It’s no secret that if there’s one thing San Francisco has no shortage of, it’s incredible tacos. But what about tacos that don’t sacrifice flavor for nutrition? You bet. One of the reasons that SF tacos reign supreme is the fact that so many of the restaurants and taquerias serving up the goods with as many local, organic, and sustainable ingredients as possible.
While the Mission is certainly known for having some of the most authentic tacos and Mexican fare, you’ll be able to find hot spots for your taco fix all throughout the city. Satisfy your Taco Tuesday cravings (or everyday cravings, who are we kidding?) at these favorites, which are dishing up some of the best healthy-ish tacos you can find in the Bay Area.
Padrecito is the perfect place to hit up if you’re looking for a place to strike that hard-to-find balance between fun and lively and casual and comfortable. This Cole Valley hot spot strives to use organic produce in their menu whenever possible, and their seasonal menu is inspired by the sustainable harvests from the local Oak Hill Farm. We love the grilled Arctic Char taco topped with fresh avocado, slaw, and pineapple — it’s fresh and light, sure to satisfy your fish taco cravings. And make sure you don’t miss out on their fresh guacamole or any of their superb cocktails.
Bustling late at night and on the weekends, this Marina or Mission classic dishes up some seriously good tacos, salads, and margaritas. T-lish (as lovingly coined by the fans) always has a vegetarian option and usually a vegan option on their menu, one that is full of fresh veggies like corn, summer squash, and sweet peppers. Feeling something more classic? Their “shot and a beer-braised chicken” centers on the flavor of the white meat, garnished with some fresh salsa.
Looking for a lively, colorful spot for a date or to get the friends together for a night out? Loló won’t disappoint. The Mission’s Loló reimagines Mexican cuisine with an innovative menu of small plates and, of course, tacos. We must say they nail their seared albacore taco, which is garnished with avocado and roasted tomatillo sauce. But for all you avocado-lovers, you won’t want to miss out on their Panko Avocado Taco garnished with caramelized onions and Anaheim peppers.
While Nopalito’s sister restaurant, Nopa, usually gets all of the love, there isn’t a single dish on the Nopalito menu that the chefs don’t master. This Inner Sunset spot maintains a philosophy of choosing local, organic, and sustainable ingredients, and the quality definitely shows in everything you will nosh on. Opt for the seared fish tacos in ancho chile adobo with orange, onion, cilantro, and salsa, or spring for the marinated pork tacos with fresh oregano and parsley, lime, and veggie garnish. Fitt Tip: don’t miss the margaritas here — they are some of the best in the city.
Hook Fish Co.
Yes, you’re going to have to trek all the way out to the (very) Outer Sunset to get your fill of the fresh seafood here, but we promise it’s worth it. Plus, who wouldn’t want to enjoy a fresh fish taco on the beach? Hook Fish Co. puts a healthy twist on the classic fish taco, allowing you to choose between grilled fish of the day or poke. Blanketed in a housemade corn tortilla, these fish tacos are served with all the fixings: avocado, pico de gallo, pickled slaw, and spicy aioli.
Looking for a spot to catch up with a friend over drinks and tacos without having to shout over everyone in the restaurant? This tiny, tucked away Dogpatch location is perfect for you. If you’re searching for a good vegetarian or vegan tacos, Glena’s options are also some of the most inventive in the city. Our favorite is the tofu taco with avocado, grilled onions, black beans, cilantro, queso fresco, and, of course, housemade salsa.
While Gracias Madre is not necessarily known for their tacos in comparison to other plant-based menu options, we just couldn’t leave this completely vegan SF staple of the list! You can choose between mushroom tacos with mole sauce, butternut squash tacos with peanut mole, or eggplant tacos with cilantro pesto. Just make sure to come for lunch to score the tacos— their menu focuses on vegan versions of other traditional Mexican dishes for dinner.
Cala, one of the city’s most upscale Mexican spots, has a back-alley, taco-only spot for you if you’re looking for the same quality of Mexican fare without spending all your money. This standing-room-only, counter-service operation serves up some truly incredible tacos without the frills. Their menu of tacos is constantly rotating, and for just $4.75, you can get one served with both rice and beans. Vegetarians rejoice: Tacos Cala is known for having some of the best veggie tacos in the city.
Excellent Mexican in the Marina? Yes. Like many others do, don’t just walk by and completely miss this hidden gem. This no-frills, counter-service taco shop serves up deliciously good tacos, and you’ll get them for under $3 a piece. Their pollo asado is the one to get, but they also have a good veggie option for vegetarians looking to get to get their lunchtime taco fix. Oh, and don’t forget their stellar guac for under $5.
This traditional taqueria in The Mission is perfect if you’re looking for a late-night bite. While Taqueria Cancun is really known for having some of the best consistently delicious burritos in the city, their tacos are a solid option as well. Choose from perfectly-spiced meat options (there are plenty of lean meat options on offer) or craft your own vegetarian one. Come hungry—they don’t skimp on portions—and don’t forget to get some added avocado on top!