San Francisco, CA
What you're getting: The pozole rojo, and the birria de res
The story is a bit of a legend at this point. Popular North of Panhandle upscale restaurant Nopa opened in 2006, and the owners were so impressed with the staff meals two of its Mexican cooks would prepare that they wanted to open a restaurant completely dedicated to that style of cooking. And so, since 2009, Nopalito (which now has a second location in the Inner Sunset) has offered up just that, showcasing hella popular delicious eats like birria de res (beef stewed in ancho chile, roasted tomatoes, sesame seeds, spices, and all sorts of other delicious stuff) and a pozole rojo, which will make you weep with the joyous taste of tender pork shoulder. Prepare to wait (pro tip: call ahead to get on the waiting list), and then prepare to be so, so, so damn happy.