. Thank you for doing that.


          2. re: Melanie Wong

            The place looks wonderful with the banana plants in 55 gallon drums. They've done an incredible job to create excitement with no $$$. I love it!!

            However, I ate there two weeks ago for dinner. We had the boneless chicken thighs..just about the only item on the menu. Later we found out there are specials no one told us about and were not on the menu or menu board. We sat down outside at a table, saw a waiter bring other tables a menu, etc. We smiled at the waiter and waitress but they didn't talk to us or bring us menus. After a while we wandered in and ordered from the chalk board. As we were leaving after dinner, we saw another table get menus AND get told about the secret specials.

            We got a huge plate of exciting looking food. I was so bummed that it it all had NO taste. The chicken was supposed to have oregano, etc. Couldn't taste anything. The beans have an piece of green olive or that but it was only one bite. White rice. Then the smashed fried plantains that only a mother could love. They were supposed to have an oil and vinegar sauce. Mine didn't..texture of shoe leather with no taste. The fried whole plantain or whatever it was looked great, had great texture but again, just bland. I remembered that they love poi in Hawaii. I poured the vinegar hot sauce over everything to give some zip to the food. The hot sauce was good..but not worth going there again just to get the condiment. Boy was I disappointed ...I really wanted this to become a favorite place.

        3. My wife and I were in the mood for some home cooking (we both come from Puerto Rico) and decided to meet some friends in San Rafael. We were going to try Mambo Cafe or Sol Food, depending on what things were like once we arrived (we had not been to either).

          We walked into Mambo Cafe; it had plenty of seating and was empty (at 4PM on a Saturday afternoon). The menu looked good, but we could not see what the food would be like. We then went up the block to Sol Food.

          SF was packed; all the seats were taken and there was a line of folks waiting on their orders. The food all looked fantastic and smelled like heaven. We decided to eat at Sol Food and figure out where to sit later!

          We ordered the rice & beans (the 7 kids in the group loved it), the biftec plates (steak & onions), the cubano sandwich, the biftec sandwich, a chicken sandwich, some plantains (both the tostones and maduros and the mariquitas). All of the food was fantastic.

          Some notes:

          - the plantains are offered as "sweet" or "garlic". sweet = amarillos/maduros; "garlic" = tostones.

          - the home-made hot sauce is awesome. Look for it in the jars on the tables; it looks like vinegar with chili flakes in it.

          - the chicken sandwich was the best sandwich; the cuban was a close second.

          - they have several "tropical" sodas (Fizzy Lizzy or some such).. it is not the same as the "jugos del pais" that you get back home. But the Passion Fruit one is not bad.

          I cannot wait until they open the large sit-down Sol Foods next to Mambo Cafe.

          San Rafael is 12 miles north of San Francisco, so it is easy to get to. We drove up from Mt View and our friends drove down from Sonoma. The trip was well worth it!