Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching and in previous years, it was a very festive time, not only in San Francisco but across the entire country. But this year is completely different, with shelter-in-place orders, social distancing and restaurants restricted to just take out or home delivery orders. While large-scale gatherings and parties will be prohibited, families, couples and housemates can still enjoy the 5th of May with some authentic Mexican cuisine. The following is a brief profile of five of the best places in San Francisco to order food and drink for this year’s Cinco de Mayo.
3409 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
Frequently selected as the spot for the Best Burrito in San Francisco, Papalote will certainly be busy for Cinco de Mayo. Founded in 1999 by brothers Miguel and Victor Escobedo, Papalote will be open for take out and delivery service. Among the many favorite dishes to order are the Carne Asada Tacos, Chicken Mole Quesadilla and Pollo Asado Burrito. Food deliveries can be placed on the store’s website or through Postmates, Uber Eats or Caviar. Other items are so good that Zagat described their salsa “alone is worth a visit” and a favorite of celebrity chef Bobby Flay. Papalote has a second location on Fulton Street and both store hours are listed as 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. In 2010, the Escobedo brothers defeated celebrity chef Bobby Flay in the Food Network’s Burrito Showdown.
Taqueria El Farolito
2779 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
One of the city’s best-known taquerias will definitely be busy on Cinco de Mayo. After all, Taqueria El Farolito is consistently named among the best in the city and recently was named the Best Mexican Restaurant in California by Stacker. There are too many popular dishes to list but among the popular items are regular or crispy tacos, quesadillas, tortas and burritos with popular meat options like carne asada, al pastor, carnitas and marinated pork. Taqueria El Farolito has additional locations in San Francisco and all across the Bay Area. The two locations in the Mission District only accept cash.
3033 24th St.
San Francisco, CA 94110
One of the clear standouts of many in the Mission District, Taqueria Vallarta will be accepting orders for takeout and delivery. Cash and credit cards are accepted. What makes this taqueria so worthwhile for Cinco de Mayo or anytime is a extensive menu of authentic Mexican cuisine, including breakfast items like Huevos con Chorizo, 2 for $5 tacos with chips and several different burritos, including nine vegetarian options. Additionally, fresh salsas are made daily and the taco bar offers 12 different meat varieties. Orders for pick or delivery can be placed directly through Google or UberEats. Doctors and first responders with proper identification get 50 percent off all orders. Taqueria Vallarta opened in 2000 by Juan Rosas Lopez, who reportedly got his start in the restaurant industry as a line cook at El Farolito.
Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant
5929 Geary Blvd.
San Francisco, CA 94121
Although Tommy’s isn’t normally open on Tuesdays, the popular tequila bar and restaurant will be open on Cinco de Mayo for take out orders. Customers can order an extensive variety of authentic Mexican cuisine, like chicken enchiladas, beef or chicken tacos and chile relleno, along with seafood specialties and burritos. But what makes Tommy’s especially attraction for Cinco de Mayo is its pitchers of margarita’s to-go that are available only with food purchase. Describing itself as the World’s Best Tequila Bar, Tommy’s definitely lives up to its reputation, offering more than 300 types of agave tequila, including Don Julio and Patron. Opened in 1965 by Tomas and Elmy Bermejo, Tommy’s is now led by their son Julio, who has world-class talent as a bartender and is known as the “Ambassador of Tequila”.
Uno Dos Tacos
San Francisco, CA 94105
The Mission District isn’t the only spot in San Francisco for outstanding Mexican cuisine. Uno Dos Tacos is on Market Street but only operating out of Flores SF in the Marina for deliveries on Cinco de Mayo. A much larger establishment in comparison to most family owned taquerias, Uno Dos Tacos offers a nice selection of gourmet tacos, burritos, side dishes and salads. Among the popular choices are the taco asada, pescado taco, carnitas burritos and vegetarian options. Food deliveries can be placed through Caviar or DoorDash and features additional favorites like Tres Tacos and Family Meals for Four. Successfully transitioning from a popup taqueria, Uno Dos Tacos opened in 2014 and is led by successful restaurateur Adriano Paganini and Chef Luis Flores.
About The Author:
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS Local websites, including CBS New York, CBS Los Angeles, CBS Chicago, CBS San Francisco and CBS Washington D.C. During his peak years with CBS, he reportedly had a digital audience reach of 489 million and more than 5.5 million monthly visitors. His other stories have also appeared in the Daily Meal, Examiner.com, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com, among others. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.