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Tapas in the Mission

b
boris_qd May 18, 2010 09:52 AM

Which of the several tapas places in the mission is considered the "best"?

Ideally I'm looking for a place that's not too expensive, good food, cheapish wine by the glass and kid friendly late Saturday afternoon.

Suggestions?

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  1. v
    vulber May 18, 2010 10:44 AM

    Cha Cha Cha is always fun, reasonably priced, and it's pretty kid-friendly if you go early enough.

    Not super impressed with Charanga outside of their amazing happy hour specials.

    Others include Picaro and Esperpento, which I haven't been to

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    Charanga
    2351 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

    Picaro Cafe
    3120 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

    Esperpento Restaurant
    3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

    1. m
      ML8000 May 18, 2010 11:13 AM

      I wouldn't call it the best but Esperpento fits your requirements: good tapas, not too expensive and kid friendly during the afternoon (lots of natural light). They've been around forever and the prices are stable.

      I was never a fan of Cha Cha Cha but that's due to the Haight St. location. There's also Ramblas and El Valenciano but not particularly kid friendly.

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      Esperpento Restaurant
      3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      El Valenciano Restaurant & Bar
      1153 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

      3 Replies
      1. re: ML8000
        v
        vulber May 18, 2010 11:37 AM

        Ramblas is closing at the end of this week

        1. re: ML8000
          mariacarmen May 18, 2010 04:38 PM

          Agree with all ML8000 has to say, and yes, Ramblas is closing. And while no Mission tapas places are over-the-top excellent, Andalu is the best we have, in my opinion, if you remove kid friendly factor. And it is a nice looking, fun place, with good selection of wine. Second best is Esperpento (or Picaro - Esperpento and Picaro are the same place, just different locations. Picaro is a more intimate space, Esperpento a little bigger and in a higher-traffic area.) I really don't like the food at Cha Cha Cha or El Valenciano.

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          Andalu
          3198 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

          Picaro Cafe
          3120 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

          Esperpento Restaurant
          3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          El Valenciano Restaurant & Bar
          1153 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          1. re: mariacarmen
            Frosty Melon May 19, 2010 10:34 AM

            El Valenciano no longer serves food, according to a friend who until recently was a regular visitor.

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            El Valenciano Restaurant & Bar
            1153 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        2. bbulkow May 18, 2010 02:04 PM

          Andalu isn't kid friendly, but that's an option.

          I'd say the general round-up of mission tapas is nothing's that stunning. Throw in kid-friendly and you'll have a pleasant meal at Esperanto.

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          Andalu
          3198 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

          4 Replies
          1. re: bbulkow
            b
            boris_qd May 18, 2010 03:56 PM

            So if I eliminated kid friendly you think Andalu is the best option?

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            Andalu
            3198 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

            1. re: boris_qd
              bbulkow May 18, 2010 04:00 PM

              meh. I never loved andalu. Nice looking room, though.

              I live in MP and we've got Iberia by the train station so I'm jaded.

              1. re: bbulkow
                j
                jsgjewels May 18, 2010 06:05 PM

                Agree. Personally would take Esperpento over Andalu any day.
                Andalu isn't traditional tapas anyway, very fusion-ey and in my opinion not that well done. Esperpento is the closest to spanish tapas the mission has, and it's very reasonably priced.

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                Andalu
                3198 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

                Esperpento Restaurant
                3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: jsgjewels
                  mariacarmen May 18, 2010 06:38 PM

                  You are right, Andalu isn't traditional tapas, very fusion. And I actually have had good tapas in the last year at Esperpento, when the same had not been true in many years.

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                  Andalu
                  3198 16th St., San Francisco, CA 94103

                  Esperpento Restaurant
                  3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          2. b
            boris_qd May 18, 2010 08:52 PM

            Ok. I'll be trying Esperpento and I'll report back. Thanks.

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            Esperpento Restaurant
            3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

            8 Replies
            1. re: boris_qd
              c
              carfeng May 19, 2010 04:24 PM

              what about Limon Rotisserie? not Spanish tapas, but if you're just looking for small plates, the place offers quite a few with a peruvian bent. i think it fits the bill for your other requirements as well (kid friendly, cheap wine) and parking's easy around the area.

