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Pupusas revueltas on a paper plate at Pupuseria Metapan Becky Duffett

Where to Eat and Drink in the Excelsior District

One of San Francisco’s most diverse neighborhoods has got the good burritos, pupusas, silog, and gumbo

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On the south side of the city, Excelsior is a vast neighborhood filled with underrated restaurants. Similarly to the Mission, Italian and Irish immigrants first moved into the area, before Mexican, Salvadoran, and Filipino families joined them toward the end of the 20th century, making Excelsior one of the most diverse neighborhoods in San Francisco today. It only follows that it boasts some of the finest burritos, pupusas, and silog in the city. And while burger icon Joe’s Cable Car Restaurant closed in 2014 after nearly half a century, new openings are folding in good fried chicken and gumbo, too. Here’s where to eat well in Excelsior.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Pampanguena Cuisine

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4441 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 586-8899
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With a Filipino Community Center and many families in the neighborhood, Excelsior throws down with a couple of favorite Filipino restaurants. Pamanguena succeeds in being both comforting and worthy of a special occasion, laying down kamayan feasts on banana leaves, heavy with barbecue chicken, lumpia, garlic rice, and more.

Janelle Bitker

2. Roxie Food Center

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1901 San Jose Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 587-2345
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On the west side of Excelsior, within the residential blocks of Mission Terrace, a sandwich legend resides. Roxie is a corner store with an oversized reputation, known for its meaty sandwiches on Dutch crunch, as well as for fueling the local high school kids and catering community events. The shop sold to new owners in 2020 to the alarm of the neighborhood, but they say they’re carrying on the tradition.

Sandwich from Roxie Becky Duffett

3. Zabb Thai Cuisine

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4440 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 586-2455
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From the same family as Yamo, the affordable favorite Burmese spot in the Mission, Zabb is the equally popular Thai restaurant of Excelsior. There’s even more space in the dining room; the same satisfyingly low prices; a couple of the Yamo hits including Red Curry Duck and Chef Noodles; and the restaurant’s own flavor of curries, claypot, and noodles.

4. Excelsior Coffee

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4495 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 347-7333
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Excelsior Coffee revved into a Mission storefront in 2019, bringing “dope coffee to dope folks.” The space is black and gold with a vintage motorcycle on display, true to the interests of the owners and the neighborhood. In addition to “Clutch” espresso beans and mean lattes, the shop features some of the buzziest pastries in town, including Astranda cinnamon buns and Rize Up sourdough. 

5. Beijing Restaurant

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1801 Alemany Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 333-8182

Long before United Dumpling brought its innovative dumplings to Bernal, Beijing was the original parent restaurant in Excelsior. In an odd corner building on Alemany, it’s an unsuspecting destination for Northern Chinese wheat dishes, including bouncy noodles, potstickers, and crepes.

Beijing-style roast lamb at Beijing Restaurant Beijing Restaurant

6. The Salad Place

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400 London St #2728
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 333-4030
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A small family-owned market on a corner of Persia, the Salad Place may have somewhat erratic hours, but it compensates with a case filled with no fewer than 20 different salads available by the tub, from classic macaroni to fresh ceviche. Plus, lunch-friendly cobbs, sandwiches, soups, and juices.

Glass case full of salads The Salad Place

7. Pupusería Metapán

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4769 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 587-8599
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Excelsior has a large Central American population and many Salvadoran bakeries and pupuserias, and Metapan is a cozy family-run restaurant on Mission. The pupusas are excellent, fork-raking crispy on the outside, and stuffed with beans, cheese, pork, or in the case of the revuelta, all three. The pastelitos, tamales, and other comforts are satisfying, too.

Pupusas revueltas on a paper plate at Pupuseria Metapan Becky Duffett

8. Taqueria Guadalajara

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4798 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 469-5480
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Facing off with an El Farolito location immediately across the street, Guadalajara consistently ranks as one of the champion Mission-style burritos in San Francisco. It’s a heavyweight, far more than a handful and stuffed with the requisite rice, avocado, cheese, and sour cream. And although the pandemic has slightly altered hours, it’s still open pretty late.

9. TY Sandwiches

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4829 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 333-7242

This small storefront is a solid option to fuel up on banh mi sandwiches and keep buzzing on Vietnamese iced coffee. The Grilled Pork is a crowd favorite, while the “Fancy Pork” is both stuffed with meat and slathered with pate, and either one is all of $8.

10. Gentilly

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4826 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 859-5633
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Gentilly opened in 2019 as an ode to New Orleans, and it’s become one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood, thanks to Cajun flavors, vintage cocktails, a chill back patio, and the occasional live jazz. If the Crawfish Pot Pie or Maw Maw’s Gumbo don’t tempt you first, the Maple-Glazed Fried Chicken Special is a sweet deal, throwing in mac and cheese and green beans, and generously feeding two people for $28.

Seafood gumbo and rice Gentilly

11. Super Star Restaurant

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4919 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 585-4360

A Filipino-Chinese favorite, Superstar is no frills and all silog. In a square white building with a Coca-Cola sign promising “Chinese fast food to go,” the restaurant loads up takeout boxes with fried pork chops, fried chicken legs, or plump sausages, and rounds it out with garlic rice and fried eggs. Incredibly, most combo plates ring in at around $5.

