Tropisueno Mexican Kitchen is a quick-service Taqueria by day and full-service restaurant by night. And well worth it for fabulous food in San Francisco. Just be prepared to wait in line during the lunch rush.
My Association of Luxury Suite Directors conference was held in San Francisco the first week of July. We go to a different city each year, and I was really excited for this one because I had only ever been to San Francisco one other time about 20 years ago, for one day for a job interview. I arrived very early the day before the conference began so I could spend the entire day doing touristy stuff.
We didn’t have an official conference lunch on Wednesday We originally tried to grab something quick between sessions, but it was during the height of the lunch rush so everywhere was packed. We went to one more session, and then tried again. Our hotel was the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, in the heart of downtown. When you walk out the back door of the hotel there’s a walkway with a few restaurants, one of which was Tropisueno Mexican Kitchen. When we had first walked out to find lunch, the line at Tropisueno was 30 deep out the front door. With so many restaurants in close proximity, I knew that had to be a good sign. There was no line when we went back, and we also ran into a couple from the conference and they gave it the thumbs-up.
There is an outdoor patio in front of the restaurant, seating about 25. As you enter the building, there is a large menu on the wall to the left. That’s good when you have a long wait in line, but when there is no wait, I would rather have a menu to hold in my hand. Thankfully they had those as well.
Tropisueno is quite spacious, with the open kitchen along the left wall; the bar seating area is immediately ahead of you as you enter, and the main dining room takes up the rest of the space.
Tropisueno has menus for lunch, dinner and happy hour. According to their website “We are a straight-up, quick-service Taqueria by Day and a charming, full-service restaurant by night”. During lunch, their concept similar to Chipotle and Qdoba, where they make your food in a “production line”. You select what you want, can request extra or different toppings, and then pay at the end of the counter. What make’s Tropisueno unique, however, is they make the food after you order, and bring it to you.
Even though it was after 1:30 when we arrived, the restaurant was still very crowded and the main dining room was nearly full, so we sat at the bar. I love the built-in shelving to display the tequilas behind the bar.
I ordered chips & guacamole, and they give that to you immediately.
Hands-down, this guacamole is in the top 3 I’ve ever had. No question. The avocados are so much better in California. The chips were excellent as well. Warm, homemade, and very crispy. After I took a bite, I have to say I was a little bummed that I offered to share with Scott and Reg. I could have easily devoured the entire thing myself.
At the end of the bar was a salsa bar
Clearly this was after the lunch rush, which is why it looks so sad and picked over. I did try a couple of the salsas, and they were really delicious.
Scott had the shrimp tacos
Reg started devouring his tacos before I could get a complete picture. He had 2 super tacos, with crema and cheese, but I can’t remember what type of meat he got.
I didn’t try any of either of their tacos, but they both raved about them.
I really like that they have such a wide selection of meats to choose from for your meal. But I do have to admit that since we were in a rush, it was a bit overwhelming and I had to make an instant decision. I got a barbacoa taco and an al pastor taco, and just did mine regular style with cilantro and onions
The al pastor was very good. The meat wasn’t as tender as I would like, but it did have great flavor, and the pineapple added a wonderful sweetness and bite. The barbacoa was amazing. The meat was so tender, and the sauce was extremely flavorful. When the tacos first got delivered I didn’t think it would be nearly enough food. But combined with the guacamole it was plenty.
The only down side is that we didn’t get to have a relaxing experience. Our sessions were done for the day, but we had to get ready for the venue tour that evening. So by the time we got our food, we had to eat and go. I should have known better than to try and take pictures under those circumstances, because they definitely were not my best work.
As I ate, I had decided I was definitely going back the next day, if for nothing else more guacamole and a margarita. But of course, everything else got in the way and that didn’t happen. On my next trip to San Francisco, I will not leave until I’ve returned to Tropisueno. I’d like to visit for dinner, so that I can get the “charming, full-service restaurant” experience.