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Mar 23, 2008 10:05 AM

"Southwestern" restaurants in the Bay Area?

I just got back from a trip to Phoenix and Sedona, and really liked a couple restaurants that seemed to feature a Southwestern menu, vaguely similar to Mexican but with many items I get the feeling you don't see that often in the Bay Area...or anywhere outside Arizona or New Mexico, for that matter.

Anyone know if the equivalent can be found in the Bay Area? (especially in the East Bay or SF?) Surprisingly, a board search didn't turn up much.

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  1. I haven't tried it, but Left at Albuquerque comes to mind.

    Left at Albuquerque
    2140 Union St, San Francisco, CA 94123

    1. Having lived in the old pueblo of Tucson for 4 years and Tempe for 2 years, the closest Arizona style of Southwestern food that I have found is Cacti in downtown Novato. La Ultima in Danville serves New Mexican style cuisine, but that is quite different from the Arizona style.

      1. We own a second home in Tucson, and the closest thing to SW food we've found here is Aqui in Willow Glen (San Jose) and Campbell. It's a long drive from SF and the East Bay, but everyone I've taken there has raved about it and asked to return. The food is fresh, fast, cheap, and delicious. We live 12 miles away but consider it our "neighborhood" goto joint.

        We used to like Left At Albuquerque a lot when it first opened, but found it uneven over the years:

        1. I found out about this New Mexico-style place called Green Chile Kitchen, that is in NOPA, recently but haven't tried it yet. If anybody does, please report back!!

          Green Chile Kitchen
          1801 McAllister St, San Francisco, CA 94117

          7 Replies
          1. re: lessleyellen

            This place has been discussed several time before on this board. If you do a "Search this board" search for Green Chile Kitchen, you should be able to find a number of helpful posts.

            1. re: DavidT

              You don't even need to search, just click on the "Green Chile Kitchen" link. I wasn't very impressed but I don't know anyplace else around here that makes that food.

              Are people calling that part of the Western Addition "Nopa" now? I thought that was just a restaurant name.

                1. re: Claudette

                  No, but we like to call it No Beach.

                2. re: Robert Lauriston

                  I've had take-out from them twice now. The first was truly unimpressive - even the dished described as 'spicy' were totally bland. Not a good start.

                  The second try was better, so perhaps the kitchen is still fine tuning things. On the whole, the menu appears to be a pretty fair representation of some styles of New Mexican food.

                  1. re: epicurious_sf

                    It's been open for a couple years now--definitely not fine tuning, since they haven't changed the menu. It's bland food, fairly expensive for what you get, but the roast chicken is good takeout food if you live within 3 blocks. How's that for a tepid endorsement?

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    The real estate agents have been calling NoPa NoPa for at least half a decade--western addition just doesn't conjure up what they're looking for. NoPa restaurant is not technically in north of the panhandle, which I think stops at Divis in the arcane real estate world.

              1. Out of curiosity...which restaurants in AZ are you speaking of here?

                1 Reply
                1. re: hohokam

                  Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale and Cafe Elote in Sedona.