From hearty beans with pickled carrots to shredded beef with cotija cheese, we’ve never met a taco that we didn’t like. While we’re not opposed to order one from a bodega or a truck, when it comes to enjoying tacos in a traditional restaurant environment, we prefer one of the following five places.
With two locations in SF, Nopalito serves up some of the best authentic Mexican food around. If you’re craving traditional carnitas, you can’t beat the melt-in-your mouth pork served at Nopalito. It’s braised in a mixture of orange, bay leaf, milk, cinnamon, and beef, until it falls off the bone and shreds easily. The carnitas are served with tortillas, cabbage salad, pickled jalapeño, and salsa de tomatillo. Diners assemble their own tacos with the sensationally savory pork. Paired with el Diablo, a tequila cocktail that is made with ginger beer and cassis, and you’ve got a meal that will be memorable.
306 Broderick Street San Francisco, CA 94117
In the Mission district at Lolo, chef Jorge Martinez serves incredibly fresh seasonal Mexican cuisine. The menu offers a variety of scrumptious tacos. The taco tropical features panko-dusted shrimp topped with a tropical relish and spicy aioli. The fish taco is served in a handmade corn tortilla and comes with crema, peanuts, and pepper sauce. Grilled beef and onions are stuffed inside handmade flour tortillas and topped with avocado to make meaty tacos. However, Lolo’s most talked about taco is their crispy avocado taco. Thick slices of green avocado flesh are coated in panko and cooked until crispy. It’s served in a flour tortilla with caramelized onions, Anaheim peppers, and Oaxaca cheese.
974 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110
Flores is the newest restaurant from Back of the House Restaurant Group and Adriano Paganini—the team behind Beretta, Lolinda, Belga, and more. At Flores, chef Alejandro Morgan created a menu of delectable and traditional Mexican dishes. They serve up classic fish tacos with lightly fried cod, a tangy cabbage slaw, and chipotle aioli. We bet you can’t have just one!
2030 Union Street San Francisco, CA, San Francisco, CA 94123
Tacolicious is San Francisco’s original upscale taco house. With locations in the Marina, Mission, and North Beach, there are few locals who have not experienced their tasty tacos. Tacolicious offers nine different taco fillings, but the cool thing is tacos can be ordered one at a time, so you are in complete control of your order. Want housemade chorizo with potatoes tacos and roasted butternut squash with kale and leek tacos? You can mix and match to your hearts content! They also make a variety of addictive salsas and interesting shots of alcohol.
741 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110
Padrecio is located in the heart of Cole Valley and it’s a great neighborhood spot for chips, guacamole, margaritas, and tacos. From grilled arctic char to barbecued goat, Padrecito also has nine varieties of innovative taco fillings. Tacos come two per order and are pretty hearty. If you’re into agave spirits, you’re in luck, Padrecito has over 80 different bottles of tequila and mezcal.
901 Cole Street San Francisco, CA 94117