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Jan 26, 2008 06:40 PM

Great food near Civic Centre Station?

Looking for hole in the wall tasty food near Civic Centre Station -- to balance out the expense account meal, I'd love to find a great green chili taco, Vietnamese bun, dumplings or some such. Not looking for atmosphere, just a great $10 mouthful of flavor.

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  1. Taqueria Cancun, 1003 Market near 6th is a sure winner of a hole-in-the wall.

    Tu Lan (cheap Vietnamese), 8 Sixth St. near Market is more controversial; there's also a long string of Vietnamese banh mi and pho shops on Larkin Street, beginning about four blocks north of Market.

    23 Replies
        1. re: Xiao Yang

          A 2nd on Cancun. The al pastor or quesadilla suiza are the best items.

          As much as it's a real hole-in-the-wall, eat there if you can. They griddle toast the tortillas and it makes a big difference. Carry out kills the texture.

          1. re: ML8000

            Thank you for the reco to CanCun -- and to eat in.

            Didn't make it to any Vietnamese places as I ate at CanCun three times, most awesome! Just can't get Mexican like that in TO.

          2. re: Xiao Yang

            tu lan is an extremely divisive rec:

            hastings students like myself know the area well. i like the gyro place on grove (gyro king?), larkin express, morty's deli, and if you're going farther afield, bodega bistro or thai house express. for viet sandwiches, going up larkin in order, wrap delight, saigon sandwich, and baguette express. i waver between the latter two.

            lalita thai is awful.

            1. re: artemis

              I'm with artemis.

              Also there's a farmer's market Wednesdays and Sunday mornings.

              No idea what a green chile (?) taco is, but you're not going to find it in the Tenderloin. Civic Center's not the most charming area, btw.

              1. re: Windy

                no worries, I like neighborhoods with a little hair, I'm used to it.

                where is the Wed farmer's market? Is that the one at Geary at St. Joseph's Street - and do you recommend this one?

                1. re: orangewasabi

                  The worthwhile Wednesday FM is at UN Plaza, right by the big water fountain. If you are there around lunch time there's a choice of eats from Roli Roti (rotisserie chicken), All-Star Tamales (14 varieties!) or The Art of the Falafel, all of whom have trucks seving hot food.

                  I recommend it; it's a good mix of ethnic and more familiar produce, some organic and generally better-priced than the Ferry Building FM.

                  The Geary and St Joseph's St. one is a tiny one in front of Kaiser Hospital. I give Kaiser credit for sponsoring it, though.

                  1. re: orangewasabi

                    Just so you know...

                    I was recommending UN Plaza as much for the vendors (satsumas, nuts, dried fruit, honey) as for the waffle truck and tamales.

                  2. re: Windy

                    Green Chile, a.k.a. chili verde. Don't know if T. Cancun offers it in a taco, though they have both al pastor and carnitas versions of pork that I know of.

                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                      like Windy, I am not sure I know what a chile verde taco is.....chile verde is typically served as a stew, not in a taco. Guess it could be in a burrito, but it really isn't the right consistency for a taco...

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        XY/Susan - thanks for the correction. Yeah, I meant chile verde and afaik, I believe I've had it primarily in burritos and on "taco salads" not tacos. Forgive my mis-speak, Canadians get zero exposure to good Mexican so I have a lot to learn.

                        1. re: orangewasabi

                          well, no worries, personally I don't think that you will find a great version of chile verde in SF anyway (whether in burrito, taco, or bowl). They have it at Los Jarritos on South Van Ness, but not the right neighborhood, and if you were going to go that far afield, I'd head to Chichen Itza for Yucatanean food...

                          1. re: susancinsf

                            by the way, would be easy to head to Chichen Itza via BART: just head one station away from downtown from Civic Center, to the 16th Street Mission stop, and walk a few blocks east to Chichen Itza, at 16th and S. Van Ness. Probably a more comfortable walk during the day; well worth the BART fare....

                            1. re: susancinsf

                              holy sh*t!
                              after being taken aback by a reco that I would have to go to Chichen Itza (!!) for good chile verde I googled and found food pictures on yelp that look so awesome I am drooling right now.

                              okay, BART not airfare, I can handle. I'm there. Thank you!

                              1. re: orangewasabi

                                I think you'll love it, but just to further was more a general recommendation for Chichen Itza; I don't think they have chile verde on the menu; the cuisine is Yucatanean. Check posts linked on the places link below for some specific recommendations....(I love their tortillas and salsa habanero and just about everything I've tried on three visits so far...)

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

                                1. re: orangewasabi

                                  Chichen Itza's Yucatecan, I've never seen chile verde there.

                              2. re: susancinsf

                                I haven't had enough chile verde to know whether any of these qualify as great, but I have really enjoyed the chile verde plates at Chavas (on the east side of Mission between 24th and 25th) and Chavitas #2 (on the west side of Mission between 26th and Cesar Chavez), as well as the take-out chile verde at La Palma Mexicatessen (on 24th at Florida, I think)

                            2. re: susancinsf

                              It is just grilled pork in green-chile sauce. So many places in the Ricmond area serve it for some reason. Pepito's in San Pablo makes a great one.

                              I'm glad I looked up that link. They make a special dish during Lent with napoles and shrimp ... and here it is almost Lent.

                              Not a great example, but here's a picture of one.

                              1. re: rworange

                                Taqueria Cancun gives out a green chili salsa with the complimentary nachos. I guess one could just dump it on a carnitas taco....

                                1. re: Xiao Yang

                                  well, chile verde is actually a stew (generally made with pork butt or shoulder); so, it is not just grilled pork in salsa verde....(though I do like salsa verde on my carnitas tacos :-))

                                  but we digress. I'd bet Chavas would be a good place to try it; haven't had it there but their soups are good.

                                2. re: rworange

                                  Traditional chile verde is a pork stew with tomatillos and mild green chiles. It gets a nice sour tang from the tomatillos. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there, but El Faro's version is pretty decent.

                                  In New Mexico, "green chile taco" might be grilled pork with green chile sauce.

                      2. Larkin Express [Larkin btwn Golden Gate & Turk] for Burmese...

                        1. Tea leaf salad, fish cake curry, mohinga, ginger salad - Larkin Express Deli

                          Duck leg noodle soup at Hai Ky Mi Gia

                          Beef pho at Turtle Tower

                          The two Vietnamese sandwich places mentioned by Artemis.

                          Dave MP

                          1. The Falafel King across the street from the library right next to the Burger King. Really good stuff, and they seem to care about the food too. The owner says a little prayer every time he rings you up.

                            2 Replies
                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Ah, yes indeed. Thanks for the correction.