Our 17 favorite places for Mexican food in the city.Less
Donaji is a counter-service Oaxacan restaurant in the Mission that we beeline to as often as Harry Styles reaches for a feather boa. The bright pink and teal walls will make you feel spontaneously transported to a beachside town where everyone wears jean shorts exclusively. The feeling will intensify once you get a glass of their ice cold sangria, richly spiced mole, and tamales with a flavorful chicken filling. Donaji’s thick housemade tortillas will also do wonders for your mood.
The super burrito from Taqueria El Farolito is about the size of a newborn baby, and it never disappoints. We love getting it with carnitas or the tender carne asada. And if you’re still searching for your number one burrito in the city, coming here (for science) is never a bad call. You can also get quesadillas and nachos, or try one of each meat in taco form. FYI - it’s cash only, so come prepared.
Nothing says “I’m cool and interesting” like knowing about the least-boring wine bar food in town. Cantina Los Mayas (the sister spot to Taqueria Los Mayas) focuses on Yucatecan specialties like panuchos and the juiciest cochinita pibil ever. They also have a list of exclusively Mexican wines, so you can cut into mole-drenched chicken while swirling around a glass of syrah from Valle de San Vicente. Keep this new Richmond bar top of mind for any and all future dates.
This taqueria in the Castro is often one of the first places we tell someone to go if they’re new to the city or visiting for the first time. That’s because they churn out fantastic burritos, with cheese melted onto the tortilla and carnitas that set the bar high for all other carnitas in SF. But even if you’ve lived here forever, you should still swing by on your way to pet some dogs at Duboce Park, or to chill inside with an agua fresca.
To get technical, La Palma is a tortilla factory, a grocery store, and a taqueria, all rolled into one. And while we’re no strangers to coming to this corner spot in the Mission for fresh masa, mole, tortillas, and chips, we will happily drop by for anything on their takeout menu. You can’t go wrong with their burritos and tacos, and you will need to make sure to grab some chicharrones on the way out.
If you like your panuchos with a side of flashing lights, artificial fog, and reggaeton playing at full blast, Poc-Chuc is the place to be. The casual restaurant in the Mission has karaoke four nights a week, a DJ, and a dance floor. On top of all that, the Yucatecan food is 100% worth all of the sensory overload. Get into a big spread of their titular poc chuc with citrusy grilled pork, zingy aguachile, and tender chicken drenched in sweet mole.
Bright, energetic, and always a great time, this Mexican restaurant in the Mission does Jaliscan food with a very California twist: the panko-crusted shrimp tacos are served on jicama tortillas; fried fish tacos are amped up with a piquin pepper-peanut sauce; and the empanadas are perfect, puffy pockets filled with mushrooms, corn, and cheese. Excellent cocktails and an atmosphere that has more buzz than a deuxmoi rumor drop - a dinner at Loló always adds up to a fun night.
For excellent carnitas, chicken drenched in mole, and pozole we want to take a bath in, Nopalito has you covered. The Mexican spot in NoPa has a cozy heated and covered patio and is friendly and chill - in other words, you’ll want to kick back with some margaritas and stay a while when you come here. Don’t forget to order the totopos, which are covered in a snowstorm of shaved cotija and crema.
Whenever the craving for fresh aguachile, incredible ceviches, and tender quesabirria tacos hits, our internal GPS always leads us right to Chuy’s Fiestas. The Mexican restaurant is the perfect place to come with a group and get into a family-style spread of all of the above - the menu is pretty big, but if you focus on the seafood, you can’t go wrong. Wash it all down with one of their massive micheladas with a tamarind straw.
You’ll know you’ve arrived at this family-run Mexican restaurant in the Outer Richmond when you see the bright sky blue storefront. Inside the welcoming, counter-service spot, Cielito Lindo serves everything from breakfast burritos to Guanajuato-style enchiladas and fantastic milanesa and carne asada tortas the size of a tank. However, the one dish that keeps us coming back are the quesabirria tacos, which are extra stuffed with well-spiced meat.