To some San Franciscans, a trek to the East Bay qualifies as a lengthy daytrip. One can only imagine their reluctance to travel hundreds of miles for authentic Mexican cuisine. Thankfully, Melissa’s Taqueria brings south-of-the-border flavors to Brisbane with a menu of tacos, enchiladas, and burritos packed with carne asada and al pastor. The kitchen stays busy throughout the day as chefs churn out dinner plates and breakfasts of pancakes and huevos rancheros.
Hola! Mexican Restaurant & Cantina fills its patrons with authentic Mexican food cooked up on mesquite grills and crafted with fresh ingredients. Start lunch with a tostada salad ($7.45), and follow it with a crab enchilada ($8.95) or sope, a corn masa pillow plumped with your choice of meat or cheese and topped with the likely leafy suspects ($8.65). Dinner diners can begin with three quesadillas fritas—corn turnovers filled with cheese, potatoes, and bell peppers ($7.25)—followed by the house specialty, arroz con pollo, a dish of sautéed boneless chicken breast drenched with chile-tomato sauce and served atop Mexican rice ($13.25), then molded into the shape of guests' auras. The bar at each location offers plenty of wines and more than 100 specialty tequilas, which can be conjured into margarita classicas ($8.25) or real fruit margaritas ($8.75) made with strawberry, mango, pineapple, and more, crafted to meet your blood-alcohol level's recommended daily serving of fermented agave juice.
The chefs at both locations of the family-run Guerrero's Taqueria man the grill all day cranking out plate-busting breakfasts, jam-packed burritos, tamales. Guests order at the counter, then find a seat in inside or at one of the green picnic tables outside, where they tuck into Mexican staples, such as the super shrimp burrito or huevos con chorizo. Imported sodas, beers, and horchata quench thirsts, while servings of flan make for a sweet end to the meal. Guerrero's Taqueria recently expanded its reach and opened a new, second location in Fairmont Shopping Center in Pacifica. In addition to traditional Mexican favorites, this location offers a different take on mainstays such as California Burritos, which are made with french fries instead of beans, and California Nachos, which are made with french fries instead of chips.
A baby-blue "Bienvenidos" greets customers as they step into the warm yellows and oranges of El Sinaloense Mexican Restaurant. Vibrant portraits of south-of-the-border feasts and beaches embellish the sun-toned walls, between which the waitstaff frequently refills each table's bottomless bowl of housemade salsa. Diners chase chips with seafood specialties born on the shores of Sinaloa, such as the topolobampo, a fillet of grilled fish crowned with clams, prawns, and octopus. A more traditional Mexican plate, the Molcajete stars jalapeños, onions, and cheese next to chicken and shrimp simmered with nopales.
Fresh and tasty Mexican fare free of preservatives, MSG, and mummy crumbs fills the menu at Pancho Villa. Start with a small serving of guacamole and chips ($3) or an avocado caesar salad ($6.25) to jar rusty stomach gears into action. Hang a fang on the super vegetarian burrito, a tightly wrapped torpedo of rice, beans, cheese, guacamole, sour cream, lettuce, tomato, and salsa ($6.25), or dine on chile-verde chicken ($9.35), steak and prawn quesadillas with cheese and salsa ($10.50), or pollo asado ($9.95). For dessert, fluff out your cheeks with flan ($3.75) or a churro ($1.50).
Although Gabriel Maldonado left his hometown of Michoacan, Mexico in the early 1940s for new opportunities in the United States, he wasn't able to leave behind his family's century-long baking traditions. After long days of laying railroad tracks around Suisun Bay, he spent his evenings in a refurbished garage space, baking sweet pastries and breads inside an old pizza oven. The next morning, he would load the baked goods into his 1938 Cadillac and sell them to the local port and plant workers. He finally laid down firmer roots for his business in 1951, establishing La Victoria Bakery in the Mission District.
The current pastry chef, Luis Villavelazquez, recently upgraded the bakery's Mexican pastries to gourmet status by fusing Latin ingredients into famous French confections. In addition to vegan-friendly items and traditional cookies and cakes crafted from fresh eggs and milk, the 60-year-old panaderia churns out pan dulce from a family recipe passed down through generations of text messages as well as locally roasted fair-trade coffee and Argentinean empanadas.