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Nov 22, 2009 02:46 PM

Rincon Peruano in San Francisco

On the way to the August street food festival in SF in August, I walked past Rincon Peruano. Not having seen it before, it dawned on me that I’d not strolled on this block before. I came back once the festival became too oppressive. With but a handful of tables and sweet staff, this little café was a haven from the maddening crowds.

For the first visit, I ordered just the housemade alfajor, $1, and maracuya (passionfruit) juice, $1.25. This was a refreshing break. I’ve also tried the other cookie baked here, a woven wreath-like traditional pastry, and liked it.

The menu features homestyle dishes of Peru, a few standard items supplemented by day of the week specials. I returned for the aguadito de pollo, $6.50. Cilantro-tinted, this was a soupy version of arroz con pollo with a succulent drumstick and lots of rice, plus corn, carrots, and green beans under there the surface of the broth. A couple squeezes of key lime and some of the ají, and I was good to go. Very homey.

I’ve also tried a Tamal peruano, $3. The smooth masa steamed in a banana leaf is filled with chicken, olive, salt pork fat and served with pickled onions. I added some of the blazing hot ají sauce made with jalapeños for a little more punch. Again, a comforting dish.

What else do ‘hounds like here?

Rincon Peruano Restaurant
3364 26th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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  1. I like the atmosphere, because it's like going to another country. The lomo saltado was okay the one time I ate there; not cheap, but then it rarely is.

    They close early (6:30 or so weekdays) and are only open part of Saturday, so I've never had a chance to return.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Windy

      Yes, that's an apt description. Rincon Peruano is of another place. I'm wondering what the empanada is like here.

    2. One thing I have really liked there over the past few years is a medium-sized roast pork sandwich with onions. If you get it to go, you get a little plastic container of fiery stuff that may be the aji you mentioned in your post. I think it's only available on Saturdays, but it's good, and quite cheap (I think under $5).

      1 Reply
      1. re: vinchar

        Thanks, that sounds really good. This little spot provides another cheap eats alternative when you can't eat another burrito, I imagine. I'll also mention that I was in there on one of those rare blazing hot days (~ 90 degrees outside) and it was quite cool and comfortable in here. And my server kept the iced water coming.

      2. Never tried it - love finding that unexpected "new" place in the neighborhood.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mariacarmen

          I was sort of dumbfounded when I asked and learned that this little rincon has been here for more ten years. New to me!

          P.S. that link is for a restaurant in Mesa, AZ.

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            i know, i realized that as soon as i posted it, and tried to edit - i've often had thet problem when trying to edit, it doesn't seem to take the edit.

        2. i've been walking past this spot nearly every day for years and finally walked in a couple weeks ago, curious. i ordered an empanada and the pescado frito for take-out to split with a friend at a nearby bar. the fried fish came with four small breaded fillets of...white fresh-water fish, white rice, some iceberg salad, and some of that green hot sauce. the fish was perfectly fine, if not super flavorful. it was well fried, light and not greasy. the hot sauce perked everything up with a nice, bright heat.

          empanada was meh. dry, almost sandy crust. filling of beef, onion, potato, boiled egg. not very interesting flavor, and a bit under seasoned. i gave most of my half to my friend. but i was still curious about this place and vowed to go back.

          so today i grabbed a tamal, which came as you described yours back then, but mine had no salt pork and instead was studded with two or three peanuts, an interesting addition. it was smooth textured, and with the lightly pickled onions made a great snack. although i found the chicken to be a bit dry and stringy.

          food seems good enough to warrant further exploration, especially as i do walk past it almost every single day.

          1 Reply
          1. re: augustiner

            Thanks for the update, augustiner. I had mistakenly inferred from something you said in another post that you could be leaving the area. Glad to know that you're continuing to walk past Rincon Peruano regularly.