12. The Broken Record

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1166 Geneva Ave
San Francisco, CA 94112
(415) 963-1713
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With more than 300 whiskeys and a satisfying menu, a big back patio and pool tables and dart boards, Broken Record is a beloved dive with a lot going for it. Currently, Chicano Nuevo is serving a Mexican menu of Baja Fish Tacos, Squid Ink Tamales, and Wu-Tang Flan.

Squid ink tamales from Chicano Nuevo Rob Aiavao

1. Pampanguena Cuisine

4441 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112
Janelle Bitker

With a Filipino Community Center and many families in the neighborhood, Excelsior throws down with a couple of favorite Filipino restaurants. Pamanguena succeeds in being both comforting and worthy of a special occasion, laying down kamayan feasts on banana leaves, heavy with barbecue chicken, lumpia, garlic rice, and more.

4441 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

2. Roxie Food Center

1901 San Jose Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94112
Sandwich from Roxie Becky Duffett

On the west side of Excelsior, within the residential blocks of Mission Terrace, a sandwich legend resides. Roxie is a corner store with an oversized reputation, known for its meaty sandwiches on Dutch crunch, as well as for fueling the local high school kids and catering community events. The shop sold to new owners in 2020 to the alarm of the neighborhood, but they say they’re carrying on the tradition.

1901 San Jose Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94112

3. Zabb Thai Cuisine

4440 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

From the same family as Yamo, the affordable favorite Burmese spot in the Mission, Zabb is the equally popular Thai restaurant of Excelsior. There’s even more space in the dining room; the same satisfyingly low prices; a couple of the Yamo hits including Red Curry Duck and Chef Noodles; and the restaurant’s own flavor of curries, claypot, and noodles.

4440 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

4. Excelsior Coffee

4495 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

Excelsior Coffee revved into a Mission storefront in 2019, bringing “dope coffee to dope folks.” The space is black and gold with a vintage motorcycle on display, true to the interests of the owners and the neighborhood. In addition to “Clutch” espresso beans and mean lattes, the shop features some of the buzziest pastries in town, including Astranda cinnamon buns and Rize Up sourdough. 

4495 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

5. Beijing Restaurant

1801 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112
Beijing-style roast lamb at Beijing Restaurant Beijing Restaurant

Long before United Dumpling brought its innovative dumplings to Bernal, Beijing was the original parent restaurant in Excelsior. In an odd corner building on Alemany, it’s an unsuspecting destination for Northern Chinese wheat dishes, including bouncy noodles, potstickers, and crepes.

1801 Alemany Blvd
San Francisco, CA 94112

6. The Salad Place

400 London St #2728, San Francisco, CA 94112
Glass case full of salads The Salad Place

A small family-owned market on a corner of Persia, the Salad Place may have somewhat erratic hours, but it compensates with a case filled with no fewer than 20 different salads available by the tub, from classic macaroni to fresh ceviche. Plus, lunch-friendly cobbs, sandwiches, soups, and juices.

400 London St #2728
San Francisco, CA 94112

7. Pupusería Metapán

4769 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112
Pupusas revueltas on a paper plate at Pupuseria Metapan Becky Duffett

Excelsior has a large Central American population and many Salvadoran bakeries and pupuserias, and Metapan is a cozy family-run restaurant on Mission. The pupusas are excellent, fork-raking crispy on the outside, and stuffed with beans, cheese, pork, or in the case of the revuelta, all three. The pastelitos, tamales, and other comforts are satisfying, too.

4769 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

8. Taqueria Guadalajara

4798 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

Facing off with an El Farolito location immediately across the street, Guadalajara consistently ranks as one of the champion Mission-style burritos in San Francisco. It’s a heavyweight, far more than a handful and stuffed with the requisite rice, avocado, cheese, and sour cream. And although the pandemic has slightly altered hours, it’s still open pretty late.

4798 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

9. TY Sandwiches

4829 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

This small storefront is a solid option to fuel up on banh mi sandwiches and keep buzzing on Vietnamese iced coffee. The Grilled Pork is a crowd favorite, while the “Fancy Pork” is both stuffed with meat and slathered with pate, and either one is all of $8.

4829 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

10. Gentilly

4826 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112
Seafood gumbo and rice Gentilly

Gentilly opened in 2019 as an ode to New Orleans, and it’s become one of the most popular restaurants in the neighborhood, thanks to Cajun flavors, vintage cocktails, a chill back patio, and the occasional live jazz. If the Crawfish Pot Pie or Maw Maw’s Gumbo don’t tempt you first, the Maple-Glazed Fried Chicken Special is a sweet deal, throwing in mac and cheese and green beans, and generously feeding two people for $28.

4826 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

11. Super Star Restaurant

4919 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94112

A Filipino-Chinese favorite, Superstar is no frills and all silog. In a square white building with a Coca-Cola sign promising “Chinese fast food to go,” the restaurant loads up takeout boxes with fried pork chops, fried chicken legs, or plump sausages, and rounds it out with garlic rice and fried eggs. Incredibly, most combo plates ring in at around $5.

4919 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94112

12. The Broken Record

1166 Geneva Ave, San Francisco, CA 94112
Squid ink tamales from Chicano Nuevo Rob Aiavao

With more than 300 whiskeys and a satisfying menu, a big back patio and pool tables and dart boards, Broken Record is a beloved dive with a lot going for it. Currently, Chicano Nuevo is serving a Mexican menu of Baja Fish Tacos, Squid Ink Tamales, and Wu-Tang Flan.

1166 Geneva Ave
San Francisco, CA 94112

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