Cheap Date: Chilango
Yes, this city is lousy with Mexican restaurants, but we don’t begrudge the opening of one more, particularly when it is located in the Castro, a neighborhood that sorely needs more good food. Chilango (the name is slang for someone who grew up in Mexico City) replaced Aztec Taqueria back in October, and was opened by former Mexico DF chef-partner Roberto Aguiar Cruz. Handmade organic tortillas, Niman Ranch meat and a menu that emphasizes street food found around the Distrito Federal are now the order of the day. Amid tacos and guacamole are more interesting options, like the unapologetically soggy, sloppy pambazo—a soft roll dipped in red chile sauce and stuffed with refried beans, potatoes, chorizo, lettuce and crema—as well as flautas filled with shredded duck that remains moist even as the exterior fries to a crisp. A mighty bowl of sopa de tortilla fits the cold weather bill: chile-enhanced broth studded with chunks of avocado, chicken, cubes of (non-melting) queso fresco, rounds of potato and crunchy tortilla strips. Whatever you order, be it carnitas or a bright ceviche, your dessert answer is singular: churros. With their crunchy sugar-and-Mexican-cinnamon dusted exterior and nearly-custardy interior, they are arguably the best in town.