Tacos are both a humble street food and a culinary marvel with complex flavors, textures, and a rich history that dates back to pre-colonial Mexico. San Francisco, especially the Mission District, is famous for its unique burritos but our taco game is equally strong. If you’re looking for a great bite in the Mission here are some extraordinary spots to check out.
1. Tacos El Patron
They are famous for their cheesy beef birria tacos, served with a side of broth for dipping, but every taco on the menu is outstanding and warrants a visit.
Location: 1500 Van Ness Avenue
2. Chuy’s Fiestas
An unassuming storefront on an otherwise quiet block of Folsom street gives way to a warm and inviting dining room and, a sunny backyard patio. They make an excellent quesabirria, but don’t miss their vampire taco, a cheesy, crispy snack that originated in Sinaloa.
- 2341 Folsom Street (Mission District)
- 710 Post Street (Lower Nob Hill)
3. La Palma Mexicatessen
La Palma is a unique mix of a grocery store, kitchen supply shop, tortilla factory, and restaurant. They produce some of the best tacos in SF but are best known for their mouthwatering tamales. They’re also an excellent place to shop if you want to make tacos or tamales at home. Their cold case is packed with fresh salsas, and they’ll even sell you fresh masa by the pound. After one visit you’ll be hooked for life.
Location: 2884 24th Street
4. La Taqueria
One of the most recognizable restaurants in the Mission District is also home to some of the best tacos. La Taqueria is famous for its foil-wrapped mission-style burritos but its flavorful tacos deserve equal praise. Their menu is short and straightforward, they only take cash and there will probably be a line. That said, La Taqueria is far from a tourist trap and certainly lives up to its reputation as one of the best in the neighborhood.
Location: 2889 Mission Street
5. El Toro Taqueria
El Toro and its sister restaurant Pancho Villa, both deliver reliably tasty tacos at very affordable prices. The thing that sets El Toro apart is its abundant salsa bar packed with fresh and deeply flavorful toppings. Beyond the classics, they also offer prawn, salmon, and a variety of veggie tacos.
Location: 598 Valencia Street
6. Taqueria Cancun
This super popular taqueria has three locations in SF that are all conveniently located near popular nightlife destinations, making them an indispensable part of a night out in the Mission, Bernal Heights, or SoMa. Locations aside, Taqueria Cancun always delivers juicy meats, flavorful salsas, and ample tortilla chips that are a lifesaver after a few stops on your bar crawl.
- 2288 Mission St (Mission District)
- 3211 Mission St (Mission/Bernal Heights)
- 1003 Market St (SoMa)
7. Taqueria El Buen Sabor
Located amid the hustle and bustle of Valencia Street, El Buen Sabor (The Good Taste) dishes out predictably delicious tacos with toppings piled high enough that you need a fork (or a few chips) to finally pick one up. This corner restaurant is a little smaller than a lot of the other taquerias in the neighborhood but it gives off a feeling of dining in your grandmother’s kitchen which only adds to the magic. If you want to dine in, keep the group size to 6 or smaller and you’ll be good to go.
Location: 699 Valencia Street
8. Taqueria Vallarta
This extraordinary taqueria specializes in Mexican street food, and truly does it justice. They have an extensive menu that includes everything from lamb to lengua (tongue). They also have an extensive vegetarian menu that includes cactus, eggplant, zucchini, and other flavorful veggies.
Location: 3033 24th Street
9. La Oaxaqueña
This small but mighty restaurant offers a wide variety of beautifully cooked meats that you won’t find on most taqueria menus. The menu includes longaniza con Papas (sausage with potatoes), cecina (spicy pork), and cabeza (beef head), alongside classics like pastor and carne asada. The most unique item on their menu is a jumbo grasshopper taco, which is a common snack in many parts of Mexico. Whether you’re looking for something predictably delicious or a tad more adventurous, this spot has you covered.
Location: 2128 Mission Street