Where to Spoil Your Dinner on Chips and Salsa
Your mother always told you not to fill up on the free chips at any given restaurant, but at various Mexican spots in SF, the chips and salsa are almost the star of the show, not necessarily free, and you might even want to save room for them by just ordering a light dinner. It's not going to win you any points from your nutritionist, but it will make your mouth pretty happy.
Not all chips and salsa are created equal, but if it's any indication, this family-style spot at 2778 24th Street is related to the original Casa Sanchez, makers of the generally terrific retail line of fresh salsas and chips (both thick and thin varieties), which they serve on the premises. Granted, you can now buy them in all sorts of stores, but you can also get them here at the source, where the burritos aren't half bad either.
Another local business that's started bottling their salsa is Papalote, with two locations here in the city. Their more spicy, less chunky version of salsa pairs well with their high-quality, house-made chips–both of which have been regularly featured on our Big Eat List.
This mobile operation arrives at different farmers' markets around town, and they've become known for their awesome chilaquiles as well as their tamales. But their bagged tortilla chips are better than almost any you'll find in town–thick, layered, and deeply flavored–and their salsa's tasty too. You can find Chef Karen Waikiki serving up her stone-ground excellence on site at her North Bay restaurant, El Molino Central, along Highway 12 in Boyes Hot Springs.
The Mission and Marina spot–which just announced an expansion to North Beach–serves top-notch salsa, which is just barely chunky, and flavored with mint. And their house-made chips, which are rapidly refilled, are delicious and perfectly crunchy too; making it sometimes necessary only to order one of their short-rib tacos.
You'll often have to wait for a table at this Outer Richmond staple, which is known more for its margaritas than its food. But damn if their chips and salsa aren't a pretty terrific (and spicy) soaker-upper for that tequila.
Many diners comment on the high-quality chips and excellent salsas at this Yerba Buena spot, which are delivered free of charge. The chips are thin, lightly fried, well salted and crisp, and they come with a trio of salsas–the green is our favorite.