Food & Drink

Everywhere in SF to celebrate not-Mexican independence

Published On 04/28/2013 Published On 04/28/2013
Tequila at Mosto

As Emiliano Zapata once famously said, "It is better to die on your feet than spend Cinco de Mayo eating really crappy Mexican food and doing shots of Sauza." That in mind, we present the definitive guide to doing Cinco de Mayo in the awesomest, most Thrillist-approved way possible

Best Margaritas Tommy's Mexican Restaurant 5929 Geary Blvd; The Richmond; 415.387.4747 Even though it might feel like you are traveling as far as Mexico to get these, Tommy's is actually farther than that, in a little place called the Richmond. But it's worth the trip: they've been open since 1965 and have been serving 100% agave tequila in their margaritas since before most Americans knew what a margarita was (seriously, they were the first in the nation to have Herradura Silver as their house tequila), and continue to make a no-frills, absolutely perfect 'rita to this day. Scope their full tequila menu at
Craziest Filling/Animal in Taco Padrecito 901 Cole St; Cole Valley; 415.742.5505 You're gonna absolutely have to get your hands on God's Greatest Gift to Tacos: the Padrecito Braised Pork Belly taco, which combines all the things you love about pork belly (tastes like bacon, bacon-y flavor, classy but still bacon) with braised greens and chorizo beans, which hopefully won't distract from the bacon. Check out a vid of the place in the full story, here
Best Hot Sauce Papalote 3409 24th St; The Mission; 415.970.8815 If you learned anything during four years of college, four years of business school, eight years of med school, three years of law school, and one year of culinary school, it's that a place that has a website devoted solely to ordering their salsa is probably going to have the best hot sauce. Sauce up in the full story
Best Guacamole Copita 739 Bridgeway; Sausalito; 415.331.7400 Well worth the ferry ride, this Sausalito-based tequileria and restaurant from a James Beard Award winner/host of a cooking show, is boasting some pretty serious guac. With ingredients sourced directly from their garden, this 'mole has a bit of serrano chili to pack a punch without making you aiaiai! the water. Fried quesadillas await in the full story
Best Outdoor Space Comal 2020 Shattuck Ave; Berkeley; 510.926.6300 Right off the BART stop in downtown Berkeley, this spot from a former Delfina chef de cuisine has a much-too-big-to-exist-in-SF outdoor covered patio complete with open fire pits and a second bar. Read on to find out about their sexy menu offerings
Best Nachos Velvet Cantina 3349 23rd St; The Mission; 415.648.4142 You're getting a two-for-one great nacho bonus here, starting with the more traditional kind where housemade tortilla chips come drenched in homemade chile con queso, sour cream, guac, black beans & optional chorizo, and then ending with the less-traditional S'mores Nachos, which include fried tortilla strips dusted with cinnamon and sugar, topped with chocolate and marshmallows, and set on fire with, uh, fire. Everything about this place is smooth. Read more here.
Hottest Waitresses Mamacita 2317 Chestnut St; The Marina; 415.346.8494 Though the food and drinks here are pretty great, the waitresses are pretty pretty, which is the real reason you're gonna want to hit up this Marina establishment. Get some sexy pics in the full story, here
Best Tequila Selection Mosto 741 Valencia St; The Mission; 415.346.1966 Squeeze into the smaller cousin of Tacolicious Valencia, and they'll happily squeeze a totally-not-intimidating list of more than 326 bottles of tequila, mescal, and sotol into you! Read on to find out about the menu

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1. Tommy's Mexican Restaurant 5929 Geary Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94121 (The Richmond)

This authentic Mexican spot has a killer list of only 100% agave tequilas (that represents the entire tequila industry), a staff who will teach you about the stuff, AND a delicious menu to boot. Since opening its doors in 1965, its margarita recipe has stayed the same, proving traditional isn't always a bad thing.

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2. Padrecito 901 Cole St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Cole Valley)

We're not totally sure about this, but we're going to assume that somewhere, in some religion, there's a patron saint of tacos. There must be, otherwise Padrecito's heavenly braised pork belly taco wouldn't exist. Yeah, it's that good. This Cole Valley restaurant has all the Mexican favorites you could want (tacos, enchiladas, guac) and a whole range of tequila-featuring cocktails. Thank you Taco God, thank you.

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3. Papalote Mexican Grill 3409 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Nicer than the average hole-in-the-wall Mission taqueria but still super casual, Papalote serves up traditional tacos, quesadillas, and burritos in a sit-down counter-order space. Packed tight with rice, beans, pico de gallo and your choice of meat, the ginormous burritos are the definition of bang-for-your-buck and can easily be split between two people. Make sure you complement your order with plenty of chips served with the restaurant's signature roasted tomato salsa, which counts Bobby Flay as one of its many fans.

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4. Copita Tequileria Y Comida 739 Bridgeway, Sausalito, CA 94965 (Marin)

Turns out the Golden Gate Bridge isn't just for tourists to gawk at after all. Get your ass over the beast now, and into Downtown Sausalito, where you'll find Copita, a Mexican restaurant and tequila bar. The owners pride themselves on serving up seasonal food and using fresh, local ingredients. No dish better represents this philosophy than their sublime guac that's made with a just-right portion of serrano chili that comes straight from the owners' personal garden.

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5. Comal 2020 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA 94704 (Berkeley)

Located in über-cool Berkeley, Comal is an Oaxacan restaurant that's the brainchild of the former Phish manager. The menu includes whole roasted chickens, grilled fish tacos, and pork enchiladas. Even better is their hard-to-believe-spacious outdoor space, where you can sip on your choice of draft and bottled beers, wine, and some perfectly refreshing summer cocktails.

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6. Velvet Cantina 3349 23rd St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Velvet Cantina is a cozy, dimly lit Mexican spot in The Mission that also dabbles in flavors from the rest of Latin America. Its "S'mores Nachos" get a special shout-out, as well: fried tortilla strips with crushed graham crackers, Mexican chocolate, cinnamon & sugar, and marshmallows make for the perfect post-drinks snack.

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7. Mamacita 2317 Chestnut St, San Francisco, CA 94123 (The Marina)

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.

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8. Mosto 741 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

Think of Mosto as the smaller, Mission-located cousin of Tacolicious, because it's from the same dude. In a space ominously lit with a wall of floating candles (fire hazard?), it may be hard to see all THREE HUNDRED of their tequilas, but don't worry, you'll find -- and taste -- them all eventually. We do recommend a steady approach to that goal, though. Because Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching, and you'll need to be in top taco-eating shape.