San Francisco has no end of terrific taquerias and down-home Mexican spots for those on a budget. But if you’re looking for a Mexican meal that’s a little bit more occasion-worthy, you might want to consider making a reservation at one of these six upscale local Mexican spots, which all accept reservations.
149 Fell St.
A relative newcomer to Hayes Valley, chic Cala is the brainchild of acclaimed Mexico City chef Gabriela Camara. Unlike many local Mexican spots, its menu heavily emphasizes seafood, with dishes like trout tostadas and mussel tamales. The creative dishes are accented by a menu of inventive cocktails like the Elegante, with blanco tequila, creme de violette, lime, egg white, and rosemary.
901 Cole St.
A favorite among Cole Valley residents, this easygoing Mexican spot is known for its upscale (but not overly pricey) takes on enchiladas, carnitas, chilaquiles, and more. Customer favorites include the arctic char and pork belly tacos and the ahi tuna crudo. There’s also a large selection of tequilas of every type and price point.
2211 Mission St.
Arguably the most popular SF restaurant with the vegan crowd, meat-free Gracias Madre is also a favorite with those looking to eat healthy or cut down on their meat consumption without sacrificing flavor. From pumpkin quesadillas with pistachio sauce to fried cauliflower with cashew “nacho” cheese, everything on the menu is hearty, satisfying, and 100% plant-based.
3200 Fillmore St.
This Marina spot is a good bet for groups, thanks to its shareable small plates (like taco trios, shrimp tostadas, and albondigas) and its cocktails by the pitcher (try the mezcal margarita or the palomas). It also offers a number of good deals during the week, like $6 Tommy’s margaritas every Monday, $3 tacos every Tuesday, and 1/2 off bottles of wine on Wednesdays.
Mi Almita (Mina Test Kitchen)
2120 Greenwich St.
Michael Mina’s rotating test kitchen in the Marina is currently focused on Mexican cuisine—and offering one of the best prix-fixe deals in town, at $39 for five courses. A collaboration with James Beard Award-winning Houston chef Hugo Ortega, Mi Almita’s menu includes creative dishes like grilled octopus tacos, corn soup with huitlacoche, and crispy duck with fig mole. You can supplement your meal with a tequila tasting for an extra cost.
3481 18th St.
A stalwart on the Mission’s 18th Street corridor, Regalito still packs ’em in for Mexican comfort food like pozole, enchiladas verdes, and the famed Regalito roast chicken. On rare warm evenings (or at brunch), the restaurant has a big back patio that’s ideal for dining al fresco. And while Regalito lacks a full liquor license for tequila, it does offer plenty of Argentinean and Spanish wines by the glass.