Which Restaurant Best Captures the Mission?

The Chronicle’s Michael Bauer posted an interesting idea this morning: that each neighborhood has a restaurant that captures its essence.  He encouraged readers to write in with suggestions… but prefaced that “if you live in the Mission, there are too many to list.”

Cop out!  Curious as to what you Missionites would pick.  I assume suggestions posted here will be less pretentious than any over at Between Meals, so by all means, comment.  And sure, KevMo, you can vote for Bender’s.

P.S.  La Rondalla photo by svanes.  Included because I love when you flap your gums about La Rondalla.

46 Responses to “Which Restaurant Best Captures the Mission?”

  1. MrEricSir says:

    Does the Tamale Lady count?

  2. Bodah says:

    papalote….for better or worse.

    • Mike says:

      Gotta give props to this one – it hits on all cylinders.

      Previous generations named the streets after the trees that they chopped down – I hope we can do more than add a second color of salsa to America’s menu.

      - Mike

  3. brian says:

    street food, duh

  4. Dan says:

    i thought you guys already said it was medjool

  5. Marco says:


  6. jeff says:

    Puerto Alegre, hands down.

  7. spiro says:

    Micky D’s bitches!

  8. Chester says:

    Good luck picking an entire *street* of restaurants that capture the essence of the Mission. Your choice would say more about you than it would the Mission.

  9. Nico says:

    La Oaxaquena, quick before it’s overrun. Oh wait, is being overrun “capturing the Mission”?

  10. Clooney’s on free hotdog night.

  11. Jake says:

    Farolito. Don’t even mess…

  12. mai says:

    Yamo! Also – Mission Street Food.

  13. The Gauntlet says:


  14. Josh C says:

    I’m with Mai, Yamo just wouldn’t work right in another district.

  15. Diane says:

    el delfin on 24th (between treat and folsom)

    this is the ultimate mission restaurant IMHO — friendly owners, beautiful murals on the wall, awesome mexican seafood dishes, great tortillas, cheap prices, $3 beers, and i can go on and on.

  16. justsayin says:

    tamale parlor on 24th.

  17. Sean says:

    Much of everything listed above is spot on, but I’d be hard pressed to select one over the other as being emblematic of the Mission, aside from personal preference. There are surely others. Ultimately, Bauer’s right: unlike most other neighborhoods, we have too many to choose. Lucky us!

  18. billy says:

    naw brah, it’s def puerto allegre. f dat.

  19. M. says:

    Restaurants are not a good axis for looking at a neighborhood. They’re expensive, they close early, and they are rarely weird. The weird is what is scarce and should be celebrated and protected – Roxie, ATA, N&P, Cell. Great restaurants are not scarce. You can have a shittified, boring place in San Jose, but with a million great restaurants. Focusing on restaurants is a sin of omission! You’re not only talking about beloved dives like Farolito – you sink pretty rapidly and nonchalantly into places that are exclusive. Foodie doesn’t care if the mission gets sanitized as long as the restaurants are good.

    • Sean says:

      M: Please go whine elsewhere. We’d like to talk about restaurants, both cheap and expensive, dives and exclusive joints, because like it or not, they are all a part of the neighborhood’s fabric.

  20. Dario says:

    El Metate and Tortas los Picudos.

  21. Manuelito says:

    the food at puerto allegre is terrible, but it kinda does define the mission in the sense of being a hotbed for tasteless weekend transplants from pacific heights, walnut creek, etc

    my vote is mission burger, but since it should probly be a mexican spot i vote la taqueria. i can’t argue with yamo either

    • olu says:

      i agree with you about the general tastelessness of puerto allegre.

      I vote for los jarritos or weird fish. both of these seem to me that they could only exist in their present location.

  22. Sabrina says:

    hmm… this is a tough choice. But I think it is Weird Fish. I know it isn’t a popular choice with it not being Mexican but to go with the theme of the article. The writer was choosing restaurants and Weird Fish has vegan/non-vegan options and a very electic menu. It’s always a popular spot on 18th and Mission.

    • Blanche Du Blah says:

      Weird Fish is terrible, a bland tasteless deep-fat fryer of a dining experience. Your palate needs work.

  23. I went to Yamo today after checking out this thread–thanks! I’m a foreigner from Oakland though, so I can’t tell you whether it captures the Mission or not.

  24. 24steel says:

    Hunt’s Donuts open 25 hours.

  25. K-Rex says:

    Bauer’s right. We’ll have to vote one each by cuisine:

    Mex: Farolito for down low grease fix at 2 AM and La Taqueria for sensible daytime pork

    Med: Truly Med, best falafel in town. Lamb burger also quite tasty.

    Deli food: Rhea’s sandwiches, not sure how it took this long for the Mission to remember why sandwiches have their own Earl

    Fine dining: no lo contedere, so many and so yummy. I do miss that corporate expense account so..but I still stop to read the menus when I’m lonely.

  26. johnny0 says:

    El Tonayense/Santana taco truck line is a Mission microcosm, yet contains multitudes.

  27. salsaman says:

    High to low:
    Mission Street Food
    Tamale Lady

    (btw agree w/BdB re: Weird Fish: needs work)

  28. superlative judgement says:

    Y’all are crazy. Popeye’s on tuesdays. Duh! C’mon peeps.

  29. pixeltan says:

    Wow, I love that y’all are trying so hard—its comedic. Keep on keepin’ on.

  30. Cranky Old Mission Guy says:

    Psst! Jim’s. Mission and 20th. I love eating breakfast there. I love the decor. I see honkies like me eating there, and I see indios eating there, too. They even have veggie burgers, if you like that sort of thing.

  31. xAVIER says:

    You did not – I repeat – DID NOT read Jarritos. It’s not there. Please do not even look for it.

  32. VforVerbose says:

    Good ones…i completely agree with:
    El Tonayense truck

    and don’t forget…St Francis Fountian…
    (c’mon, SO Mission…’80′s trading cards, tatted out & pierced staff, dozens of jaded and hungover hipsters waiting out front, and the option to nurse a bloody mary across the street at Pop’s)

  33. Cranky Old Mission Guy says:

    SO glad y’all are not pickin’ up on my recommendation, y’all. Guess I can keep on goin’ there, y’all…

    Heh heh.

  34. Cramer says:

    Why has nobody said Mr. Pickles?

  35. two beers says:

    Whiz Burger, hands down, because tight-pantsed, ironically-hirsute, fixie-phony food-fetishists are nowhere to be seen. Plus, it’s always fun to eat on pressure-treated wood.

  36. M. says:

    The fabric of the neighborhood is fluid. You can actually make value judgments and influence things instead of just observing them passively. I will not ‘whine elsewhere’ because I live here, same as you.

  37. nacho lover says:

    El Metate before midnight and El Farolito after, with Mr. Pickles as the honorary mascot.

  38. Leah says:

    Velvet Cantina? The cactus enchiladas and brothel decor feel very Mission to me.
    Delfina? Probably the restaurant for Mission Dolores but not Mission Mission.

    I love Papalote but it’s much more Nopa than Mission… maybe that’s just because I knew the Nopa location first.

  39. Do not a lot of money to buy a car? Do not worry, because this is possible to receive the mortgage loans to work out all the problems. Thus take a student loan to buy all you require.