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May 22, 2006 06:54 PM

Best Mexican in SF?

  • d

I'm in LA and was just talking to a friend in SF who said he's been dissapointed in the Mexican food there. Any suggestions?

Please respond with any Mexican suggestions, but if you have suggestions for the following, I'd love to know them.
Great Taquerias? Any good fish tacos (he went to school in San Diego)? How about high end Oaxacan?

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  1. high end Oaxacan? in San Francisco? and you want it to be good, too?

    I am very much afraid that, other than perhaps a dish here or a dish there, such may only exist in a lot of Hound dreams....

    1. Yucatasia in the Mission. A real small non-fancy place, but good food from the Yucatan.

      1. For fish tacos, Nick's Crispy Tacos on Polk is my favorite. Fried, with guac, and habanero salsa.

        My favorite taqueria is La Corneta. Oddly enough, however, it's not a good place for tacos. There was a thread a while back wherein I laid out the good and bad dishes to order there. You may want to try to find it. Short version: burritos, fresh carne asada, carnitas, beans & rice (i.e., combo plate), grilled and green salsa chicken, quesadillas, chips, guacamole, and alfajores are good; fish, shrimp, tacos, chicken in red salsa are not good.

        High-end Oaxacan? I wish. Closest I've seen is Maya, but I'm guessing it's more fusion-y that you're hoping for.



        8 Replies
        1. re: nja

          la corneta also has wonderful ceviche!

          1. re: nja

            Updating some info in this old thread since it's still being used as a reference. Nick left Nick's Crispy Tacos about a year ago. The Polk location is still using his name (no doubt part of some business agreement or disagreement). Nick opened the Taco Shop at Underdogs on Irving just west of 19th St.

            1. re: Shane Greenwood

              The Taco Shop at Underdogs was giving out elote con queso at the Yelp Christmas Party last nite. From the menu I picked up, at the store they sell the corn on the cob "brushed with lime sauce and then dusted with cojita cheese & cayenne pepper"

              Last nght they gave it out off the cob in little cups served hot. I've only seen it off the cob and little nabe Mexican markets. However it is sold room temperature. The hot corn in a cup was quite nice. I'm going to have to stop by.

              Somewhere on the board there was a search for burritos with French fries. I don't know if The Taco Shop was mentioned, but they sell them there.

              1. re: rworange

                You can order it cut off the cob at the street stands in Guadalajara.

                1. re: rworange

                  I've had it off the cob from a cart in Fruitvale -- one of them had a little sign for the corn in a cup.

                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                    Actually we've had quite a few reports of sightings of esquite or elote en vaso. And, I made some for my contribution to the Chowing with the Hounds picnic buffet one year.

                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                      Right. But has anyone had it served warm?

                      1. re: rworange

                        Yes, I've only had it warm, served at safe food handling temperature.

            2. Taquaria Can Cun on Mission @ 19th St is awesome for both burritos, and street tacos (but not fish).

              I would say a good high-end place would be Colibri on Geary St in Union Square. It's really Mexico City style cooking, but it is very tasty and the margaritas kick my a$$.

              1. I am a recent LA transplat in SF, and I have tried all the top rated mexican restaurants here: Tommys, La Barca, Colibri, Mamacita, El Farolito, a slew of taquerias, and so far NOT ONE RESTAURANT comes close to the old school, yummy, cheesy, deliciousness of top LA mexican restaurants. All the SF restaurants are either "fancy pants" mexican which can be good, but not really what I am looking for, and on the converse, there are many taqerias which are more like fast food places, not sit down restaurants. Where is the SF equivalent of my Los Angeles faves like Pacos in Westchester, Don Antonios in West LA, Gilberts in Santa Monica or El Coyote in Hollywood. YUM! I miss those places soooo much. I am thinking I might have to give up my search for good mexican in the bay area and just make a point to visit one of my fav. mex joints when in LA.

                12 Replies
                1. re: luckygrlllll

                  Might need to head to Mountain View (La Fiesta) or Berkeley (Juan's Place or Mario's). Both are old school Cal-Mex in the SoCal tradition. People will tell you otherwise but it's as close to SoCal as I can find.

                  1. re: luckygrlllll

                    See, this is a perfect example of how "good XXX' means different things to different people. Personally, I don't like that style, and it can't be considered truly Mexican, but if it's delicious to you, then I hope you find it.

                    You might want to try Celia's (a local chain) and, if you ever get to the East Bay (closer than LA!), Alcapulco in Alameda.

                    1. re: luckygrlllll

                      El Coyote?? I agree that LA has it all over SF when it comes to Mexican eateries, but El Coyote would be one of the last places that came to mind when I think about the places I miss from my time in SoCal. Guelaguetza, Tacos Baja Ensenada, the East LA birrierias, yes, but El Coyote? Nah.

                      1. re: Spatlese

                        The poster made it quite clear that she's not into "real" Mexican food, but rather "old school, yummy, cheesy, deliciousness" -- as I said, everyone's definition of good is different.

                      2. re: luckygrlllll

                        You might try Don Ramon's on 11th St., La PiƱata in Alameda, or Don Pico's in San Bruno. Maybe Roosevelt Tamale Parlor on 24th.


                        1. re: luckygrlllll

                          I forgot to post this before- this was recommended in my quest for carne asada, I did end up going and it's not that close to SF, but if you happen to be heading that way I ordered a burrito it was a gooey, monster delight! Hacienda Grill- from the looks of the dishes being served this might be what you are looking for. No margaritas here.. maybe beer.


                          For Mexican in LA you really need to go to the East Side not the West Side.

                          1. re: luckygrlllll

                            I think you're friend is probably looking for authentic Mexican, which is surprisingly hard to find in SF. As a result, the usual taqueria suspects, which already serve a very different style of burrito than LA taqueria, probably aren't going to satisfy. La Taqueria, for example, serves what I consider to be the most SoCal-style burrito (i.e., no rice). My favorite taquerias like El Farolito, Cancun, and San Jose put too much stuff inside their burritos to satisfy a diehard Angelino's preference. I have the reverse problem now living in LA.

                            ETA: I meant to post this reply in response to the OP, not lucygrllll. Sorry for any confusion...

                            1. re: luckygrlllll

                              Some advice... never walk into a bar full of rowdy Mexicans, touting the virtues of such decrepit & disgusting L.A. mistitutions such as Paco's, Don Antonio, Gilbert's and specially not El Coyote. If you do... make sure you have an escape car.

                              1. re: luckygrlllll

                                The two I miss this most in LA are Gilbert's El Indio and the La Playita stand at Lincoln and Rose. They are very different in their approach but neither has a equivalent here in SF that i have found.

                                Tommy's is a little like Gilbert's in that it has the traditional AmeriMex pool-o-cheese options done pretty well along with high quality rellenos and good entre dishes.

                                (I should say this is my first post and that I have loved this board for quite a while)

                                1. re: luckygrlllll

                                  I am also a recent transplant from L.A. (Silverlake, CA) and have been in search of a good mexican sit down equivalent to El Chavo on Sunset, or El Compadre in Echo park (two of my fav's!) I long for those simple tasty dishes! I have also been to all of the above restaurants mentioned, and although some are very tasty, nothing compares to L.A. mexican food!

                                  1. re: rdstargrl

                                    Try Popol Vuh. Dunno if it's like anything you have in LA but it's excellent Yucatecan.

                                    Poc Chuc
                                    2886 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                      Popol Vuh has been renamed Poc-Chuc. Otherwise unchanged.