Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews


Vegan Gracias Madre survives well — thank you, Mother!

“Gracias Madre” means, essentially, “Thank you, Mother Earth.” The food here is strictly plant-based, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic and Mexican. Gracias Madre is highly touted by vegetarians and vegans alike, and always packed. I’d always steered clear of it because a) the BF is a confirmed carnivore; and b) my experience with eating at straight-vegan places has not always been...

Lotus SF — Classic North Indian Fare

Lotus SF has barely been open six weeks, but its look so intrigued me, I had to check it out. It sits like a pink palace from another land on Mission Street, smack-dab between Mission Ink and a federal credit union, replete with plaster elephants, dusty-rose walls and gold accents, clouds on the ceiling, and ornate and colorful prints and...

Picaro and Esperpento, two long-lived tapas restaurants, one family

Picaro and Esperpento have been in the Mission a very long time — 35 and 25 years, respectively. I used to go a lot in the mid-’90s, with different groups of friends and family (even before I moved here from L.A.), but at some point or other, I stopped. I think I may have had a time or two where...

Las Palmeras — Come for the Sopa, Stay for the Pupusas

I’ve been walking by Las Palmeras for years — 13, to be exact. But they’ve been around for 30 — since 1988! It is an old school, Salvadoran-family-owned restaurant and, on any given day, you can walk by the big picture windows and see people slurping up bowls of their renowned sopa de res (beef soup). The décor is casual...

Hawker Fare — Isaan Thai Street Food on Valencia

Hawker Fare is Chef James Syhabout’s San Francisco outpost of his now-shuttered Oakland restaurant. I’d been to the Oakland place, as well as to his upscale, tweezer-food restaurant — Commis — in Piedmont. His restaurants could not be more different. While Commis presents refined, restrained, gorgeous (and outstandingly delicious) food, Hawker Fare’s dishes are like an exotic cousin, with sultry...

The fried chicken showdown goes to Rhea’s Cafe

Julian, 20-something, and Mark, 70-something, will be hunting for the Mission’s best fried chicken sandwich. If you have suggestions, write a comment — or, if you prefer, send an e-mail to Julian at julian.mark@missionlocal.com. Let’s take a moment for some words from actor Alan Arkin as the grandfather in Little Miss Sunshine: “Every night it’s the fuckin’ chicken! Holy God...

Foxsister, Korean in the Mission!

We’ve had a smattering of Korean joints here and there in the Mission, but really not much to speak of.  The BF and I are huge Korean BBQ fans, and we usually have to go to Oakland to get that scratch itched. So we were super excited to hear that a new, at-least-Korean-ish place would be opening so near us....

The SF Mission fried chicken showdown goes to Monk’s Kettle

One word, Mark: divine. It’s as though God deep-fried their tongue and gave me a cosmic swirl of a French kiss. After this post, I might just shave my head and take vows of silence and celibacy. Coleslaw slightly sweet and tangy, its mayo a blessing on the natural crunch and sweetness of the cabbage. Bun toasted, almost — almost...

Gallardo’s: Classic Mexican

Gallardo’s was new to me, but certainly not to the Mission. They’d been around for 17 years at their old address on Folsom, and four years now at their new space on 18th Street and Shotwell. The current restaurant still looks new — all bright and bold in primary reds and yellows, framing the black-and-white photographs of glamorous Mexican stars...

The fried chicken showdown in SF’s Mission takes a detour to Wes Burger

Generally, Julian, 20-something, and Mark, 70-something, will be hunting for the Mission’s best fried chicken sandwich. If you have suggestions, write a comment — or, if you prefer, send an e-mail to Julian at julian.mark@missionlocal.com. This week, however, Laura, 20-something could not resist and made a beeline to Wes Burger “N” More.  This one’s intense. If you’re going to have a...

Alma Cocina – more Peruvian in the Mission!

We are such a lucky neighborhood.  We have so many options for places to eat, at every price point and with such a variety of cuisines. Especially Peruvian! Almost everyone knows a Peruano, if you’ve lived in the Mission long enough, and I hope almost everyone has had Peruvian food.  Our newest addition to the Pantheon is Alma Cocina, which...

The fried chicken showdown in SF’s Mission begins at Salumeria

Julian, 20-something, and Mark, 70-something, will be hunting for the Mission’s best fried chicken sandwich. If you have suggestions, write a comment — or, if you prefer, send an e-mail to Julian at julian.mark@missionlocal.com. I’m no expert, Mark, but this seems to be your classic fried chicken sandwich. It has the slaw, the mayo, and of course the fat slab of...

“Mealmade” Reborn as “Kitava Kitchen”

The new Kitava Kitchen gets its name from a small Pacific island whose native inhabitants apparently lead a healthy lifestyle due to a fresh, nutritious diet. The name was one of the steps Jeff Nobbs and Brian Tublin took in coming together with their respective health-conscious meal delivery (formerly “Mealmade”) and catering (“Simmer”) services. The duo decided their separate visions were...

Spice Jar: Asian Fusion in the Mission

Housed in a little shoebox on the corner of Bryant and 23rd, I had no idea Spice Jar had been here for over two years. The spot is cozy, with a shared table in the middle and counter seating along the windows, inside and out. The décor is a bright, modern take on street food-charming, with Café du Monde coffee...

El Metate — Happy Anniversary!

El Metate will celebrate its 15th year this November, and the young man who took our order at the counter of this sunny taqueria-plus seemed quite enthused about it. “We’re going to have a party!” “When?” I asked. “I’m not sure of the date, but we’ll let everyone know.” That cheerfulness follows you all the way inside from the Day-Glo yellow...