San Francisco may be known as a burrito town, but the city is also home to an abundance of delicious tacos. In fact, we’ve got an embarrassment of riches running the gamut from street tacos and Baja-style fish tacos to the wave of quesabirria that took over menus and brought the soupy, cheesy Tijuana-style tacos to every corner of the city. Tacos are, of course, a food built to sustain and now, more than ever, San Francisco locals are finding happiness in these quick, inexpensive meals, whether purchased off a truck or from your favorite corner shop. Let this map guide you to 18 great tacos to try right now in San Francisco.Read More
18 Essential Tacos to Try in San Francisco
Where to get your carnitas, fish taco, and quesabirria fix
Las Mestizas made the move from the Mission to the Marina this year, bringing its Yucatan specialties along for the ride. The cochinita pibil and poc chuc are the specialties here, and the tacos are the perfect way to highlight both styles of meat.
If you’re wondering what to order at Cholita Linda, all of the dishes are excellent, but the crispy, Baja-style fish taco is the standout. The crispy fish, topped with cabbage slaw and a crema can’t be beat, now come paired with views of the water at the restaurant’s Ferry Building location.
Also featured in:
Korean tacos aren’t as prevalent in the Bay Area as they are down in LA, but for San Francisco folks who’ve acquired a taste for this culinary street food mashup, there’s Tacorea, just off Union Square. The burritos are probably the best-known items here (including an extra carb-y tater tot stuffed version), but the tacos are also great — they come two to a plate, with your meat of choice (say, bulgogi or “Kanye asada”) piled onto soft corn tortillas, with an order of tater tots on the side.
Taqueria Los Mayas
One of the better Mexican restaurants on the West side, Los Mayas is also one of the city’s better Yucatecan restaurants. It’s a solid spot to sample the cuisine’s characteristic citrus-marinated meats — poc chuc and cochinita pibil — in taco form, piled onto fat handmade tortillas.
Cancun (with three locations in the Mission, Bernal Heights and SoMa) is a San Francisco crowd favorite. If you’re deciding what to order, the al pastor and carnitas are always reliable and the tacos always have just the right meat-to-tortilla ratios.
Mi Morena - La Cocina Municipal Marketplace
Chef Guadalupe Moreno is serving her signature tacos guisados from a kiosk within the La Cocina Municipal Marketplace in the Tenderloin. Start with an organic, handmade blue or yellow corn tortilla, then choose rice, beans, and a savory, stew-like filling (rajas con papas, juicy chicken tinga, or al pastor are just a few options).
This Design District restaurant has earned a reputation for its excellent Guanajuatan cuisine and its rich pozole verde. But it’s also a great spot for carnitas tacos: slow-roasted local pork shoulder piled onto tortillas made with fresh masa from Oakland’s La Finca Tortilleria.
El Tonayense Taco Truck
El Tonayense's trucks travel the city, dispensing their tender meats to taco (and burrito) lovers — but thankfully there’s always one parked outside the Mission Best Buy. The tender lengua is a good choice here, drenched in El Tonayense’s excellent salsa roja.
There’s plenty to enjoy at Poc-Chuc, which serves up Yucatecan and Mayan-style food, but the tacos themselves are worth stopping in for. The homemade tortillas are the perfect vessel for the varieties of meat served at Poc-Chuc; the pork in the cochinita pibil taco was tender and served with an achiote sauce and pickled red onions, while the taco de chimole de pavo, comes topped with strands of turkey swimming in an ink-black mole. Both sauces were soaked up nicely by the tortilla and dribbled slightly onto the plate...a bit messy, but worth it.
Also featured in:
The quesabirria tacos are the most popular at Chuy’s Fiestas, a waiter confirmed, and it’s easy to see why: the classically red-tinged tacos come stuffed with meat and cheese, with the tortilla charred to a nice crisp and served alongside the cutest bowl holding the requisite consomé. But there are other tacos to explore on the menu; the vampiro taco can satisfy the hungriest people in your party and comes loaded with carne asada, melted cheese, pinto beans, pico de gallo, a healthy serving of guacamole and topped with tomatillo sauce.
Tucked away in the Mission, San Jalisco is a charming, no-frills diner-style taqueria. The tacos here are huge and available in both soft and hard shell styles. Regulars come specifically for the goat birria that’s available on Fridays and weekends.
Also featured in:
Loló has been a Mission District favorite since its debut in 2007. The restaurant bills itself as serving a “playful interpretation of Jaliscan-Californian cuisine” and it shows with its various takes on the taco. Try the Taco Tropical with spiced panko-encrusted shrimp and chipotle aioli drizzle or the fried chicken taco with coleslaw and pickled jalapenos, or go for the “al pastor” cauliflower tacos if you’re looking for a vegetarian option.
El Gallo Giro
El Gallo Giro has long been one of the best taco trucks in the biz, dishing out impeccably juicy carnitas and deeply flavorful grilled chicken. You can find the truck parked in its usual spot at 23rd Street and Treat Avenue, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
La Torta Gorda
La Torta Gorda is a mom-and-pop owned by a family from Puebla, Mexico. Although the restaurant is best known for its namesake sandwiches, its meaty tacos are also solid — including the oversized “Taco Placero” — especially when doused with the shop’s very good salsas verde and rojo.
La Gallinita Meat Market
This unassuming meat market hides handmade tortillas with various meat options within, the best of which is the cecina, a salted and air-dried meat sliced thin and crisped on the griddle. Be careful with the salsa rojo here — it is seriously hot. The taco counter is open with somewhat limited hours — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except Sundays when it closes at 2.
This is your spot for less common (in San Francisco) but delicious bits like suadero, buche, and tripitas, though the carne asada and al pastor also don’t disappoint. Order three tacos for a full meal, alongside a selection of aguas frescas.
La Taq is nationally famous for its meaty, rice-free burritos, and rightfully so. But if you talk to the restaurant’s legion of dedicated fans, many of them will tell you that it’s La Taqueria’s tacos, and not its burritos, that are its most delicious offerings. The carnitas and carne asada are both uncommonly juicy and flavorful, and the tacos come loaded with so much meat (and guacamole, sour cream, and cheese if you opt for the “super” version) that just one or two makes for a filling meal. Go for the dorado style, with a crispy corn tortilla folded inside a soft one, for a taco with more crunch and structural integrity.
Tacos El Patron
If you’re going to order a single taco at El Patrón, let it be the quesabirria, the cheesy, soupy Tijuana-style beef birria tacos (served with a side of consomé for convenient dipping) that this Mission taqueria helped popularize in the city. Really, though, any taco is a good choice here, with the other standout being the namesake Taco Patrón, which comes loaded with grilled shrimp and melted cheese.