Taqueria el Buen Sabor – San Francisco, California

Taqueria el Buen Sabor
697 Valencia St (between 18th St & Sycamore St)
San Francisco, CA 94110
Taqueria El Buen Sabor on Urbanspoon

With some adventures to conquer in the Mission District on Thursday, including a stop at the very secret PhotoJoJo world headquarters, Sarah quickly realized what I already knew at this point; tacos would be on the lunch menu. While rent is not as cheap as it once was in the mission, you will still find yourself swimming in Mexican choices. Sticking out from the more typical drab look, Taqueria el Buen Sabor, with it’s bright white exterior, seemed to be calling our name from afar.

As we walked into the all-business establishment, the warm sunlight, checkered floor, and friendly service made us feel right at home. A quick look at the menu combined, combined with a little eaves dropping, led us to believe that the classic mission-style burritos were a popular choice. However, with a decent selection of various meats, including a ‘today’s specials’ sheet advertising lengua (tongue), it didn’t take much convincing to get Sarah on the taco train.

Deciding to sample 3 different varieties, I placed an order for al pastor, lengua, and carne asada. With future plans to conquer the taco carts of Oakland, I didn’t want to scare Sarah away from what I hoped would be more adventurous eating. The tortillas (two in each taco) were thrown on the flat top to warm while our meat choices were warmed in separate pans. With the tortillas warmed, we were offered a bed of refried beans for our meat selections, but this was something we both turned down.

Piled high with meat, the tacos came appropriately adorned with chopped onion, cilantro and salsa. No neon cheese or sour cream, guacamole or rice. Just straight to the point tacos. They also offer fresh tortilla chips for those interested…of course we were!

Al Pastor, Carne Asada, Lengua

Sitting down on the communal-style bench and table combination’s, we used our fresh, and still warm chips to sample the green and red salsa’s located table side. The green was hotter than the red, both were enjoyable andwe tried to sample both sauces at least once with every taco.  Of our three meat choices, I think the carne asada took top spot. It had a great char and the beefy flavour was so strong it was like eating the world’s perfect steak. The lengua, which was juicy enough to almost explode in my mouth, would have taken top spot  was it not for the overwhelming deliciousness of the carne asada. Last, and much to my dismay, the al pastor. Having great hopes for my first taste of this shepard dish in San Francisco, we both found ourselves disappointed by the rather bland marinade. I think this expereince confirms what many locals know; in a city so full of options, many of the taqueria’s specialize in one meat. You go to *blank* for tongue and so forth. A quick-lunch that was beyond delicious and didn’t come close to breaking the bank. God I love tacos.

12 thoughts on “Taqueria el Buen Sabor – San Francisco, California

  1. I tried in vain to stop at a Taqueria in LA when we were there a few years ago unfortunately we were in East La and the hubby was a touch scared for me to mix with the neighborhood boys. Looks amazing

    • Hey now, your hubby could have played ‘rescue-man’ and turned the entire scary taco experience into something else all together 😉

  2. I was in California and San Francisco a couple years ago and I became instantly enamored with the plentiful Mexican taquerias and diners lining every street. I love guacamole, probably more than I should. It’s not fair that the stuff we get here, unless you make it yourself (and even then, only if you score some good avocados), holds a dim light to what’s found south of the border.

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  4. Every time we were ready for a lunch last summer, there was no other choice than a Taqueria: flavourful, economical and nutritious. Did I say flavourful? The thing was – I don’t have your frame of reference, and sometimes I would be on my knees with the flavour experience as it was so unbelievable fresh and complex – and others (as you have said, each establishment clearly specializes in one or two dishes) were surprisingly bland or disappointing. I can see I need to take that lunching experience to a whole other level. You will be the first person I talk to about this before my next trip down there. I hope you don’t mind!

    • I suppose it depends on the type of meat (regarding nutrition), but I agree that with a fresh, quick, and definitely economical, the taqueria is hard to beat. And if you go down again, I’d be more than happy to relive some memories for you.

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