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Mar 17, 2007 08:41 AM

Best upscale Mexican in Bay Area?

Responding to the question "Is there fabulous upscale Mexican anywhere in San Francisco?" in topic 381589:

There are upscale Mexican restaurants in the SF area, but none get consistently positive reports here. One more in the works, Mexico DF, previous chef of Fonda Solana.

Dona Tomas (Oakland)
Fonda Solana (Albany)
Guaymas (Tiburon)
Mexico DF (not open yet)
Tamarindo (Oakland)
Tres Agaves

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  1. As a former Chicagoan, I was surprised to move here 10 years ago and not find anything along the lines of Topolobompo or Frontera Grill. I think Maya comes close, but admittedly have not tried most places on this list. Tres Agaves is fun, but I wouldn't call it "upscale". I think Guaymas peaked years ago and even then I thought it was fairly average.

    Where is Mexico DF opening?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Frosty Melon

      I had some great dishes at Guaymas years ago (it's been open for over 20), but it went downhill, not bad but not worth a trip for the food.

      Maybe with that location, deck, and view there's no percentage in spending extra on first-rate food.

      1. re: Frosty Melon

        Re: Mexico DF, the tablehopper newsletter today says that it's opening this Thursday.

        Address is 139 Steuart St. at Howard.

        I'm very curious to give it a try.

      2. The original comment has been removed
        1. In San Rafael, there's Las Camelias, which is semi-upscale and quite charming. It's on Lincoln, between 3rd and 4th right downtown.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Sharuf

            I second this. I like Las Camelias a lot.

          2. I think of all of them Mamacita comes in first for food but it's not a high-end dining experience. I'm never that blown away by the food at Tres. We've had a great time at Colibri before - they're very accommodating for a group.

            1. I've eaten at Colibri, Dona Tomas, Guaymas, Maya, Tamarindo, and Zazil. None were outstanding, though I think my best meals have been at Colibri, although many others here would disagree with me. (actually, use of the plural says a lot. Colibri is one of the few I've voluntarily gone to more than once. I did go to Dona Tomas several times, but only because I kept thinking it was just that they were having a bad night). And, to be honest, 'best' is a relative word here: can't say it was great, only that I found it to be better than average. Have also tried Camelias, and would fit into the same category.

              I'd like to try Tres Agaves, but the noise reports have turned me off.

              Just to clarify one point, btw, I don't consider all of the places listed to be upscale. In particular, Tamarindo isn't at all upscale: I don't think a place where they don't take lunch reservations and where you sit on benches can be called upscale. In addition, the food is quite casual, at least at lunch (tacos, sopes, tortas). I'd say most of the listed places are mid-scale, not upscale.

              The best mid-scale Mexican food I ever had in SF was at the briefly open, late and (in my household at least), lamented Mexico City in Noe Valley. Sigh.

              I look forward to trying Mexico DF and hope that it truly will be a showcase for Mexico City food.....however, I will not get my expectations up too high. Not sure I can stand much more disappointment on this front...

              1 Reply
              1. re: susancinsf

                You might want to try brunch at Tres Agaves. Its not crowded or noisy then.