The Marina has no shortage of great restaurants, but the neighborhood now has a destination for the cuisine of the Yucatan Peninsula, including sour orange-scented cochinita pibil and panuchos, a regional specialty reminiscent of a tostada.
Las Mestizas opened in late February at 2280 Chestnut Street, near the corner of Scott and Chestnut. Owner Fausto May hails from the Yucatan and says he’s excited to bring the food of his home state to the area — where he can serve both neighborhood residents and Yucateco people who work in the Marina. “There is a lot of our people, the Yucatan people, that work in restaurants here,” he says. “There's a lot of them here that are making this place successful with their hard work.”
The restaurant’s specialty is cochinita pibil, May says. To make the iconic regional dish, pork gets marinated in sour oranges, achiote, garlic, and other spices before being wrapped in banana leaves and slow-cooked. The combination of smoke and stream results in pork that’s tender, earthy, and irresistible. At Las Mestizas, it’s “spread out through the whole menu,” May says, meaning you can order the pork stuffed into a torta, wrapped up into a taco, or as a dinner plate served with a side of vegetables.
He’s also focusing on poc chuc, another signature dish from the Yucatan. May compares it to carne asada, but made with pork instead of beef. He marinates the pork butt overnight before grilling it and slicing it thinly. Like the cochinita pibil, poc chuc also appears across the Las Mestizas menu, in tortas, tacos, burritos, and atop those aforementioned panuchos. The panucho builds on the base of a sturdy, fried tortilla that’s then layered with beans, vegetables, meat, and pickled red onions.
May says he’s also excited to be serving Mexican breakfast including breakfast burritos and tres leches French toast. Breakfast runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner service continues until 9 p.m. He’s working on a liquor license, but for now, the beverage list offers coffee, cappuccinos, hot chocolate, aguas frescas, iced tea, and soda.
Prior to moving into the Marina space, May operated Las Mestizas out of a space at 3471 Mission Street, where the Mission bumps up against Bernal Heights. Due to issues with the landlord, May says he felt like he needed to find the restaurant a new home and shut down the space on September 30, 2022. When a friend who previously operated a sushi spot in the new Las Mestizas space reached out, May figured he’d give the neighborhood a shot. “I said, ‘Yeah, why not?” he says. “It’s a new challenge.”
Las Mestizas (2280 Chestnut Street in San Francisco) is open at 8 a.m. every day and will close at 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and at 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.