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              Limon Rotisserie
              1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

              1. re: carfeng
                mariacarmen May 19, 2010 11:29 PM

                i don't think i would call Limon Rotisserie kid friendly .... what makes it that to you? i think of it more as an upscale hipster place - low lighting, kind of a sexy ambiance, a lot of snappily dressed younger people.... i do like the food, tho, a lot.... especially anticuchos!

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                Limon Rotisserie
                1001 S Van Ness Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: mariacarmen
                  Frosty Melon May 20, 2010 08:15 AM

                  I was at LR last night and there were at least two tables with kids, and they didn't seem out of place. Not sure what a kid would order but I suppose the chicken is safe enough...and they have a variety of flavored lemonades. I love the carne a la perilla small plate.

                  1. re: mariacarmen
                    c
                    carfeng May 20, 2010 09:18 AM

                    hmmm...I've found the ambiance to be pretty cheery and casual earlier in the day (the OP intended to go late Sat afternoon). i'm sure the kids would love the various fries (yucca, sweet potato)...though maybe some flavors of the other dishes may be too bold.

                    1. re: mariacarmen
                      b
                      boris_qd May 20, 2010 10:41 AM

                      I think it can really depend on when you go. A place that's sultry in the evening can be family friendly in the light of day...

                      1. re: mariacarmen
                        v
                        vulber May 20, 2010 10:56 AM

                        Are you sure your'e talking about the rotisserie and not the restaurant?

                        1. re: mariacarmen
                          BernalKC May 20, 2010 12:03 PM

                          To me, kid friendly means fast paced, vibrant, with enough bustle and noise that active kids don't stick out like a sore thumb. Limon rotisserie is all that -- and inexpensive too. I always see families there, and the staff is accommodating. And the mainstay of the menu - polla a la brassa - is perfect for kids.

                          1. re: BernalKC
                            mariacarmen May 20, 2010 09:05 PM

                            I'm talking Rotisserie. maybe because i've only been there in late evenings did it not seem kid-attractive. "sultry" is a good description of my experience of it. and yeah, the staff is super nice, so i can see them being good with families.

                    2. b
                      boris_qd May 26, 2010 01:54 PM

                      We went to Esperpento with 4 Adults and 3 Children at 6 pm on a Saturday night. Normally I wouldn't make reservations but with kids it seemed important to not wait around. We were seated as soon as we got there.

                      The place was well lit but loud. Very loud. That turned out to be perfect for us since the screatching/screaming of the kids (three girls) didn't stand out. We quickly ordered some wine. One glass of white and a carafe of red wine sangria.

                      The sangria was a little sweat for my taste (I tend to make it at home with red wine, some fruit and juice and then a splash of brandy to bring the alcohol back up a little). But it was fine and tasty.

                      We ordered cod fish fritters, pickled white anchovies, bean salad, grilled squid, garlic shrimp and sauted cabbage.

                      The cod fish fritters where served with creamed spinach (?) and a bit bland. Not enough fish flavor and the spinach was all but inedible with a flat bechemel sauce and way to little salt (amongst other missing flavorings...) however. However. They were loved by the kids so that was a win. They were hot and fresh.

                      Anchovies where sour and fishy, topped with olive oil. Exactly what you'd expect (which we all enjoyed).

                      Bean salad was boring and enjoyed by none.

                      Cabbage had a nice smoked paprika flavor and was sauteed in olive oil. Dare I say there was some wok hei flavor? Good vegetable side.

                      Grilled squid was fantastic. Not overcooked but with a great grilled flavor, mixed with just enough grilled tomatoes and browned onions to give some acidity and sweetness. More or less exactly how you want this dish.

                      Garlic shrimp were also quite tasty. Lot's of nice garlic flavor, not overcooked.

                      Bread was refilled frequently as we used quite a bit soping up the juices from the shrimp and squid.

                      Bill: $70 (food & drinks)

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                      Esperpento Restaurant
                      3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

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