Food & Drink

The 13 Best Tacos in SF

Published On 03/13/2015 Published On 03/13/2015
Cholita Linda
Aubrie Pick/Thrillist
4505 Meats, 4505 Burgers & BBQ
Lauren Sloss
Tacolicious
Lauren Sloss/Thrillist
Lauren Sloss/Thrillist
Lauren Sloss/Thrillist 
Lauren Sloss/Thrillist
El Capitan
Lauren Sloss/Thrillist
Lauren Sloss/Thrillist
Lauren Sloss
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1. Cholita Linda Main Post, San Francisco, CA 94129 (The Presidio)

You won't find better fish tacos in the bay (or on the land masses around it) than the ones at Oakland-based Cholita Linda. The exceptionally fresh fish (usually tilapia) is well-seasoned, firm, and perfectly fried -- just as tofu perfectly offsets salsa roja, cotija cheese complements organic greens, and mango-topped coconut pudding rounds off this most perfect of Mexican meals

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2. Loló 974 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

The most notable thing about this Mission Mexican is the vivid and eccentric interior, and for some reason, it makes sense that their tacos are as creative and untraditional as the decor. The panko avocado taco is a crispy and creamy dream and the fish tacos are good no matter what the catch of the day is. Loló is a great option for a group dinner because it's totally possible to order everything on the menu to share.

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3. 4505 Burgers & BBQ 705 Divisadero, San Francisco, CA 94112

An offshoot of the original 4505 Meats, this burger and 'cue shack is one for the Divis books. This butcher-owned and operated spot takes meat and barbecue seriously, with loaded platters of pulled pork, smoked ribs, and hot sausage, and quarter-pound grass-fed burgers. No matter if your main is in the form of a sandwich or platter, don't overlook the fixin's -- the fried mac & cheese with a hot dog inside is an insanely delicious creation.

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4. La Taqueria 2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

This no-frills taqueria is home to the best burrito in America. The Mission-style burrito has a healthy dose of meat, cheese, beans, homemade hot sauce, salsa, and no rice. The place has been around for 40 years and if the daily long lines are any indication, they're doing something right. Ask for your burrito "El Dorado-style" to get your rice-less bundle of joy thrown on the grill until the outside is golden brown and the inside has melted to perfection.

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5. Tacolicious 2250 Chestnut St., San Francisco, CA (The Marina)

Two blocks down from the original (and now-closed) Chestnut St location, this outpost of Tacolicious is bigger and brighter than its predecessor. The gourmet taco shop's menu features the original tortilla-wrapped goods you know and love, all of which are made with locally-sourced ingredients. Expect near-authentic tacos filled with house-made chorizo and potatoes, Baja-style Pacific cod, and Guajillo chili-braised brisket. There's also a solid selection of tequila-heavy cocktails and beers from Mexico and California.

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6. La Palma Mexicatessen 2884 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

This is a Mission Mexican spot that you do not want to miss. Tears of unfathomable happiness may be involved when you first bite into a La Palma taco. And the reason for this taco success? The unbeatable tortillas, which are made fresh (both by hand and by tortilla press), and are used to supply many of the best taquerias in town.

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7. La Oaxaqueña 2128 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

This Mexican spot in The Mission masters everything from seafood to desserts. But what you really need to try is the lengua taco -- yes, tongue. The tongue is cubed and fat-crisped on the griddle, lending each rich, deeply flavored bite a delightful texture contrast. The tortillas have a delicate corn flavor and are given similar TLC on the flat top, resulting in a light, golden toasting, and an almost buttery flavor.

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8. Nopalito 306 Broderick St, San Francisco, CA 94117 (Lower Haight)

What happens when you take cooks from the most beloved restaurant in San Francisco, and give them free reign of the kitchen? You get Nopalito, Nopa’s little brother and the passion project of its highly skilled cooks. Located in the Inner Sunset near the Panhandle, this Mexican eatery prepares traditional, organic dishes using the same fresh produce found at Nopa. Sip on pitchers of margaritas or tequila as you dig into unbeatable carnitas and zesty salads.

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9. El Gallo Giro 23rd St, San Francisco, CA (Mission Bay)

This is the taco truck that dreams are made of. Tucked on a quiet corner of 23rd Street, we’d marry the El Gallo Giro truck if such a thing were legal. Its got a next-level chicken taco with meat that's tender, juicy, and liberally spiced.

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10. El Capitan 1123 Folsom St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Soma)

Latin-Caribbean restaurant and bar El Capitan lights up the Folsom Corridor with vibrant flavors and a lively social setting. Long reclaimed wood tables create a communal environment perfect for sharing small plates of oysters, ceviche, and poke. Hit their outdoor patio and beer garden to enjoy a few cold one or a pitcher (or two) of housemade sangria.

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11. Belmar-La Gallinita Meat Market 2989 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

La Gaillinita is a no-frills butcher shop, restaurant, and meat market with a few scattered tables, tall boys of cheap beer, and some of the tastiest tacos in town.

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12. Taqueria Vallarta 3033 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

One of a handful of locations, this Mexican spot doles out some seriously tasty tacos and more, and if you want to sample their specialty, order the cochinita pibil, a traditional Mexican slow-roasted pork dish of Mayan origin.

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13. Taqueria Cancun 2288 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

One of the best purveyors of burritos in the Mission (which is saying something), Taqueria Cancun doles out superb burritos, tacos, and tortas. It's hard to choose between tacos and burritos, and while you definitely don't want to miss the carne asada or carnitas burrito, you don't want to pass on the al pastor super tacos either. They're packed with so much pork, pineapple, avocado, and other tasty goodness that they're basically mini burritos. The casual spot is jam-packed for both lunch and late-night eats (it's open until 1am on weekdays, 2am on weekends).

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