The Best Mexican Restaurants in San Francisco
Discover the best spots for great Mexican food in San Francisco.
Known for its cultural and culinary richness, San Francisco offers many choices if you're looking for Mexican gastronomic delights. From the michelin starred dishes at Californios to the satisfying chilaquiles at Primavera, and the homestyle cooking at Gallardo's, each restaurant has earned its place on this listing of the best Mexican restaurants in San Francisco. All these spots offer a blend of authentic flavors, innovative cooking, and San Francisco flair. And you don't have to take our word for it since all picks are based on recommandations from World of Mouth experts and locals like Marcia Gagliardi, Omar Mamoon, and Caleb Zigas. So whether you're looking for a comforting plate of street food or something more upscale, this is your guide to the best Mexican food in San Francisco.
Californios is a Michelin-starred restaurant located in the trendy Mission District, offering inventive Mexican cuisine. The establishment, helmed by the talented Chef Val Cantú, provides a memorable high-end dining experience with a menu that explores Californian and Mexican influences, featuring all in-house made dishes. Customers rave about the best tortillas and masa, the unique fish taco, and the surprising grilled baby banana with savory caramel and cold-smoked caviar.
Two Michelin-starred, Californian-Mexican cuisine by talented chef Val Cantú.A chic restaurant in SoMa, Californios is where I send diners looking for a memorable, high-end dining experience in SF (it’s strangely not on everyone’s radar). It's all about the patio that makes you feel like you’re in the Condesa in Mexico City (chef-owner Val says it’s like Tulum meets Inverness). The tasting menu is an exploration of Californian and Mexican cuisines, with everything made in house. You’ll taste some of the best tortillas and masa here—just wait until you try their fish taco. The dish with grilled baby banana with savory caramel and cold-smoked caviar sounds so strange, but is deliciously unique. It’s a high-end tasting experience here but still playful, relaxed, and full of surprises (and a fun soundtrack). I love how much you eat with your hands at Californios—it gets you closer to your food, and keeps things from ever feeling stuffy. The beverage pairings from Charlotte Randolph are also very inventive and engaging.
Primavera is a popular spot known for its soulful and satisfying dishes, particularly the chilaquiles. This restaurant is a common recommendation for visitors, with a location that offers views of the bay bridge. Notably, Alice Waters, a renowned chef, is often spotted at Primavera admiring and examining the produce.
Whenever people visiting San Francisco ask me for my list, one thing I always recommend no matter where they’re from is to visit the Ferry Building Saturday farmers market for this soulful, satisfying plate of chilaquiles at Primavera Tamales —there’s nothing quite like eating this with your hands waterfront staring at the bay bridge listening to the saxophone/percussionist in one amongst the hum of everyone; Alice waters is literally behind you admiring and examining produce. So so so special.
Gallardo's is a restaurant known for its homestyle Mexican dishes, including the rice, beans, and chilaquiles. They have been serving big bowls of brothy birria for years, a dish native to Jalisco, Mexico, where the restaurant's founder, Juan Gallardo, is from. With their fresh in-house tortillas, customers can enjoy their birria seca (dry), seared until crispy, and make their own tacos, offering a customizable dining experience.
Big bowls of brothy birria. Really love this spot so much, been coming here for years. Long before the quesabirria craze, Juan Gallardo has been doing weekend-only big bowls of brothy birria at his restaurant Gallardo’s in the mission. Gallardo hails from Jalisco, Mexico, aka the birthplace of birria, and has had his restaurant for 25years (!)—the og location was on 14th and Folsom, not too far away from its current corner spot on Shotwell Steet.I like to get the birria seca (dry), in where the meat (gallardo uses lamb), is seared on the plancha until nice and crispy. It’s served on the side so you can make your own tacos with their fresh tortillas made in house - use the broth as a sipper or a dipper or both — the choice is yours and you won’t be judged.Really love this spot so much, been coming here for years. Everything is excellent—the rice, the beans, the chilaquiles. Just don’t ask for quesabirria—they don’t have it.
El Buen Comer is a welcoming Mexican restaurant known for its home-style cooking. The menu includes a variety of dishes, with the mole verde being a standout recommendation. The establishment is also recognized for the kindness and warm hospitality of its staff.
Mexican like your mom makes you. Homey like the home you wish you had. Kindness like all restaurants should offer. And that mole verde!
SanJalisco Mexican Restaurant is a family-run spot in Mission, known for its homemade Mexican cuisine. The restaurant is particularly loved for its Chilaquiles Veronica with housemade chips, and the barbecue goat birria en caldo, served on Fridays and weekends. With a colorful interior and a casual atmosphere, SanJalisco offers a range of dishes from breakfast omelettes to seafood cocktails, traditional plates, and desserts, accommodating brunch, lunch, and dinner patrons.
A family-run Mission restaurant known for chilaquiles and true home cooking.This special place offers a real taste of delicious, homemade Mexican food. My longtime Mission fave for chilaquiles (try the Chilaquiles Veronica) with housemade chips, and I keep coming back for their weekly specials: pozole verde on Thursday, and my absolute favorite, the barbecue goat birria en caldo (soup) on Friday-weekends. Love the colorful interior and family-run hospitality, and it’s full of locals and regulars enjoying brunch, lunch, and dinner. It’s fun, casual, and priced really well. I adore this truly Mission spot, which started with the Padilla family in the 1950s.
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