Best Restaurant in the Mission?

The 2009 Michelin Guide to San Francisco Bay Area & Wine Country released its results today.  Range remains the only restaurant in the Mission to get a star and thus maintains its status as “a very good restaurant in its category.”  Known for being extremely frugal with its stars, the Michelin Guide refused to allow Bar Tartine, Delfina, Farina, or Tokyo Go Go a spot in their coveted constellation, but acknowleged that these places provide a good meal for less than $40.

Maybe its the fact the $40 does not sound like a bargain for me, but I have sadly not yet been to any of these places.  Until then, I will console myself knowing that Range gets 4 stars on Yelp and El Tonayense Taco Truck gets 4.5.

24 Responses to “Best Restaurant in the Mission?”

  1. TK says:

    Range was really good, but I’ve had better meals at other places in SF. Like everything else in the world, it’s totally subjective.

  2. Concerned says:

    Delfina is totally worth it, and one of my all-around favorite restaurants anywhere. I also love Range, think Luna Park is great, Regalito is very good even by Mexican standards, Palacio Latino is awesome, had a great meal and better wine at Maverick once — that is just within a block of 18th! We’re very lucky.

  3. Jeff says:

    I’m a broken record with friends lately, but Esperpento is so damned good. Went there last night, five days after returning from Madrid. Shit was spot-on.

    Also, Panchitas 3 is darned tootin’. Tartine patisserie is still amazing. Bi-Rite Creamery. Emmy’s. Foreign Cinema. It goes on and on. Bah, Michelin.

  4. zinzin says:

    i dont know from “best”, but here’s my thoughts….

    Farina is really good, depending what you order. Pricey. nice wines.

    Foreign Cinema has a 3 course kids dinner for $10 (veggies with dip, pasta & ice cream). if you feel like a splurge and have kids, go during the week, during the winter. the kid will zone on the movie (starts too late in summer for little kids) and you’ll get some grown-up time. my kid loves it. wouldn’t go near there on a weekend (though Sunday brunch on a nice day can be fun if you combine bloody marys with valium). snotty door staff.

    Lolo across from the Make Out Room is really good & interesting. Octopus appetizer. not cheap, not ultra. nice people, service is meh.

    Balompie on Capp / 18th is good for a Salvadorean fix. all homemade and nice people. family joint. pasteles, casamiento, maduros, yuca, great soups, etc. pupusas too. pretty cheap.

    Zante Indian Pizza on Mission / Cortland. they deliver (sort of). not cheap for pizza, but yummy. (i get Indian pie with meat, lite on the cheese, well done).

    jim’s on mission is fine for cheap greasy spoon bfst. old school mission (anyone remember Aunt Mary’s on 16th?). not what you’d call…clean. kid loves it.

    i eat tacos from Cancun 3 times a week. duh.

    i like Luna Park for weekend lunch, though they stopped making grilled cheese so we don’t go there much anymore.

    i like Delfina but it’s too hard to get in; door staff are snotty.

    have yet to fight my way into Bar Tartine. too many bad experiences (staff, not bread) at the bakery for me to be eager.

  5. Charles Nibbly says:

    Best unknown in the Mission continues to be:

    Oh and Dosa murdered me yesterday…

  6. C. says:

    I love Range, but I also love Delfina. Very much.
    The Guide Michelin has always been questionably subjective, and fraught with concerns about bias in culture & style, journalistic-or-marketing approach, and food-world politics. But its debut edition for San Francisco damaged its credibility and revealed unreliable information-gathering and production methods. Some reviews – notably its review of La Folie – were found to be culled from years-old copy (including the copy that portrayed the chef’s wife as the cheerful hostess; she hadn’t worked there since their daughter was born many years before). This was one hot scandal story that the Chronicle actually broke by itself.
    In culinary terms, it’s somewhat confounding that a restaurant with a James-Beard award-winning chef/owner (Craig Stoll at Delfina) would not be noted. Perhaps a Bauer-Michelin conspiracy? (I believe he has cited Range as his favorite Mission restaurant.)
    Ultimately, I would fully agree with both TK (“it’s totally subjective!”) and Concerned (“we’re very lucky”)! (Thanks for the props to Regalito – I had their awesome cochinita just the other day!)
    I am waiting for the Left-Bank “Atelier Tonayense” to open before my next trip to Paris.

  7. zinzin says:


    as Mark Sanchez says, “we have an embarrassment of riches” in the hood, far as restaurants go.

  8. J says:


    i believe you are a bit long winded, i swear i have heard all that a million times before from people who seem to know a lot more than you

    i only go to range for the booze, so i skip delfina because they don’t have a full bar. whats up with that???

