Restaurant Reviews

Nopalito

May 8, 2015

In my permanent quest to find good Mexican food in San Francisco, I decided to stop by Nopalito. It tops many lists for best Mexican food in the city so I had to go check it out.

The Shut-Up-and-Give-it-to-Me-Quick Version:

Good, not great.
This just didn’t do it for me, food was good, but nothing to write home about. Won’t be returning.

The I-Like-to-be-Wrapped-Up-in-All-the-Details Version:

Considering all the great restaurants San Francisco has, I was not impressed. Nopalito touts themselves as a “Mexican kitchen” serving sustainable and organic fare. There are 2 locations (fairly close to each other); I visited their location on 9th Avenue. The place was clean, no real theme, just simple and modern. I’m going to go off on a tangent for a second, our waitress was pretty nice, a little cold, but overall helpful. I did, however, find it a bit off putting that she didn’t seem to know much about Mexican food, she didn’t pronounce my order even mildly correctly and when she gave recommendations it wasn’t believable because I couldn’t quite tell if she knew what she was talking about. The restaurant is as much about the food as the atmosphere so this was an off-putting start to my meal. Another strange thing is that after she brought us our food, we never saw our waitress again… I think she might have gone on break or ended her shift, but letting us know would’ve been nice as I found myself flagging down everyone else for whatever we needed (a spoon for our soup, water, the bill). One thing to note is we heard a lot about having to wait a while to be seated, we arrived Saturday at 3 pm and were seated right away.

As a disclaimer they do have various menu items, but not choices within that variety. For example, they serve tacos, but only fish and pork.

What we ate:

  • Margarita ($10.50)
  • Horchata ($3.95)
  • Ceviche ($15)
  • Posole ($14)
  • Mole Enchiladas ($13)

Thoughts?

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The margarita was the most disappointing. It lacked flavor and just wasn’t good at all. The cup was also weird, it was tall and skinny so there was hardly any salt.The horchata was good, it was an almond horchata. Not much to say, it was tasty, but nothing out of this world. I did like that it wasn’t too powdery at the bottom like some tend to be.

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Nopalito, San Francisco, SF, Mexican, best Mexican restaurants, horchata, margarita, haight, mexican food, restaurant reviews, eat and escape, ceviche

The ceviche was good and very spicy. If you don’t like spicy, ask them to omit the hot sauce. The seafood tasted very fresh and I liked the flavor. I did think it was missing a little lemon because the hot sauce was so strong that it overpowered everything else. The tortilla chips were also very thick so I found myself picking and choosing so I wouldn’t break a tooth in the process.

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Nopalito, San Francisco, SF, Mexican, best Mexican restaurants, horchata, margarita, haight, mexican food, restaurant reviews, eat and escape, posole, pozole, mole enchiladas, soup, enchiladas, mole

The posole was good, it was hearty, but it just didn’t wow me. The posole at Green Chile Kitchen was AMAZING and I expected something similar. This one lacked a flavor. I added their spices and lots of lime because I was looking for richness that wasn’t there.

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The mole enchiladas were very good. This was probably the best dish as a whole. There was a lot of mole and the enchiladas were well stuffed. I think they skimped out a bit as there were only 2 smaller enchiladas. For a guy, I don’t think that would be filling enough as a meal. (Proof: Dennis shared half my soup and ceviche in order to fill up).
This place is included in many favorites lists and “best Mexican restaurants” and I think it is far from that. I wasn’t expecting authentic Mexican (go to the Mission for that), but I was expecting really good food (I didnt’ get that). With so many trendy Mexican places popping up you really need to impress. I definitely prefer Green Chile Kitchen or Tacolicious (if we are comparing restaurants with similar items).
Nopalito on Urbanspoon

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