Best Mexican Restaurants in San Francisco

July 21, 2016
·
by Zagat Staff

South-of-the-border picks, from scrappy taquerias to modern cantinas.

La Taqueria
Mexican · The Mission · $
Food 4.6 · Decor 3.2 · Service 3.9

For over 40 years, this "true original" in the Mission has been churning out affordable, "delicious" Mexican meals including "awesome tacos" and burritos (they're "traditional" , so "they don't have rice" ); "seating is scarce" in the "no-frills" space, so prepare for "constant lines" – though the "speedy" counter staff keeps them moving.
Loló
Mexican · The Mission · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.2

This "quirky" Mission "date spot" draws steadily at both dinner and brunch with its "amazing" small plates showcasing Californian "twists" on traditional Mexican dishes; "relatively reasonable" tabs and "colorful, kitschy" digs with an agave cocktail bar add to the allure.
Nopalito
Mexican · Haight-Ashbury · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

"Elevated Mexican food" is the lure at these Nopa spin-offs where the "organic-driven" menu wins kudos from its "hipster and foodie" fans (it’s decidedly "not your rice-and-beans crowd" ); "reasonable" tabs and a "major coolness" factor make the "no-reservations" policy easier to tolerate. P.S. While there is a no-reservations policy, diners can call ahead to get on the wait list.
Nopalito
Mexican · Inner Sunset · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.2

"Elevated Mexican food" is the lure at these Nopa spin-offs in the Panhandle and Inner Sunset where the "organic-driven" menu wins kudos from its "hipster and foodie" fan bases (it’s decidedly "not your rice-and-beans crowd" ); "reasonable" tabs and a "major coolness" factor make the "no-reservations" policy more tolerable.
Californios
Mexican · The Mission · $$$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.2 · Service 4.3

"Every morsel" is "unique and elegant" at this elevated Mission Mexican, a former pop-up showcasing "marvelous" modern cuisine on an "amazing" nightly tasting menu presented by a "convivial" staff; the high-end prices fall in line with a small but swanky interior boasting tufted amber banquettes, chandeliers and colorful prints.
Taqueria Cancun
Mexican · Bernal Heights · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.1 · Service 4.0

"Plump" , "satisfying" burritos and "super" tacos are the main draws at these "solid" taquerias offering "one of the best-value meals in SF" ; sure, the atmosphere is "no-frills" , but "cheap" tabs, "quick service" from folks who "know what they're doing" and late-night hours help compensate.
Taqueria Can Cun
Mexican · SoMa · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.1 · Service 4.0

"Plump" , "satisfying" burritos and "super" tacos are the main draws at these "solid" taquerias offering "one of the best-value meals in SF" ; sure, the atmosphere is "no-frills" , but "cheap" tabs, "quick service" from folks who "know what they're doing" and late-night hours help compensate.
Taqueria Cancun
Latin American · The Mission · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.1 · Service 4.0

"Plump" , "satisfying" burritos and "super" tacos are the main draws at these "solid" taquerias offering "one of the best-value meals in SF" ; sure, the atmosphere is "no-frills" , but "cheap" tabs, "quick" service from folks who "know what they're doing" and late-night hours help compensate.
Taqueria La Cumbre
Mexican · The Mission · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 3.5 · Service 4.1

Satisfied customers "wouldn't buy a burrito anywhere else" but these "real-deal" taquerias where "huge portions" of Mexican food go for "reasonable" sums "; service is " fun and fast " even now that " everyone knows about " them, so " don't be intimidated " by the " hole-in-the-wall" digs.
Don Pistos
Mexican · North Beach · $
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

Fans of the "delicious tacos" and other "fresh and flavorful" takes on "authentic" Mexican street food served at this North Beach spot by a "pleasant" "hipster" staff say it's "as good as anything in the Mission" ; though "crowded at the usual times" , it's "worth the wait to get in" to the "lovely" space with exposed-brick walls – in fact, "the margaritas alone will keep you coming back."