Adriano Paganini (Beretta, Delarosa) is behind this stylish Cow Hollow spot that serves traditional Mexican and contemporary cocktails in an artsy space with light-wood paneling, black-and-white tiling, and ornate murals. The food includes favorites like carne asada, ceviche, and mole poblano, while cocktails reign supreme in their sheer originality. Don’t overlook the Tostiloco, a rum-based concoction inspired by a popular Baja street food dish and mixed with tamarind, lemon, chile, and club soda. It’s TJ in a glass.
If you were convinced you couldn’t find good Mexican in North Beach, think again -- this hip eatery even gives Mission joints a run for their money. Served by a friendly staff, Mexican street eats dominate the menu, such as ceviche, tacos, and tamales, but the real show-stopper here is the whole lobster that's big enough for two. Dip it in heavenly cilantro garlic butter, then go to town creating absolutely decadent tacos with all the fixin's.
It's no easy feat in this city, but Mamacita has managed to establish itself as one of the best Mexican restaurants in San Francisco, due in large part to a menu dedicated to geographically varied Mexican dishes. The part-street food, part-traditional menu is heavy on tacos (order the Modelo beer-battered fish tacos and hard-shell chicken tacos), but also includes familiar Americanized sides like a warm and bubbly seven-layer dip. Attractive happy hour deals draw crowds, and once the margarita pitchers start flowing, it's hard to pass up guacamole and tacos.