Start Your Cinco de Mayo Bright and Early
1. Tommy's Mexican Restaurant5929 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
2. Padrecito901 Cole St, San Francisco
3. Papalote Mexican Grill3409 24th St, San Francisco
4. Copita Tequileria Y Comida739 Bridgeway, Sausalito
5. Comal2020 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
6. Velvet Cantina3349 23rd St, San Francisco
7. Mamacita2317 Chestnut St, San Francisco
8. Mosto741 Valencia St, San Francisco
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.