  9. C. says:

    you have heard it a million times from me directly when we have gone to range for the booze. ;)
    also delfina is too far for you to walk when loaded. plus you fall over on the barstools at farina.

  10. J says:

    true, if i could get a negroni at delfina i wouldnt even care if the rabbit was d-lish
    last time i fell over the bar stools at farina was b/c my car was being towed from right-in-front
    its the mission, i thought you could park in a red zone, whats up with dat?
    where did i leave my tin o’ scotch???

  11. donbincente says:

    eat garbage yuppie !!!
    go back to the marina barbie & ken.

  12. C. says:

    RE zinzin’s comment on snottiness, I just wanted to add that the staff at most of these places – including Delfina, Range, Bar Tartine and Farina – have always, without exception, been very kind and helpful to me, and I have never seen them be what I would call snotty to anyone.
    There are “cultural differences” that affect behavior of patrons in restaurants, and various dichotomies in terms of which these differences could be described (culture/style:hipster vs. d-bag; geographical origin: bridge-and-tunnel vs. city; also dichotomies of age, economic class, and profession or occupation).
    Sometimes I have seen staff at these places have to deal firmly with patrons behaving in ways perhaps stereotypical of these dichotomies, e.g. those with expectations or demands to be seated immediately; those who either really don’t know or pretend not to know that at a fine dining restaurant one checks in with a maitre or maitresse d’hotel before attempting to take an open seat; those who expect to be preferred for seating because they are pregnant, have children, have money, have important guests, are late for symphony or theatre, or are too drunk to stand for long; etc. Firmness in dealing with such matters is not be mistaken for snottiness.
    The only place mentioned here where I have experienced anything like snottiness was, perhaps somewhat ironically, Tokyo-A-Go-Go, when I walked in early while it was empty, by myself, unshaven, wearing old jeans and a colorful funky cowboy shirt. There was definitely stereotyping based on appearance happening, and issues and delays in being seated and waited upon, but folks warmed up after I ordered and were quite nice aftewards. I guess we all make judgments.
    But thanks for a great list, zinzin. And yeah, Cancun still rules!

  13. SFDoggy says:

    Range deserves the praise as it is truly excellent; Delfina is great and I have usually been able to get a place at the bar there on weeknights. I think it is far better and more reasonable priced than Farina. I am surprised at the praise for Esperpento — I went there a couple years ago and it was truly abysmal (and I like authentic tapas); maybe I should try it again. The idea that Bar Bambino is “unknown” seems a bit odd given that it is impossible to get a reservation there even a week ahead of time. Was Kiji included again? It is a personal favorite. Spork deserved to be included but the entire concept might have been just a bit too ironic for the Michelin reviewers.

  14. apartmentsinvalencia says:

    Farina is really good, depending what you order of course. Pricey. with wines.

    Foreign Cinema has a 3 course children’s dinner for around $10 (veggies with dip, pasta & ice cream). if you feel like a splurge and have kids, go during the week, during the winter. Thechildren will spot the the movie (starts too late in summer for little kids) and you’ll get some quality grown-up time. My children love it. wouldn’t go near there on a weekend though;-)

  15. Esperpento has to be my favourite – always end up there when I come back from my travels.

  16. jimbeam says:

    Esperanto is foul. I’ve been there several times and each time the food was just poorly cooked, seasoned, etc. Definitely overhyped. Good wine though.

  17. J says:

    i refuse to eat garbage when there are so many good food options
    if that is your cuisine of choice, enjoy


  18. chalkman says:

    The hostesses at Delfina aren’t snotty, they are super freakin hot! Hot hot hot!

    Now the staff at Tartine Bakery, snotty…..

  19. jimbeam says:

    Donbincente made me laugh.

  20. Clapback says:

    This is all soooo ridiculous. Range is a great bar, an OK restaurant, and little else. Quince gets a Michelin Star, not Range. They are very fickle, and it seems a little outlandish to dole one out to a restaurant as unfocused as Range. Plus, there are visible rat traps at the rear entrance, as you head to Mission Pool.

    Foreign Cinema is far more deserving of a Michelin star for many reasons (duration of consistency, atmosphere, dedication to local purveyors), the least of which is their highly focused wine list that has some allocated items that other restaurant simply don’t have the pull for.

    ‘Nuff said. Grab a drink at Range and hit Yamo for dinner.

  21. poulet says:

    I totally prefer Delfina. Range is okay, but I think their cocktails are better than their food. Fine, just not Michelin-star level.

  22. The Buffet Boss says:

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    IM THE BUFFET BOSS, dont let me catch u in my restarunts yuppies, if i cant get a table im turnin yours over.

    The Michilin guide is for tires right?

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