Following Baja Fresh’s ethos set in 1990 as a healthy take on fast food, never-frozen meats sizzle atop the grill before they're tucked into made-to-order tacos and burritos. Grilled corn and flour tortillas embrace fish, carnitas, chicken, and steak, and smoky queso fundido sidles onto nachos and into burritos. Between bites, chips scoop up salsa made from farm-fresh produce rather than poured out of a can or fabricated in a space-age replicator. A complimentary salsa bar ensures no mouthful goes unspiced, and guests can scoop up their favorites as they await their dine-in, takeout, or catering orders.
Since 1979, Casa Mañana Restaurant has served up authentic Mexican and Salvadoran dishes from scratch, making it one of Marin County's oldest family-owned Mexican eateries. All-day breakfasts, such as huevos rancheros and fajitas omelets, arrive at tables located inside the compact dining room or outside on the spacious patio. Entrees spotlight spicy preparations of sirloin and pork, as well as fresh seafood that includes shrimp, crab, red snapper, and calamari. Though well-versed in meats, chefs also happily accommodate vegetarians and unhappily accommodate vegan poltergeists.
Mas Sake performs its fusion of Japanese and Mexican cuisines from its perch in the Marina district. Within the high-energy establishment, chefs craft both traditional Japanese fare, including teriyaki dishes and sashimi, as well as sushi that twists in flavors of preserved lemon, Cajun shrimp, jalapeno, and piñata. Conversely, chefs roll hand-made tortillas around sushi-grade ahi to render Japanese-tinged tacos.
Mas Sake hosts a festive whappy hour on weekdays, when libation lovers can slake thirst on cocktails, beers, and sake bombs. The restaurant's dim lighting swathes plush booths and wooden fixtures in a large dining room fit for both intimate dinners and celebrations.
There are a lot of good Mexican joints in San Francisco–but not many that have inspired a hip-hop album. Electric-pop and hip-hop duo The Cataracs loves Gordo Taqueria so much that they named an album after it. They’re not alone in their adoration, as Gordo Taqueria has expanded to six locations in the East Bay area. After ordering at the counter, guests watch staff move at a methodical pace as they stuff chicken into burritos and scoop flavorful carnitas into taco shells. The dining area at the Berkley location stars a vibrant mural and stools with woven seats crafted from leather and fossilized tortillas.
Nico's Tacos' fresh-faced menu of traditional Mexican fare brims with homemade favorites as well as unique specials culled from an adoration of global street chow. Flavorful tacos harmoniously pair steak ($3.75), baja fish ($4.50), and veggie soyrizo ($4.50) with refreshing bursts of Nico's California Crakslaw, Guerilla sauce, pico de gallo, and cilantro. Garden gourmets can douse their shelled wonders with Nico's signature Green Goddess sauce or a napkin-scrawled portrait of their favorite herb for an extra dollar. Hefty plates of grilled fish ($13) and pork ($11) sate stomachs unfazed by palate-prepping preludes of chips and guacamole ($6.25). Traditional favorites include veggie-packed plates of fresh quesadillas ($5.75+) and share-ready nachos ($7.75/half order; $11.50/full), and hunger-bolstering pools of sweet agua fresca are on hand to whet whistles parched from feasting or hours of open-mouthed sun bathing ($2.50).