The scene at San Jalisco.
Tommy’s Restaurant (since 1965):
Out in the Richmond district, Tomás Bermejo introduced the city to Yucatecan specialties like pollo pibil and poc chuc, and his son Julio turned the bar’s tequila selection into a destination. Today, the margaritas still go perfectly with the elephantine platters.
5929 Geary Blvd. (near 24th Ave.), 415-387-4747
Puerto Alegre (since 1973):
A mainstay for pitchers of margs and comforting plates of enchiladas squeezed between beans and rice, this Mission destination, complete with a diner-style counter and booths, holds its own in the ever-changing Mission district. Weekends are nuts. Expect a wait.
546 Valencia St. (near 16th St.), 415-255-8201
Otaez Mexican Restaurant (since 1987):
Since the Campos family took over this Oakland spot, it’s been the place working guys come to at 6 a.m. for machaca and menudo and families hit up later for chicken enchiladas and pitted slabs of flan.
3872 International Blvd. (near 39th Ave.), Oakland, 510-536-0909
San Jalisco (since 1988):
No gray morning can withstand the Technicolor therapy of Dolores Reyes’s restaurant. Breakfasts are where it’s at (scrambled eggs streaked with shredded beef and tomatoes; huevos divorciados smothered in red and green chilies). Or try a steamy bowl of caldo de camarón. Tortillas are made in-house.
901 S. Van Ness Ave. (at 20th St.), 415-648-8383
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Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco.