Food & Drink

Top 8 Mexican Spots in San Francisco

November 2, 2011 11:32 AM

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San Francisco is home to some of the best Mexican food north of the border. Kick up your dining experience with the best burritos and the top tacos on the hot lists of local weeklies. The food fiesta can be found at our Top 8 Best Mexican Joints in San Francisco.

Brace yourselves, amigos. It’s gonna get spicy!

2317 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94123
(415) 346-8494

This is a Marina hotspot, so be warned that gelled hair and cougar jeans can sometimes overtake Mamacita, flirting with each other while you try to enjoy your carnitas. But Mamacita is good, fresh, fancy Mexican is a chic, lively space. Higher end than your basic burrito joint, Mamacita’s award-winning Mexican food makes this sexy spot a destination.

306 Broderick Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 437-0303

Mexican sister to the popular Nopa, get the pozole at Nopalito. It’s wonderful. Organic, sustainable and super fresh, this small, sleek Mexican spot is the perfect place for family friendly take-out.

81911966 Top 8 Mexican Spots in San Francisco

credit: David McNew/Getty Images

La Taqueria
2889 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 285-7117
La Taqueria

La Taqueria is an absolute favorite of burritophiles. This Mission staple serves the standard stuff, but line up and dig in. La Taqueria is the reason folks take this burrito thing so seriously.

El Tonayense
Harrison Street at 22nd Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 550-9192
El Tonayense

You’re not dining in San Francisco unless someone’s trying to convince you the best food comes from a truck. We love our street food here, and (the difficult to pronounce) El Tonayense is a crowd favorite. To any fellow nervous eaters, all reports confirm touchy tummies will leave full and fine at El Tonayense.

Papalote Mexican Grill
1777 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 776-0106

SF Weekly’s choice for Best Burrito four years in a row, this popular family-owned spot went head to head with Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay on his Food Network Show, Throwdown. And they WON! Look for Papalote’s own brand of award-winning salsa to hit the shelves in the winter of 2010 and take the fiesta home.

2031 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 346-1966

Another Marina spot (the Mission is SO predictable), Tacolicious is famous for more than just their namesake tacos. 7×7 says you MUST try the tuna tostada. Also, know what you’re getting yourself into. A side of rice is about $5.

Gracias Madre
2211 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 683-1346
Gracias Madre

This Mission Mexican restaurant features organic, local ingredients because they love their mothers THAT much. Gracias Madre is the SF Bay Guardian’s 2010 choice for Best New Restaurant. IN EVERY category. Gracias, indeed.

Velvet Cantina
3349 23rd Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 648-4142
Velvet Cantina

On of the San Francisco’s favorite Mexican spots is this low-lit, slightly chic restaurant with killer margaritas. Velvet Cantina is hip and happening, with a lively bar and a low-lit vibe. Plus, they have S’Mores Nachos. I’m just sayin’.

View Comments
  • Kirk

    Gee, does the world start and end in SF ? ?

    Aren’t there any Mexican restaurants elsewhere in the Bay Area?

    • Jeff Stone

      mr. gullible and naive kirk. San Francisco is a hot spot for great mexican food for any # of reasons: the name…San Francisco is one of the oldest cities in California, settled in the late 1700’s…Mexicans typically flock to San Francisco, and open restaurants…For those reasons alone, the BEST MEXICAN RESTAURANTS ARE IN SAN FRANCISCO. Would you go to get a philly cheese steak in des moines iowa??? Is it making sense to you yet?

      • SF Sucks

        Best Mexican restaurants are in San Francisco???? Get a clue.

        The best Mexican food is in Mexico, genius. Next would be southern California. So far, the only Mexican food worth mentioning in San Francisco are the chains – that’s just sad.

      • Jack Jones

        Food in MEXICO, taste good cause you are probably eating cats and dogs. SF has some of the best mexican fusion and all around great eats…

  • Elmo

    Get your own list, buddy.

  • chills

    Elmo nailed it…I believe this list is entitiled, “Top 8 Mexican Spots in SAN FRANCISCO.”
    And personally, I can definitely vouch for Nopalito–the food is downright amazing. It doesn’t get any better…

  • Jeff Stone

    La Rondalla: 19th & Valencia…there are another probably 20 decent Mexican rest. on Mission St. from 24th up to the Excelsior. If you’re not from San Fran. you don’t know your beans. thank you, buenas nachos.

  • Andrew Phillips

    It must be SF only. Otherwise, Doña Tomás in Oakland would be at the top of this list.

  • Lea

    I grew up in San Francisco and I know that there are great mexican restaurants there. But the best mexican restaurants (north of the border) are in New Mexico!!!!

    • Marty Ponds

      Those are New Mexican resturants – I lived there for 6 years BIG difference.

  • JESIS22


  • Mike C

    Being from San Diego and visiting SF every couple of weeks along with being a pretty good Tex Mex cook my guess is you haven’t left the City. SF and Oakland are in about the same category. I would give them a solid 5 out of 10 rating. San Antonio, New Mexico, Austin, San Diego, Phoenix, Inland Empire, Denver are all 7-10 in my book with the restaurant Cien Anos in Tijuana being the best.

  • AJ Buttacavoli

    If you haven’t had a burrito at El Faro you don’t know what a burrito is.

    • tn

      So, is El Faro still selling that guacamole-like runny light green sauce they call guacamole?

  • danny

    lots of great restaurants here. add your own instead of arguing. my burrito is at el farolito. yum. la rondalla closed about 5 years ago btw.

  • cbull

    good list there are a lot of good spot right outside SF – check this list out:

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