Sf chronicle - bay area tacos


really great to have one of the LATACO boys in the bay area to highlight the worthwhile tacos out here…
who knew that we already had our own lechon taco truck??


no love for the taco truck parked in the planned parenthood parking lot in RWC? bummer

los carnalitos is outstanding
taqueria EL PAISA@.COM in oakland also missing from the list, but i assume these two were omitted because they are already sufficiently well-known and maybe doing okay business-wise? only way i can make sense of their omission and la gallinita’s inclusion…

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los carnalitos is doing decent business and could use some PR - and they are indeed great (as some other placed in RWC)

mariscos el pariente in san bruno does a very decent shrimp tacos dorados - i was skeptical going in but would rate it 80% of the way towards a mariscos jalisco taco de camaron.
close to sfo - worth consideration as a first-stop post-flying.

This list is desperately needed. Haven’t had a single good taco living up here.

fyi, having now visited a bunch of places on the list, i have found it to be less reliable than e.g. LATaco or eater’s taco lists for LA. a bunch of places on this list are relatively average… (although none have been completely terrible)


Which one were the highlights (and which weren’t great) ?

In the sense that they’re not as good as other taquerias you know of in the area, or that they’re not as good as the best places in LA?

highlights have been:
1a. tacos el ultimo baile (oakland) - comparable to el ruso at its peak, or asadero chikali
1b. tacos oscar (oakland) - mildly comparable to guerilla tacos
2. la parilla loca - comparable to tireshop
all three of these i would drive across a bridge for… the two sf recommendations (la vaca birria, la gallinita) i would not drive across a bridge for…

i’ve been to 6 out of the 9 in the peninsula/san jose, of which none have been great but all would be solid local neighborhood places (ie not worth driving >15min for). most of these are doing just your basic tacos (al pastor, various beef al vapor, tripas), but mariscos el pariente (shrimp tacos dorados) and tacos el lider (roast pig/lechon tacos and tortas) are notable exceptions to that. for the 9 peninsular/san jose recommendations, you can definitely find better ones in their respective areas (e.g. los carnalitos).

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Thanks that’s really helpful, especially with los carnalitos as a reference for the peninsula as they are our local taco dealer
Just out of curiosity how would you place los carnalitos compared to the places in LA discussed on this board

another point of reference would be the various el grullenses - many of the regular-option places on the SFChronicle list are comparable to these el grullenses (but my local one in palo alto on el camino does also make quite good tacos - crispy tripas are usually perfect texture, various beef cuts are all fine)

los carnalitos is a little hard to compare to LA because i primarily get their 1) panucho, 2) gringa or chicharron quesadilla, even though their lengua is usually outstanding. for their panucho, i like theirs more than the ones at chichen itza or la flor de yucatan, but less than the one at ek balam, but this is in large part because of the style of theirs, which is different than the chichen itza/la flor de yucatan style. i don’t think there is a comparable version of their chicharron quesadilla or gringa in LA? although their gringa is definitely better but also fancier than what most al pastor places would do, even in LA. their chicharron is comparable to guisado’s chicharron. when at its peak, their lengua is comparable to the best of anywhere, including mexico city.