SF Dining: Nopalito
Local. Organic. Sustainable. These buzzwords are starting to lose all meaning as MEGAFOOD corporations pervert them toward their own nefarious ends. They still mean something at Nopalito, the Mexican sibling restaurant of my once beloved American spot, Nopa.
When I first tried Nopalito I had every reason not to dine there. Nopa, which already had a strike against it for bearing a name (North Of the Panhandle) that had been duct taped to the Western Addition by realtors and neighborhood groups hoping to escape the district's newsworthy past, had been my go-to spot for local, organic, and sustainable since before I'd moved to the neighborhood. It was the spot I went to with valued friends both from the city and from out of town. One year I'm pretty sure I was eating delicious American cuisine there once or twice a month. A change of chef and two brutally unsatisfying meals later and I didn't walk through the doors again.
Against what passes for my better judgement I gave Nopalito a try and it instantly became my new go-to spot. Well, not for a month or so when it got "hot" and I would have had to wait. There are too many great spots in SF to wait. Still, when the dust settled I was back and dragging friends in for the awesome carnitas and oh-those-tortas. No Mission Burritos here, just traditional Mexican cooking with flair.
The menu changes, thankfully, but you can't go wrong. On my most recent visit I had the Quesadilla Roja con Chiccharrón pictured here and a ginger lemonade. Delightful. They do it right and the staff is relaxed but top-notch like Nopa's used to be.
I've heard that they have a spot on 9th now but I can't vouch for it having only been to the Broderick location. I'd bet that it's worth a visit.
306 Broderick, SF
1224 9th Avenue, SF