Dining

Tacos by the Bay

The 10 best tacos in San Francisco

San Francisco's a burrito town through-and-through, but that doesn't mean we neglect our tacos. From traditional, bare-bones street eats to fancified fusion efforts, here are 10 of our local favorites.

? La Palma Mexicatessen in the Mission
It's all about the hearty tortillas at La Palma, which are made fresh, served hot, and taste wonderfully rich with corn flavor ($3.19 for handmade tortillas; try the weekend-only birria on top. The flour tortillas are just as good (try them in an overstuffed Taco Sonora, $5.99); both kinds are available by the stack for taco night at home ($3.86 per dozen).

? Tango & Stache in Potrero Hill
If you love cocktails and tacos (and really, who doesn't?), then you'll love the spirits-laced creations (prices vary) at Chef Joshua Wilder Oakley's destination-worthy pop-up: fillings might include crispy Negroni bacon or tequila-braised baby octopus.

? Tacolicious in the Marina
The crowds can't get enough of this ever-growing taco empire's upmarket take on traditional flavors. Try the Shot-and-a-Beer tacos ($3.95 for one) stuffed with juicy beer-braised chicken, wrapped in a tortilla from fellow Best Taco nominee La Palma.

? Garaje in SoMa
We're smitten with the seafood tacos ($5 each) at this stellar lunch spot, which come in the form of grilled or beer-battered tilapia, grilled prawns in a spicy Thai marinade or seared Ahi tuna topped with a hearty dollop of avocado.

? La Taqueria in the Mission
The tacos ($3.75 each) at La Taqueria are a study of meat-and-tortilla perfection (the nontraditional addition of beans works, too). Just say yes to the fatty, crisp-edged carnitas--the pork is cooked in a bubbling vat of lard, the smell of which will haunt your dreams for weeks to come.

? Pancho Villa in the Mission
A "super" upgrade certainly veers from the traditionally minimalist taco construct, what with the beans, cheese, guacamole and sour cream piled on top. But Pancho Villa does super tacos ($4) right, with unfailingly fresh ingredients and an enviable salsa bar.

? The Little Chihuahua in the Lower Haight
It's all about the breakfast tacos ($8.95) at this cute mini-chain. Two flour tortillas are stacked high with scrambled eggs, potatoes, peppers, and salsa--go for the jack cheese and chorizo combo, which features smoky, spicy 4505 Meats sausage.

? Namu Street Food in Embarcadero
Korean tacos aren't the groundbreaking innovation they once were, but Namu's iterations ($3 to $5.50) were some of the first, and easily remain some of the best. Kimchi salsa and remoulade top seasoned rice, toasted seaweed and tofu, chicken, or bulgogi on salty-crisp sheets of nori for a fusion-y twist.

? Primavera in Embarcadero
This Ferry Building Saturday market staple makes the kind of fish tacos ($9.50 for two) we dream about. Meaty hunks of flaky white fish are battered in Bohemia beer and fried until crisp; then topped with creamy avocado mayonnaise and smoky salsa de arbol.

? El Gallo Giro Truck in the Mission
We can't talk about San Francisco tacos without talking taco trucks, and El Gallo Giro simply does it best. Their to-the-point street tacos ($1.50 each) are perfectly balanced--try the flavor-packed lengua or spicy al pastor.

La Palma Mexicatessen 2884 24th St. San Francisco CA 94110 415-647-1500 Tango & Stache 1120 19th St. San Francisco CA 94107 415-533-7600 Tacolicious 2031 Chestnut St. San Francisco CA 94123 415-346-1966 Garaje 475 3rd St. San Francisco CA 94103 415-644-0838 La Taqueria 2889 Mission St, San Francisco CA 94110 415-285-7117 Pancho Villa 3071 16th S. San Francisco CA 94103 415-864-8840 The Little Chihuahua 292 Divisadero St. San Francisco CA 94117 415-255-8225 Namu Street Food 1 Market St. San Francisco CA 94111 Primavera 1 Ferry Bldg. San Francisco CA 94111 415-693-0996 El Gallo Giro 23rd St. (at Treat) San Francisco CA 94110 415-846-1802

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