Nopalito

There are many options for tasty Mexican food in SF, though few are focused on only working with local, organic, and sustainable purveyors. Nopalito is the offspring of NOPA, the restaurant credited for naming the neighborhood North Of the PAnhandle that serves up delicious urban rustic food until 1am. Though the two restaurants share owners and purveyors, the food at Nopalito is wonderfully different.

After spending one of the hottest San Francisco July days that I can remember at the beach, some tasty and locally sourced seafood sounded like the best choice for dinner. We headed to the Nopalito on Broderick Street and started off our meal with a fish and calamari ceviche. The seafood marinated overnight in lime juice to enhance the tanginess and eliminate the fishy taste. The chef then tossed it together with some cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro, and salsa piquin and served the mixture with thick, blue corn tortilla chips.

Nopalito is known for its tequila and mezcal list, but I would recommend the Oaxacan Style strawberry-almond horchata. This dairy-free drink is a great alternative for anyone who is lactose intolerant. Made with ground almonds, sesame seeds, tigernuts, water, sugar, cinnamon, and strawberries, this refreshing and creamy beverage combats the spicy fried garbanzo bean appetizer.

We shared the daily special, a red snapper tostada. Served on a crispy tortilla shell, the lime-marinated snapper was mixed with chilies, olive oil, avocado, radishes, cilantro and shallots.

We then shared the butter bean tamale slathered in reddish-brown ancho and guajillo mole. The thick corn tamale base was served on a banana leaf and garnished with almonds and fresh epazote.

Compliments of the house, we got to finish our meal off on a sweet note with the house-made flan. Custard-like in texture due to the viscosity of the eggs and milk, it had thin caramel sauce glazed over and red strawberry slices on top.

Nopalito continuously proves itself as restaurant worth revisiting. Next time I come back, I will have to try their brunch.