If you’re craving Mexican food in San Francisco, you might make a beeline for the taquerias of the Mission District. While this is a valid choice, it does mean you’d miss out on Nopalito in NoPa, and the traditional Mexican cuisine that devotees claim is some of the best in the city. From lunch through to dinner week-round, the bright and casual dining room at Nopalito’s Broderick Street location (much like its sister restaurant in Inner Sunset) is astir with locals vying for tables and waiting impatiently for their take-out orders as the smell of sizzling chorizo fills the air. Did we mention that the chorizo, like the tortillas, is made in-house?
Its commitment to locally sourced, organically grown, house-made produce is just one of the ways Nopalito stands out from the hoards of Mexican restaurants in the city. Its menu is stuffed with authentic dishes that manage to marry intensity of flavour with a winning subtlety, from the Carnitas (made with orange, bay leaf, milk, cinnamon and beer braised pork, and served with a rich, piquant cabbage salad, pickled jalapeño and salsa) to the moreish seared fish tacos (Tacos de Pescado al Pastor). And with tequila-rich cocktails, seasonal sangria and a good selection of beers, the drinks menu is full of character. While you can’t make reservations here, you can ring ahead and put your name on the waiting list; a cunning idea for anyone wishing to indulge over the weekend.